Wilier Cento Uno SR - exclusive first test

Tim O'Rourke Tim O'Rourke

The first of our December test bikes is the Wilier Cento 1 SR, the Italian company’s flagship race bike, launched at Eurobike in September, and ridden by the likes of Lampre-ISD’s sprinter, Alessandro Pettachi.

The test period began with a phone call from Wilier’s UK importers, ATB Sales, enquiring about the length of my inside leg. The reason for the call proved to be the necessity of trimming the Cento 1 SR’s integrated seat mast; one completed with a Ritchey Mast Topper, that presently  offers 15mm of adjustment, but we are assured in the future will offer 35mm, for greater flexibility.

The full carbon monocoque frame is a totally new model and based on knowledge gained from the aforementioned Zero 7, the standard Cento Uno, and the fluid dynamic information Wilier use to develop their time trial frames.

Wilier Cento 1 SR - driveside
Wilier Cento 1 SR – driveside

The Cento 1 SR shares elements of the Zero 7’s carbon weave (a Toray filament resistant to pressures of 60 tonnes), but lacks the Special Elastic Integrated film (SEI), a material described by Wilier as ‘viscoelastic’ and one that surrounds the fibres of the Cento 1 SR’s sister. More obvious, is its use of the same, massive 386 Evo bottom bracket, and similar asymmetric chainstays for maximising power transfer.

The side profile of the seatstays is gloriously spindly; almost akin to Cervelo’s R-series. They’re flattened on the Cento 1 SR to give some vertical compliance while still preventing the ‘tail from wagging’. Naturally, the aero knowledge has delivered the cycle industry’s current preference for kamm tails: the full carbon fork and seat tube/mast all feature the cut off rear and aero leading edge. It is certainly a very stylish machine. The sharp ‘step’ in the top tube, one that has allowed Wiiler to place more carbon real estate at the junction of top tube and head tube, is more attractive in reality than in photographs, and the graphics accentuate the flowing tube profiles effectively.

The head tube also follows the current trend for increasing stiffness by tapering from a 1 1/8” to 1 1/4” bearing. Wilier have added extra material to the down tube, not only to increase stiffness at its junction with the head tube, but also to create a more aerodynamic junction between frame and fork (the retaining bolt of the front brake caliper is exposed only when the fork is turned at a 90 degrees from the down tube).

All cable run within the frame and a large removable cover on the topside of the downtube feeds the cables into position. The two shifting cables make a brief reappearance on the underside of the bottom bracket before disappearing back inside the frame. The front mech cable re-emerges from the bowels of the bike, and the rear makes its way all the way along the angled driveside chainstay to pop out just above the replaceable mech hanger. It’s an aesthetically appealing design and one we’ve seen used by other manufacturers.

Our medium frame has a 72.5 degree head tube and a 74 degree seat tube. Coupled with the 54cm top tube, it should plant me over the rear wheel, but a little further forward than I would normally be positioned. It will be interesting to see how this feels.

The Cento 1 SR will provide my first experience of the mechanical, 11-speed Campagnolo Athena groupset. First impressions are positive. In the stand, it flicks through the gears precisely, and the shift levers are things of beauty. I placed my thumbs on the ‘go fast buttons’ inside the hoods with a sense of excitement.

FSA play a major part in the Cento Uno SR’s finish. They supply the integrated headset, Wilier-specific versions of their Energy brakes, and still more importantly, the 386 Evo bottom bracket and variation of the fabulous SLK crankset. On our test machine, it is running a 50/34 combination and will drive an 11-25 cassette. FSA also supply stem and bars. The saddle is another joint project for Wilier, this time with Selle San Marco, to create the Wilier Concor saddle.

The Wilier Cento 1 SR is sold in the UK with a Campagnolo Athena mechcanical groupset, and costs £3,499. It is also available as a frameset and costs £2,399. Other configurations (some 25 in total, with components and wheels from  Campagnolo, Shimano, SRAM, Fulcrum and Mavic) sold internationally, can be specially ordered from Wilier’s UK importer, ATB Sales. There are six different colour options, including Lampre white, and six different sizes from XS to XXL.

Check back soon for a full review.

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