Wilier Cento 10 Air eTap review

Italian wind cheater

BikeRadar score4.5/5

Italian sharpness, aero styling, and Swiss and American components combine in a stunning-looking bike.

Aside from the tapering top-tube and beefy asymmetric chainstays, every element of the frameset that faces oncoming airflow has been designed using NACA (National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics) profiles trimmed to Kamm Tail shapes to comply with the UCI’s 3:1 tube ratio rules.

The Alabarda integrated bar and stem continues the theme, with a proprietary headset top cap and spacers beneath its neatly-shaped stem and shallow, flattened tops that end in generous compact drops.

The brake cables run internally through the bar, and SRAM’s eTap wireless transmission means there are no other cables to route, for a clean look.

TRP’s brakes are positive and powerful, easy to tune and don’t suffer from flex. They match the wide fork crown and don’t protrude much, but aren’t as slick-looking as the frame.

Wilier has made the frame look unfussy while packing in plenty of design
Wilier has made the frame look unfussy while packing in plenty of design

SRAM Red eTap’s intuitive operation, low weight, simple setup and uncluttered lines complement any bike, but really complete an aero build

Angular, chunky tubes used to mean a hard ride, but the Wilier’s carbon layup and dropped seatstays make it impressively cosseting, that and the 28mm Vittoria tyres. The Cento 10 Air feels quick, it doesn’t will you to constantly batter yourself in search of speed, but lets you relax into the ride. When you decide to open the taps, it’ll get you up to speed quicker than you expect, and keep you feeling fresher for longer.

The DT Swiss RRC65 Dicut C wheelset comes with excellent DT Swiss 240s hubs and 65mm deep rims that are a helpful 24mm wide, 18mm internally, and provide a remarkably stable ride. As you’re sat on the rear wheel, its rim depth is rarely an issue, but the front was so easy to control, I forgot to worry.

I'd still prefer a shallower front for gusty days, but along with the Rubino Pro’s useful contact patch, there was grip aplenty and really positive cornering.

The RRC65s were no slouches on my usual rolling routes. Greater depth seriously increases lateral rigidity, which combined with their reasonable 1,650g weight, helped them outperform expectations on longer climbs.

Wilier’s carbon layup and dropped seatstays make it impressively cosseting
Wilier’s carbon layup and dropped seatstays make it impressively cosseting

SRAM Red eTap’s intuitive operation, low weight, simple setup and uncluttered lines complement any bike, but really complete an aero build. Great ergonomics, and foolproof, positive shifting is all I ask from my components, and the 50/34 chainset with 11-28 cassette were faultless choices, although riders of a racy persuasion will want bigger rings.

Integrated cockpits can compromise lever positioning, as there’s no rotational bar adjustment, but I found the Alabarda suited me well. It has more than enough stiffness for full-force heaving while doing a decent job of absorbing road vibration. As provided, the untaped tops are a little slippery, although still usable and can be easily covered.

Saddles are incredibly personal, but I was surprised by the Astute Star, becoming one of the few split designs I’ve got on with. It capped an overall package that was as enjoyable to ride for several hours as it was to look at.

Wilier has succeeded in making the circa 1,000g frame look unfussy while packing in plenty of design, and using clever engineering plus 28mm rubber to put to bed the notion of harsh, choppy aero road bikes. Rim depth aside, this is one aero machine whose ride quality makes its potential far more universal than its looks suggest.

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

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