By James Bracey
Wilier looks to be trying to please all riders with its latest release, the Cento10SL. An aerobike at heart, the new Cento10SL follows in the footsteps of the Cento10Pro yet has a price tag that should appeal to riders looking to dip a toe in the world of speed machines.
The new Cento10SL is a bike that puts aerodynamics and integration at the forefront in order to appease the racers yet promises to be user friendly and a breeze to maintain. It’s also not aimed at being a new flagship model, instead it's competitively priced and dare I say it, affordable. And for the traditionalists, Wilier doesn’t think the rim brake is dead either - the new Cento10SL is available in both disc and rim versions.
The frame design has tube shaping developed according to the Naca-Low Speed aerodynamic rules; the same applied to the higher tier Cento10Pro range of bikes. In fact the Cento10SL shares plenty of similarities with this higher-end range, just in a more paired down design aesthetic. Look across the main tubes and you will see that Wilier has adopted truncated airfoils throughout alongside a smattering of other slippery looking tube shapes.
One distinct feature of the new frame is its head tube, incorporating super-thin bearings. Designed to accommodate up to four cables running through the area without fouling the steerer it leaves plenty of room for cable servicing. After a quick chat with Wilier, reps there were quick to point out that they have had very few Cento10Pro owners or bike shops complaining about long term durability and life of these much smaller bearing races.
Whilst the profile remains almost identical to the more costly Cento10Pro, the Cento10SL is constructed using Wilier's lower tier NH Mod carbon layup. The new frame also does away with the down tube plate feature of the other model in favour of a simpler, more economical construction method.
One new feature that should please home mechanics and bike shops alike is the adoption of a new 'faux' integrated cockpit setup. Wilier has also worked in collaboration with component brand Ritchey to develop a new stem designed to work in conjunction with a carbon lower sleeve that effectively routes the cables into the head tube and hides them from sight. This also features a distinct hinged faceplate that enables the bike to be used with any standard 31.8mm diameter handlebar. Even the top model we have on test has standard external cable routing along the handlebar which should make swapping bars or cables a much simpler job.
Wilier adopts a slightly different approach to creating its range of bikes and offers a degree more customisation when compared with competitors thanks to an almost 'built to order' approach to every bike sold. In general Wilier is offering both disc and rim brake models built with Shimano 105, Ultegra, Ultegra Di2 and Campagnolo Chorus groupsets - the disc model also features SRAM Force eTap AXS groupset options. Alongside each groupset choice runs an option of two different wheelsets; a higher end carbon Wilier NDR 38 KC/KCR or a lower priced wheel option. Wilier figures that many riders will already have a good set of wheels so might not want to pay a premium for wheels they might not even use.
But it doesn't stop there, Wilier will also allow the prospective purchaser to spec bar width and stem length to complete the optimisation of the Cento10SL to them.
Prices start from £2430 for a rim brake Cento10SL with Shimano 105 R7000 and Shimano RS100 wheelset, through to £5040 for the disc brake version with Shimano Ultegra Di2 R8070 and Wilier NDR 30 KC wheels. All models can be ordered through your local Wilier dealer.
First ride impressions
Having taken delivery of a spanking new Cento10SL resplendent in top-spec guise with Ultegra Di2 and Wilier carbon wheels, I've managed to get a couple of rides under my belt on the new machine.
Initial impressions are of a bike that can be best described as cool, calm and collected. At 7.67kg for the XL size I tested it sits in the same weight class as many of its rivals, if just a few grams heavier than some. Taking it on some of my normal test routes and the one thing that is noticeable is just how well the Cento10SL holds its speed. It's almost metronomic in terms of how, once you put the initial power in, it keeps it steady with minimal extra input. One other thing I noticed is that this 'lower' grade carbon layup equates to a distinct muting of road chatter and when combined with the tubeless Vittoria Corsa tyres and shallower 38mm depth wheels it happily trundled along rough surfaces without leaving you feeling pummelled.
There is of course a slight expense formed through the gaining of this level of compliance and the Cento10SL lacks a little bit of excitement to the ride. It climbs well but doesn't fly out of the start gate on steep punchy climbs when power transfer is all-important and even during a little bit of bunch sprint training it just has a little delay to the acceleration.
When it comes down to it the Cento10SL offers a super slippery chassis that is able to flatter any rider in a quest for average speed gains whilst wanting their chosen machine to not break them into pieces on longer rides or over rougher surfaces. The fact you can also play around with the spec and gain a level of customisation is also a great bonus.
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