Wilier bikes are steeped in history. The Italian outfit have been making frames since 1906 and, at one point shortly after the Second World War, its factory team of 300 were hand producing 200 bikes a day. It currently provides the bikes for the Lampre road cycling team, which includes the 2008 Road Cycling Race World Champion, Alessandro Ballan.
As is the general standard at this price point, the Lavaredo Crono alu frame arrives with a carbon front fork that did its best to remove the usual jolting and jarring felt when riding on pot-holed GB roads. Sadly, it still transferred much of the vibration through the saddle and the bars, resulting in what could be an awkward ride for longer-distance racing – especially if you’ve experienced a full carbon number.
The teardrop-shaped down tube looks to offer an aerodynamic advantage together with a partially cut-out seat tube to help smooth the flow of air around the rear wheel. The remainder of the shaping on the bike is fairly standard circular tubing. There’s evidence of care taken in producing the aluminium frame – the welds around the main joins are smoothed to create a better finish. The bulky cable attachments are in no way ineffective but, when compared to other frames that are moving towards a tidier internal routing system, they make the frame look cumbersome.
Which brings us untidily to the cockpit area; the Ritchey stem is very much like Pinocchio’s protruding proboscis. It fits in with the Italian reputation for style and class, but I swear it grew in length each time I looked at it! Add to this the child-like welding on the industrially black Ritchey Probiscus bars and the front end is just plain ugly.
The bars drop down and out from the stem to offer a slightly lower position for your hands when they’re near the brakes, which certainly offers an alternative feel to the control of the bike when cornering. If you’ve never ridden a time-trial bike before, then it shouldn’t take you too long to get accustomed to this.
Saying that, it’s still very hard to get over the design – it’s not something you’d want to glance down at while putting in your best effort in your ‘A’ race. All in all it makes for an interesting finish from a company that would like to produce a well-styled bike. Unfortunately, the handlebar monstrosity may well be enough to turn a few stylistas away.
Once up to speed and in the aero position, the bike cruises along at a consistent, if not frightening, pace. The Campag Centaur changes with authority using soft rubber cushioned, well-engineered bar-end shifters, which offer everything you’d expect from a Campag system. The 10-speed cassette provides ample choice of gearing within the 12-23 and it certainly offers a smooth change from one gear to the next.
Some riders may find it short of lower gears so it might be beneficial for weaker riders to change the cassette to give the option of a 25-tooth sprocket for the extra help on hilly or rolling courses. When it comes to stopping, the Vision brakes combine with the Centaur calipers to give secure and stable braking for a bike of this value.
Along with spaghetti, leaning towers, romance and defensive football, the Italians have a stereotypical reputation for style. Sadly, this doesn’t come through with the Wilier Lavaredo Crono.
Frame Lightweight aero aluminium
Forks Full carbon aero
Groupset Campagnolo Centaur 53/39 chainset; 10-speed 12/23 cassette
Wheels Fulcrum R7, CST Ultra speed tyres
Cockpit Ritchey Probiscus
Seating Selle Italia XR saddle; Ritchey Pro alloy seatpost
Weight 9kg (19.84lb) without pedals
Sizes S, M, L
Contact : www.wilierbikes.co.uk