Wilier Filante SLR review
The Wilier Filante SLR blends lightweight and aerodynamics beautifully, but can its ride quality match its devilishly good looks?
The gorgeous Wilier Filante SLR turned heads every time it left my house, and on looks alone it's a thrill to ride. The bike blends the aerodynamic characteristics required of every top end bike with lightweight with style. With capacity of wide tyres and a superbly comfortable ride quality, the Filante SLR is a race bike you'll want to ride all day.
Gorgeous good looks
Many different fit options
Comfortable ride quality
Price (no power meter)
Described as a lightweight road bike with the characteristics of an aero bike, the gorgeous Wilier Filante SLR was certainly on trend when it launched in the autumn of last year. It wasn't the first GC bike we'd seen tackle this longstanding divide and we're sure it won't be the last.
The Filante SLR replaces the Cento10 Pro model, the brand's previous out-and-out aero bike and sits alongside the Zero, Wilier's climbing bike.
Wilier Filante SLR: Frame
In terms of frame design, the Filante's is an evolution rather than a revolution. Like many aero bikes, it uses Kammtail tubing, which is effectively a tear drop shape with the end sliced off. It allows the tubing to retain the aerodynamic properties of the original shape while dropping weight and becoming UCI legal. What Wilier has done differently this time is softened the edges which, according to the brand, makes the bike faster at a broader number of yaw angles.
Up front, Wilier has altered the bike's fork so that it's 7mm wider, claiming that this smooths out air turbulence between the leading edge of the tyre and the fork. The Italian's were keen to point out that this theory is also being utilised in Team GB's Hope/Lotus track bikes - albeit exaggerated - and that by perfectly mirroring the rear end you can reduce turbulence through the air. This also has the added benefit of boosting tyre clearances, but I'll come to that in a bit.
To help keep the weight down, the Filante SLR uses the same high end carbon fibre modulus as used on its lightweight bike the Wilier Zero. There's clearly a familial resemblance between the two, with both front ends looking close to identical and the two sharing very similar geometries. This was a conscious decision to make it easier for the Astana Premier Tech pro riders to hop from one bike to other.
Speaking of geometry, the Filante SLR could be one aggressive bike if you so wished. In a size large the bike has a stack equal to that of the Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7 although its reach (391mm) is shorter by 7mm.
However, Wilier's Accufit system means that the geometry sheet is only half the story when it comes to the bike's fit. By combining the different frame sizes with five different lengths and widths of handlebar Wilier can offer 240 separate fit positions. What's more, by re-working the steerer tube and running all the cables internally Wilier has fit 35mm of split spacers beneath the stem, giving the rider an enormous amount of fit flexibility at the front end.
Watch: Bicycle Geometry 101
The Filante SLR is available dressed in anything from SRAM Force or Ultegra Di2 right through to a Campagnolo Super Record EPS groupset and my test bike came with a plush Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 spec.
It's an excellent groupset, but my only gripe lies with the compact 50/36 chainset rather than a larger 52/36 that would be both my preference and more fitting of a performance orientated bike. However, Wilier bikes are built to order, meaning that parts can be specced to fit individual riders at a consultation at one of the brand's dealers so, if I were buying this bike, I'd be able to specify, for example, my preferred chain ring sizes, crank lengths, cassette or handlebar and stem length and width.
It's worth noting though that I found the stock bar and stem combo, measuring 114mm in length and 420mm in width, was a great choice for my riding.
Each model of the Filante is also available with two different types of wheels allowing for different price options for each groupset.
My test model came with the lower spec SLR 42 KC wheels made in house by Wilier. They're a decent 42mm depth, they are tubeless ready and roll well, but as rolling stock they can't match market leading in house offerings from other brands such as Giant or Specialized. The hubs are equipped with Mavic's speed release thru-axle system which I was surprised to find was an improvement on a standard thru-axle. That's not something you can usually say.
By widening the fork spacing by 7mm on each side Wilier was able to increase its tyre capacity to 30mm rubber, again something that we've seen many brands do with there latest iterations. Whether this is because wider tyres really are faster or recognition that riders just prefer to be more comfortable (and many amateurs need all the help they can get in the corners), I'm a big fan. What's more, the 28mm Vittoria Corsa tyres specced may not be the toughest but they roll beautifully well and have oodles of grip giving you a flying confidence on the descents.
I'll admit I was taken aback by the Wilier Filante SLR when I started riding it. It didn't feel like a top end Italian race bike because it wasn't as coarse or harsh as other pedigree Italian frames I've ridden. Instead, I found it offered up a surprisingly plush ride. I found this to be a frame I was comfortable to take long rides without fear of jarring pain or fatigue from the bike's ride quality. There's no doubt this comfort was aided by the wide 28mm Vittoria Corsa tyres but they didn't feel like a compromise. They're supple enough that they feel fast and you know exactly where you are when you lean the bike into corners.
Of course, the Filante is a long way from your stereotypical endurance bike and I don't want to mischaracterise the bike. Get out the saddle and crank it hard and the bike responds gleefully. But after my testing I was left with the same impressions I get from best mile munchers: something comfortable but definitely not slow and it handles well on the descents. As an example, the Filante doesn't challenge the Giant TCR Advanced SL 0 Disc for speed but if you asked me which model I wanted to ride for 100km I'd pick the Filante SLR.
Besides, if you really wanted to sharpen up the ride quality you could slam the bars or swap in some narrower 25 or 26mm tyres.
Wilier Filante SLR: Value
The Wilier Filante SLR is an undeniably Gucci bike. It's specced only with electronic gearing and the frameset alone retails at close to £5000.
My test model costs £9,250 which is in line or cheaper than offerings from competitors. However Wilier's models don't ship with power meters equipped and the wheels can't match the competitors, which does reduce the value. Wilier has also confirmed that there will be a price increase due to Brexit which hasn't been calculated yet for the UK market. Once I have these figures I'll update the review accordingly. It's worth noting that this is something we've seen across the board from cycling brands.
Above this test model sits a Campagnolo Super Record EPS equipped model for £11,160 when equipped with Bora wheels and below it you can get a SRAM Force equipped model for a little over £7,470.
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