Wilier Granturismo SLR Force eTap first ride review
Is this the performance road bike you should be buying?GBP £8,680.00 RRP | EUR €8,400.00 Skip to view deals
Wilier has launched its new endurance road bike, the Granturismo SLR. Promising performance akin to its WorldTour race bike, the Filante SLR, but in a more forgiving geometry for the average rider, Wilier claims it’s the road bike most cyclists should actually be buying.
Additionally, it sees the return of Actiflex suspension technology, purporting to offer increased vertical compliance without compromising an optimal fit.
Although the covers have now officially come off, Wilier invited us out to Asiago in the Veneto region of Italy back in July to get a first taste of the new bike.
My first impressions are that the Granturismo could well live up to its billing as the best performance road bike for most riders this side of being a pro, out of the Wilier stable.
In some respects, it harks back to a time when gravel was just a surface rather than a fully fledged cycling discipline, prioritising on-road performance above all else.
Wilier Granturismo SLR highlights
- 1,100g claimed frame weight
- Actiflex 2.0 ride-smoothing tech
- Filante SLR-inspired aero
- Squared-off truncated tubes
- Wider, asymmetric fork with 32mm tyre clearance
- Asymmetric rear chainstays
- Same Filante SLR aero seatpost with up to 15mm setback
- Wilier Zero fully integrated bar
- Interchangeable front-derailleur mounts for 1x or 2x drivetrains
- 6 frame sizes
- Prices from £7,660 / €7,400
Wilier Granturismo SLR first impressions
The Granturismo SLR is positioned as a bike that offers the high performance many riders are looking for, without asking too much of them when it comes to riding position.
It’s an endurance bike at heart, and one that keeps its focus firmly on the road. It doesn’t pretend to be anything else.
Hence, proportionally, it appears a lot like a race bike when compared to many recent endurance bikes, such as the Trek Domane, which are often claimed to be able to take on light gravel riding duties as well.
The head tube is slackened without being fully laid back, and the fork offers a slight increase in trail without appearing to push the axle that far forwards.
The frame tubes are chunky and solidly built – clearly aimed at promoting aero stability rather than ultimate wind-cheating ability – while the Wilier Zero integrated handlebar, D-shaped seatpost and even the mid-section Wilier carbon wheels offer a glimpse at race DNA.
In short, if you clocked the Granturismo SLR at a coffee stop and didn’t pause to dwell on the details, you could easily think it’s a WorldTour-level frame. Even the UCI-approved frame sticker reinforces that vibe.
Yet the big thing to note is Actiflex 2.0, an elastomer-shrouded suspension system developed from the original Actiflex tech, which was first included in the Wilier Cento10NDR. While integrated neatly into the frame, it definitely carries with it a sense of intrigue – can it really offer material improvements to comfort on the road?
Or is it just for show, another ‘take’ on improving ride compliance that in the end, flatters to deceive?
You can read more about the Wilier Granturismo SLR in our launch story, and read on here to find out my first impressions.
Wilier Granturismo SLR first ride impressions
My first ride on the Granturismo SLR took in a 30km rolling loop around the locale of Asiago, in northern Italy, before heading up for an out-and-back stint up to the Larici mountain refuge.
In total, I covered 71km and more than 1,300m of climbing, which offered a fairly comprehensive (if short) test ground for the Granturismo SLR.
With the Actiflex 2.0 tech sitting in the middle of the bike, I was expecting a smooth ride – especially through the saddle – and that’s what I got.
That’s down in part to the really well-paved roads, but whenever I came across a broken surface thanks to thermal damage (it gets pretty cold in the region during the winter at 1,000m altitude, while the sun can really bake the tarmac in the summer), the flexion offered through the Actiflex design really shone.
My size XL test bike came fitted with the softest version of Actiflex, with Wilier wanting to show off what it’s capable of. It’s normally reserved for the smaller frame sizes, where riders are likely to be lighter and so need a less firm device.
The overall effect really does cushion the harshness a sharp lip of tarmac can present when crashing over it at speed.
In honesty, I thought it was a little too ‘soft’ for me at times – occasionally, when pedalling at a higher cadences, I could feel the Actiflex unit and rear triangle compressing underneath me, giving a slightly bouncy feeling.
But I was told that shouldn’t be a problem with the proportionally firmer Actiflex unit that will come shipped as standard with larger-sized frames (I weighed a not-insignificant 83kg at the time of the test, so should be well suited to the firmer version).
Wilier says you can spec the softer version on your larger-sized bike, and likewise opt for the stiffer version on your smaller frame, should you feel that you sit outside the weight norms, or particularly desire a softer or stiffer experience.
Actiflex aside, what Wilier seems to have achieved, despite the added compliance, is an impressively rigid bike that retains an air of raciness.
Get out of the saddle and throw the bike around a little, and there’s no overriding feeling that the Granturismo SLR is an endurance bike, save for the tall, slackened head tube, which serves to bring the handlebar up towards you versus most race bikes.
There’s no compliance-improving tech at the front end, which really lends the Granturismo SLR a sharp and direct feeling through the Zero carbon bars.
Italian roads don’t offer the toughest proving ground for front-end compliance, so I’ll be interested to find out whether the rigid front end doesn’t feel overly stiff compared to the rear when it’s challenged by pimply British tarmac.
However, when climbing on the tops around Asiago, the Zero bars offered a comfortable place to rest my palms and accessible drops for quick descending. Overall, the bike felt predictable and easy to manipulate through twisty downhill bends.
Despite my test ride being in a mountainous area, there was some flatter riding to be had. Here, and perhaps understandably given the more upright position the Granturismo SLR encourages you to adopt, some aero limitations began to rear their heads.
It’s not a slow bike by any means, but when speeds passed around 35km/h, I was left with the feeling that a bike with a more aggressive geometry (to make me more aero) and a faster frameset-wheelset package would have been more satisfying to ride in certain situations.
That said, the proof will be in the pudding when we put one to a thorough test.
My limited time aboard the Granturismo SLR has provided some clues as to where its strengths and weaknesses could lie. We’ll be getting one in for a full test in the coming months.
|Price||EUR €8400.00GBP £8680.00|
|Available sizes||XS, S, M, L, XL, 2XL|
|Brakes||SRAM Force AXS hydraulic disc|
|Cassette||SRAM Force 12 speed, 10-33t|
|Cranks||SRAM Force 48/36t, 12×2|
|Fork||Granturismo SLR carbon|
|Frame||Granturismo SLR carbon + liquid crystal polymer|
|Front derailleur||SRAM Force eTap AXS|
|Handlebar||Wilier Zero carbon|
|Rear derailleur||SRAM Force eTap AXS|
|Saddle||Prologo Dimension 143|
|Seatpost||Granturismo SLR carbon|
|Shifter||SRAM Force eTap AXS|
|Stem||Wilier Zero carbon|
|Tyres||Vittoria Corsa Speed, 700 x 28c, clincher|
|Wheels||Wilier SLR38 carbon|