Wilier’s new Astana team edition: the prettiest bikes in the 2023 peloton?
Sumptuous 'chrome-plated graphite' scheme for the bikes that Mark Cavendish may or may not be riding this year
Wilier has unveiled two stunning paint schemes that will adorn the Astana Qazaqstan team bikes this season.
The team - which is rumoured to include Mark Cavendish but this is still unconfirmed - will have the Italian brand’s two top race machines at their disposal: the Wilier 0 SLR lightweight all-rounder and the Wilier Filante SLR aero bike.
The paint scheme is described as “a chrome plated graphite livery” and is designed to match the “iconic” blue of the Astana kit.
The Wilier 0 SLR Astana Qazaqstan edition is finished in a metallic crystallised turquoise that’s shot through with with a darker shade, including the integrated cockpit, fading into deeper blue with black veins halfway down the main triangle, covering the bottom bracket shell and chainstays.
All the decals are a clean white, with the 0 getting a flash of red on the top of the tube tube with the 'SLR' logo.
Meanwhile the Astana edition Filante SLR’s metallic turquoise fades into silver at the same point on the frame.
Wilier says the finish is achieved via a “sophisticated hand painting process.”
The bikes themselves are not new models. The 0 SLR was launched in 2019 with the Direct Energie team and although that’s four years ago, it still cuts an incredibly modern silhouette with its super-clean lines and integration via Wilier’s own Alabarda bar/stem combo, now the 0-Bar, which was one of the original integrated cockpits when it first appeared three years earlier.
We went to the launch of the bike at Bassano del Grappa and concluded that it had “the characteristic Wilier feel, with excellent power transfer and a lively ride.”
Wilier claims 6.8kg for it, bang on the UCI weight limit of course - something that not all race bikes with discs achieve, even four years on.
Meanwhile, the Filante SLR was launched at the end of 2020 and we reviewed one in early 2021, calling it “a race bike you’ll want to ride all day.”
It features kammtail tubing and a fork that’s 7mm wider than before, mirroring the seatstays and designed to reduce turbulence according to Wilier. This design also mirrored the approach of the Hope/Lotus track bike used in the 2020 Olympics as well as boosting tyre clearance.
Astana Qazaqstan will be running Shimano Dura-Ace groupsets and Corima wheels. These include the striking-looking MCC DX which use the French brand’s D2T double torque technology, based on a Y-shaped carbon joint and oversized, paired carbon spokes. Here the 0 SLR is fitted with the 47mm version.
The Filante SLR has the Corima WS Black DX wheels, also in the 47mm rim depth and both are fitted with Vittoria Corsa tan wall tyres.
So will Mark Cavendish be riding one of these? Over a fortnight has passed since the 'Mark Cavendish is definitely going to Astana Qazaqstan' rumours began, and there has still been no announcement from the Kazakh team on whether they actually have signed the British champion.
Things got even more confusing when Astana released its official 2023 photo minus Cavendish. It didn't take much detective work to discover that the photo had reportedly been taken before Cavendish had arrived at the squad's training camp in Spain last month.
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Simon Smythe is a hugely experienced cycling tech writer, who has been writing for Cycling Weekly since 2003. Until recently he was our senior tech writer. In his cycling career Simon has mostly focused on time trialling with a national medal, a few open wins and his club's 30-mile record in his palmares. These days he spends most of his time testing road bikes, or on a tandem doing the school run with his younger son.
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