Wilier’s new Alabarda bar-stem combo cleverly hides its shifter cables

The most striking feature of Wilier’s new Cento10 Air is the integrated bar and stem. Here’s a look at its clever design.

Wilier’s headtube emblem is a halberd and Alabarda is the Italian for that mediaeval weapon, so it’s a fitting name for the brand’s new integrated bar. It’s an all-carbon aero design with a wide flat top and small frontal profile and allows the Cento10’s gear cables to be entirely internally routed through the bar, stem, headset and frame.

Watch: how much faster are aero wheels?

Full internal mechanical gear cable routing

There are two channels on the undersides of the bar tops through which the cables pass. They then turn into a hollow cavity on the underside of the stem where they’re held in place by a carbon fibre sprung plate, before entering the headset top cap. Here they make another bend and feed through a special aperture in the headset bearing. The steerer tube has a flat section on its front side to help accommodate the cables.

Cables enter the frame through the upper bearing

Cables enter the frame through a space in the upper bearing as seen in this 3D printed model

Having entered the frame, the cables are then routed internally from the headtube into the down tube, where the outers are anchored in a box under a cover. This allows them to have enough free cable that they do not impede the turning of the bars, without rattling around in the frame. Wilier says it has tested the design to ensure compatibility with all manufacturers’ cabling.

>>> Pantani's bikes on display at Wilier

The cables then make their way under the bottom bracket to emerge at the front and rear mechs. There’s a barrel adjuster for the front mech integrated into the down tube cable box. Trimming of the rear mech cables is done via the adjuster on the mech itself.

Spacers can be added for increased bar height

Spacers can be added to increase bar height by up to 3cm

The stem is mounted to the steerer using a wedge rather than bolts, for a really clean look. The bar has to have the top and bottom spacer as a minimum for the system to work, but you can add up to 3cm of additional aero shaped spacers to increase bar height if needed. And since the spacers are split they can be added or removed without needing to completely dismantle the headset.

>>> How to set your handlebar height

Alabarda gives the Cento10 Air a skinny front profile

Alabarda gives Wilier's new Cento10 Air a slippery front profile

Wilier initially thought about producing an integrated brake for the Cento10, but abandoned the idea in preference for direct mount brakes. It says that the additional drag created by the brake cables is minimal and direct mount brakes give much better braking efficiency, modulation and serviceability. They also allow the fork legs to be set quite wide apart, which reduces turbulence between them and the wheel for better aerodynamics as well as allowing the frame to take tyres with up to 28mm section.

Options for electronics and computers

The under-stem cavity of the Alabarda works well if you use electronic shifting too. It’s the right size for a Di2 or EPS junction box, which is held in place by the carbon fibre spring which screws into the underside of the stem. The wires are then routed in the same way as gear cables. Of course, with eTap there’s no need to route anything through the frame.

>>> Watch: which aero kit gives you the most bang for your buck?

A custom out-front mount will accept a variety of devices

A custom out-front mount will accept a variety of devices

Wilier has also designed a screw-on Garmin mount which allows you to mount your computer out-front – a particular complication with many other aero bars. The mount comes with a series of adaptors for GoPros and other electronic devices.

Geometry and sizing options

The stem angle is -6 degrees, so the complete bar with its minimum of two spacers is at the same height as a normal bar-stem combination sitting without spacers on its headtube bearings. When I tested the Cento10, the wide flat bar tops felt a bit odd at first, but I soon got used to them and found them very comfortable.

Wilier will sell the Alabarda in six variants, with bar widths of 40, 42 and 43cm and stem lengths of 90 to 120mm. There’s also a special version in the 133mm stem length 42cm bar width preferred by Wilier-Southeast’s star rider Pippo Pozzato.

>>> Wilier Cento10 Air launched

The Alabarda will fit many of Wilier’s other high performance racing frames, so it can be added as an aftermarket option. Wilier will sell it with its mounting hardware as a separate package as well as using it on its Cento10 range.

Thank you for reading 20 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Paul Norman

Paul started writing for Cycling Weekly in 2015, covering cycling tech, new bikes and product testing. Since then, he’s reviewed hundreds of bikes and thousands of other pieces of cycling equipment for the magazine and the Cycling Weekly website.

He’s been cycling for a lot longer than that though and his travels by bike have taken him all around Europe and to California. He’s been riding gravel since before gravel bikes existed too, riding a cyclocross bike through the Chilterns and along the South Downs.