Wilier Cento Uno SR Athena £3499

Aero-flavoured road bike with virtually all-Italian kit

BikeRadar score 4/5

The Italian bike-makers Wilier make no bold aero claims about their Cento Uno SR. But with an ever increasing number of brands creating bikes designed to slip easily through the air, it’s easy to see its influences, with aero shapes apparent in the fork blades, down tube, seat-tube and seatmast.

The centrepiece is understandably the frame. Stiff and punchy, the carbon monocoque is formed from Wilier’s 60-ton carbon weave, with zinc oxide nanoparticles incorporated into the resin to fill micro-gaps in the layups. A large down tube joins the huge bottom bracket area, housing the Wilier-designed BB386 Evo bottom bracket, before giving way to chunky asymmetric chainstays – Wilier intending that every ounce of your power is delivered to the rear wheel.

  • Highs: Racy with comfortable handling
  • Lows: Lighter wheels would aid climbing

Wilier have opted for an integrated seatmast for the frame’s spine, which has an oversized aero profile that’s squared off at the rear. The mast morphs into a seat-tube that increases in diameter towards the bottom bracket for extra stiffness.

It looks good, and the carbon Ritchey Mast Topper gives some height adjustability, though the mast does add an element of nervousness when you’re cutting it down – and it would make it hard to sell the bike on to someone taller than you.

Generous-diameter tubing and aero shapes can result in a stiff frame, but the Cento Uno SR stays comfortable thanks to the slender chainstays taking away the worst of the buzz from the road. Handling is fantastic too, the stiff, low front end enabling you to change direction on a whim, while still being incredibly stable at speed – spun out down a descent, there’s no hint of speed wobble. Combine the comfort and handling and you’ve got a bike ideal for long day rides and sportives.

Where the bike doesn’t score as highly is when it comes to climbing and sprinting. Fulcrum’s aluminium Racing Quattro wheels have always impressed us with their stiffness and reliable aero performance, but at 1786g they are quite weighty, and the bike lacks urgency as a result. The frame really does deserve better than a £300/$US500 wheelset.

Campagnolo’s 11-speed Athena groupset shifts positively and reliably, the levers offering more feedback than their Shimano counterparts. And this Italian theme is continued elsewhere.

FSA has provided its Wing Pro bar and SL-K stem, both with Wilier logos, while its dual-pivot Energy brakes provide ample stopping power with decent modulation. But FSA’s most significant contribution is the Wilier-branded SL-K compact chainset. Its low-profile carbon arms reduce scuffing and, as in the past, we found them every bit as stiff as Campagnolo’s equivalent cranks.

This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

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