Wilier Izoard review

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£2250

Wilier’s Izoard has low ratio gearing, a compact chainset and 13-26 cassette

BikeRadar verdict

80.0 out of 5 stars

"Superb balance of speed, comfort and Italian style"

Thursday, July 2, 2009 7.00am By

Wilier’s more modestly priced Mortirolo ended up in the top three in our 2009 Road Bike of the Year test. So its slightly dearer Izoard sibling – also named after a famous European climb – had a lot of expectations to live up to when it arrived at the gates of Cycling Plus towers. So just what do you get for your extra money?

  • Frame & fork: The perfectly aligned, beautifully finished carbon monocoque frame and full carbon fork combo oozes class (9/10)
  • Handling: It manages to combine some serious speed with an incredibly plush and comfortable ride (9/10)
  • Equipment: Campag’s 10-speed Centaur perfectly complements the bike’s Italian flavour but that 104in top gear is a limiting factor  (8/10)
  • Wheels: The Fulcrum 5s and Vittoria tyres performed well but are at the lower end of the spectrum for race wheels and tyres (7/10)

The Izoard is aimed at the aspiring or practising competitive cyclist, whereas the Mortirolo is more of an all-rounder, at home in sportive events and good for general fitness riding. As you'd expect, the Izoard is lighter than the Mortirolo, it has higher spec kit and better wheels for a dash of extra speed. And its looks are more than skin deep.

Its comparatively short head tube and a gently sloping top tube make for a stiff frame and there are some interesting tube profiles on display, including a down tube that goes from round to diamond to round again at the oversized bottom bracket area. The finish is spot on, too; the Italians certainly know a thing or two about styling.

Being Italian, it makes sense that the Izoard is specced with Campagnolo, in this case 10-speed Centaur. It works as perfectly as you’d expect, with faultless, plush gear changes throughout, although if we were to make changes to the Izoard then we’d start with the gearing. The compact 34-50 chainset and 13-tooth sprocket provides a top gear of only 104in, and for a bike with racing pretensions this is too low.

If we had to change another thing on the Izoard, it would be the wheels. The Fulcrum Racing 5s – part of the Campag stable – are a step up from the Mortirolo’s Racing 7s, but they are a mid-range wheel designed for everyday use and training. We’d have preferred something from higher up the Fulcrum range or a comparable product from one of its competitors.

Out on the road, though, the Izoard really comes into its own, and you notice that it does have something in common with the Mortirolo. You can build carbon fibre frames in different ways to give them different properties, and Wilier’s engineers have created some of the plushest riding bikes available. Aim it at potholes and over ruts and cobbles – as we regularly do during testing – and not only does it handle impeccably and without complaint, never throwing you off line, but your backside won’t be complaining either, such is the plushness of the ride.

The Izoard manages to balance this supreme comfort with a bike that you really can race on – crank up the gears and the power transfer is instantaneous. Sprints, climbs and descents are all handled with equal aplomb and there’s nothing about this bike that is anything less than confidence inspiring.

The Izoard really does offer one of the best balances between all-out speed and day-long comfort of any bike we’ve ridden at Cycling Plus. It would make a great upgrade from an older or heavier bike and an ideal serious first race bike.

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Specification

Name:
Izoard Centaur (09)
Brand:
Wilier Bikes
Price:
£2250

Available Colours:
Blue/White Red/White
Available Sizes:
44cm 48 52 56
Bottom Bracket:
Centaur
Brakes:
Centaur
Cassette:
Centaur 10 Speed
Chain:
Centaur 10 Speed
Cranks:
Campagnolo Centaur two-piece forged alloy, 172.5mm arms, hollow steel spindle, compact alloy ring, 50/34
Fork:
Izoard, Full Carbon
Fork Weight:
380
Frame Material:
Izoard, Full Carbon
Frame Weight:
1150
Front Derailleur:
Centaur 10 Speed
Front Hub:
R5
Front Wheel Weight:
1115
Grips/Tape:
GIST
Handlebar:
RD300 Carbon Pro
Head Angle:
73
Headset Type:
Integrated
Rear Derailleur:
Centaur 10 Speed
Rear Hub:
R5
Rims:
Mavic Ksyrium Equipe, alloy rims, stainless aero spokes, 20 radial front, 24 radial/2-cross rear, sealed cartridges
Saddle:
SLK
Seatpost:
Carnon
Shifters:
Campagnolo Centaur Ergo 10spd
Stem:
FSA Carbon Pro carbon, 11cm, 4-bolt oversized bar clamp, twin-bolt 1 1/8in steerer clamp
Weight (kg):
8.03
Year:
2009
Weight (lb):
17.7
Brake Levers:
Centaur
Spoke Type:
Fulcrum R5
Bottom Bracket Height (cm):
27
Chainstays (cm):
41
Seat Tube (cm):
49
Standover Height (cm):
80
Top Tube (cm):
55.5
Wheelbase (cm):
99

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