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Is it wrong that we just want to talk about this bike’s paintjob? It’s a Wilier Cento10AIR disc. We all know the Cento name from 2006, when it was launched to celebrate Wilier’s 100th anniversary. The original Cento, in a sea of über-stiff, teeth-rattling carbon, delivered magical ride quality; and the Centos have remained some of the best-reviewed bikes on the planet for over a decade.
This latest member of Wilier’s storied Cento line adds disc braking to the aero Cento10AIR. Yes, it’s a good update; yes, it makes the bike a better all-around performer. But enough about that. Just look at that paint! Shimmering metallic paint is nothing new for Wilier. At the end of World War II, Wilier created chrome-plated copper—Cromovelato Ramato—frames. In 2016, the company brought back the look with a new Superleggera steel frame; and last year Filippo Pozzato’s Wilier Cento10AIR got the “ramato” treatment at the Giro d’Italia. The carbon bike has more in common with automotive finishes than the electrolysis used to plate the Superleggera in copper. A special primer is used to allow the metallic paint to shimmer like the chrome, but the link to the past is strong.
The “ramato” process has also inspired the Cromovelato Azzurro of our test Cento10AIR disc. The bike appears almost lit from within, an iridescent sparkle emanating from the bike under the sun’s rays. It will create pre-ride buzz in even the most-high-rent zip codes. The fluoro accents on the frame and Alabarda integrated bar seem just right, and we’ve never said that about fluoro before. The one catch? A $1,370 up-charge for the Cromovelato Azzurro paint.
But enough about paint. This is a race bike that deftly balances aerodynamics with the ride quality the Cento name is famous for. The position is aggressive, with weight over the bars for balance and a nimble personality. Happily, with some rider weight on the bars, the Alabarda is one of the most ergonomically friendly integrated bars in the peloton. While many disc variants of proven race bikes mute power delivery with Mississippi-long chain stays, the Cento10AIR disc’s stays grow by just 2mm on the large size, yet it still allows for a 30mm tire. Despite the short stays, at almost 17 pounds, our sizelarge test bike was not for the pure climber. The bike also retains the Cento10AIR rim bike’s aero performance with truncated, Kammtail airfoils, dropped stays and slippery front end. But, honestly, it says “Cento” on the top tube and that’s good enough for us. Now, have we mentioned that paintjob?$11,270; 7.7kg/16.9 lbs, size large; built with Shimano Ultegra Di2 Disc, DT Swiss ERC1400 wheels;wilier.com
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