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Factor Bikes Enters the MTB Market With the Lando XC & HT

Mar 31, 2022
by Dave Rome  
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Factor Bikes (not to be confused with Factor Components) isn’t likely a name known to many mountain bikers, that is unless you follow professional road racing. There, the boutique carbon bicycle manufacturer is arguably the smallest brand with a presence at the sport’s top level.

Factor describes itself as a premium bicycle brand, and their somewhat rare combined competitive advantage is that they own their own factories in both China and Taiwan, and also offer direct-to-consumer sales. Prior to focussing on its own brand, the company existed as a contract manufacturer for the likes of Santa Cruz, Rocky Mountain, Pivot, and Cervelo, to name a few. And well before that was the involvement with some of the earliest uses of carbon fibre in cycling.

While Factor may have only had its name to drop-bar and time-trial bikes to date, the company has now entered the mountain bike market with a fairly progressive cross country full suspension and an ultra-light hardtail. And the two bikes are joined with a few new components from sibling in-house carbon component brand, Black Inc.

Why enter MTB?

According to Factor’s CEO, Rob Gitelis, the company’s goal wasn’t to be a boutique road brand, but rather a premium bicycle manufacturer regardless of discipline. The entry into mountain bikes may be starting with XC bikes, but the company has already announced plans to offer a longer travel trail bike, and is currently assessing what it could do in the e-MTB space, too.

No doubt there’s an increasing convergence between riding disciplines, and Gitelis suggests that approximately a third of Factor’s existing (road) customers also ride mountain bikes. Meanwhile, the boom of gravel is acting as a gateway between those who have traditionally only ridden skinny tyre dropbar bikes and introducing them to the world of dirt.

Obviously selling more bikes to existing customers is appealing but Factor aims to do more than just that. However, given the market for high-end carbon mountain bikes is seemingly beyond saturated, what can a road brand bring to the table that isn’t already served?

That question isn’t so simply answered, but much of it boils down to owning the manufacturing channel. Factor believe they have the capabilities to produce high performing machines with premium materials, exacting tolerances, and carefully thought out details that may be too costly for others to pull off, all while hitting a price in line with other high-end options. In-house manufacturing also means that Factor can be extremely quick to create, test, refine, and produce such products. In many ways, it’s a similar story to what other manufacturer-owned or in-house-produced bike companies claim to achieve, but there aren’t too many operating with the extensive resources of Factor.

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The Lando XC

Already raced at the Cape Epic, the new Lando XC is Factor’s answer to the modern cross country and endurance race bike. While the rear shock bares itself for the world to see, its progressive geometry and longer travel is otherwise not too dissimilar from the new Scott Spark.

Like a number of the latest XC machines, the Lando XC employs a single pivot suspension layout with a single-piece carbon rear end, intentionally flexible seatstays, and an adjoining one-piece moulded carbon rocker link. However, Factor’s approach also employs a truly oversized downtube, bottom bracket, and interrupted seat tube area.

The kinematics and suggested 27% sag figure both work to produce a more active suspension action than what’s typical of many XC bikes, and as a result, the bike is intended to run a remote lockout. The forward-positioned swingarm pivot is said to provide a flatter anti-squat curve that sits in the high 90% range across all gears. Meanwhile, the anti-rise numbers are said to be measurably low compared to what’s typical of the category.

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Geometry

Available in four frame sizes, the Lando XC comes stock with 115 mm of rear-wheel travel that is intended to be matched with 120 mm fork (51 mm offset). In this configuration, the head angle sits at a claimed 67-degrees, while the effective seat tube angle is 75.5-degrees across all sizes.

With a 430 mm reach in a medium, the numbers point toward the slightly less progressive use of a 70-80 mm stem for my most riders. Sizing wise, Factor has strong sales in certain Asian markets and so the currently available sizes tend to trend smaller. There is no extra-large size on offer at this time.

Those wanting a more aggressive 100 mm of travel can achieve so with a shorter stroke shock and a matching shorter offset 100 mm fork. You can expect the angles to become subtly more aggressive in doing so, too. Such a configuration is not currently available for purchase and would be up to the customer to convert.

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Frame Details

While Factor has gone to great efforts to place the rear shock within the shapely seat tube, the vertical shock position simply doesn’t leave room for a second water bottle in the same way that a number of competing bikes do. According to Graham Shrive, Factor’s head of engineering (and the former head of engineering at the innovative road bike brand Cervelo), this decision was made to optimise frame stiffness, shock durability, and standover height. Further attention was given to minimising shock and bearing sideloading, for example, Shrive claims that if the main pivot bearings – which sit outside of the chainstays – were pushed any wider they would contact the cranks.

Shrive states that some prominent component manufacturers in the industry are starting to suggest that rocker-yoke-driven suspension designs can cause excessive loading of the rear shock (picture the linkage action trying to bend the rear shock, an issue that Vorsprung recently covered – it’s something that leads to premature wear and failure. By contrast, the chosen vertical shock path handles loads at the already reinforced bottom bracket area and doesn’t require reinforcing the top tube. Furthermore, the base of the shock co-rotates with the main pivot, something that helps further reduce the need for excess hardware.

Speaking on the unexpected choice to go with a single bottle on a marathon-style bike, Shrive said, “It’s a trade-off we struggled with it quite a bit, but we hope that all the other mounts on the bike help to make up for this. Our customer base is predominately using hydration packs for the marathon racers where extra fluids are required. Shock durability and stand-over height were really important for us.”

Those other mounts are plentiful and perhaps take a cue from the gravel world where it’s often a matter of letting the customer figure out what they’re for. In this case, there are mounts on the top of the top tube behind the stem, something commonly often used in gravel and triathlon for a small snack bag (but if you’re like me, they will certainly go unused). Then there are mounts beneath the top tube for a tube strap or perhaps even a water bottle if you don’t mind riding a little bow-legged.

There are a few other features that may prove a little, um, conversational. Not unlike the previously mentioned Scott Spark, the front end is designed around an oversized 1.5” headset with optional internal cable routing through the top bearing for the rear brake hose (and dropper hose if you’re running a Reverb). Such a design typically means trimming a brake hose when the time for a new top headset bearing arrives, but Factor hopes to greatly reduce the need for such replacement by fitting CeramicSpeed’s new SLT solid fill (oil-infused polymer) bearings as stock.

Speaking of bearings, the frame pivots run on Enduro Stainless Max bearings, and Factor hasn’t ruled out replacing these with the SLT bearing if and when CeramicSpeed produce the needed sizes.

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Somewhat related to the headset is the straight path downtube that doesn’t provide clearance for the fork crown. It’s something we’ve seen before from Trek who use a rubber bumper on the downtube and its KnockBlock headset assembly to limit the handlebar swing arc. By contrast, Factor is using just a rubber bumper at the intentionally reinforced downtube and headtube junction. According to Shrive, using a headset that offered both internal cable routing and a steering restrictor was overly complicated and would likely limit future compatibility with other emerging headset systems. To Shrive’s point, the frame will work with FSA’s ACR/SMR system.

Thankfully Factor isn’t forcing the use of the headset based cabling system and has also provided regular modular port options at the sides of the headtube to allow for any combination of mechanical shifting, dropper and/or suspension lockouts. Factor will provide two different headset top caps so that users can choose their own path. Using one of those side ports is the provided DT Swiss dual lockout remote.

The other lesser-seen feature is the use of a T47 bottom bracket shell. This oversized threaded system has become popular in the road and gravel market and is effectively a threaded version of a PF30 shell. Compared to road systems, Factor is using a wider width shell (88.5 mm) that places the bearings inside of the shell. A serviceable CeramicSpeed bottom bracket is supplied, with the total width designed to mimic that of PF92 system (regular mountain bike spindle spacing).

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Other features include room for 29x2.4in tyres, Boost wheel spacing (max 36T chainring), a SRAM Universal Derailleur Hanger (UDH), flush-mount water bottle rivets, and a seatpost clamp that’s intended to provide a more integrated aesthetic while also providing pinch-free clamping tension for a 31.6 mm dropper. A painted medium frame with hardware and DT Swiss rear shock is claimed to weigh 2.1 kg.

There’s no denying that the DT Swiss R232 One rear shock (and FT232 One fork on the complete bike) is a polarising choice. Factor has a reputation for being clear and direct in its communication, and in this case, the suspension choice is related to existing supply chain issues. Those supply issues are apparently also responsible for decisions such as the rigid seatpost over a dropper, and the somewhat narrow 2.25” rubber fitted as stock.

The final potentially polarising choice is a complete lack of ability to mount a chain guide to this frame. Factor didn’t, well, factor it into the design.

Those supply chain issues strike once again strike when it comes to complete bike options. As a result, Factor has launched with a single bike specification option that features a SRAM XX1 AXS groupset and a number of Black Inc components (covered below), this high-end machine carries a price of $9,199 USD / €8,399 EUR / £6,999. Factor also offers frame packages, such as the $4,499 USD “premium” which includes the frame, rear shock, Black Inc one-piece bar/sten, Black Inc seatpost, CeramicSpeed bottom bracket and headset

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The Lando HT

Factor’s new hardtail, the Lando HT, isn’t quite as progressive as the Lando XC and instead takes a few more cues from the company’s road bikes. The design is all about low weight and high stiffness. It’s pared-back without excess accessory mounting points or geometry angles that perhaps encourage it to be ridden where it doesn’t belong. And in turn, Factor claims a rather impressive 850 g figure for a painted medium frame.

Factor has designed the geometry around a 110 mm travel fork to provide a 68.5 -degree head tube angle – not the steepest, nor the slackest flyweight bike on the circuit. Perhaps more polarising is the 73.5-degree seat tube angles found on the medium and large sizes, a decision that emphasises long stints of seated pedalling and aligns with what Ibis Cycles said about its new Exie race bike.

The feature list of the Lando HT repeats much of what the Lando XC offers. There’s the optional integrated cable routing through the oversized headset, the bottom bracket is the same T47 threaded, and there’s the same unique seat clamp holding a 31.6 mm seatpost. Likewise, the all too easily missed flush bidon cage mounts are there, as is the clearance for 29x2.4in tyres with Boost wheel spacing.

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The kinked seatstays pay homage to some of Factor’s road models and are said to aid in vertical compliance. The flat and curved toptube is also claimed to improve the ride quality.

Other road inspiration is seen with the one-piece 760 mm-wide handlebar and stem (60-90 mm lengths available) from Factor’s sibling company, Black Inc. The company is also experimenting with the adventure gravel space by offering an optional Black Inc rigid fork to suit this frame.

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Lastly, Black Inc has a new 29in wheelset with a made-in-house 27mm internal width hookless rim and in-house engineered hubs which roll on fancy CeramicSpeed bearings. Claimed weight for the wheelset is 1,459 grams.

The Lando HT complete bike offers the same high-end specifications as the XC version and is listed at $7,099 USD / €6499 EUR / £5399. Like the Lando XC, the frame package ($3,299 USD) includes the one-piece bar and stem, the seatpost, and CeramicSpeed’s bottom bracket and headset.

No doubt Factor isn’t the first nor will it be the last road brand to enter the mountain bike market. And as gravel continues to be a top growth category and entry to dirt for many traditional brands, you can bet they are all watching to see how Factor’s introduction goes.

Author Info:
DaveRome avatar

Member since Mar 8, 2019
12 articles

86 Comments
  • 61 1
 "the design is all about low weight"... Press release fails to mention full bike weight anywhere in the article.

Come on Factor, give us a number!
  • 146 0
 they forgot to factor that in
  • 4 5
 @ibasso001: big funny
  • 27 1
 Not that great with a 1500g wheelset and 2,1kg frame.

But it has the stupid cable routing through the headset so it´s f*cked up anyways.
  • 3 0
 @macfroze: funny if bigly weight
  • 26 0
 “You know, that bike's saved my life quite a few times"
  • 10 0
 "That was a long time ago, I'm sure he's forgotten about that."
  • 10 0
 “Why you slimy, double-crossing, no-good swindler. You’ve got a lot of guts coming here, after what you pulled.”
  • 9 0
 If follow up new bikes aren't the "Falcon" or "Parsec" it would be a missed opportunity. It's too bad there isn't a "carbon freezing" construction technique.
  • 14 0
 As far as CC-fullies go, I think this is actually quite neat. Thread-in BB and choice to run your internal cables the way you want. Arguments for shock placing sound logical. Oh no, I think I am getting old and start liking the idea of CC bikes....
  • 3 0
 And a future proof hta
  • 2 0
 I am wondering how much drop you'd be able to get out of a dropper post on it. I know it's a purpose built race machine, so must folks won't put more than a 125mm on it, but would be nice to be able to put more like a 150 for marathon races with gnarlier descents. I like the additional mounts for bento box and tools also. I don't think this is the bike for me, but I like seeing more bikes in this category.
  • 3 2
 @mior: I’m a big fan of the recent swarm of slacker-geometry XC bikes, but at some point you’ve got to be out-slacking your travel, i.e. a bike that needs that kind of downhill capability is gonna want more squish anyway. I don’t know what that point is for a 120 mm bike, but 67 has to be pushing it.
  • 1 0
 The rear brake mount standard is flat mount....
  • 13 0
 a pay to play contract manufacturer enters the market as vertically integrated as anybody, with a direct to customer model, offers a bike that looks like a spark had sex with a top fuel, and still charges the same amount as everybody else. this industry needs a massive enema.
  • 9 0
 Being your own manufacturer, offering direct sales and some polarizing component choices (Scott suspension and no dropper) at no real savings over the established bike companies seems like a questionable marketing decision. I expected there would be fairly significant savings as they own their own manufacturing facility. Does this suggest the big players aren’t making as much on bike frames as most of us tend to believe, or just that Factor is trying jump on the overpriced bike market while it is hot? Anyone with experience in the bike world have any thoughts? I do like the Cessna paint job as well.
  • 9 0
 Factor has been about charging a lot on their road bikes for a while, so this is pretty on brand. They are the same price as s-works frames if you take off the cost of black inc. components. That, combined with nothing particularly appealing about the frame makes this one a bit of a head scratcher
  • 7 0
 Yep. My initial thought was: that's pretty expensive for a new entry bringing nothing very valuable to the table.

But then I thought: Factor successfully did that in road bikes with a flicker paintjob (which, admittedly, is $$$$$). There's PLENTY of VAM owners who will line up for this.
  • 12 0
 I like the Cessna paint scheme in the second pic.
  • 11 1
 It's just a scott spark.....
  • 4 1
 Except the Spark has 2 water bottle mounts...
  • 2 0
 old spark though, you can see still the shock here
  • 6 0
 All that internal cable routing but its designed to work with a birds nest of cables for remote lockout?
Still awaiting the Suntour wireless XC suspension from Pidcocks Olympic bike.
  • 4 0
 Mayne I'm missing it, certainly looks like you could run a second bottle under the top tube. Maybe not with all cages, but a power cage or similar. Excited to see how it fars on some local trails as I'm guessing Dylan Johnson will be running this as his xc fully. He was fast enough downhill on that old niner rkt with 90mm of rear travel, this thing is an enduro in comparison
  • 2 1
 You totally could

“Bow legged” my ass it’s not gonna be a huge deal and you run whatever works and I know Dylan isn’t one to shy away from a useful tool just for the sake of aesthetics.
  • 1 0
 @Artikay13:

He's said he's running two bottles over on Instagram.
  • 7 0
 Is there a Factor Factory Racing Team yet? Maybe something for Factor Koretzky?
  • 1 0
 Hahaha!

The new Jukebox team that’s gonna be focusing on the Lifetime GP events is probably part of how this came about I’d guess
  • 2 0
 If Factor could be the Factor Factory factor, that would be sweet.
  • 5 0
 Sorry, but this is a trek knock block without the knock block and therefore is basically going to tear itself to pieces in the first crash??? - my jaw is on the floor after that
  • 6 0
 The only "knock-block" I ever want on a bike comes in the form of a dual crown. Otherwise F off with that....
  • 5 1
 Why don't you just design a curved downtube? I don't get these brands, you can have any shape you want in carbon fibre, but apparently it's too difficult?
  • 1 0
 I think it‘s just about low weight. A curve in the frame would propably mean more material (a straight line is the shortest distance) and might also provide ever so slightly less stiffness.
Not saying it‘s the right way to do things, but I can see some arguments for it
  • 5 3
 As this article started off with, why bother? This is still way behind nearly all the XC full sus bikes released in the last 2-3 years. It’s heavy, ugly, bad suspension kinematic, bad geometry, bad cable routing, no dropper, overpriced, heavy wheels, low tire clearance. What a turd.
  • 3 1
 Very curious where XC head tube angles end up. A few years ago the purists were saying “no lower than 70” and now we’re going slacker than early 2000s downhill bikes.

Gotta think we’ll overshoot and end up at back at 68 or 67.5.
  • 7 3
 Sam Pilgrim and SWATCH, two things I didn't come to PB to see. Thanks Outside+ ad sales team!
  • 2 0
 Truths
  • 1 0
 "the base of the shock co-rotates with the main pivot, something that helps further reduce the need for excess hardware": This is confusing- are they intentionally doing this using some sort of linkage, or are they talking about the way a shock regularly rotates on the bottom shock bolt under suspension forces?
  • 1 4
 The shock isn't rotating. The seatstay assembly pieces the seat tube and secures with the shock to the frame using the same hardware. The shock pivots in this frame as much as it would in any other. See image #6.
  • 3 0
 It's a poor explanation and too few pictures. The shock rotates with chainsays where it mounts to the frame. One bolt to mount them both and because they move together at the same time the DU bushing in the shock never moves.
  • 1 0
 @shirk-007: Yep, this is correct. As a result, there is no DU bush used.
  • 1 0
 Probably the low-key weirdest spec here is the 51 mm fork offset. Lefty is pretty much the only other fork left on the market still pitching the long-offset/reduced trail approach that dates back to at least the Gary Fisher G2, and it seems like a total misunderstanding of what makes a bike fun to ride.

But maybe that’s what you need when your XC bike has a 67-degree HTA? Seems like this approach leads to all the cumbersome length of a big trail bike without the confidence-inspiring stability.
  • 2 0
 I've ridden most of my xc bikes with 46 and 51mm offset forks and generally prefer a 51. I dunno why people insist on turning every bike into an Enduro bike that doesn't climb or turn well, but whatever. As long as manufacturers can minimize their SKUs well all be better off, am I right?
  • 1 0
 I like long offset on my road bike.
Compare to MTB, road bike wheelbase is so short. 55mm fork offset+ slacker HTA raise front center length to something that is a bit stable against crosswind and rough road, while still keeping 58mm trail that road racers want.

On mtb though, the wheelbase is already so long that a few mm of extra length is not significant, but that extra offset hit directly into the trail value. That, I'm not sure if it's a positive or negative thing.
  • 1 0
 @Themissinglink83: Specialized did a 42 mm offset on the 2018 Epic paired with a slack at the time but not slack now 69.5 HTA. Handled great IMO, but it’s a matter of taste. Most are 44 now.
  • 1 0
 @nattyd: the key is also that you can arrive at the same handling with a 44 or 51mm offset fork by tweaking other variables. Fork offset and head angle are overrated imo when it comes to How a bike actually rides.
  • 1 0
 the only thing that id consider using is the ht frame but I dont like the threaded BB
id like to know the frame weight without paint
those wheels are dummy heavy for an xc bike
ceramicspeed is a waste of money and overhyped just go with *ag or NTN which perform better and cost much less
they shouldnt be using a onepeice bar and stem its useless just go for a kalloy uno/mt zoom combo cause its cheaper and lighter without performing worse
I wish they would just go for the rockshox sid or sid sl they are just better
paint jobs look sick af tho
no cf railed saddle :'C
the component choice very bad and the frame design choices regarding suspension and bottom bracket and bearings poor
  • 1 0
 Lil grumpy this morning?
  • 1 0
 @Themissinglink83: nah they seem like they could have made really good bikes but the ones that they just released are mid
  • 3 0
 Looks like a sss.....park
  • 2 0
 first time seeing a DT SWISS fork...has anyone ridden one? what do they compare to?
  • 3 0
 They’ve made forks for awhile. Nino used to run one before the Scott team went full SRAM, so they’re probably not terrible.
  • 3 0
 @nattyd: thank you yessir.
  • 2 0
 Been making forks for years (or years ago!). Think they bought out Pace about 20+ years ago and just developed their line of what was admittedly at the time, fairly sexy forks.
  • 1 0
 Don't know about their B2B OEM stuff but for over 2000 USD for their of the shelf forks they better perform!
  • 2 0
 sexy bikes but we really do not need another bike brand made for the top 1% earners
  • 5 1
 Speak for your self peasant!
  • 2 2
 Bet its frigging expensive and then you have to add a dropper post and by the looks of things an external routed one with no cable guides.
  • 1 0
 Correction. Internal routing available but through the headset.
  • 1 0
 @Hairyteabags: There are cable ports on the sides of the head tube for this. Routing is internal through the frame.
  • 1 0
 Regardless of what you think of it, I bet (going by the road bikes) that it is very, very, nicely finished
  • 1 0
 That has certainly been my experience with recent Factor bikes.
  • 2 0
 I'll never own an XC bike but I've gotta say, these bikes are sexy AF!
  • 1 0
 at least it looks a bit different from the rest of the XC bikes nowadays
  • 1 0
 MMR did it better.
  • 1 0
 Edit: was thinking of Kross and Thoemus.
  • 2 0
 Logo could be bigger.
  • 1 1
 Is it me or is the front wheel misaligned to the handlebar or is the handlebar not set straight relative to the frame.
  • 1 0
 Looks like a (old) spark...
  • 1 1
 factor is a pretender. this looks like an abortion. fezzari does a better job (nothign against fezzari)
  • 1 0
 I think there's a typo on their frame decals...it should read "GUCCI"
  • 1 3
 That little too tube strut is a horrible idea-top tubes should be as low as possible!!

Do these bike designers not ride off road?!
  • 1 0
 Do PinkBike readers ride off-road?!
  • 1 0
 When it's not even capable of running a dropper post of any significant length, why bother with a low TT?
  • 1 0
 Cool spark
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