An Italian translation of Filante is streamlined (it can also apply to stringy cheese, but the less said about that the better) and this new flagship bike from 114-year-old Italian bike maker Wilier Trestina certainly has a streamlined look, taking inspiration from the aero-optimised Cento10 Pro, but slimming things down.
Wilier also uses the lightweight carbon lessons it learned from the brand’s ground-breaking Zero models and does something rather interesting with the aerodynamic tube shapes.
Wilier Filante SLR frame
On most aero-road machines, the frame tubing is designed around Kammtail tube designs. Kammtail tubes stay within the constraints of the UCI’s rules, professional cycling’s governing body – with the Filante being ridden by pro cycling teams Astana and Total Direct Energie.
A Kammtail tube is a truncated airfoil – think of a cross-section of an aircraft wing with the tail of the teardrop shape cut-off, creating a D shape. The D shape ‘cheats’ the air into believing that the tail is still there, so it acts in a controlled manner and doesn’t create a disruptive ‘wake’.
This is known as separated (air) flow and means relative drag in the opposite direction of the structure’s movement. In short, skinny D-shaped tubes move faster through the air than a standard round tube.
Wilier has gone a step further with the Filante’s tube shaping, though, optimising the shape by taking away any sharp edges, and smoothing and radiusing the corners.
This smoothing approach has the benefit of meaning less heavy resin is needed to form the tubes – resin is pushed into sharp corners on standard Kammtail designs, which adds weight.
The Filante’s streamlined approach to frame design also means a claimed weight of just 870g, while the fork is claimed at just 360g. Add in the dedicated one-piece bar/stem at 365g and carbon post at 165g and you’ve got one seriously lightweight chassis and a bike that weighs in at an impressive 7.04kg for my XL.
Wilier Filante SLR geometry
This is one very racy and slammed design, with my XL test bike (nominally a 57/58cm) seeing a stack height of 571mm – for comparison, a Specialized Tarmac in a 58cm has a 581mm stack, and that’s a racy bike.
It seems Wilier wants a low front-end, but the reach isn’t super-long at 395mm – the Tarmac in the same size is 6mm longer. The parallel 73-degree angles are classic racy stuff too and the 1,002mm wheelbase keeps things tight, while the 57mm trail figure promises rapid handling.
|Seat angle (degrees)||75.2||74.5||74||73.5||73||72.5|
|Head angle (degrees)||70.8||72||72.5||73||73||73.5|
|Seat tube (cm)||45||48||50||52||54||56|
|Top tube (cm)||51.5||53||54.3||55.6||57||58.3|
|Head tube (cm)||10.4||11.9||13.5||15.4||16.6||18.1|
Wilier Filante SLR kit
The SLR42KC wheels, at 1,587g a pair, have a great modern-shaped rim that’s 42mm deep and 28mm wide externally with a 21mm internal measure.
This shapes the superb Vittoria Corsa Speed 28c tyres up to 30mm wide and they roll superbly well, offering a layer of cushioning that when combined with the Filante’s excellent contact points – the Selle Italia Boost saddle and well shaped Wilier one-piece bar/stem – works well at damping road vibrations over rougher surfaces.
The size of the 28c tyres would usually swamp the available space on a racy bike like this, but the broad legged fork and slender crown provide potentially masses of clearance.
At the rear it’s a similar situation too. The dropped seatstays run wide of the rear wheel as they step out from the seat tube diagonally before turning at a 90-degree angle and heading towards the dropouts.
This Filante’s spec is about as good as it gets. There are three models above this one in the range (it’s an expensive range) with another Dura-Ace Di2 bike with upgraded ULT38KT wheels, and two models with Campagnolo Super Record EPS.
I’d bet that the Filante will be the bike of choice for Wilier’s pro-teams when it comes to classics like Paris-Roubaix, too.
Wilier Filante SLR ride impressions
The Filante certainly cuts a fast handling swathe through every ride, which is something we’ve come to expect from Wilier.
After over a century of making bikes you learn how to make one that thrills in the control stakes, and the dart-like character of the steering is matched by stunning acceleration from what is a superlight machine.
The chassis is stunningly stiff through the drivetrain for such a light bike, too. Every stomping pedal stroke is met by a pulsing forward feeling, and when sprinting out of the saddle, cranking on the bars, the bike stays in unison with no side to side flex detected at all, from fork tips to dropouts. It’s one seriously efficient ride.
Climbing performance is similarly responsive and the solid feel encourages you to get out of the saddle and go for it, attacking short, steep ramps with bold enthusiasm.
On longer climbs, the comfort afforded by that excellent saddle and the nicely shaped tops of the one-piece bar mean you can settle in comfortably and concentrate on keeping your cadence consistent as the elevation metres tick over.
Downhill the chassis’s solidity means the handling is consistent. You know how the bike is going to react at speed and when cranked over in corners – where the Vittoria rubber works its magic too. The swiftness of the handling also means you can correct mid-corner or snappily avoid any obstacle.
The Dura-Ace Di2 with a 50/34 11-30 combination is a great choice of gearing for all-round riding. Racing purists may want for a 52/36 chainring combo, but I’d go for this more endurance-biased setup every time (as I’m sure most people would if they were being honest).
The Dura-Ace brakes are superb, same goes for the tyres, wheels and carbon-railed saddle. As I’d expect on a bike at this price, there isn’t anything I’d want to change.
Wilier Filante SLR overall
All-in-all, the new Filante is every inch the superbike, and in my opinion it’s a fine alternative and an absolute performance match to the big-name launches of 2021 – I’m looking at you Giant TCR, Specialized Tarmac SL7, Trek Emonda SLR and BMC Teammachine.
If you have the deepest of pockets and are in the market for a thoroughbred superbike, the Filante is one of the best looking bikes of the year and one of the best riding too.
|Price||EUR €10300.00GBP £9270.00|
|Available sizes||XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL|
|Brakes||Shimano Dura-Ace hydraulic disc|
|Cassette||Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 11-30|
|Cranks||Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 50/34|
|Front derailleur||Shimano Dura-Ace Di2|
|Handlebar||Filante integrated bar/stem|
|Rear derailleur||Shimano Dura-Ace Di2|
|Saddle||Selle Italia Boost carbon|
|Seatpost||Filante custom carbo|
|Shifter||Shimano Dura-Ace Di2|
|Stem||Filante integrated bar/stem|
|Tyres||Vittoria Corsa Speed Graphene 2.0 28mm tubeless ready|
|Wheels||Wilier Trestina SLR42 tubeless disc|