Wilier is an Italian brand that has been growing in prominence over the past couple of years. The company started out life way back in 1906, in a small workshop along the banks of the river Brenta near Trieste. From such humble beginnings the company has grown to become one of the most and a string of big race wins with the Lampre team.
With their race pedigree beyond question, it’s further down the range that the bikes most impress. A look around the range of bikes on the Wilier website shows the company has created a truly unique and seriously classy look for all their bikes, combining Italian flair for design with glorious, sumptuouly finished frames.
The Izoard Centaur is no exception.
The frame is unmistakeably stylish and, dare I say it, sexy. The white, red and carbon finish got the thumbs up from everybody who set eyes on it, with some comments referring to how the frame looks a lot more expensive than its price tag would suggest.
Aesthetics aside, the frame is made from carbon fibre using the Wilier Monocoque System (WMS) for the frame. This is the latest generation technology for Wilier. The resulting frame weight is 1.15kg, with the same approach used for the 360g carbon fork.
As well as the distinctive finish mentioned before, the frame also features some unique detailing that helps it to stand out in a crowd. Both the top and down tube are square in profile where they meet the head tube, creating a huge area of contact. A primary school child would have a field day identifying the shapes used in the frame’s tube profiles. The bowed top tube receives a sort of ‘stepped’ shape about halfway along, and the downtube is a concave diamond (Rhombus, or we’re being specific) shape.
Beyond the traditional round seat tube connecting the top and down tubes, it’s a more normal affair. A hugely reinforced bottom bracket junction ensures a good stiff chassis, with the large chainstays thinning out towards the rear axle. A flat wishbone connects the skinny seat stays, curving ever-so-slightly along their length.
The frame is available in six sizes from XS to XXL. RCUK tested an L.
Wilier have chosen a full Campagnolo Centaur groupset to fit to this frame. Where the photos above show a carbon chainset, this is due to a spec mismatch – the first few bikes to roll out of the factory were specced up like this due to a shortfall of components, so all current bikes will come with aluminium cranks instead. It’s the same story with the wheels, as this bike should have Fulcrum Racing 5’s instead of the 3’s fitted – we took this into account when assessing the bike’s performance.
Vittoria supply the tyres – fine in the dry but a little suspect in wet conditions – and Ritchey the carbon seatpost, with ITM the carbon stem and aluminium handlebars. Wrapped around the seat tube is a plastic chain guide. RCUK doesn’t often experience dropped chains, it has to be said, and indeed few bikes passing through the office come fitted with such devices. But if you’re frequently bouncing across the cobbles of Roubaix, you’ll appreciate its fitment.
Taking the Izoard for that first ride reveals the many years of development that have gone into Wilier’s current crop of frames, resulting in the Izoard being an exciting bike to ride. It’s undeniably a race frame though, with a low front end and fast steering proving a bike ideally suited to crit and road races. For the budding racer looking to make a significant step forward, the Izoard is without question a mighty fine choice.
But let’s not rule out its comfort, which is impressive despite the stiffness inherent when out of the saddle and making sudden attacks to close a gap. The frame responds instantly with barely any lag or hesitation to spoil the fun.