Check out Bradley Wiggins' Butterfly bike: a 10th anniversary celebration of his historic 2012 TdF and Olympic campaign

Specially commissioned Factor Ostro features hand-painted artwork and a list of luxury components

Vires Velo and Brad Wiggins create a one-off Factor bike to celebrate the 10th anniversary of his historic 2021 campaign
(Image credit: Vires Velo)

In the space of a month Bradley Wiggins' life was changed forever. In July 2012 he won the Tour de France, becoming the first British rider to do so. Ten days later he captured Olympic gold in the ITT on home soil, and in London, the city he grew up in no less. 

These were heady days indeed. Wiggins was vaulted into a new stratosphere of fame and influence. As a result, cycling in Britain would never be quite the same again. The following years have seen continued British success at le tour and beyond. It’s no exaggeration to say the reverberations of his historic year are still being felt. 

To mark the 10-year anniversary of these record-breaking exploits the man himself has commissioned Vires Velo, Factor UK's 'experience centre', and Nottingham-based artist Karl Kopinski to create a one-off bicycle. And it’s quite the machine.

Detail of Bardley Wiggins hand-painted custom Factor road bike

(Image credit: Vires Velo)

Factor provides the canvas in the shape of its OSTRO VAM frameset, which is currently ridden by the Israel Premier Tech team at WorldTour level. 

On top of the pearl white base coat Kopinski then hand-painted 33 individual butterflies using liquid acrylic paints, each representing the number of days Wiggins spent in 2021 in the yellow jersey at the Tour de France, Paris-Nice, Dauphine and Tour de Romandie combined. Kopinski added a final gold butterfly to the bike’s stem, supplied by Factor’s sister brand Black Inc, to commemorate the gold medal he won at London 2012. withe the artwork complete, the frame was then sent to the paint shop for a protective coating.

Brad Wiggins' custom Factor features hand-painted artwork from Karl Kopinski

(Image credit: Vires Velo)

If the unique frame and paint job weren’t eye-catching enough, Vires Velo has completed the build in its Norfolk HQ with plenty of additional ‘bling’. Black Inc’s Five Spoke wheels were at the request of Wiggins and are offset nicely with white Schwalbe x Spartacus Pro One tyres, while the gold medal theme is continued courtesy of a gold CeramicSpeed OSPW

Brad Wiggins' custom Factor bike includes Black Inc Five wheels

(Image credit: Vires Velo)

Naturally the groupset is Shimano, ridden by Wiggins throughout his momentous 2012 campaign. For the ‘butterfly’ bike it’s the Japanese brand’s top-tier Dura-Ace Di2 12-speed gruppo. Other components include a white Fizik saddle and matching white bar tape.

On August 1st Wiggins took the bike out for a little spin, retracing the route of the 2012 time trial course. The road side must have felt eerily quiet in comparison.

Sir Bradley Wiggins retraces the London 2012 ITT route where he won gold on his new custom Factor bike

(Image credit: Gareth Winter)

For more information on the butterfly bike visit viresvelo.com; and for more information on the artist visit karlkopinski.com

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Freelance writer

Luke Friend has worked as a writer, editor and copywriter for over twenty years. Across books, magazines and websites, he's covered a broad range of topics for a range of clients including Major League Baseball, the National Trust and the NHS. He has an MA in Professional Writing from Falmouth University and is a qualified bicycle mechanic. He fell in love with cycling at an early age, partly due to watching the Tour de France on TV. He's a passionate follower of bike racing to this day as well an avid road and gravel rider.