First look – Wilier 2012 New Zero 7 top end road bike + new flat-barred range & more

Italian manufacturer unveils new top end model for 2012 and branches out into fast commuter bikes

by Mat Brett   July 18, 2011  

Italy’s Wilier have launched a new superlight road bike called the Zero 7 which features new technology designed to dampen vibration and improve the overall ride quality. We reported on it briefly when we saw it at the Giro but we’ve now had the chance to see the bike for ourselves.

The Zero 7 frame weighs under 800g – so 0.7-something grams, hence the name. Variables in the manufacturing process mean there will be slight differences in weight between individual frames out of the factory but Wilier guarantee they’ll all be sub-800g. They are giving each one a certificate with its exact weight recorded.

The Zero 7’s most unusual feature is what Wilier call SEI Film technology – that’s Special Elastic Infiltrated Film. It’s a layer that they add between the layers of carbon composite in the frame building process. What is it? Good question, but that’s where things get tricky because they’re really not saying much. It’s “an elastic material” and it infiltrates into the layers of carbon above and below it. But that’s all the information they’re giving out. Intriguing, but not that revealing.

Whatever it is, the SEI Film is designed to dampen vibration and add comfort. Plus, Wilier say, it increases impact strength by about 35% to improve safety and increases the shear strength between the layers of carbon by 18%. And, according to the manufacturer, adding SEI Film allows the carbon to flex 12% more without cracking.

The carbon used here includes the same 60 Ton material (M60JB) that Wilier use in key areas on the Cento1 Superleggera and the frame is made using extra high pressure silicone bladders inside the tubes to create a low-void, high strength product.

Aside from the material, what can we tell you about the frame? Well, like loads of high-performance frames these days, it has a tapered head tube – 1 1/8in at the top, 1 1/4in at the bottom. The bottom bracket is more unusual, though. It’s built to the new BB386 Evo standard that Wilier have developed with FSA – press-fit bearings and an oversized 30mm bottom bracket axle like BB30, but with a wider BB shell.

The cables, by the way, are externally routed because Wilier reckon that’s lighter than going internal and it’s way simpler when it comes to mechanics. You get a standard seatpost rather than an integrated one, which makes travel easier, and the fork is full carbon.

We’ve just seen the bike, not ridden it, so we can’t comment on the results. Wilier are excited though and reckon it’s an incredibly smooth ride. They would say that, of course, but they do seem confident about this. We’ll hopefully get the chance to ride the Zero 7 in the next few months so we’ll let you know. Importers ATB Sales have a small shipment of Zero 7s arriving in September.

They’re far from cheap, though. The Zero 7 will be available as a frameset for £3,999, or if you want it built up it’ll be £8,250. Yes, you’re right, that is a lot of cash. For that you get Campagnolo’s top-end Super Record groupset with an FSA K-Force chainset – in that BB386 Evo standard. And everyone will know it’s BB386 because the graphics are hardly subtle. The cockpit is K-Force too, which is FSA’s highest level road kit. The wheels are Campag’s Bora Ones with Vittoria Corsa Evo CX tyres.

Wilier have added Shimano builds to some to some of the existing frames in the range for 2012; previously it was wall-to-wall Campagnolo, extending the Italian theme to the componentry. So, the Izoard XP sportive/road race bike, for example, now comes in a Shimano Ultegra version with Fulcrum Racing 5 wheels for £2,199, and in a 105 version with Shimano’s RS30 wheels for £1,750.

Campag versions are available still. The entry level model in the Izoard range, for instance, is the 10-speed Campag Xenon version with Miche Race wheels for £1,499.

The Montegrappa is a do-it-all road bike in the range that’s built around a double-butted alloy frameset. The Campag Xenon version costs £999 while the Shimano Sora option is considerably cheaper at £750. Lots of the components on these bikes – seatpost, saddle, stem, bar, rims – are marked as WARP, which is Wilier’s in-house brand. (We've not got pics of these, by the way, because the example bikes Wilier showed us had incorrect spec).

Wilier have the now-obligatory fixed bike in the lineup in the shape of the Toni Bevilaqua. It’s TIG welded cromo steel and comes with a quill stem (so not the stem shown in the picture). It has a lovely traditional-look finish too.

Trivia fans will be pleased to hear that Toni Bevilaqua was a two-time world pursuit champion back in the 1950s. The hub is flip-flop so you can swap from fixed to singlespeed (with a freewheel) easily enough. It’ll set you back £599.

In an interesting departure, Wilier are also offering a range of flat-barred commuting/leisure bikes for 2012 from £575 for the singlespeed/fixed Pontevechio up to £999 for this Bassano.

The Bassano is double-butted aluminium with a carbon/aluminium fork. The groupset is Shimano’s mid-level Tiagra with Tektro FL540 brakes and Shimano RS10 wheels, and rack mounts add to the practicality.

All the details will eventually be up on Wilier's UK website.