“Captain, Friend, Brother. Sule”
Those are the words emblazoned across the top tube of Factor’s new, limited Team Amani-edition Ostro, the brand’s aero gravel racing bike.
The bike was designed in collaboration with Team Amani riders to celebrate the life and mission of Suleiman ‘Sule’ Kangangi, who was killed in a high-speed crash during August’s Vermont Overland, a 95-kilometer gravel race. He was just 33-years old at the time of his death.
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Factor has pledged 10 percent of the proceeds of the limited-edition bike to Team Amani’s GoFundMe campaign, which was set up earlier this year in an effort to fund and someday create the Amani House, a permanent home for the team and young cyclists in Kenya’s Rift Valley.
At an elevation of over 7,500 feet, the Rift Valley town of Iten, which is known as “The Home of Champions,” has become well-known for producing countless world-class runners. Several of those runners, like Mary Keitany, Ibrahim Hussein, Abel Kirui, and David Rushida, to name just a few, have won the most prestigious marathons in the world.
Team Amani started not only with hopes of applying the legendary cardiovascular strength of Iten’s native residents to cycling, but also to give young children of Sule’s home region “the opportunity he never had—to be discovered, equipped, and trained at an early age so as to have a chance to reach the highest echelons of the sport.” One of Sule’s dreams was a permanent, world-class facility to encourage and train the next generation of riders and racers from Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, and other parts of East Africa.
The OSTRO, which Bicycling recently reviewed, is a super-aggressive race bike that almost feels like a road bike with bigger tires and has one job; going fast on loose ground.
In addition to the top-tube tribute to Sule, who finished in eighth place at Gravel Worlds the weekend before his death, the Team Amani OSTRO was designed to reflect colors found in the Rift Valley; deep reds, greens, and yellows. Standing in stark contrast to the full-bodied tones on most of the bike is a bright yellow cheetah-print fork, representing not only the cheetah, which are found throughout the Maasai Mara National Reserve in the Rift Valley, but also the speed and athleticism of Team Amani’s riders.
Team Amani will be racing these special bikes throughout the 2023 season, including at appearances at Spain’s Traka in April and at Unbound in June.
Michael Venutolo-Mantovani is a writer and musician based in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. He loves road and track cycling, likes gravel riding, and can often be found trying to avoid crashing his mountain bike.