Wilier Triestina’s revamped Izoard sits third-tier in the lineup but you’d hardly guess just by looking at it.
As a less expensive alternative to its top-end cousins, this “race-ready machine” is built with a more economical carbon fibre blend to earn it a US$1999.99 asking price (£1199.99), making it over US$1000 less expensive than the Le Roi and more than US$2000 cheaper than the top-end Cento. Complete US-spec bikes with Shimano Ultegra and Mavic Ksyrium Equipe clincher wheels can be had for just over US$3000.
The claimed weight for the frame and matching monocoque carbon fork is a very reasonable 1150g and 360g, respectively, putting it just 160g over the Le Roi package and 220g over the Cento. When built with a sensible mix of Campagnolo Chorus, Fulcrum Racing 3 wheels and a Ritchey cockpit, total weight for our test sample without pedals is still a very race-worthy 8.1kg (17.6lb).
Ride & handling: softness brings comfort but robs ‘snap’
The Izoard's carbon chassis provided the expected smooth and comfortable ride and made easy work of rough Italian roads. Even bigger jolts were well muffled with no hard repercussions felt in the arms and legs. Sitting in the saddle, the bike hums along nicely on both flat ground and uphill and swallows up distance with nary a complaint.
Jumping out of the saddle, though, seemed to reveal the Izoard's softer construction as it lacked some of the spring of its bigger brothers even under the moderate 1.8m, 71kg (5' 11", 157lb) test load. Sprints and standing surges heading uphill didn't return the usual instant response of acceleration we've become accustomed to with stiffer steeds and the overall feel was a tad sluggish when really putting the power down. Bear in mind, the Izoard is far from being a soft sidewalk cruiser but those looking for an ultra-responsive rocket ship might be a bit disappointed.
The Izoard's handling traits and riding position should be well suited to those actively seeking that slightly more relaxed feel. Compared to the racier Le Roi and Cento, the Izoard boasts a taller head tube and slacker angles for a more heads-up posture and more stable feel. Even so, the bike was still zippy on the descents and quick out of switchbacks.
Equipment: well-behaved kit but under-geared
Campagnolo's Chorus group performed flawlessly as expected but the stock gearing left much to be desired. We normally don't have any issues with compact cranksets as long as their 50T large chainring is paired with an 11T out back, yielding a gear ratio that is slightly taller than a common 53-12T.
But our test bike came with a casual 13-26T that found us spinning way too fast on any sort of downhill or sprint. While the gearing might be suitable for more leisurely jaunts in the park, any serious rider with a reasonable amount of fitness will probably want to swap out the cassette for something with a more appropriate top end.
The shape of our Selle Italia SLK Gel Flow test saddle suited our anatomy well enough but the supple leather cover seemed a little too sticky. Instead of just sliding into the right position after rising to stretch the legs, we had to unweight the saddle and re-position. Granted, this is a small issue that could disappear after the saddle is broken in but it's something to keep in mind.
Wheels: good all round combo
The included Fulcrum Racing3 clinchers are a touch on the heavy side for full-blown race wheels (claimed weight is 1605g without skewers) but their solid build handled well and presented no problems during the test period. They were also perfectly manageable even on windy days, making for a good all-around set of hoops if you can only have one.
The only downside on the wheel front was that the all-steel Campagnolo Chorus cogs made the combo of reasonably light wheels and feathery Vittoria Diamante Pro tyres a 2.8kg (6.2lb) boat anchor.
Summary: relaxed & comfortable
The Izoard looks the part of a pure racing steed but it delivers a tamer feel and more relaxed position and handling than its sharper-toothed stablemates. Those looking for a fast yet comfortable ride with an Italian nameplate and relatively economical price tag will likely be well satisfied but most racers will most likely want something a little edgier.