Playing the shell game

I’ve been reviewing kit for going over 11 years, I know what it’s like getting pre-production products. But, frankly you cannot review something that isn’t physically done baking. Editorially, I would have a massive issue slapping that moniker on anything in the state that the Factor Ostro VAM CyclingTips “reviewed” is in.

Looking at the list of caveats and changes that CyclingTips has shuffled into their look at the Factor Ostro VAM, the thing they reviewed isn’t actually the thing we’ll be able to buy.

Taking two of the changes they mentioned:

  • T47 v. press-fit BB: it’s unclear to me if the statement “details are a little vague at the moment“… indicates that Factor hasn’t disclosed how their changing the BB, or the reviewer isn’t sure what T47 is, but it doesn’t really matter either way. If you change the BB setup, you are changing the bike in a material way. Could it be exactly the same? Sure, but it’s also quite possible to end up in a dramatically different place. How do you know? Only review the final hardware.
  • As concerning as the BB change is, the comments around stiffness are much more so:

    How do you make carbon stiffer? Well, I’m not an expert here, but I only see two potential options: add material, or change the layup. It doesn’t really matter which direction they go, because it all leads to the same place.

The thing CyclingTips “reviewed”, and the thing the Factor will eventually sell, are different bikes.

I totally understand the desire to play with cool stuff before anyone else. I totally understand why CyclingTips would jump at the chance to be “first”. Editorially, I have to seriously question why they published this. It’s a puff-piece for Factor, with no value to potential buyers, because the thing they reviewed doesn’t, and will never, exist in the retail market.

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