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Ride the wind.
Gone are the days when slimmer and smaller meant more aerodynamic. The industry's evolving understanding of drag has seen a corresponding evolution in thinking about how to address it. This new understanding is perhaps best embodied by the Wilier Twin Blade Road Frameset. Instead of dealing with drag by trying to hide from it with minimized tube shapes, the engineers at Wilier have accepted it and are now in the business of managing it. Their thinking extends beyond the frame, though, encompassing all elements of the bike to include even the rotational motion of the wheels.
This philosophy of embracing turbulence is reflected in the wide stance of the stays, fork, and included Aerobrake calipers, which creates a safe zone for turbulence caused as the wheels turn. The rear caliper lives in a carbon shell behind the bottom bracket and the front caliper is incorporated in the fork, making both as aerodynamically unobtrusive as possible.
The tube shapes and general layup of the frame are what you would expect from a top level TT bike. The 60-ton carbon fiber Wilier uses here is the same as in its flagship Zero.7 frameset, and the Twin Blade Frameset benefits from the same targeted use of lower-modulus carbon in areas where its incorporation nets gains in comfort without sacrificing efficiency.
Wilier's carbon construction begins by incorporating Zinc Oxide nanoparticle epoxy resin (ZnO) into the layups to improve impact resistance and reduce the amount of complementary, lower-modulus carbon needed for a compliant ride. It continues with a technique called LIT (Large Inflatable Tube). As the name implies, LIT involves inflating a tube-like bladder inside the frame while it's in the carbon mold. This compacts the material from both sides and creates a uniform wall thickness that eliminates structurally compromising resin deposits and excess material. Both bits of tech underwrite the Cento1 family's heritage, and it's yet one more technology that the Twin Blade shares with the Zero.7.
There were two qualities that Wilier wasn't willing to sacrifice to the pursuit of aerodynamics: weight, efficiency, and, most importantly, comfort. Weight speaks for itself, and Wilier's engineers cooked up the blueprints for more aerodynamic models, but the amount of material required to create the shapes necessitated an unacceptable gain in weight. These aerodynamic shapes were also often lacking in stiffness, comfort, or both. Since losing power to flex has almost as much negative impact as extended discomfort caused by a frame that transfers road noise straight to your body, Wilier opted for a compromise that strikes the best possible balance between the different criteria.
The biggest departure from what other manufacturers are doing with TT bikes is in the front end, with the Twin Fork. The Twin Fork resembles a twin-crown downhill fork, with the fork legs extending up alongside the head tube to bolt directly to the handlebars. Rather than throwing the head tube naked into the wind, Wilier claims that the Twin Fork directs air around it. It also makes for a very precise feel to the steering, since there are essentially no additional angles introduced by a stem between the handlebars and fork.
The Twin Fork's structural integrity is also a step above the competition. By attaching directly to the handlebars, the split fork legs improve front-end stiffness, so the fork and head tube flex less during hard efforts. It also more effectively distributes the stress put on the steering tube where it protrudes from the head tube. The same wide design that nets less torsional flex also effectively distributes steering tube stress over a larger area, so there's less chance that you'll ever have to watch your handlebars and stem bounce off your front wheel while you're in the saddle.
The Wilier Twin Blade Road Frameset is available in four sizes ranging from Small to X-Large in the color Matte Black. It's compatible with both mechanical and electronic groupsets.
- Item #WLY000M
- Q & A
BEWARE THE PAINT!!
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
I bought the 2014 Wilier Cento1Air as part of a nice build using Di2 Dura Ace...over 9G total! The frame is now going on 2 years old and the bike continues to perform well...the problem is that the clear coat is bubbling all over the frame!!! I contacted CC to file a warranty claim and unfortunately, Wilier's