The world’s most advanced road bicycle is made in Diss.
Perhaps unknown to many in the town, Factor Bikes, based in Vinces Road, has picked up one of the industry’s most prestigious awards for its road bike model ‘Vis Vires’ and has been gaining rave reviews from the cycling press.
The bike, which at its higher specification costs an eye-watering £10,000, was awarded the top ‘Gold Award’ at the Eurobike trade show in Germany last year - an industry leading event, visited by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
What makes the Vis Vires a ‘super bike’ is its radical design and features, including sophisticated monitoring equipment which measures how much pressure is being put on each pedal, by each leg. This bit of kit alone, is a £2,000 extra on the bike.
The Vis Vires is made to be as light and aerodynamic as possible and features an innovative down tube on the frame which is split. Components are often integrated within the frame itself.
Lead project engineer, Stuart Brierley, said: “We are not looking at producing tens of thousands of bikes per year.
“We are producing very high-end machinery that is intended for quite serious cyclists and athletes.
“Our ethos is performance, in the same way the sports car market is.”
Factor is part of the Diss company bf1systems, long established in the town at Vinces Road, and known for its design and supply of advanced instruments for the motorsport and aerospace industries.
In 2007 bf1systems turned their attention to bikes, and in 2009 the Factor 001 was born, as reported in the Diss Express.
Formula 1 star Lewis Hamilton was a notable owner.
The Vis Vires was made with Diss expertise, but Factor also brought in American bike designer Steve Domahidy to marry the firm’s technological know-how with established bike design processes.
Despite the bike’s growing reputation, the likes of Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome will not be seen riding them in competitions. The bike does not meet UCI governing body regulations on bike design.
But Mr Brierley said Factor did not want to be shackled by design constraints, and simply wanted to push bike design innovation forward.
Although the bike can rightly claim to be made in Diss, like many manufacturers, many parts are made in the Far East. The Vis Vires is otherwise assembled at their Vinces Road base.
The bikes can be bought via Sigma Sport, www.sigmasport.co.uk, or those serious about investing can see or even test the bikes by visiting bf1systems in Vinces Road.