During a week in Autumn this year a bunch of us was lucky enough to head to the Victorian High Country for a sensational few days of riding.
Whilst away I took the Wilier Cento Uno Air out on the roads – specifically up the front of Falls Creek and Mt Buffalo.
I was really keen to get on the bike.
I’d never before ridden a Wilier and after this year’s Tour Down Under, where I’d met and chatted to dozens of Wilier owners (hard to miss – these bikes stand out for all the right reasons), the brand had been on my radar.
What kind of rider would go for a Wilier Cento Uno Air?
I’ll go into the ‘whys’ further down, but the type of rider who’s going to appreciate the Cento Uno Air is a fairly established, experienced one. This is not a bike for the first-timer. If you fit the bill, and you’re after a machine that’s going to perform hard and fast, then the Wilier Cento Uno Air is right up your alley. Paying homage to Wilier’s Twin Blade time trial bike, the Cento Uno Air is ideal for a roadie who enjoys time trialing, or even a rider who crosses over into triathlon now and again and needs a bike that will cater for both types of riding.
The big thing with the Wilier Cento Uno Air is that you can essentially custom make it. From groupsets and bars, to wheels and stems, you can take this bike and easily turn it into exactly the machine you want to ride. Another reason it’s so great for the experienced rider – you put all that experience into creating your dream machine.
It’s all about being Aero
The name Cento Uno Air is a reference to the aerodynamic features of this bike – Wilier have created a roadie with an aggressive frame that is all about slicing through the wind. This is also apparent in features like the blade style seat post, seat tube and the forks – the Wilier Cento Uno Air bike works hard to reduce drag so you can save energy. This drive for ultra aero performance is applied throughout the bike design; from significant features such as the dropped down seat stay to the cabling, which is tucked neatly in-front of the hour glass shaped head tube.
A big bottom bracket makes for stiff riding
The bottom bracket is hard to miss on the Wilier Cento Air Uno – and this is in part linked to my earlier comment about the bike being better for an experienced rider; someone who is going to know how to handle the stiffness this bottom bracket delivers. It also means you’re going to be taken on a harsher ride – whereas other bikes might be designed to take up a lot of the shock, the Cento Uno Air is going to give you a fairly honest indication of what the ride is really like. Experienced riders are going to appreciate that more so than those who are new to the sport. Why? Because that stiffness means this bike is really going to get you going when you hit your straps. It might take you just that little longer to reach speed but once that happens, the bike is going to thank you for it big time.
That’s where I should probably come in with a bit of a caveat – spending time riding through the Alps doesn’t always give you the opportunity to light things up and get some speed! The Cento Uno Air’s compact cranks certainly made ascending easier, but I think I’d get a lot more out of a bike like this if I’d taken it somewhere like Melbourne’s Beach Rd.
Where you will save $
Wilier is an Italian bike brand known for premium quality and the Cento Uno Air is a beauty, for sure. That said it’s running an Ultegra groupset and Fulcrum wheels. Although that might seem like a bit of an anomaly for a bike that is otherwise top-shelf, it does a lot to deliver a pretty attractive price given the overall standard set. That said I think if you were going to buy the Cento Uno Air you’d probably also consider upgrading the wheelset. Then you’d really be rocketing. But as mentioned earlier, this is exactly what makes the Cento Uno Air so appealing - you can upgrade and/or custom so much of this bike.
And the overall look
At the end of the day this is what always catches my eye first – the overall look of a bike. You can’t deny this is one exceptionally good-looking machine and I can vouch that it got a lot of comments, especially on top of Falls where a party of riders had stopped. Wilier is a bike brand synonymous with Italian elegance in design and commitment to quality, and the Cento Uno Air upholds the name for sure. Like I said in my video review, I don’t think this is a bike that screams ‘look-at-me-look-at-me’. Instead, it’s more likely to be saying, “I just caught you staring. Again.”
I started our trip to the high country pretty excited to be riding a Wilier, and I’ve left it knowing first-hand why this name garners so much road cred.