BERU F1 Systems, a British firm that specializes in supplying performance engineering solutions to motor sports, has taken a blank slate approach to redesigning the bicycle. To start, the firm opted for a carbon fiber frame that uses a twin spar down tube and seat tube to improve stiffness yet reduce weight. The fork blades are carried to the top of the head tube, reducing the mass of the fork crown and improving the loading of steering bearings. The wheels are made entirely from carbon fiber and feature hydraulic disc brakes front and rear, with carbon ceramic discs being an option for dry weather riding. The bike’s information system monitors rider output, temperature, atmospheric pressure and even includes a GPS function for routing.
Each Factor 001 is built to a riders specific measurements, and all this technology comes at a Formula 1 sized price: the Factor 001 starts at $34,000. High? Perhaps, but consider that other hand built, carbon fiber framed bikes are selling for as much as $25,000.
While I’m happy to see a company pushing the envelope of bicycle design, I can’t help but wonder what the Factor 001’s purpose is. No specs are given on weight, but a bicycle ridden in the Tour de France must weight 15 pounds, and I’m guessing that the Factor 001 comes in quite a bit below that. If it can’t be used in competition by the sport’s best athletes, is the Factor 001 doomed to be just another “hey look at me” status symbol for ultra-wealthy recreational riders?