Just in: Wilier Zero 7
Brand new top-end road bike built around a superlight frame
Right, first of all the weight: 6.48kg. That’s how much this brand new Wilier Zero 7 comes in at, fully built up except for pedals. 14.3lb. And we’re talking about a frame that’s below 800g (1.8lb). In other words, this is a very light bike.
Actually, although everyone, including Wilier, seems to be calling it the Zero 7, there’s a ‘point’ in there on the top tube graphic – Zero .7… as in 0.7kg. Each one of these frames comes with its own birth certificate giving its exact weight off the production line, and Wilier guarantee that it’ll be under 800g. So they could have called it the Sub 800. But that hasn’t got the same ring to it, so they didn’t.
Anyway, putting needless gibber about the name to one side, this is an interesting frame. For a start, it’s Wilier’s lightest ever. The Italian company reckons that it’s too light to go wasting on the likes of the Lampre-ISD pro team. They’d have to add weight in order to get over the UCI’s 6.8kg minimum legal limit for racing, so Damiano Cunego… unlucky. You ain’t getting one. Road.cc, on the other hand, have one right here in the office.
The Zero 7 (we’re bowing to public pressure and ditching the point) features the brand new BB386 EVO bottom bracket system that has just been developed by FSA and a couple of frame manufacturers including Wilier. Well, it’s really a modification of the existing BB30 design, making it wider and incorporating a press-fit bearing cup instead of a direct fit bearing. Claimed advantages include increased stiffness and stability and straighter, more rigid crank arms
Another key technological feature is Wilier’s use of SEI Film technology. SEI stands for Special Elastic Infiltration and the way Wilier describe it is that there’s a ‘kind of elastic material’ sandwiched between two carbon layers in the frame. So what is this kind of elastic material? It’s a secret, that’s what. They’re saying nuffink.
They’re a bit more forthcoming about the benefits of SEI Film technology. In fact, let’s go ape crazy and list them in full, as given by Wilier:
• More vibration dampening properties
• More comfort with less weight
• Increases impact strength by about 35%
• Safer, with less weight
• Increases interlaminar shear strength by 18% (that means SEI Film reduces delamination behaviour between carbon layers)
• Increases three-point flexing strength by 12%
• A composite material with SEI Film can flex 12% more without cracking than one without
So there you go, and not one mention of increased vertical compliance. Well, not in so many words anyway, although the main thing that Wilier are emphasizing is that the SEI Film technology results in a smooth ride so, essentially, that’s what they’re getting at.
The carbon is the same 60 Ton composition that Wilier use on the existing Cento 1 Superleggera to provide stiffness and efficiency in key areas, using the same ZnO resin. ZnO? Wilier explain it like this:
“In order to avoid potential points of weakness that could result from micro-gaps in a composite layup, we’ve implemented an ultra low density nanoparticle zinc oxide resin. This results in a stronger composite with higher resistance to impact while enabling us to reduce the weight of our frames due to its superior structural integrity.”
You’ve got to have a bit of nano-technology these days or you might as well not bother.
Right, that’s enough about the materials, let’s give you a few more details on the layout. The new BB system means the down tube really flares out towards the bottom to provide a super-wide platform while the front end is equally beefy. The swoopy top tube and the down tube virtually meet to support a head tube that houses a 1 1/8in upper bearing and 1 1/4in at the bottom.
The chainstays are asymmetrical to account for the differing forces on either side of the bike. The driveside one is straighter although the non-driveside one is bigger and boxier. Wilier have passed on several other high-end staples, though. All the cabling is external, for example, which makes maintenance simpler, and the seatpost is a standard option rather than an integrated design. One advantage is that it makes travel a lot easier, especially if you want to take your bike on a plane.
The Zero 7 is available as a frameset. That’s the full carbon monocoque frame and the full carbon fork for the sum of… £3,999. No-one said it would be cheap.
The complete bike is priced at £8,250. That gets you Campagnolo’s top-end Super Record groupset and an FSA K-Force Light cockpit, a Ritchey Superlogic seatpost and a Selle Italia SLR saddle (which, as you might already know, is the best saddle in the world) dressed up in Wilier livery. Our test bike has Fulcrum Racing Zero wheels but the actual production bike will have deep-section Campag Bora Ones with ceramic bearings.
Eight-thousand quid, eh? Better make sure those mid-ride comfort breaks are quick ones. Or, could just do what the pros do… although that might not go down well with passing traffic on the A361.
Wilier’s UK distributor is ATB Sales (01424 753566).