With most major bike brands losing their personality and identity in the modern age of budget bike building Wilier still stands out as name not only steeped in history but a company at the frontline of frame development. Tradition stands for a lot but Wilier have not rested on their laurels when it comes to La Filante SLR.
The latest offering from the company founded in 1906 breaks down the boundaries between aero and lightweight although Filante translates as slipstream the bike in test came up at 7kg on the dot, certainly no heavyweight. Yes, Wilier offer up the 0SLR if you’re looking to save another 90g but I will take aero for anything other than serious mountain munching.
Also owning the Cento10 air, Wilier’s previous aero race steed, I feel well placed to dissect the Filante in detail. Selecting the perfect wheelset to mirror what the Filante is trying to achieve was a headscratcher but as soon as Campagnolo launched the WTO Bora Ultra 45 wheelset it seemed the stars had aligned...
An upgrade from the factory wheelset they need no introduction. Super-fast rolling bearings and the finish is sublime. Equipped with Shimano’s reliable Dura ace 11 speed Di2 there's not an environment on the road that the Filante doesn’t thrive in. The development magicians have managed to create a frame that is not only stiff in all the right places but comfortable and forgiving where it needs to be so whether you're sprinting for that KoM, hacking up a hillside or descending the switchbacks of the Stelvio it always feels at home.
A one-piece carbon monocoque cockpit fully integrates all the cables leaving only the seamless transition between rider and machine on view. The standout design of the wide front forks remains, harking back to the Cento, an evolution along with the kammtail tubing.
For those looking to go big on tyres there’s plenty of room for 30mm and I dare say bigger but Wilier recommend max 30mm.
This bike has redefined what an aero bike is. My main dose of cycling is in the heart of Chiantishire... The Cotswolds which challenge any bike with its choppy little back lanes (more grass than tarmac) steep ascents, rolling terrain and the usual portions of flat buzzing B road and at no point have I thought any bike would be better equipped to tackle this mix.
Stable, grounded descending. Silky smooth comfort on the backroads and straight-line speed to rival any aero competition.
The Filante on paper was a dream bike for me, a fairytale bike that couldn’t be as good as everybody thought but Wilier truly have pulled it off. Grazie, graziemille!
Review by Dave Roper.