While perhaps an unlikely pairing, cycling and fashion have plenty in common. For many, feeling and looking good while out on a ride is a gateway to better performance. With this in mind, plenty of cycling apparel brands are founded by those who have a background in fashion design and place a huge focus on creating kit that is on-trend as well as functional. It’s not just cycling apparel that has to be stylish, of course, a good-looking bike is just as crucial.
Famous British designer Paul Smith is a life-long cycling fan. He keeps his own collection of impressive cycling memorabilia, and his brand currently offers a range of cycling apparel. Smith has also collaborated with global brands such as clothing giant Rapha, helmet manufacturers Kask and folding bike brand Hummingbird in the past to put his stylish twist on their products. Smith’s latest collaboration with premium performance bike brand Factor, is one of the most stunning yet.
Factor have allowed Smith free rein when it comes to the colourway on their flagship race bike, the OSTRO VAM – a bike that has been ridden in races like Paris-Roubaix and the Tour de France. Factor says that the OSTRO VAM is an all-round race bike, with a finely-poised balance of aerodynamics, compliance and weight. The performance of the Factor OSTRO VAM is in part made possible by the carefully-crafted carbon fibre layup on the bike which helps to ensure a smooth feel across all terrain.
Smith has highlighted the different layers of carbon in his limited edition design, using colour blocks to reflect the various areas where Factor’s engineers place layers of carbon on the frame. The bike features shades of blue, green, yellow and burgundy, with the famous Paul Smith pink also making an appearance on the logo. The bike has a high-shine and matte lacquer finish which aims to add another layer of contrast to the areas of raw carbon that are visible through clear gloss. The design highlights how parallels can be drawn between the way patterns are cut and constructed in clothing design and the way carbon is placed when building a bike frame.
In typical Smith style, the details on the bike have been meticulously thought out, with a gold foiled Signature logo on the Black Inc handlebars, a Signature stripe down the seat post and abstract larger Signature logos on the forks and downtube of the bike, which aim to echo the oversized logo tradition seen often on bikes ridden in the professional peloton. Smith worked closely with Black Inc to create an exclusive bar tape design featuring embossed Paul Smith logos on the tape and bar end caps.
Both Factor and Smith believe that the collaboration with the OSTRO VAM makes sense because both parties share a passion for cycling but also a diligent eye for detail.
“I used to be a cyclist as a young man, and I’ve stayed close to the whole world of cycling,” Smith commented in a press release. “Factor is a company whose technological approach to their bike making has been really impressive, and so it’s with great pleasure that I’ve customised one of their new bikes. I hope you like it.”
The Paul Smith x Factor bike has already been ridden in the real world, making its debut at the Tour de France Prudential Criterium in Singapore when it was ridden by Factor investor and four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome.
Rob Gitelis, CEO of Factor Bikes, said: “Paul Smith’s passion for cycling and racing heritage is no surprise, but working so closely alongside him and his team on this limited edition design has illustrated how deeply into the detail and DNA of performance that this passion runs."
A celebration of Paul Smith’s love of colour and Factor’s engineering expertise, the Paul Smith Edition Factor OSTRO VAM can be seen at Rouleur Live 2023, and is available now exclusively from Factor dealers and select Paul Smith stores worldwide. The bike can be purchased as just a frameset, as a frameset with Black Inc FORTY FIVE disc brake carbon clincher wheelset, or as a complete bike. The Paul Smith Edition Black Inc Integrated Aero Barstem and Paul Smith Edition Black Inc Bar Tape are also available to purchase separately.