The UCI rules are clear. Any frames and components used at UCI competition level must be sellable to a general consumer and be authorised. (1) Wilier's newest addition the Filante SLR is clearly built to perform remarkable feats by Professionals. Applying the UCI rules we demonstrate why this frame differentially benefits us mere mortals.
"This is a bike created for a rider who flatly refuses to let go of dreams and cycling aspirations."
Receiving the first Filante to reach Australia was exciting to say the least. Built to spec according to exact wishes of our client, the completed result is an aesthetic knock out. With its full integrated minimal appeal, the Filante stands out for its smooth frame lines and extreme lightness.
The Filante is extremely rare to find in stores. This is partly due to the current lack of bikes on the market and partly because they sell out before they reach a store. So we're lucky to have a few arriving direct from Italy and still available.
Before we get into the "how does it ride", lets back up a little. Let's look at how the Filante stood up in the workshop by the Chainsmith Team before we move to its performance on Australian Roads through the view of its owner.
The moment we peeled away the cardboard we were incredibly pleased. We've seen many red frames in our day, but this was different. If limited to a single verb, we'd use "dazzle" to describe the intensity.
As for the assembly, there was not a hitch to note. Our mechanic makes mention that incorrect tolerance of many brands and the roughness of their internal carbon adds time and frustration to a build. In comparison, the accurate tolerance provided by Wilier was exceptional and internally flawless. The wireless groupset made it efficient to install. Meanwhile, the integrated bars have a tidy set up that our mechanic worked effortlessly through.
That's not to say we recommend this to be a first time build, of course the art of building in-house is through experience. But compared to other intricate and damn ridiculous headset arrangements or skewed internal rough routing systems, the streamlined Filante allowed us to retain our tight workshop schedule.
We also added a set of IRC Formula Pro Tubeless tires to the newest Campagnolo Ultra Bora WTO Wheelset. We've a review of this new and stunning addition to the Campagnolo family. You can read here for more about the enhanced performance qualities of these wheels. Notice too the good company kept by CeramicSpeed OPSW. Of course, the purist of Campagnolo hearts will shed a tear when they spot SRAM Red Etap. Meanwhile electronic converts to the SRAM camp will breath in relief. This groupset has wireless breakthrough technology which makes it also the lightest on the market. For that reason alone it provides a solid choice for the Filante.
We should not neglect the favourite small touches from the Chainsmith Team. Lets hone in closer to look at a resilient set of carbon cages. These beauties are handcrafted from deep within the Vallarsa Valley of Northern Italy. The Superleggera cage by Alpitude Components are available in UK or 6K carbon. They remain a most beautiful detail to be added to this build.
The choice of saddle is by Selle Italia, a brand we recommend based on their incredible dedication to bike fit technology. Their IdMatch Bike Fit Lab is an Australian exclusive to Chainsmith. So you expect specific attention to the creation of comfortable high performing saddles. Heavyweights beware, the Selle Italia Boost Tekno SuperFlow comes in below 120g.
The decided tacky black bar tape is from the Italian manufacturer Repente. Its sticky enough to maintain grip in the wet, plush enough to reduce or rid your gloves of padding. We vote this as one of our favoured tapes. There's stretch enough to make wrapping enjoyable without the threat the tape will snap or rub the skin from your fingertips.
With this build we've managed to satisfy the owners particular local riding intentions. The positive testimony by the client, which we get to in a moment, is reason enough for us to approach professional performance frames with full tailoring intentions.
While some riders enjoy maintaining manufactured specs, by selecting your own components you do yourself a service by dialling in to your preferred ride feel.
Don't be blinded by the labels associated with this frame set. Yeah sure it uses HUS-Mod carbon fibre and liquid crystal polymer. It's incredibly light but retains rigidity and speed, being the choice of Astana Premier Tech and Total Direct Energie. But get a closer look at the Filante and you'll notice some unique features making it compatible for Australian street riding.
Here's where things get interesting. The complexity of tubing shapes is an engineering feat. Replacing hard edges with curves, and having reduced weight by ridding the frame of excess materials Wilier engineers have impressively shaved the frame to 870grams.
Let's specifically look at those expansive arching forks, also replicated at the rear of the bike. The frame accommodates a significant tyre width to the point that the suggested 30's appear thinner than what the frame could well handle. It's a perceptible 13.6% width increase from the former model, the Cento10PRO. To give the idea, its also wider than the prior Cento10 NDR Endurance frame. We tried 30's only to be surprised the NDR frame would not accomodate the width.
In race terms Wilier notes the fork design attributes to the "reducing turbulence and improving aerodynamics." While the promise of optimised speed and reduced fatigue is impressive for the reader wanting to hold the fort for the peloton, the allowance of a wider tyre also creates considerable comfort for a rider wanting to extend the ride and push further than a pure aero position will allow. Comfort may not interest the flexible, lean racing generation in it for the watts. But it sure hits a mark for the rider who appreciate remaining longer in the saddle. Comfort is therefore a prominent bonus feature, as opposed to being a mere highlight.
Wilier themselves summarise the Filante SLR as, a "high-end aerodynamic bike used by professionals." But we're encouraging its use off the Pro circuit and onto Australian street life. We do agree the amateur cyclist can take advantage of suggested features like spontaneous power transfer. But when it comes to the style of riding shared by many of our clients, we're intrigued by how articulated the tight bends on descents can be. For an aero frame, this seems like a unicorn that has it all.
Finally, from the owner himself,
"The Wilier Filante is quite a different animal compared to the Zero SLR in that I think Wilier has truly created an all-round road frame weighing in at 870gms and being aero, this is quite an achievement. In the short time I have ridden the Filante it was clear that it was built for speed and on a straight flat road it just wants to go.
My Tuesday ride is along South Dowling and through the airport tunnel this is an excellent route to really test this amazing machine and it doesn’t disappoint. I feel that it’s easier to maintain a high pace with less effort compared to my other bikes. Also another point of difference is a more responsive steering, it feels like it’s on tracks.
I picked the colour RED (of course) and the Italians do such an amazing deep high gloss paint that is, in a word, beautiful.
The Chainsmith team secured this frame in a very short time span and helped with componentry during these uncertain times. The build is flawless as usual just simply because they are professionals with outstanding product knowledge."
Lightweight, both efficient and fast to manoeuvre, maintains speed, stiff for sprints, corners and descends exceptionally and allows optimal comfort with an accomodating tyre width... This is a bike created for a rider who flatly refuses to let go of dreams and cycling aspirations.
If you’re in the market for a bike that sets you apart, fill out our Recommended Best Bike Form to understand if the Filante is the one.