Wilier Granturismo SLR review - proves that comfort can be fast (if you're happy to pay for it)

A bike that blends compliance and agility for a fantastic ride, but limitations prevent the all-dayer becoming an all-roader

A red Wilier Granturismo SLR road bike on a yellow background
(Image credit: Future)
Cycling Weekly Verdict

The Wilier Granturismo SLR is a joy to ride and is a prime example of how to deliver comfort while not sacrificing speed. Its all day capabilities shine through, however its lack of mounts and wider tire clearance do limit the bike's versatility. Wilier has spec'd the bike well and clearly not cut any corners in terms of frameset or finishing kit - but the price is for the gear you're getting. It is possible to save a couple of grand elsewhere, whilst still getting the same level of componentry.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Incredibly comfortable and noticeable compliance at rear end

  • +

    Agile bike despite relaxed geometry

  • +

    Wheelset and finishing kit same as top end models

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Even wider tire clearance would be ideal

  • -

    Tire choice not ideal for heavily potholed roads

  • -

    Lack of mounting points for fenders/ bags

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The only thing better than one Italian bike is three Italian bikes - and this is exactly the strike rate of bikes we've seen from Wilier this year. 

Pitching for a place amongst the best endurance road bikes, the Wilier Granturismo fills the gap left by the brand's previous endurance bike, the Wilier Cento10 NDR

We had our hands on the Wilier Filante SLR back in May, and have been on the ground at the unveiling of the new Wilier Adlar, a bikepacking-ready gravel bike, both of which are highly recommended. As such, there was a lot riding on the Granturismo to keep up with appearances and performances. 

The red Wilier Granturismo SLR shown from the rear on a yellow background

(Image credit: Future)

Wilier Granturismo SLR: Construction

When it comes to performance of bikes, geometry will play the biggest role. The endurance-focused Wilier Granturismo comes engineered with the classic shorter reach and higher stack combination. 

Looking at the differences between WIlier's Granturismo and the aero Filante SLR, you can see a stark difference between the overall stack and reach and wheelbase numbers. 

Comparing a size medium in both ranges, the Wilier Granturismo has a stack of 566mm and a reach of 379mm. Mapping that across to the Filante SLR - which comes in at 538mm stack, 388mm reach - and you get a sense of just how much more upright the riding position is on the Granturismo. 

Add to this the slightly more relaxed angles of the seat tube (73.5° on the Granturismo Vs 74° on the Filante) and head tube (72° on the Granturismo Vs 72.5° on the Filante). Coupled with a slightly longer wheelbase of 995mm Vs and 990 you get the over all impression of a bike that is more comfort driven than for flat-out speed. 

Comparing the Granturismo against the new Giant Defy and it's almost like-for-like in terms of overall numbers, with the Defy just 1mm taller on the stack and the Granturismo 2mm longer on the reach being the only real differences. 

The Wilier Granturismo SLR Actiflex 2.0 vibration damping system seen close up on a yellow background

The Wilier Granturismo SLR  Actiflex 2.0 vibration damping system seen close up on a yellow background

(Image credit: Future)

Badged as an all-day performance bike, the Wilier Granturismo SLR has gone big on elements of design which aim to improve rider comfort and reduce fatigue. 

Along with the aforementioned geometry, at the heart of the comfort concept is what Wilier call its 'Actiflex 2.0 vibration damping system'. Located at the intersection of the seat stays and the toptube, the elastomer promises to provide up to 5mm in vertical travel for the rear wheel. The 2.0 is the updated version of Actiflex which was first featured on the Wilier Cento10 way back in 2017. 

This redesign - and re-position - according to Wilier, allows for both a better balance of comfort, thanks to the viscoelastic material, and torsional stiffness, due to the 'bridge' that the top tube creates,  

If you need to tweak the comfort, then selecting either the '3D Elastomer - Hard',  or the '3D Elastomer - Soft' will allow riders to dial in their comfort even more depending on their preference. 

It's also worth noting here that on the top end models the viscoelastic material is swapped out with a 3D printed lattice structure widget. This is said to provide the same reflex, but reduce the overall weight of the bike, which according to my scales is 8.1kg, by a further 20g. Technically this would be a 20g saving on the frameset, which Wilier claim is a 1460g, 1100g frame and 360g fork.

The Wilier Granturismo SLR Forks close up showing ample space for the wheel and tire

The Wilier Granturismo SLR can run up to 32c tires 

(Image credit: Future)

There's also a practical element to this new design too. Being positioned forward of the seat tube the Actiflex 2.0 is out of direct impact from rear wheel road spray, and, thanks to the wide forks, the location of the elastomer opens up the rear end for largish tires to be fitted to the bike, up to a maximum of 32c according to Wilier. 

Other notable mentions is the inclusion of Liquid Crystal Polymer (LCP) in the HUS-MOD carbon. It's the layering system that the brand use on the Filante. The main cruxs of LCP is that it acts as a self-reinforcing material which helps to reduce the difference in strength of carbon fiber from width to length ways, ultimately improving the stiffness to weight ratios.

Wilier Granturismo SLR handlebars close up on yellow background

The Wilier Granturismo SLR monocoque handlebars can normally be found on the flagship Wilier 0

(Image credit: Future)

Wilier Granturismo SLR: The build

Elsewhere on the bike, Wilier has included the same monocoque handlebar that is, until now, usually reserved for the brand's flagship climbing bike, the Wilier 0 SLR. 

Wilier say that this bar has a more rounded ergonomic grip that's more comfortable than an aero one, so it makes sense to include this on a comfort-focused bike. 

In total there are six versions of the Wilier Granturismo SLR, with a specification that denotes the price tag. 

That said, I was surprised to see that while our SRAM Force e-Tap version test bike, which retails at £8,680 (the bike hasn't landed in US just yet, so a USA RRP will follow in the next month or so), is joint cheapest with it's Shimano Ultegra Di2 sibling, all bikes in the range also come with the same Wilier SLR38k carbon wheelset.

As the price tag alludes, these can hardly be identified as 'budget bikes', but it is rare to see the entire fleet of a bike model all share the same wheels. 

Ultimately these are Wilier badged Miche wheels, the relationship between the two brands is deeply intrenched, with the pair setting up an 'industrial collaboration' last year.  

That's not to say that it's a bad thing by any means, more of a good to know that the wheels are proven performance wise and along with reliablity of the the hub. 

The other 'share' across the Granturismo range of bikes is the Vittoria Corsa Speed 28c tires. Probably not the most durable option for an 'all-dayer' bike, but another example of Wilier selecting top brands over cheaper options for bikes down the pecking order. 

The Wilier Granturismo SLR road bike leaning up between two road signs on grass with hills and blue sky in the background

Wilier Granturismo SLR was happiest on big days out in the hills 

(Image credit: Philip Dilkes )

Wilier Granturismo SLR: The Ride

In the playground of the Peak District National Park the Wilier Granturismo seems to have found it's natural environment. 

Over the past few weeks the bike has chalked up around 600km and tackled the likes of Holme Moss and Winnats Pass climbs, along with flatter runs across the Cheshire Plains. 

While this terrain is varied in terms of topography, the one feature shared by all is the appalling road surfaces, of which Granturismo, as a whole, devours. 

I was dubious about the marketing claims of the Actiflex 2.0, and probably placed the comfort mostly in the wide 28m tires, which on the Wilier SLR38k measure 31.8mm when inflated to 40psi. However, club run buddies were amazed by its visible compression over rough surfaces, confirming it's ability to absorb road imperfections. 

In a quest to myth bust my apprehension on the Actiflex 2.0, an opportunity to swap out the 'as standard' Wilier wheelset and Vittoria tire combo for a set of Zipp 303s equipped with Specialized T5/T2 Turbo 28c tires provided interesting feedback. 

The Wilier SLR38k wheels proved stiffer than the Zipps, making the off the shelf bike a by far superior ride. Even with the shock absorbing rear end, playing about with the wheels made me realise just how much Wilier had thought about ensuring the bike came with a spritely feel. The sense of urgency ready to be unleashed on demand, should you wish to call upon a sudden change of pace, has clearly been designed in via this choice of wheel.

The Wilier Granturismo SLR leaning against a stone wall in front of a reservoir with hills and blue sky in the background

Even descending off the hills felt comfy on the Wilier

(Image credit: Philip Dilkes )

Comparing the ride agility against the Wilier Filante - which is a pure race steed - I've come to the conclusion that although the Filante was a rapid ride, I would probably be happier on the Granturismo for back-to-back days. Checking ride data, the bike certainly wasn't any slower on climbs ridden previously on all sorts of race focused bikes. 

Descending even felt noticeably comfier, which in turn makes for a fast and confident ride on the Wilier Granturismo. 

The only real questionable decision in terms of the bike design was the choice of the Wilier 0 SLR cockpit. While it was easy to find a relaxed position on the specced handlebars, after a couple of hours I found myself wishing for a bar with a slightly larger circumference, this would be exacerbated by riders with larger hands than me. 

The lightweight nature of the climbing specific monocoque handlebar, while no doubt chosen for its slightly forgiving properties, after a while felt too thin to be comfortable long term, I would want to at least double wrap the bar tape.

Wilier Granturismo SLR: Value and conclusion

The Wilier Granturismo SLR is a great bike, and surprised with it's agileness despite its 'all dayer' badge. The ride is sublime and I wouldn't take any convincing to swap over from a considerably more race focused bike. It really does play into the 'comfort is fast' rhetoric.

That said, there are some limitations, specifically around the Granturismo's ability to be a more than one trick pony. For example, anything wider than the Vittoria Corsa Speed 28c tires would be a squeeze. This, along with the lack of any mounting points really knocks off the idea for it being an 'all road' bike, which, other than tire clearance, the bike is truly capable of being. 

Talking of tires, that's the one thing that would need a swap. The Vittoria Corsa Speed 28c, while fast rolling, aren't likely to make it much past Autumn on the poor road surfaces close to home. A slightly more aggressive tire, such as the Schwalbe G-One or even a file tread gravel tire would be more appropriate, assuming that the later option would fit of course.  

For the money then, this does make it seem a pretty pricy option. Going back to the Giant Defy, a similarly spec'd bike (with Shimano Ultegra as an equivalent) is retailing at £5,999. Even with the impressive ride feel and Gucci wheels of the Wilier Granturismo SLR, justifying an additional £2.5k on the price tag will be a hard sell for any retailer. 

Wilier Granturismo SLR: Specs

  • Pricing: UK £8,680, US $TBC
  • Sizes available: Six
  • Frame: Carbon monocoque HUS MOD + LCP 
  • Fork: Carbon monocoque HUS MOD + LCP
  • Drivetrain: Sram Force eTap AXS 46-33T, 10/33T
  • Handlebars & Stem: Zero Integrated Carbon cockpit 
  • Saddle: Prologo Dimension 143
  • Seatpost: Filante SLR Carbon Wilier custom
  • Wheelset: Wilier SLR38k
  • Tires: Vittoria Corsa Speed 28c

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