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Interbike 2008 – Wilier

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Wilier, pronounced “Vil-yur”, is an Italian brand of road bikes.  Their new for 2009 Cento1 is a beautiful bike, and one that I’ve wanted to ride ever since seeing it in pics from the TDF and in Euro roadie mags. This bike is chock full of neat innovations, but perhaps the one thing that stood out the most is the seat mast.  With more and more manufacturers moving to an integrated seatmast, we’re getting more and more limited in what we can do if a) we cut it wrong, b) we sell it or c) we buy a used one from someone that’s very differently sized than us.  Wilier’s ingenious solution is to make the inner diameter of their seatmast exactly 31.6mm.  Now, if you cut it wrong or someone else (legally, hopefully) takes possesion of your bike, they can simply cut it down a little and use a seat clamp with a 31.6mm diameter seatpost.  Brillante!

Check the video for a run down of the new frame directly from the head of their US importer/distributor.  For more pics and details, read “more”…

Wilier used Mitsubishi’s 46TON carbon composite on this bike.  It’s supposedly the world’s strongest, most resilient carbon, able to withstand a ridiculous 46 tons of pressure per square millimeter!

Here’s the bike in all it’s gorgeous Italian glory.  It’s about 120g lighter than their previous Cento frame, even though the actual bare frame is 90g heavier.  The overall weight savings come from the integrated seatmast (-95g), integrated BB cups (-55g), integrated carbon dropouts (-30g) and lack of seatpost clamp (-30g).

The centerpiece of their innovation (in my mind, anyway) is the integrated seatmast that will work with any 31.6mm diameter seatpost should you need to cut down the mast.

The headtube tapers from round at the top to square at the bottom, which the crown of the fork mirrors.  They claim this increases rigidity for better control and power on both climbs and descents.

The chainstays flow directly into the seatstays, and the dropouts are integrated carbon fiber affairs.  Keeps weight low, but could be a little scary if you wreck since they may not be repairable.  It’s a good thing they’re using that 46TON carbon!

The asymetric chainstays are designed to handle the differing forces applied to each side of the bike during power transfer.

The oversized bottom bracket uses integrated cups that need no adapters to run current Campagnola cranksets.  For Shimano, there’s an adapter available.  The seat tube gradually increases diameter until it hits the BB area, creating a very strong base for the drivetrain.

So, how did it ride?  The road demo loop was only about two miles long, and the roads there were smooth as glass.  So, all the road bikes rode well, but I tried to find reflectors and gutters to get a sense of how the bike handled less-than-perfect surfaces, and it soaked them up fairly well.  It definitely took away any harshness from hitting some bumps.  On the downhill exit from the demo area, you could easily get up to 30 mph without even trying, which came down to a nice 90° right hander over a rain dip.  The bike handled it all smoothly and confidently.  Standing up to crank did nothing but propel the bike forward, and weaving wildly between the lane markers was fun, never scary.

Again, the road conditions were darn near perfect, but given my initial impression, this is a bike I would give a serious try if you’re in the market for a high-end road bike.

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