The Imperiale is Wilier's latest offering in the highly competitive market of carbon dream bikes. With this bike Wilier attempt to give you all your cake and let you eat it too. The Imperiale combines, performance, aerodynamics. Sounds like a super high end sportive bike? Wilier don't believe in the idea of "sportive" bikes, well they didn't until they announced the Gran Turismo for 2011 another model that's all about performance and comfort and is "ideal for Sportive/Granfondo riding but is definitely aimed at performance riders" says Wilier.
Make of that what you will the Imperiale already covers similar territory, it's 7.26Kg combination of fast and comfortable Italian carbon built up with top end componentry - perfect for long, non competitive, organised rides with little number boards and cake stops. And yes, it's race capable too although tellingly Lampre, the Pro Tour Team supplied by Wilier opt for the all out performance of the Cento.
The Imperiale with help of John Cobb (cycling aerodynamicist to the stars) tries to crack the aero road concept. You can argue till you're blue in the face about the importance of frame aerodynamics in a road bike but there are some genuinely interesting shapes and forms on the frame. The coefficient of drag we can't tell you but it looks slippery which is half the battle won for most people. The frame and fork ride superbly well with no reason to find fault in either throughout test. A very well designed back end gives the feeling of all day comfort matched with stiffness suitable for the summer crit season.
The geometry gives a great position for all day rides and was a little more relaxed than my usual race set up. Arguably negating any gain from aero frameset but resulting in a responsive and positive handling.
Regardless of where you sit in the SRAM, Campag, Shimano debate the Chorus groupo is a solid performer. Not ground breakingly light but the 11speed worked well and is particularly impressive at extreme chain lines. The Fulcrum wheels complete the Italian line up and were exceedingly impressive if again a little heavy at this price. Componentry wise you might be getting a bit more for your money if you look elsewhere - £3,300 and you will be riding away on a Dura-Ace spec’d Trek Madone with £950 to spend on the wife and kids, or a trip to the south of France with your new bike. As a whole the Wilier comes together with great effect giving a really impressive ride with added style points for the full Italian build.
A couple of niggles with the bike - why Wilier feel the need to write "wind friendly" on the top tube goodness knows. I get the sentiment but it makes absolutely no sense and sounds more like it's referring to flatulence or the weather than top flight aerodynamics. Also the Ritchey stem came loose three times initially - not usual Ritchey behaviour but if you draw a comparison to the automotive industry you wouldn't be too chuffed if the steering wheel came loose on your Ferrari.
As an aside:
Wilier are not available online so you will have to find your local Wilier dealer. The integrated seatmast will need to be cut to size by them using a special guide supplied by Wilier. I had just had a professional bike fit a few days before so had all my measurements to hand, even so the LBS I brought it to were nervous about cutting such an expensive frame (perhaps understandably as they hadn't sold it to me). Also be aware that the standard Selle Italia SL saddle sits very high off the rails so you will want to check it suits you before you cut the post down as you may find it cut too short if you want to change saddles later.
A comfortable and fast Italian thoroughbred with a fantastic frameset. For those who can afford this is a fantastic bike for the sportive market, amateur racer and the style concious. Altough tipping the scales at 7.5kilos and costing £4250 you might find yourselve tempted to look elsewhere there are lighter and cheaper option.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Wilier Triestina Imperiale Chorus
Size tested: Medium
About the bike
State the frame and fork material and method of construction. List the components used to build up the bike.
The frame is a full monocoque carbon offering although they do not publish the specific modulus of the carbon.
Weights according to Wilier are 1130g and 360g for frame and fork respectivley.
Color - Red/Carbon
Sizes - Available XS,S,M,L,XL,XXL
Frame - Full Carbon Monocoque, "Wind Friendly" Styling
Fork - Full Carbon Aero
Headset - Ritchey Pro
Rear Hub - Fulcrum R1
Front Hub - Fulcrum R1
Spokes - Fulcrum R1
Rims - Fulcrum R1
Tyre - Vittoria RUBINO 700-23c Pro
Shift Levers - Chorus 11 Speed
Front Derailleur - Chorus 11 Speed
Rear Derailleur - Chorus 11 Speed
Cassette - Chorus 11-25 11 Speed
Chain - Chorus - 11 Speed
Crankset - Chorus Ultra-torque 50/34
Bottom Bracket - Integrated Bearings
Seatpost - Integrated Aero Seatmast
Seat -Selle Italia SL
Bar - Ritchey Pro
Stem - Ritchey Pro Wet Black Alu
Grips - GIST
Brakes - Chorus
Tell us what the bike is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about the bike?
The Imperiale is designed to fit in the "aero road" category, not an all out race bike and not a sportive bike - somewhere in the middle then.
Frame and fork
Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?
Fantastics attention to detail in the finish. A very high shine and undeniably attractive graphics.
Tell us about the materials used in the frame and fork?
Wilier don't tell us exactly what it is but its that black shiney stuff we all like
Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?
Bike tested was a medium. Full details of the Geometery can be found here
How was the bike in terms of height and reach? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size?
Straight out the box this offers a much more relaxed position than my standard road bike setup - a little shorter and a little taller at the front all made for a comfortable ride. A great setup for longer rides or those on the less flexible side of the scale
Riding the bike
Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.
A very comfortbale bike whilst not losing stiffness in the frame or the wheels - top marks. Never had any comfort issue during test and soaks up small bumps and road buzz very effectivley.
Did the bike feel stiff in the right places? Did any part of the bike feel too stiff or too flexible?
Thanks in part to the slightly heavier frame weight (at this price range) the frame offers great stiffness at the back and tracks well at the front.
How did the bike transfer power? Did it feel efficient?
Really positive power transfer. Good frame design matched with a great crank and a solid wheel set gives a great impression
Was there any toe-clip overlap with the front wheel? If so, was it a problem?
How would you describe the steering? Was it lively, neutral or unresponsive? Livley
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's comfort? would you recommend any changes?
Saddle - Only personal prefference but I found the Selle Italia SL in white not only looked like it was something out of an Ann Summers catalogue it felt like it too (I imagine!)
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's stiffness? would you recommend any changes?
The Fulcrum R1 wheels at 1550g are not the lightest but this more than made up for by their stiffness.
Heavier wheels at this price range slow things up a little
Great power transfer for a bike not designed specifically as a race bike
The slightly higher bar position makes you feel top heavy when cornering quickly on the tops
Best done on the drops
Took more tuning than usual to get the 11speed firing perfectly. One dropped chain at the front but on the whole smooth shifting and very good at extreme chain lines
Only tested on the finest of British summers days so has seen little abuse - cant comment really
Chorus = Carbon everywhere
Wheels and tyres
Smooth rolling, competitive weight and STIFF STIFF STIFF! great Aluminium wheels
No problems during test
1550g for the pair
Tell us some more about the wheels and tyres.Did they work well in the conditions you encountered? Would you change the wheels or tyres? If so, what for?
Test bike came with Michelin lithion tyres. Nothing wrong with these and no punctures but the UK spec list is offering Vittorias rather than Michelins
Personally find the Campag shifters a real negative. The middle finger paddle is plastic and feels flexible and has much more float than a comparable SRAM system.
A reall mix on comfort. The hoods are great but the wrist roll to hit the thumb shift lever is not so great. I would prefer Ultegra 6700 or Dura Ace on this bike
Anything else you want to say about the componentry? Comment on any other components (good or bad)
Brakes are outrageoulsy good! Really sharp solid feel and the braking is better than any I have used before. Top Marks
Did you enjoy riding the bike? Very much so. A few niggles asside Wilier have produced a really great bike here
Would you consider buying the bike? Not really but only because it doesn't suit my riding at the moment… and I couldn't afford it
Would you recommend the bike to a friend? Providing they were affluent
About the tester
I usually ride: Boardman Pro C My best bike is: Canyon \"Grand Canyon\" Ergon24 team issue
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Semi pro
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, mtb,