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Sir Bradley Wiggins has a new bike, with added butterflies

Custom Factor Ostro VAM marks the 10-year anniversary of Wiggins’s historic Tour de France victory and his 2012 Olympic Gold Medal

Emma Cole
8 Aug 2022

Sir Bradley Wiggins now rides a Factor Ostro VAM complete with 34 hand-painted butterflies to celebrate his historic 2012 victories.

The bike, which was hand-painted by Karl Kopinski and custom-built by Vires Velo, commemorates Wiggins’s momentous 2012 Tour de France success and his road time-trial Olympic gold medal in the same year.

Wiggins became the first British rider to win the Tour de France when he finished 3 minutes and 21 seconds ahead of compatriot and Team Sky colleague Chris Froome.

In what was the 99th edition of the Tour de France, Wiggins wore the yellow jersey for 13 consecutive stages, his win made all the sweeter after he was favourite the previous year but was sidelined after breaking his collarbone in a crash.

After his historic victory at the Tour, Wiggins stormed to Olympic time-trial gold in London, collecting his seventh Olympic medal and fourth Olympic gold.

2012 is widely seen as Wiggins’s best ever season. Before the Tour, he won Paris-Nice, the Tour of Romandie and Criterium du Dauphiné, which was a hot streak that had never been seen before.

Creating a memorable bike for a memorable man

Wiggins’s historic acheivements have now been commemorated in a state-of-the-art Factor Ostro VAM. According to bike builder Vires Velo, Wiggins had a clear idea of what he wanted the bike to represent.

The brand brought in artists Karl Kopinski, who came up with the concept of the butterfly paintjob having been inspired by Wiggins's numerous butterfly tattoos.

The butterflies

The bike features 34 hand-painted butterflies.

Kopinski says he used liquid acrylic paints to achieve a watercolour effect and allow for the colours to run into each other, in an attempt to give the butterflies energy and a sense of movement.

A total of 33 yellow butterflies are located across the frameset. Each represents a day Wiggins spent in yellow during 2012 at the Tour de France, Paris-Nice, Dauphine and Tour de Romandie.

There is one gold butterfly on the bar stem which is a homage to Wiggins’s time-trial Olympic gold.

The bike

The frameset is a Factor Ostro VAM, custom-painted in pearl white with gold logos.

Factor says the Ostro VAM is a lightweight aero all-rounder, befitting Wiggins’s attributes as a pretty complete bike rider.

At the bike’s launch, Factor’s head of engineering Graham Shrive told Cyclist: ‘It’s the complete bike. It has big tyre clearances and makes concessions to comfort but straddles the lightweight race and aero race categories.

‘The frameset contains several complex and novel features, one of which isn’t particularly obvious but is important nonetheless,’ he says. ‘The corners of the Ostro VAM’s tube shapes have tighter radii than normal. That is, the transition from the trailing edge of the tube to the truncated rear is much sharper than usual.

‘This reduces the level of attachment drag because it separates the airflow from the tube more cleanly.’

Another notable feature the Ostro VAM uses for aerodynamic benefit is its Reversing Flow Energising Channel. It may sound like something from Ghostbusters but it is actually a gully in the underside of the down tube that the wide-stance fork flows into, increasing the space between the wheel and frame in the area.

‘I was actually allowed to name that feature,’ says Shrive. ‘Air has a viscosity like everything else, so when the tyre spins there’s an attachment effect that brings some air up and round to meet the flow coming in under the fork crown.

'The channel acts as a converging nozzle to accelerate the airflow through that area, which more effectively escorts away the stagnant air pulled around by the wheel.’

The build

The special Ostro VAM frameset is adorned with suitably fine componentry, with the rolling stock being ostensibly as eye-catching as the paintjob. 

According to bike builder Vires Velo, Black Inc’s FIVE spoke wheels were specially requested by Wiggins for the build and the team fitted them with white Schwalbe Pro One tubeless tyres to match the bike.

It has also been fitted with the new gold-colour OSPW system from CeramicSpeed, which launched earlier this year, as well as the latest Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 12-speed groupset.

The build was finished off with white Black Inc bar tape and a white Fizik Arione saddle, which has long been Wiggins’s perch of choice.

According to Vires Velo, the bike was handed over to Wiggins in Tottenham and he swiftly took it on its maiden voyage, taking in all the iconic sights of London and the roads on which he won time-trial gold.

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