Between the cost of the frame and the high-end Campy Super Record group, the Zero7 is one of the priciest production bikes out there.
More than any country we’ve visited, it seems that Italy has a certain flair in all aspects of life that can’t be matched. From food, fashion, communication—you name it—the Italians just seem to hold a particular advantage over the rest. Because of this, we’ve grown accustomed to seeing a multitude of Italian frames designed with lots of flair—whether it’s wild shaped tubes or an elaborate paint scheme. But when we saw Wilier’s newest and highest-end road bike, we were astonished. The Zero7 defies the Italian tradition for flair with its rather conventional outward design and unpainted frame finish. What’s the story?
Falling below the (claimed) 800-gram mark, Wilier’s Zero7 frame joins the weight class currently occupied by a select few. However, as we have found previously with other bikes, as frame weights fall, there is a corresponding inability for them to provide good damping qualities. Wilier got around this design challenge with the addition of a proprietary ingredient called S.E.I. (Special Elastic Infiltrated) film. The film is added between layers of carbon in order to improve vibration damping and impact resistance. In the quest to maximize frame stiffness, the Zero7 uses the BB386EVO bottom bracket design, which was a co-development project between Wilier, BH and FSA.
The system’s use of an 86mm-wide bottom bracket shell (18mm wider than a BB30) allows for a greater surface area for oversize tubes to integrate. The bottom bracket design is also one of the most versatile and—with the exception of BB30—is compatible with most cranks. As previously mentioned, the Zero7’s tube design is relatively straightforward. The most shapely of the bunch is the downtube—which starts out as a rectangle at the relatively short (143mm), 1 1/8- to 1 1/4-inch tapered head tube before morphing into an oval, where it intersects with the bottom bracket. Also quite eye-catching are the large, rectangular chainstays. The Zero7 opts for external cable routing. This makes cable replacement much easier, but doesn’t display the clean look of internal routing, which has become the fashion craze of 2012.
As the high-end model in Wilier’s line, the Zero7 gets a build that complements its top-level status. Partnering with a fellow Italian brand sees the Zero7 getting the cream of the crop Campagnolo Super Record group, which includes their premium Bora wheelset. Although our test model came with aluminum Fulcrum Zero wheels, the production build will include Bora carbon tubular wheels, which will drop the bike’s weight below the 14-pound mark.
The BB386EVO bottom bracket was co-developed with FSA and allows a 30mm spindle to be used in the 86mm-wide shell. Tall, boxy chainstays gradually become narrower toward the rear dropouts
The rest of the test package included FSA’s K-Force Light handlebar, stem and crank, Selle Italia SLR saddle, along with a Ritchey Superlogic seatpost—all of which get custom treatment, with the Zero7’s logo prominently displayed. We have no qualms with any of the FSA and Ritchey parts, but for $12,000, some test riders thought it was reasonable to find a selection of parts that weren’t also found on bikes that sell for thousands less.
The first thing you notice when getting on the Zero7 isn’t its feathery light feel or its exceptional ride quality— no, that would come later. It was the top tube emblazoned with what seemed like advertisements for frame features, such as S.E.I., 60-ton Carbon—all of which seemed unnecessary and distracting on an unquestionably beautiful bike. As for the ride, everyone who spent time on the Zero7 found it equally impressive. This was mainly due to the frame’s compliant ride quality, which has to be traced back to the S.E.I. film that’s used within the carbon layers. Its damping ability was the most talked about attribute of the bike—even more so than its light weight. As such, the Wilier was rated as an awesome “all-day-ride” kind of bike.
The 14-pound weight, coupled with a solid bottom bracket and rear-end stiffness, made the Wilier a natural and acclaimed climber. For the racer types, the front-end stiffness wasn’t up to the same level, and some felt noticeable flex during all-out sprints. The culprit is most likely the 1 1/8- to 1 1/4-inch tapered head tube, which helps the front end to be less harsh than the larger 1 3/8- or 1 1/2-lower taper used on other brands. Sure, the front end is compliant, but the trade-off—at least for some riders—was a lack of pro-level stiffness.
The Zero7’s 98.5mm wheelbase puts it right about average for a race-tailored bike and helps provide adequate stability when descending, without taking away from acceleration and its quick feel in and out of corners. How much is there to say about the Campy drivetrain? Well, we could say a lot, but it would get repetitive pretty quickly. Yes, the Italian parts add a lot to the cost of the bike, but they have the look, function and feel of no other drivetrain on the market. In a word: fabulous.
The 1 1/8 to 1 1/4 steerer tube helps the front-end to be smooth, but gives up some stiffness compared to a larger taper.
Getting some of the best components known to man is a pricey endeavor, especially when they’re installed on a $5500 frameset. And when you match that Italian-made frame with Campy’s most expensive (mechanical) drivetrain, you can easily feel faint—such is the price of all that Italian flair!
Regardless of price, every rider agreed that the Zero7 has secured a spot as one of the premier bikes on the market by upping the ante in ride quality in the lightweight category. While some of our test riders found the front end wanting, for the sake of pro-level street cred, it should be noted that the Zero7 is the team bike for the world’s number-one Italian team, Lampre-ISD, although most got “stuck” using the lower-level Record drivetrain. If you really like the bike but can’t stand mechanical shifting, you’re in luck; a limited number of Zero7s with Campy’s Super Record EPS will be produced, and one could be yours for $15,500.
• Sublime Italian ride quality
• Top tube graphics mar an otherwise beautiful frame
• Real Italian flair, but, oh, at what a price!
Weight: 14.1 pounds
Sizes: XS, S, M, L (tested), XL, XXL
For More Info: Wilier