Reviewed: Wilier Cento1 Air aero road bike
Wilier's Cento1 Air earns high marks in the aerodynamics department, but the stiffness and handling leave something to be desired.
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MSRP: $6,500 ($3,500 for frame, fork, headset, seatpost)
Weight: 16.6 pounds
Size tested: 56cm (Large)
Overall Stars: 3/5
Wilier’s aero road bike performs exceptionally well when it comes to aerodynamics. Out on the road, once we got the Cento1 Air going, it felt fast. The engineers at Wilier did a nice job with tube shaping, making for a quick frame that offers a unique shape. If you’re looking for straight aero advantage, the Wilier’s worth a look.
Of course, getting the Wilier up to speed was another matter altogether. It didn’t have the jump-forward stiffness the other aero bikes we’ve tested, so we definitely felt like we were working harder, even when we got out of the saddle. It climbed well enough that the low stiffness numbers in the lab testing didn’t seem noticeable in real-world conditions until we stood up and mashed on the pedals. The flex was a problem. In victories measured in centimeters and milliseconds, racers may not want to take that gamble.
Descending was another problem spot for the Cento1 Air. The head tube angle (73°) felt steep, and it didn’t inspire confidence at high speeds coming down the winding roads of Colorado. The frontend seemed twitchy on straightaways as well, especially out of the saddle. It was hard to put a finger on exactly what caused this unsteady handling, but in the end, the Wilier was lacking in this category.
The Cento1 Air fit well, and while road vibrations were certainly noticeable, the Wilier performed on par with the other aero bikes tested. One tester found the Wilier-branded FSA handlebars to be awkwardly shaped and even experienced a bit of hand tingling in certain positions, but otherwise, the Cento1 Air offered a comfortable ride.
Combine the softer frame with the jittery handling and you’ve got a combination that really becomes a detriment to quick acceleration. Once the Wilier was up to speed we found it to be quite fast, but getting up to speed presented more of a challenge than other bikes tested.
Our test bike came with Shimano Dura-Ace mechanical components and a healthy smattering of carbon throughout. At this price point, the Wilier is a good value for a generally fast bike. The only things we would swap would be the handlebars, for something a bit more comfortable, and the Wilier-branded FSA crankset, which loosened on us after only a couple rides.