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Wilier expands range by launching first wheelsets

29 May 2019
Verdict:

Italian bike brand works with Miche for own-brand carbon wheelsets

Price: 
€2,400-€1,300

After 113 year of just making frames, Wilier-Triestina has widened its horizons by releasing its first ever set of wheels.

Three wheelsets to be precise, with each set focusing on a separate section of the market; lightweight, aero and endurance.

All of them are based around 12mm thru-axle, disc-only hubs. One set is tubular, the other two are tubeless-compatible and all 3 walk the tightrope of reducing weight while remaining deep enough for aero gain.

To suddenly produce three sets of wheels that satisfy those conflicting attributes is quite some feat. It takes most brands decades of development to get their wheel making process spot on.

That’s where Wilier has acted smart. To create these three wheelsets, Wilier has looked to Italian neighbours Miche, a components brand with a heritage to rival Wilier's own.

Less than an hour by car away from Wilier’s Veneto home, Miche just ticked over a century of producing wheelsets so are certainly well-versed in how it's done.

When the decision was made by Wilier to enter this new ground, approaching Miche seemed obvious. Wilier product manager Claudio Salamoni explained that this combination of expertise was vital in producing a successful end product.

‘Miche is only one hour by car from the Wilier HQ so collaborating with them on the wheels made sense,’ explained Salomoni.

‘They know hubs, we know carbon. They know shapes, we know how wheels work with bikes. Put this expertise together and it ended up working well.’

What this knowledge has done is produce three wheelsets that seem to tap into all the current trends in road riding and, unlike many of its frame building compatriots, shows Wilier is not worried not to explore new territory by tackling new challenges.

The details

The ULT38 KT will sit at the top of Wilier’s wheel tree. They will be disc and tubular only, weighing in at 1,390g for the pair.

Made of 3K carbon with a matt finish, the rims will balance light weight with aerodynamics as they use a rim depth of 38mm.

Wilier has built its hubs around CeramicSpeed double-taper bearings using stainless steel Sapim spokes bonded to the carbon rims. Both wheels will also incorporate 12mm thru axles, too.

Like all modern wheels, they are also expensive at €2,400 for the set.

Second are the Air50 KC wheels which will provide potential buyers with an aerodynamic option considering its 50mm rim depth while also keeping weight to 1,600g for the pair, thanks to carbon rims and light aluminium hubs.

To keep the balance of aero and lightweight, Wilier has also increased the rim thickness at the spoke inserts while reducing it away from the spokes.

The Air50 KC’s will not be given the same CeramicSpeed bearing treatment, utilising Ezo bearings instead, but are set to retail at €1,600, almost €1,000 less than the premium ULT38 KTs.

Importantly, Wilier has also made the Air50 KC wheels tubeless-ready with an internal rim width of 19mm.

The final branch on Wilier’s new wheel tree will be its endurance NDR38 KC wheelset.

Again, they will be disc only and, again, they will be tubeless-ready but that’s almost a given for wheels that Wilier promises to be a ‘reliable and durable’ product built for long days in the saddle.

The internal rim width will be 17mm and the depth 38mm. The 1,655g pair are set to retail at €1,300.

Initially, Wilier will only sell these wheels as OEM - sold on complete bikes - as part of their 2020 range but have plans to release the wheels in their own right later this year.

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