Last week, we took a close look at the all-new made-in Italy carbon Wilier Urta SLR cross-country bike of the Wilier Triestina – Pirelli Factory Team, but we also had a chance to ride it, too. While some new XC race bikes have shifted to longer travel & slacker geometry to take on more technical World Cup racecourses, the Urta SLR is a step in between – a modern cross-country and marathon capable full-suspension bike that retains super-quick handling, and can be built up surprisingly light…
2022 Wilier Urta SLR carbon XC race bike
We previewed the all-new lightweight carbon full suspension XC race machine several months back, and it is fast. After riding the more relaxed geometries of many modern all-mountain, trail bikes, and even some longer travel XC bikes, the sensation when I hopped onto the light Wilier Urta SLR was that of speed.
The Urta SLR demands your attention, and it wants to move quickly. But it’s not quite a race-only XC bike, still fun to ride fast around the woods, especially for a capable rider.
The Wilier Urta SLR is a 100mm travel cross-country mountain bike with a relatively common and simple high single-pivot suspension design, flex zone in the seatstays, and a linkage-driven shock with remote lockout mounted under the toptube.
You get Boost spacing & thru-axles, a flat mount rear brake, a mini chain guide, integrated rubber chainstay & carbon downtube protectors, a BB92 bottom bracket, 2.2-2.3″ tire clearance (Wilier officially says 56mm measured, but sells every bike with bigger tires than that), and room for two full-sized water bottles. Cable routing is internal but not fully hidden cable routing, and includes stealth routing for a dropper or a lighter 27.2mm seatpost.
The carbon frame is made in Italy from a premium hi-mod mix of carbon fibers, with similar lightweight & max stiffness layup tech as Wilier’s top-tier World Tour-proven road race bikes. The result is a monocoque carbon frame with a claimed 1730g weight (painted matte black in size M), plus about 220g for the rear shock.
On paper that sounds up to 100g heavier than weight claims of some of the lightest full-suspension XC race bikes we’ve seen. But the Urta SLR builds we’ve weighed turned out some surprisingly light complete bike weights without any real exotic component spec.
Wilier also makes their own 1-piece Urta Bar carbon cockpit for the XC bike, available separately for 550€. At a claimed 285g, they call it out as a great way to shed complete bike weight without compromising of performance. Three stem lengths are offered (60, 75 & 90mm) to dial in each rider’s ideal fit. All bars are a decently wide for XC 760mm, with a steep -17° stem angle for the #slamthatstem crowd, and nice gentle 4° ups & 8° backsweep for ergonomic comfort.
Looking at the cockpit of the mechanical shift bike I tested, it’s easy to understand a desire for fully internal routing, wireless shifting, maybe a wireless dropper, or even automatically controlled suspension. But once you accept the small nest of wires – mechanical shifting, droppers, and paired front & rear suspension lockouts work great once set up properly. And replacing cables is an easy enough task to keep the bike running smoothly.
Wilier Urta SLR bike setup
The bike I tested was a size Large Urta SLR with a 69° head angle, 74° effective seat angle, 435mm chainstays, and a 604/453mm Stack/Reach. At 9700€ it was about as premium a build kit as you can get without going electronic, outfitted with a mechanical SRAM XX1 Eagle drivetrain, Shimano XT brakes, 100mm Fox 32 StepCast & Fox Float DPS Factory suspension, and made-in-Italy Miche K1 asymmetric 27mm internal hookless carbon wheels with carbon hubs.
The one component that differed from the stock build was the welcome addition of a KS Lev-Si dropper. Every stock Wilier build includes a simple Ritchey WCS alloy seatpost, with the thought that a dropper post upgrade is an easy choice for riding more technical terrain. Really, every one of these bikes should come with a dropper, and saving 150g by swapping in the rigid Ritchey post should be at most a race-only decision.
So, complete large bike weight with a dropper (and without pedals) was 10.35kg, making the setup almost the same +/-100g as the quite similar but steeper (and cheaper) Canyon Lux SLX 9 I tested a few years back, or a half kilo lighter than the slacker, longer & also cheaper Scott Spark RC WC I rode last summer.
Not surprisingly, the Wilier Urta SLR’s on-trail performance also fell in between those two single-pivot bikes, although it felt like it flew uphill faster than either. The short rear end of this bike doesn’t feel like it loses any of the power you put into the pedals.
Stomp on this bike out of the saddle and it rockets up the steepest climbs. This was another time I’m reminded of the effectiveness of a paired front & rear remote lockout. An XC bike often doesn’t really need a hard lockout these days, but there’s no denying how much faster you feel when you lock a short to mid-travel bike out for the smooth paved or gravel climb that takes you to the start of flowy singletrack.
Riding rolling trails and steeper, looser descents you are reminded that this is a still race bike. It goes down fast, too. But the 69° headtube is by no means slack, it just isn’t as steep as old school XC race bikes. If you are hoping to get an ultralight trail bike or all-mountain bike, look somewhere else.
This is more the bike for someone from an XC racing background who just wants to go faster than ever.
In the end, this is likely the kind of bike that’s really only going to be limited by your tire choice. You can throw 100mm of travel up and down a lot of different terrain on up to 2.3″ tires – extralight or somewhat more reinforced. (Some might call it underbiking on the toughest trails.)
I rode the bike with versatile but light 29″ x 2.25″ Vittoria Barzo TLR tires that weigh just 660g apiece with almost no sidewall protection. That’d probably be fine for a race day setup for me, or maybe OK if your trails aren’t rocky at all. But long-term, I’d need to put tires on this Urta SLR with at least a reinforced casing for everyday singletrack riding – something with a fast, versatile tread and a light trail casing in the 700-750g range. Not sure, I’d
So that would be my balance for the Urta SLR – a light Italian cross-country bike for fun, fast singletrack riding and longer-distance marathon XC racing.
Lighter options too…
Race bike builds though can get quite a bit lighter though.
Up in the halo bike build territory, this medium 10,000€ Urta SLR with a SRAM XX1 AXS Eagle drivetrain, Shimano XTR brakes, 100mm RockShox SID Ultimate SL & SIDLuxe Ultimate suspension, and the same Miche K1 carbon wheels weighed just 9.86kg without pedals, but with the heavier red & blue paintjob. Just to put that into perspective, I weighed Nino Schurter’s latest Spark RC race bike with 120mm of SID suspension & superlight 1-piece carbon Syncros Silverton SL wheels at 10.14kg (also w/o pedals).
The biggest obstacle of the new Wilier Urta SLR is probably its price tag – starting from 3200€ as a frameset with a RockShox SID Luxe Ultimate shock or from 5900€ complete with a SID Ultimate SL fork, Shimano XT groupset & alloy wheels. It’s definitely more expensive than a comparable spec’d XC bike made in Taiwan.
That’s too much for a bike to ride around the pumptrack. But you have noticed more asphalt berms, rollers & hips sneaking their way into short-track XCC and Olympic distance XCO World Cup races, right?
So if your heart yearns for a super-fast European XC bike with an Italian soul, the Wilier Urta SLR delivers. And if you have the budget for it, you can surely build one of these up into a superlight cross-country racer or a marathon bike that will make you feel faster every time you throw a leg over it.