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Wilier celebrates 110th birthday by launching fastest aero bike yet

We’re living in an era of aerodynamic road bikes, and Wilier, an Italian company which this year celebrates its 110th birthday, has launched the all-new Cento10Air. 

Key features:

  • Aero frame and fork
  • 990g frame weight
  • Direct Mount brakes
  • 28mm tyre clearance
  • Integrated handlebar and stem
  • Fully internal gear cable routing
  • Widely spaced fork blades and stays

The Cento10Air is the evolution of the company’s first aero road bike, the CentoAir, but this a clean sheet redesign. Key design principles have been the search for improved aerodynamic performance, naturally, but also the quest to produce a lighter frame, using both its Twinblade time trial bike and the lightweight Zero 7 as points of reference.

This new bike has already been spotted out in the wild. If you were paying close attention to the Giro d’Italia this year, you might have spotted Italian cycling superstar Filippo Pozzato putting the new bike through its paces.

Wilier Cento10Air - 3 (1).jpg

Wilier Cento10Air - 3 (1).jpg

So what’s new then? Everything. Firstly, Wilier has utilised Kamm Tail shaped NACA airfoil tube shapes for every section of the frame, from the down tube to the seat tube and seatpost. The profiles and the junctions of the different tube sections have been honed with the use of CFD testing, computer software which allows easy manipulation of the frame and test results, which Wilier tells us, are accurate enough that it doesn’t feel compelled to conduct expensive wind tunnel testing. The result of the development leads Wilier to claim an 8% aerodynamic improvement over the previous bike. 

Wilier Cento10Air - 5 (1).jpg

Wilier Cento10Air - 5 (1).jpg

Key to the Cento10Air is a new one-piece integrated handlebar called the Alabarda. Like the frame, it too uses an NACA profile, and is intended to reduce the frontal surface area, and contribute to the overall aerodynamic improvements. Like Specialized with its Venge Vias, Wilier has routed the gear cables inside the handlebar and stem and directly into the frame.

Wilier Cento10Air - 21.jpg

Wilier Cento10Air - 21.jpg

To accommodate the internally routed gear cables, Wilier has flattened the front of the steerer tube to provide just enough space for the gear cable housing to squeeze in the cavity between the steerer tube and frame. A special headset top cap directs the cables into the head tube, and the outer cable housing terminates a short way down the down tube, where Wilier has integrated a front

wilier alabarda 17.JPG

wilier alabarda 17.JPG

A special headset top cap directs the cables into the head tube, and the outer cable housing terminates a short way down the down tube, where Wilier has integrated a front mech barrel adjuster.

Wilier Cento10Air - 19.jpg

Wilier Cento10Air - 19.jpg

It hasn’t, though, routed the brake cables inside the stem and around the steerer tube. Wilier told road.cc that while it did consider designing a proprietary integrated brake, it decided to go with the simple option and allow consumers to specify readily available brake calipers, and that the small amount of drag produced by the exposed cables would be offset by the ease of setup and adjustment. 

Wilier Cento10Air - 13.jpg

Wilier Cento10Air - 13.jpg

The Alabarda has a 10.5-degree stem angle, intended to produce a flat stem both to reduce drag and lower the front-end, which is 18mm lower than the previous bike. Through a system of easily removable split spacers, there is a total of 30mm of height adjustment. The handlebar will be offered in six reach and drop variations, from 90mm x 400m up to the 133mm x 420mm developed specifically for Pozzato. 

Wilier Cento10Air - 1.jpg

Wilier Cento10Air - 1.jpg

Keeping the drag to a minimum and cleaning up the front-end, the handlebar has a small recess to hide away a Di2 or EPS junction box, with a small plastic clip to secure it into place. Wilier has developed a range of Garmin and computer out-front mounts that can be attached via two bolts to the bottom of the bar.

Wilier Cento10Air - 13 (1).jpg

Wilier Cento10Air - 13 (1).jpg

The adoption of Shimano’s Direct Mount brake caliper means the bike accepts up to 28mm tyres, a bonus if you value comfort as well as aero performance. The use of direct mount brakes has also allowed Wilier to move the seat stays and fork blades away from the wheel rims, the space created is claimed to reduce drag because the air being squeezed between the frame and rim is less turbulent. 

Wilier Cento10Air - 16 (1).jpg

Wilier Cento10Air - 16 (1).jpg

Another development to improve the aerodynamics is the lowering of the seatstays where they meet the seat tube. The design is apparently as low as the UCI rules permit. There are three bottle cage mounts on the down tube so, if using a single water bottle, the cage can be mounted lower. 

Wilier Cento10Air - 14.jpg

Wilier Cento10Air - 14.jpg

An aero seatpost produced by Ritchey and made from carbon fibre is apparently a full 50% lighter than the one used on the previous frame. It has a 20mm offset and uses a single bolt clamp mechanism, and the seatpost clamp is hidden in the top tube.

Wilier Cento10Air - 7 (1).jpg

Wilier Cento10Air - 7 (1).jpg

As well as improving the aerodynamics of the frame, Wilier was also keen to get the weight down, and it’s managed to shave a full 200g off the frame compared to the previous Cento1Air, so it now weighs about 990g. Wilier reckons it can go lighter and might look at a lighter version in the future. The frame is made from a mix of 60 and 40-ton carbon fibre. The use of a standard pressfit 30 bottom bracket was made because it saves a bit more weight.

Wilier Cento10Air - 3 (1).jpg

Wilier Cento10Air - 3 (1).jpg

The new frame will be available in six sizes with the tube profiles and size specific to each size. The downtube ranges from 56.3mm profile on the smallest frame to 67.5mm on the largest frame size, a 2.5mm difference between each frame size. 

Prices

There will be five models priced from £4,599 up to £7,299. The range starts with a Campagnolo Chorus build priced at £4,599, rising to £4,799 with Shimano Ultegra and £5,999 with Ultegra Di2, and finally topping out with SRAM eTap costing £7,299. Each bike comes with the Alabarda handlebar.

David was able to spend some time riding the new bike at the launch in Cortina, Italy and will be posting a first ride review soon...

www.wilier.com

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.

9 comments

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unconstituted [2354 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes

It'll do for the winter bike..

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guyrwood [894 posts] 1 year ago
5 likes

Beautiful bikes, quite understated. Normally with Wilier, if you get bored on a ride you could always stop and read your bike for half an hour...

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srchar [497 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Lovely bike. Are you sure that the Chorus build is £200 cheaper than Ultegra, not the other way round? If you're right, that looks like a bit of a bargain, depending on the wheels they bolt on.

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Altimis [50 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Looks a lot like Dogma F8 . . . . with just bit different front fork

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RobD [450 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Considering they've stated that they didn't do wind tunnel testing (to save money) and that this isn't the lightest version of the frame they think they could make (presuming that it's not the most expensive carbon they could have used) and they've used off the shelf direct mount brakes (likely cheaper than developing an integrated solution but probably simpler) they don't exactly seem like an absolute bargain (then again Wilier rarely are I guess).

That being said, it is quite pretty and seems to have a little less of the acronym explanation scrawl all over it than usual.

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TypeVertigo [348 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

A Wilier I actually find very pleasant to look at - especially the one with white, orange and blue.

I'm a little concerned about the fork's D-shaped steerer tube, and the headaches associated with PF30, but everything else looks very tasty.

Any hope of a disc brake version?

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CharlesMagne [84 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

The bullet point summary at the top is a great addition Road.cc. Keep them coming,

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matthewn5 [1020 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

That's beautiful. Well thought out too. N+1...

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Anyone seen my ... [32 posts] 7 months ago
0 likes

I've just spent the past week test riding a beautiful red,  XL Cento10 Air, equipped with Chorus / Eurus kindly lent to me by CycleSurgery.  As my normal rides are a Litespeed Siena / Dura-Ace / Open-Pros and a Colnago C50 / Record / Hed, this is a very different machine that took a couple of rides to get used to.  FYI I do between 300-500km a week and would describe myself as a leisure rider - I'm not part of a club, I don't race, but I do the odd European sportive (usually with cobbles). I'm 195cm tall and couldn't go smaller than XL, and might have been more comfortable on an XXL.   

In comparison to my own bikes, the Wilier is light, with highly responsive steering geometry, very stiff with direct power transfer, a fairly agressive riding postion over the (surprisingly comfortable) aero-bars, but also absorbent and comfortable enough for our gravel-chipped, rough roads - even with Eurus wheels, which wouldn't be my first choice.  

The stiffness and power transfer are most noticable when climbing (as all the pedal power goes into forward propulsion - I'm smiling even thinking about this) and tacking along at speed on the flat, where it springs to life and is much easier to hold a higher speed than my own machines (that's 35kph+ for me, I'm getting on a bit)... On rapid descents and quick cornering its planted, but doesn't seem as sure-footed as the C50 (though that might just be me).  

I've covered just over 700km on it over the past week and after a bit of an iffy start, I'll be sorry to hand it back tomorrow.  Now, would I buy one? I'd probably want to try one or two other frames before handing over the cash, but this would defintely be on my short list.  The only thing that's stopping me is the recognition that this is a bike for riding fast - totally slammed compared to my other bikes - and I'm not sure it would suit my pootling around Kent and the Ashdown Forest in the long term.   That said, I may have a different view when I get back on my Litespeed!