After launching a classic short-travel XC race full-suspension bike just over a year ago, Wilier Triestina is back again with a slacker, longer-travel variant more attuned to techy modern cross-country racing dubbed the Wilier Urta Max SLR. On the outside the new lightweight 120mm Urta Max SLR looks a lot like the 100mm Urta SLR, but revised suspension linkage and noticeably more progressive geometry make this a much more capable bike for technical racing.
Wilier Urta Max SLR light 120mm carbon XC mountain bike
Officially unveiled just before the start of the Nové Město na Moravě World Cup, Wilier now calls their new Urta Max SLR their more versatile modern cross-country race bike – “a bike that is ideal for competitions but also fun on the most demanding trails“. It goes its proper racing debut earlier this spring under camo wrap at the Cape Epic, but the start of World Cup Racing was its first time to come out of the shadows. And shine, it did.
At the first round of the new UCI World Series’ combined XC Marathon & Olympic-distance Cross-Country, Wilier’s new Urta Max SLR was ridden to a World Cup win in both the Elite Marathon and U23 by riders on the Wilier-Pirelli factory racing teams.
Fabian Rabensteiner was the first to take a World Cup win on the new bike in a sprint finish to the 20km Elite Men’s Marathon on Saturday just after noon. Sofie Heby Pedersen took the second World Cup win on the new Urta Max SLR just a few hours later, besting the U23 Women’s field by half a minute on the 22.7km XCO course Saturday afternoon, after having taken third on the same bike in the Short Track two days earlier.
What’s new on the Urta Max vs. the Urta?
We tested out the classic 100mm Urta SLR last year. And while it was comparatively a slacker, more capable version when referencing back to Wilier’s previous XC bike, it still felt like a quick-handling classic-XC bike designed exclusively for non-technical mountain bike racing. Apparently, the XCO & XCM pros of Wilier-Pirelli Factory Team racing had similar thoughts, and they worked with Wilier to create this boosted 120mm Urta Max SLR with all-new geometry.
More than just longer, slacker geometry (I’ll get to that in a minute), the new Urta Max changes up the longer suspension with a simpler version of the linkage-driven flex-stay single pivot design. The changes are subtle – extending the seatstays further up & forward into the main triangle, and moving the linkage forward to drive the shock directly from the end of the stays (rather than a secondary yoke). That should save a bit of weight actually, but paired with slightly longer chainstays, it also allows Wilier to claw back a bit of extra tire clearance – now up to 29 x 2.4″ with a full 5mm of mud clearance all around.
The seatstays also get a slight new kink just in front of the rear axle, presumably to better tune where the pivot-less seatstays would flex. The new frame also gets a new pinched section in the top of the toptube just behind the linkage’s upper pivot (highlighted in yellow on the team bikes), which acts as a stiffening rib to transfer suspension forces into the seattube.
Other than that, the new Urta Max SLR looks a lot like the old Urta SLR.
All-new modern XC Race geometry
The difference really comes when you dig into the geometry – even beyond the extra 20mm of travel front & rear. With a one and a half degree slacker 67.5° headtube and 15-20mm longer Reach, right away the Max will feel like a more capable bike on technical cross-country racecourses.
Yet it’s still undeniably a racy bike, and a lot of effort was put in to keep the racer’s position & weight low on the longer travel bike. Wilier kept the same snappy 435mm chainstays, lowered the BB slightly to a 40mm drop, and actually reduced headtube height by 6-9mm to keep frame Stack effectively the same, even with longer travel (the 120mm L even has reduced Stack vs. 100mm L).
We haven’t ridden the new Urta Max SLR, but expect it will feel more planted riding rough trails, and more stable descending.
Tech Details & Features
Both front & rear triangles of the Urta Max SLR are made with Wilier’s top HUS-MOD hi-mod carbon fiber for balanced stiffness, just like their premier road bikes. The linkage-driven, flex-stays single pivot suspension is tweaked for the new carbon XC bike with an updated 3-stage regressive-to-progressive shock curve for efficient all-terrain racing – delivering 120mm of rear wheel travel with custom-tuned 45mm stroke shocks (190mm overall). The air shocks also all feature 3-phase lock-outs: Open, Technical Climb & Fully Locked-Out.
Unlike last year’s shorter Urta, the new Urta Max moves all its internal cable routing into the frame via the upper headset bearing. Here, it’s less about hiding every cable, and more an effort to limit the number of headtube holes that need to be put into such a critical part of the frame. Cleaner cable routing is a nice benefit, on top of small weight savings.
Wilier also gives the new bike a new Urta Max Bar -27° integrated one-piece carbon cockpit handlebar+stem for riders who need to get even lower for their race-tuned fit.
The new Urta Max still has space for two full-size water bottles, internal dropper seatpost routing, max 38T single chainring, integrated (but removable) mud-flap protection at the lower main swingarm pivot, and an integrated chainstay protector.
The frame uses a SRAM Transmission-ready replaceable UDH dropout, 31.6mm seatpost, pressfit BB92 bottom bracket, 1.5″ headset, Boost spacing, and a flat mount rear brake.
Wilier Urta Max SLR – Pricing & Options
For now it seems the new 2023 Wilier Urta Max SLR cross-country bike only comes in this great-looking glossy Wilier-Pirelli team paint job, in four stock sizes. But in classic Wilier fashion, there’s a lot of complete bike spec customization.
Officially there are 3 build kits that come with the integrated carbon bar – XT, XTR, or XX SL – each with your choice of Fox 34 SC Factory or RockShox SID 35 Ultimate suspension. Pricing starts here at 6500€ with XT/RockShox & alloy wheels, and tops out at 11,200€ with XX SL/Fox & Miche K1 carbon wheels.
There are also builds with a more conventional stem & bar combo that start at 6200€ complete.
The build mimicking the Wilier-Pirelli team bikes would retain for 9800€.
Get your new Urta Max SLR from your local Wilier dealer now.