Wilier - or Wilier Triestina, if you want to get all proper about it - have been making bikes since 1906. That's - what? - ages. But the Italian brand isn't one to rely on its heritage; it's big on innovation too, and that's clear in the brand new Zero .7.
The Zero .7 comes in right at the top of the Wilier road bike lineup, but don't expect to see the Lampre-ISD team racing on a fleet of these next year. The Zero .7 is too light for the pro peloton. Well, that's the slant that Wilier's marketing department is putting on it. Our test bike tips the road.cc scales at 6.48kg/14.3lb without pedals. Even allowing, say, 200g for a pair of top-end pedals, that's just below the UCI's 6.8kg minimum weight limit for racing, so Lampre would need to add some ballast.
Wilier are making a lot of this bike's light weight - it's the lightest Wilier ever - and that explains the name. Each frame is guaranteed to be under 800g - hence 0.7-something kilos. Minor differences in the manufacture mean the exact weight will vary slightly from frame to frame, but every one goes onto the scales when it comes off the production line and gets its own certificate showing the precise figure - so you can put it on your mantelpiece with your Etape finisher's medal and your swimming certificates.
The Zero .7 is made from Toray high modulus carbon fibre composite - the same composition as Wilier's Cento 1 SL. That means there's a lot of 60 Ton (M60JB) carbon in there to provide a huge amount of stiffness in the high-stress areas.
What's different from the Cento 1 SL, though, is that Wilier use what they call SEI Film in the frame building process. That's Special Elastic Infiltrated Film and it's sandwiched between two carbon layers. Exactly what the SEI Film material is we couldn't tell you because it's all a bit cloak-and-dagger. Wilier are keeping it top secret.
They are listing the benefits, though. SEI Film is intended to dampen vibration and so increase comfort. It is also said to increase impact strength and flexing strength and improve durability. Plus, it reduces Wilier's need to include intermediate modulus carbon fibre so they can bring the weight down. So there you go... good things.
The other new technology the Zero .7 features is the bottom bracket; it's the new BB386 standard. If you've not been paying attention or the whole thing just confuses you, BB386 modifies the BB30 design, making it wider, and it uses a press fit bearing cup rather than the BB30's direct fit bearing. By moving the bearings further apart, it means frame builders can add rigidity by increasing the size of the bottom bracket shell and the tubes that meet up there. Look at the Zero .7's bottom bracket and you'll see that in action. There are vast, rolling plains down there.
Most of the Zero .7's frame elements are pretty chunky, actually. The slightly bowed, slightly sloping top tube is broad and the boxy down tube is even wider. The head tube comes with a 1 1/8in upper headset bearing at the top with a 1 1/4in bearing at the bottom for increased stiffness and it's short - 15.4cm on our large size review bike.
The seat tube houses a 31.6mm seatpost rather than featuring an extended seat mast which makes travel with your bike a whole lot easier, while out at the back you get asymmetric chainstays with integrated dropouts. They're carbon, moulded as part of a single-piece rear triangle.
Loads of high-end bikes now come with internal cabling but Wilier have stuck with external here. They reckon that once you've factored in the weight of the reinforcing around the entry and exit points it works out a little lighter. It's a matter of grams, but it all counts when you're on a mission to save weight. Plus, internal can sometimes be infernal when it comes to maintenance.
The Zero .7 is available as a complete bike (see below) or as a frameset, with the full ultra high modulus carbon fork, for £3,999. Woah! To put that in context... that's a lot of money.
Just a quick word about who this bike is aimed at. Wilier say it's a road race bike. Fine; there's no arguing with that. They also say it's a 'performance sportive' bike. A lot of other manufacturers adjust the frame geometry for the sportive market. They take an inch or so off the top tube and bang it on the head tube to make the ride position more upright.
Wilier don't do that. This is an all-out lightweight speed machine for those riders who want to treat a sportive as a race and whip around as fast as possible. They don't make concessions in terms of the geometry. Personally, I see that as a perfectly legitimate approach that's as valid as any other... just as long as you know what you're getting here.
A complete Zero .7 will set you back a whopping £8,250. Even for a top-end bike, that's clearly a helluva lot of cash. That gets you a Campagnolo groupset - 11-speed Super Record, naturally.
The chainset isn't Campag, though, it's an FSA K-Force Light in the BB386 standard. It's FSA's top-end racy chainset with hollow monocoque composite crankarms, and it spins on a ceramic bearing bottom bracket.
Our chainset was a compact (with 50/34-tooth chainrings) which seems a bit odd. It just doesn't go with the super-light, super-fast image. Okay, as I said, Wilier market the Zero .7 as a 'performance sportive bike' as well as a road race bike, but even so, most people are going to want a standard-sized chainring setup on a bike like this, aren't they? Standard (52/39) chainsets are being produced by FSA right now, and they should be available in a couple of months.
The handlebar and stem are both carbon FSA K-Force Light too while the seatpost is Ritchey Superlogic in matching graphics. It is high modulus carbon fibre with a one-bolt clamp system. The saddle matches as well. It's a Selle Italia SLR with Wilier logos.
The wheels on our test bike are Fulcrum Racing Zeros although the production bike will come with Campagnolo Bora Ones. Like the Boras, these run on ceramic bearings. The Michelin Pro 3 Race tyres on our bike will be swapped for Vittoria Corsa EVO CXs on the real thing too.
Let's get to the heart of the matter right away: the Zero .7 is superb out on the road. At this price, you have every right to expect it to be, of course, and it certainly doesn't disappoint.
You might suspect that a sub-800g frame will flex about all over the place. That's certainly a danger when a manufacturer whittles away at the frame material; sooner or later something has to give. But Wilier have managed to maintain the stiffness here.
That BB386 bottom bracket does its job well. It's such a wide, solid platform that even jumping on the pedals with all my might didn't faze it. There's very little sideways movement when you wind up the power. I wouldn't say it's stiffer than several BB30 bikes I've used in the past, but the new design has allowed Wilier to maintain a level of stiffness while dropping the weight.
The front end is sturdy too. If there's any flex in the tapered head tube, it was too subtle for me to detect. The oversized stem helps on that front too. Although it's full carbon with titanium bolts - no alloy or steel is used in the construction - it holds the bars firmly via the 50mm-wide front plate. There's a little flex in the handlebars, particularly when you're sprinting with your hands on the drops, but the benefit is that it does stop your wrists jolting and jarring over rough roads.
I've spoken a lot about the Zero .7's weight and that really is one of the key characteristics of the ride. It belts up to speed in no time when you decide to up the pace. Whether you're accelerating from a slow speed or want to blast off the front of a fast-moving bunch, the Zero .7 is up for it at a moment's notice. Jack up the power and you're away in an instant. Acceleration is just ridiculously easy.
As you'd expect, that means the Zero .7 flies up the climbs too. The steeper the hill, the more the Wilier shines.... Which is why I really think a standard chainset would be a better option than a compact on here. I had a couple of sprockets at the top of cassette that really didn't see much use at all.
I said the light weight was one of the Wilier's key characteristics; the other is that this is a smooth riding bike. Whether that's down to the SEI Film technology as Wilier claim... well, I really couldn't tell you that. Maybe, maybe not - it's impossible to tell. What I do know is that I've done some big miles on this bike, including a couple of five hour-plus stints, and the ride quality is really impressive. Not a lot of road buzz makes it through to the contact points and it cushions little bumps and dents in the road surface well.
The Selle Italia SLR saddle certainly plays its part there. It's my all time fave and it suits me perfectly. I had a whole lot of seatpost extending out of the frame which adds a bit of extra damping too, but even if you have the seatpost lower, this isn't a frame that's going to knock you about and make you rue the day you succumbed to the lure of Lycra.
As well as making for a comfortable ride, that smoothness also means the wheels stay in contact with the ground rather than jumping about when you hit a rough patch at speed. Just as well, really; you don't want to be losing control of an eight grand bike as soon as the road gets a bit iffy on a fast descent.
As far as the groupset components go... well, it's Campag Super Record, innit. I'm guessing that anyone thinking of spending this kind of money on a bike already knows whether they like the Campag shift system or not, using a lever that sits behind the brake lever and a thumb button on the inner face of the shifter body.
If Campag isn't for you, you could always buy the frameset and build it up with Shimano or SRAM. For some people, though, an Italian bike has to come with a Campag group. And they have to wear clothing from Santini, Nalini, Castelli or De Marchi while they're riding it; brands that end with an 'i', essentially. Wilier do spec Shimano on some models - it's not like they're exclusively Italian - but not this one. A Di2 version of this frame will be available in due course but Wilier can't give us a timescale on that yet.
So who should buy the Zero .7? Road racers with a lot of cash. Road racing is clearly where this bike is most at home. The light weight, the acceleration, the climbing prowess... This is a brilliant, no-compromise race bike. And for 'performance sportive' riders? If you want a lightweight, responsive and smooth-riding speed machine and you've got the cash to indulge your passion, why not?
Superb super-bike: light, smooth and very fast. But all that performance comes with a big price tag.
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Make and model: Wilier Zero .7
Size tested: Large
State the frame and fork material and method of construction. List the components used to build up the bike.
Frame Full carbon monocoque, unidirectional carbon with SEI FIlm Technology and BB386 bottom bracket system
Fork Full carbon
Headset Ritchey Carbon Integrated
Wheels Campagnolo Bora One with CULT bearings (we had Fulcrum Racing Zeros on our test bike)
Tyres Vittoria Coursa Evo CX (we had Michelin Pro 3 Races on our test bike)
Levers Campagnolo Super Record
Mechs Campagnolo Super Record
Cassette Campagnolo Super Record
Chain Campagnolo Super Record
Brakes Campagnolo Super Record
Chainset FSA K-Force Lite BB386 Evo
Bottom bracket FSA K-Force Lite BB386 Evo
Handlebar FSA K-Force Lite
Stem FSA K-Force Lite
Seatpost Ritchey Superlogic
Saddle Selle Italia SLR Kit Carbonio
Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?
Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?
Road race geometry with a low front end
How was the bike in terms of height and reach? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size?
Was there any toe-clip overlap with the front wheel? If so, was it a problem?
Yes, a small amount - not a problem.
How would you describe the steering? Was it lively, neutral or unresponsive? Manoeuvreable.
Super Record's performance is excellent - but it's not the best value
Did you enjoy riding the bike? Lots.
Would you consider buying the bike? At eight grand? Chance would be a fine thing.
Would you recommend the bike to a friend? Yeah, if any of my mates win the Lottery or do a bank job.
Anything further to say about the bike in conclusion?
Marking this is tricky. It's a brilliant performance bike - right up there with the best we've ever had in at road.cc. But you are paying a high premium for the latest technology and the top-of-the-rangeness. Plus, you could get an excellent custom bike at this price. Those factors bring the value mark down.
Age: 40 Height: 190cm Weight: 74kg
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, sportives, general fitness riding,
Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now pushing 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.