Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The bikes we ride - Sexy Wilier

Rider: Mark
Bike: Wilier Izoard XP
Running gear: Shimano Ultegra 6700
Wheels: Pro-Lite Bracciano, shod in Michelin Pro-race 4 tyres
Any upgrades: Wheels, Specialized Toupe saddle, Look Keo Carbon pedals
Price: $3,000 plus extras, shhh don't tell the missus! [ed note: lets call it $2k in wife speak]

Why this bike?
I was looking for a nice weekend bike  so I could relegate my aluminium Avanti to commuter duties.  I knew I wanted carbon with minimum Ultegra-spec drivetrain, and something that wasn't run-of-the-mill.  No offense to all the Giants and Specialized riders out there, but I wanted something a little different!

Originally I was looking at the AR-series aero bikes from Felt as I loved the look of them, and they were at a competitive price point for their features (competing fairly against S-series Cervelos).  I delved further into bike reviews and patiently bided my time until the end-of-season sales began during the Tour de France.  This is when a few places began promoting the Wilier Izoard XP.  It's a completely different bike to the Felt but it piqued my interest after ticking quite a few boxes:
- Full carbon manufactured by Toray 
- Decent weight (around 7kg)
- Italian heritage but built elsewhere (just like the rider)
- Stunning colour scheme

I suffer poorly from "paralysis by analysis" and was inundated with reviews and reports and countless customer assessments of the bike.  On a whole they were coming back quite favourable, with the only downside being they weren't manufactured in Italy.  No big deal as I'm familiar with the build quality of other Italian commodities - Fiats, Alfas, parliament, etc.

A few phone calls were made and I ended up visiting Ivanhoe Cycles for a test ride. I was suprisingly fitted on a small-sized bike as the medium made me feel too stretched out.  The quick spin up and down the side roads near the shop were enough to convince me I had to have it!  It was nimble and comfortable, it ate up minor bumps with ease and felt rock solid out of the saddle.  Love at first ride!

My first proper ride was a 100km return trip from Elsternwick to Frankston and I got off the bike sporting a massive grin and less pain than expected as the position is much more aggressive than my weekday commuter.  I have since raised the saddle height by another inch and dropped the bars half an inch, I think I'm at the sweet spot now!

What would you change on the bike?
At the time I bought the bike, I also picked up a pair of Pro-Lite Bracciano wheels to replace the Fulcrum Racing 7's I was expecting.  To my surprise they came with the lighter and better 5's which have now been passed on to a fellow LAID rider.

It's always personal taste, but I changed out the Wilier-branded Prologo saddle straight away for an old faithful Specialized  Toupe.

Other than that, I've been extremely happy with the bike.  I love the cleanliness of the 6700-series Ultegra cockpit and the contact points have all been excellent.  Even the cork bar tape has stood up well during some less than favourable weather.

Kilometre count:
As it's my weekend bike, I've only ridden about 1,200km so far, but I look forward to many more fairweather kilometres in the future!

The bike before the upgrades (looks hotter now):

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