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Italian Purebred Beauty: Wilier Filante SLR

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Wilier is no stranger to designing aero road bikes, having released several speedy models over the years. Building on this legacy the Italian brand’s latest offering is the Filante SLR. This gorgeous speed machine seems to have missed the memo on what aero bikes are supposed to be—or, more crucially, what they’re not supposed to be—and has forged its own path.

THE DETAILS

Aerodynamics is the name of the game for the Filante SLR and Wilier has packed it full of new features to make the most of every pedal stroke. The first part of the bike to interact with the wind (and the majority of it) is the headtube and fork, so one of the most striking aero features is located here. The fork blades feature a wide stance, 7mm wider than the Filante’s predecessor, the Cento10Pro, because Wilier’s testing has shown that turbulence decreases with greater distance between the wheel and fork. The steerer has also changed from a “D” shape to round, which, with the use of patented super-fine bearings, allows it to stay at a 1.25-inch diameter for a smaller headtube footprint. That means cleaner airflow up front and across the entire frame. The air then flows across redesigned NACA airfoil tube shapes with a truncated KAMM tail that feature rounded edges, enhancing airflow across yaw angles.

Those new rounded tube shapes have a secondary benefit: weight savings. They require less material to lay up than the sharper-angled shapes that came before. Making use of HUSMOD unidirectional carbon combined with liquid crystal polymer, the same material in the brand’s climbing-focused Zero SLR race bike, the new frame weighs 870 grams. That’s 11 percent less than the Cento10Pro—and just 90 grams more than the Zero SLR! Our size-medium bike weighed 15.3 pounds (6.94kg) without pedals or cages, hardly any weight penalty for its added speed. While maintaining a stiff ride, that lower weight means the stiffness-to-weight ratio has been increased by an impressive 12.5 percent.

wilier filante slr

To ensure an excellent fit for most every rider, Wilier is offering the Filante SLR in a wide range of sizes. Along with six frame sizes, XS to XXL, there are five different stem lengths in seemingly strange sizes: 88mm, 101mm, 114mm, 127mm and 140mm. But there’s a reason behind those non-standard figures. When you factor in the 35mm of stem spacers in 5mm increments, there are 240 different fits, none of which overlap. Zero- and 15mm-setback seat post add even more options, so even Goldilocks should be able to find the right fit.

the ride

THE RIDE

Aero bikes can pretty famously be less than well-rounded machines, often sacrificing weight and comfort in the pursuit of all-out speed. The Filante SLR throws out that script.

While it is true to its billing—a fast bike with high straightline speed worthy of a breakaway—what we love about it isn’t the speed; it’s what it doesn’t sacrifice to get there. The weight is minimal, making climbs, even categorized monsters, no sweat. It makes the case for an aero bike that you can happily reach for on mountainous days without reservation. And between the low weight and high stiffness, this rig is plenty lively. Also, it offers a relatively plush ride (for a race-ready road bike at least). Those looking for the absolute fastest ride on the flats might be better suited elsewhere, but there’s no denying how good this bike is across the board.

the ride
the ride

It feels closer to the all-around road bike models popping up across the peloton—but with even more speed. For those of us choosing just one bike on a day-to-day basis (most of us), this bike positions itself nicely to excel at just about anything.

And if you prefer the look of an all-around road bike, you will have another reason to love the Filante SLR: its rounded, truncated airfoil tube shapes give it a lower profile than most aero bikes. If you need any more convincing, how could you say no to that shimmering red paintjob?

SPEC SHEET

$4,852.67 (frameset). 15.3 lbs./6.94kg (size medium without pedals or cages). Shimano Dura-Ace drivetrain (50/34 crank, 11–30 cassette); Wilier SLR42KC wheels; Vittoria Corsa Graphene 2.0 28c tires; Selle Italia SLR Superflow saddle; Wilier seat post; Wilier Filante bar/stem combo. wilier-usa.com

From issue 105