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March 16, 2015 – When the subject turns to ride quality it’s typically not too long before the name Wilier comes up. They may play second fiddle to Pinarello and Colnago in ‘bling’ factor, but Wilier can take on all comers with its beautiful ride quality. Through all its iterations the Cento1 has carried this flag and the original Zero.7, Wilier’s ultra light road racer, continued the tradition. For 2015 the Zero.7 has been redesigned and far from subtle changes, the bike is a wholly new animal – a wholly new animal we hoped retained the Wilier road magic.
The original bike’s stand out technology is still a key feature, SEI film. This Special Elastic Infiltrated film is used in place of lower modulus carbon layers. It allows Wilier to use a higher ratio of high modulus carbon, which is lighter and stiffer, but not as durable or comfortable as lower modulus. The SEI layer is visco-elastic so it damps shock, improves impact resistance, is less likely to delaminate and improves flexibility all with less weight penalty than lower modulus carbon. The result is a frame that will read under 800grams on the scale, which is where the name comes from – it will be zero-point-seven something. In the case of a medium Wilier claims the scale read out will be 0.750.
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Other than the SEI film, the bike has very little in common with its predecessor. The tube shapes are more angular and feature much smaller diameters. Wilier says this is due to improved molding techniques with thermoplastic inserts between the bladder and tube walls. It’s a new technique to deliver the thin walls, better compaction and smooth interior that are now the standard on any high-end carbon frame. With better control of the carbon and resin, manufacturers need less of it. This, more than any other factor, has resulted in the shockingly lightweights that now dominate the road scene.
The bike draws from much of Wilier’s research during development of its aero platforms. The tapered head tube has an hourglass shape and integrates seamlessly with the fork crown and down tube leading to fork blades lifted from the TwinBlade and Cento1Air. It is one of the cleanest front ends on the road. While the bike retains asymmetric rear chain stays and the single piece ‘swingarm’ drop-out and stays design, overall tube volume has been reduced a whopping 19percent from the original. Of course, Wilier’s BB386EVO standard is present, which allows big tube shapes at the bottom bracket.
As we saw with the Cento1, when Wilier updates a bike you can expect incredible attention to detail across every aspect. The internal routing is clean and accepts both mechanical and electronic systems with straight cable path and easy set up. The new rear derailleur hanger even incorporates the cable exit, matching the bike’s clean front end with an even cleaner rear. Both the Dura-Ace and Campagnolo models run Mavic Ksyrium SLR wheels. Stiff, light and durable, the black-on-black compliments the Zero.7’s stealthy finish perfectly. Spec has not always been Wilier’s strength, so seeing these wheels with a complete Dura-Ace build was a refreshing change from price point wheels and knock-off brakes. It also resulted in very impressive performance on the scale – 14.1lbs for our size LG frame.
Wilier claims the reduction in tube diameters and weight has not cost a penny in terms of stiffness, in fact they claim it is 14percent stiffer than the previous bike. While that may be the case at the bottom bracket, up front the bike does not feel as stiff and, certainly for big riders, the result is a bike that overall doesn’t feel as stiff and responsive as its predecessor. Big jumps result in a lot of movement up front on the large frames and it mutes attacks and sprints. While descending in tight corners the front end loads and deflects noticeably. It holds its line admirably thanks to Wilier’s tried-and-true geometry, but change lines or get bounced by road chatter and the head tube unloads quickly, taking you off-line. Big power guys and the over six-foot crowd need to look to the Cento1Air.
Where the new Zero.7 gets to show off its lightweight and smart build is on long tempo climbs. In the saddle, tapping out a smooth rhythm, the bike feels efficient and fast, making quick work of long grinders. The feel on a rough country road is similar. The frame sucks up the worst the road has to offer thanks the SEI film and slim 27.2 Ritchey post but encourages and keeps a rapid tempo thanks in part to the aero treatment. Whether it’s mental or aero, the slick shapes deliver speed.
The Wilier Zero.7 rider is a small climber with a build designed for going up hill fast, not putting out big watts and twisting tubes. It rewards the rider that progressively applies power, burning riders off with attrition instead of blistering changes in tempo.
Weight: 14.1lbs (w/o pedals and cages)
Size Tested: LG
Price: $9500 ($5000 frame set)
Build: Shimano Dura-Ace 9000, Mavic Ksyrium SLR, FSA Energy bars and OS-99 carbon stem, Ritchey WCS Carbon post, Selle Italia Flite Saddle.