Rode today and had three things to think about: new bike to try, new position and new numbers to aim for.
The bike was a Wilier Cento Uno Air, it looked very aero not necessarily my cup of tea. As I like to customise everything I decided to add clip-on aero bars to make me go faster!!! New bike , new position. The next thing was to try to ride at threshold as advised by Wilier Performance Progress labs. This was hard to do as I only ever aim to ride above threshold.
I did my usual loop, along the coast to Portslade, up to Devil’s Dyke then back via Poynings and Bramber. I had set the bike up well and settled into the bars straight way. The only problem on the way out was the traffic, brakes were needed all to often. On the return the problem with the bike was staying cool in a tuck whilst descending fast with no brakes. Scary!
I did go over threshold over and over again. Riding at 135 bpm, 222 watts and 22 mph (on the flat) just seems so slow, add in a head wind and I was desperate to dig in and push harder. I broke the rules countless time but did return with an average of 138 bpm so it looks as if I nearly maintained my target effort.
In the final analysis I was surprised by a number of things. First it was one of my fastest laps ever! Was it the bike, the riding at threshold or the aero bars? I have to conclude, as a non tester, that it must have been the bars. I used then for virtually the entire ride.
Second I realised that my aero position is almost the same as my “hammering” position. Where the aero bars are so much better is that I set them as narrow as possible which is where the speed gain comes. Also I would not usually maintain the flat on the hoods position for the whole ride.
I assume that the bike would be a stiff as a girder and I be pummelled into submission. Well, it is very stiff but also very fast. It’s a trade off! It is stiffer than the Scott Foil but not as bad as the average aluminium bike. The tyres were 23mm to make matters worse but I didn’t find it too bad at all. Cornering was amazing despite the budget Shimano wheel set and although I never did any sprints every push on the pedals resulted in instant acceleration. All in all, if you want a fast bike that would love to be set up for Tris and time trials it really is very, very good. Not everyone can afford a full on TT bike as well as a standard road bike. The bike as tested left the shop at £3,750 and came back at £2,999. I had mentioned that it was a bit pricy but didn’t expect the importer to act so quickly. I’d use the saving to fit a pair of Vision T42 aero wheels to finish off what is a great tester/tri/road package.
Here’s the ride. No records or cups but I think that is is one of my fastest average speeds so maybe less is more!