The brand new Wilier Zero 9 had its first UK public outing at the London Bike Show last month, and turned a few heads of those that wandered past the Italian stand.
The pitch for the Zero 9 is an interesting one. The company already offers the Zero7, their lightest ever frame, and the Cento1 SR, which borrows some of the tube shaping from their time trial bikes, to create their first out and out aero race bike - the striking looking Imperiale being Wilier's first 'Wind friendly' road machine. The Zero 9 slides in beneath these two models and has a more traditional aesthetic, with round tubes dominating in place of the dramatically shaped profiles of the Zero 7 and Cento1 SR.
It also has external cable routing for ease of setup and a non-integrated seatpost. If you’re put off by some of the styling and modern performance details of the latest breed of high-end race bikes, this could be right up your street.
The styling may take a more classic approach, which I’m a fan of, but the underlying technology is cutting-edge, and borrows heaps from the other models. The layup of the carbon is similar to that of the Zero 7 and it uses the same 60t Mitsubishi high-modulus carbon, but it is different enough to contribute to a slightly heavier frame weight. It’s reportedly 940g, however, which is right up there (or down there) with the lightest frames on the market.
Where the carbon layup differs, and crucially keeps the cost down, is the Zero 9 does without the Special Elastic Infiltrated Film that is sandwiched between carbon layers on the pricier frames. This film is top-secret stuff but Wilier says it increases the impact strength and flexing strength of the carbon frame, which helps to dampen vibration and improves durability. It is also a big contributor to the low weight of the frame.
That does mean the Zero 9 comes with a lighter price tag than the other models, with a frameset costing £2,399 and full builds starting from £3,799. Okay, that’s still a lot of money, but compared to the £8,250 Zero 7 we tested a couple of years ago, it’s less eye-watering. The frame comes in two version, one for mechanical groupsets and one for electronic.
The frame does share the same BB386 bottom bracket and tapered head tube. The geometry also mirrors that of the Zero 7, although the head tube is a touch taller.
The Zero 9 looks like a race bike for people who don’t necessarily want to race, but still want a cutting-edge performance bike that will flatter every rider. But I’m sure it’s still fully capable of racing, if racing is your bag. It’s competitively light and the geometry hasn’t been dumbed down too much from the race bike it’s based on, and the classic styling makes it a real beauty of the road. This is one bike I’m keen to swing a leg over this year.
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.