In late March, Factor Bikes released their first two mountain bike models: the Lando XC and Lando HT, a full suspension and hardtail cross-country bike, respectively. Cross-country bikes are a common sense first step for the brand as they build on their road and gravel line up - although ahead of the launch we were told that there will be a broader range to come in the future, with hints at eMTBs and enduro bikes.

But for now, the focus is on the Lando XC, which arrived at AMB HQ recently. You can order your bike direct from Factor Bikes as there is free global shipping. This model has all the fruit, with SRAM XX1 AXS Eagle gear, Black Inc carbon wheels, post and bar/stem. It would cost you approximately $14600 - which is no small amount of change. This is similar to a Specialized Epic EVO Pro, although it has Fox Factory gear (including a dropper) and Shimano XTR mechanical shifting - not the wireless SRAM gear on this bike.

At the moment the XX1 AXS is the only spec available, although you can get the frame set for about $6400.

What's the Factor Bikes Lando XC all about?

The Lando XC is all about fast off-road adventures, specifically marathons and stage races, and probably some bike packing exploits as well. The Lando XC was ridden at the grueling 2022 Cape Epic by the Amani Racing Team, who provide opportunities for East African mountain bikers.

The Lando XC is a 29er, with a full carbon frame. It has progressive cross-country geometry. That means a 67 degree head angle and a 75.5 degree seat angle. The frame can be run with 100mm or 115mm rear travel, depending on the shock stroke length (40 or 45mm). And those can be matched with 100mm or 120mm forks. Our test bike has a 120mm fork and 115mm travel, with the same DT Swiss 232 One suspension items we tested back in 2020.

The frame is a linkage driven single pivot with a flex stay - and Factor really focused on pivot location to keep a very flat antisquat. The very forward pivot means the antisquat stays similar across the whole gear range, and is optimised for a 32 or 34t chain ring. A 36t chain ring fits fine for those with the legs to push it.

The frame has clearance for 2.4" tyres on wide rims, and is 1x only. It is routed for internal droppers and uses a T47 threaded bottom bracket, as well as the SRAM Universal Derailleur Hanger (UDH). The reach is long, at 476mm in a large, and the bikes are designed to be setup with short stems for an aggressive stance.

The frame has good standover height, and there is an accessory mount under the top tube - but one traditional bottle mount inside the mainframe. There's also a mounting position for a top tube bag behind the stem.

Maintaining torsional stiffness and low overall frame weight was also a crucial consideration in the bike’s design. A vertically-oriented shock ensures forces are concentrated in the strong bottom bracket area, allowing for weight savings elsewhere. Equally, the frame’s split seat tube enables the use of a monobox chainstay connection for extra torsional stiffness and reduced weight, while its flexible seat stays provide four bar performance without the need for additional pivot points.

The use of a shared shock and lower swing arm pivot, mounted as wide as possible, ensures the simplest, lightest and strongest use of available frame material. Lando's one-piece moulded carbon rocker complements its one-piece rear triangle, also minimising weight and maximising stiffness, while eliminating shock side loads or binding. 

The bike as shown with XTR pedals and a 35g carbon bottle cage weighs 10.71kg.

On the trail with the Factor Bikes Lando XC

The Lando XC is very similar to what I ride: long, 120ish-mm of travel front and rear, under 11kg, sweet carbon wheels, and remote lock out. So in a way, I was offered no surprises when throwing a leg over the Lando XC, once I had my seat height set and the suspension setup.

The Lando XC, even without a dropper post, has no nervous feelings like you might associate with a cross-country bike. If you haven't been paying attention, XC bikes have longer reaches, slacker head angles, burlier builds and more travel than they used to. XC is all about speed, and the current crop of bikes get up to speed faster, and are more stable, while retaining agility.

Even with just a couple of spacers under the one piece Black Inc bar and stem, I felt like I was sat low in the bike - given that the Lando XC is aimed at endurance events, having a stable platform is a bonus.

The DT Swiss suspension isn't a common choice for bikes, but I wish it was. I was thoroughly impressed when testing the DT Swiss 232 equipment, and I'd like to see it on more bikes. DT Swiss Australia take care of all the servicing in Melbourne, so there is excellent support. The remote lock out is excellent, including the mid position for extra support.

That said, I really like the result of the forward position pivot. I only reached for the lockout to see how it felt. I found the Lando XC pedalled really well on fire trail and singletrack climbs alike. Some designs can get bogged down when climbing, but it wasn't the case on my first ride - although it was short.

On the descents, there are limits when using 2.25" Maxxis Aspen tyres and a bike without a dropper. Both are easy changes, but I suspect I'll be adapting to high posting over the coming days. However, the direct feel of the bike was noticeable. The cockpit is stiff, and the overbuilt sub frame means the bike responds to any input.

So far the suspension seems efficient, yet with a good rising rate on some slightly larger hits. Still, one ride isn't enough to really tell. But overall, I'm keen to get out on the bike again tomorrow.