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The Wilier Izoard XP Road Bike Frame is deceptively similar to the Cento1 at a glance, perhaps close enough even to fool the learned observer. So should the Izoard XP make Cento1 owners a bit jealous? If you look at the price tag, it might. Where the ProTour-proven Cento1 commands a premium, the Izoard XP is specifically aimed at the racer on a budget. Though the paint scheme is simpler than the Cento1, the Izoard XP still carries itself with obvious Italian flair. And for a frame whose foremost intent is to deliver maximum performance-per-dollar, the fact that it's this gorgeous is a delightful bonus.

Like the Cento1, the Izoard XP is built with full carbon monocoque construction. It's made exclusively from Toray carbon. In this case, T-700SC (medium modulus/stiffness) and M30J (high modulus/stiffness) fibers makes up the bulk of the laminate. In the typical calculus of carbon fiber, the stiffness and tensile properties of the highest grades (such as the 46 Ton carbon in the Cento1) allows frame manufacturers to use less material to achieve requisite rigidity and strength. By using T-700SC and M30J in the Izoard XP, Wilier is sacrificing nothing in terms of its ride quality and durability. Rather, they just use more material to achieve it, and this adds a few grams. The lower modulus carbon fiber is also significantly less expensive. Considering the beauty and the race-worthiness of the Izoard XP, the value is easy to see.

Wilier Izoard XP DetailIs there a better road racing frameset priced below $2,000? We can think of one or two that look equally stunning, but lack in the stiffness and lightness of the Izoard. And we can think of one or two that provide equal performance, but in comparison look like a dog. In this price range, the Izoard XP shines beyond all options. Its patented molding process and the carefully-thought-out wall thicknesses and carbon layup choices befit a frameset with a heftier price tag.

One other note about the Izoard XP: It's named after the Col d'Izoard, arguably the most legendary pass in the French Alps. More so than in any other place, it's where Marco Pantani turned himself into a bike racing immortal (racing, no less, on a Wilier frameset). For all the technology behind the Izoard XP, its name reminds of the gigantic heritage of the Wilier brand.

The Wilier Izoard XP Road Bike Frame is available in Red and Yellow and comes in six sizes from X-Small to XX-Large. It requires the use of a 31.6mm seatpost, a 34.9mm clamp-on front derailleur, and an English bottom bracket. Like any bike with a sloping top tube, we suggest that you focus on the effective top tube length in determining the correct frame size. It comes standard with a Wilier Monocoque carbon fork with an aluminum steerer.

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Great entry level carbon frame

  • Familiarity:I've put it through the wringer

I bought two of these (built up with SRAM Force) - one for me and one for my wife - about 3 years ago from CC. These bikes were a wonderful value - coming in around $2400. Prior to this, I rode a steel Torelli with Campy Daytona components. A wonderful bike, but at 20 pounds just too heavy to keep up with the faster weekend club riders. This bike is perfect for someone who wants to do those group rides but isn't ready to make the investment on a $5000 (or more) dream bike. It's fast, it's responsive, climbing was a dream after the older steel bike, and it's a respectable bike in the bunch.

My wife is still riding hers, and it's everything she's looking for in a bike. I've admittedly traded up (see my "Ride Like Jens" review); but unless you're ready for a TdF bike you'll have no regrets with this bike.