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Think back on the qualities you’ve most admired in the bikes you’ve ridden. If you’re anything like us, that list includes rock-solid handling at speed, confidence in corners, comfort over those roughest roads, stiffness as you gut out a sprint and a fit that didn’t require a million spacers or a custom stem.
The people responsible for how the O2 rides all raced at the ProTour level. This is the bike they wish they had when they were racing. We know first-hand how important solid handling is. We also know that a bike can be too stiff and what that will do to a body when you’re racing for five or six hours a day for days on end.
What we’ve found is that it’s important for a bike to have enough stiffness. Rather than use one steerer dimension for all sizes, we have size-specific tubes and layups so that the feel of our largest frame is the same as the feel of our smallest frame. The O2 is meant to impart an experience, not a look.
Another significant difference between this O2 and the bikes our ex-pros rode is the inclusion of disc brakes. Once you’ve had a chance to ride disc brakes and enter a mountain switchback with the hot speed of a go-kart on a race track and enjoyed the incredible stopping power and precise control that disc brakes offer, going back to rim calipers feels like putting down tube shifters back on the bike. This is the version of the O2 our own staff prefer.
As a factory producing bikes for other companies, we were in at the ground floor developing the first layups for disc brake road bikes. We know what it takes to produce a frame and fork strong enough to take the braking loads of disc brakes without the ride becoming too harsh. And while many manufacturers have had to resort to relaxed geometry to make room for the caliper and rotors, we’ve maintained exactly the same geometry as the rim-brake version of the O2; it gives up nothing in handling.
Even though the O2 doesn’t share the aerodynamic goals of the One, that doesn’t mean we’ve ignored aerodynamics altogether. From the smooth transitions and rounded tube shapes, the lack of sharp edges was a conscious decision to design a bike that performed without compromise without simultaneously giving the bike an aerodynamic flaw that would hurt its rider’s quest for speed.
There’s more to a great carbon fiber frame than just designing a great shape and using good materials. The O2 is a study in the dark art of layup. Not only do we choose particular materials for their ability to contribute to the bike’s stiffness and ride quality, we cut them to exacting standards and place them in carefully selected locations, making sure the layers overlap no more than necessary; extra fiber is a waste, both in performance and weight.
Without such careful attention to detail we wouldn’t be able to produce a frame that weighs 740 grams that is stiff enough to contest Paris-Roubaix and strong enough to still be rideable after a crash.