TEST LAB - Road Test of the Wilier Izoard XP
What is it that every cyclist wants? To look pro of course. Performance is a secondary consideration next to emulating the cool, collected facade of the pro cyclist. Well, that may be an exaggeration, but there’s no denying we are a vain lot. Now, there are many elements involved in looking pro, from appropriate sock height right through to correct positioning of glasses around helmet straps. One crucial piece of the pro-look puzzle is, of course, the bike. Euro bike bling can really complete the look. Unfortunately, we are not all endowed with a Philippe Gilbert sized salary to afford a fully fledged 5.5kg Euro featherweight. This is where the Wilier Izoard XP steps in.
The Wilier Izoard has been a hugely popular seller for the Italian brand in recent years. A quality bike that has proved its pedigree with continued sales. In their marketing wisdom, Wilier released the Izoard XP with the same monocoque carbon frame mould as the higher model but with some lower spec parts, including aluminium steerer forks and Campagnolo Centaur groupset. The bike is firmly planted in the lower end of the road race bike market with an RRP of $3,500, but importantly it looks the part. The model tested here is a white and yellow number, which is a fresh change from usual black with ‘feature colour’ theme all too common at the moment. The Izoard XP is also available in red with white, which I think looks very pro and would be my pick for sure. The frame bears a close resemblance to the top tier Cento1 ridden by the World Tour team Lampre-ISD. All this results in a bike that won’t be the weakest link in achieving the pro look for your next cafe bunch hit out or club race. Enough of that important superficial stuff though, let’s move on to the secondary consideration of how the bike actually performs.
The bike sports FSA bars, stem and seatpost, which in an interesting touch are all stamped or detailed with the Wilier logo. The colour and design of these parts add an integrated appearance to the bike. However, the extra Wilier logo around the place is to me, a bit superfluous and I wonder if this was part of the sale pitch by FSA to secure the component supply for factory Wilier bikes. It seems to be a method increasingly being used and not just by FSA.
I wasn't a fan of the compact curve of the bars. They give the rider only one real position option when in the drops. This compact curve may have been chosen because it does allow the hand to be positioned quite close to the levers when in the drops which makes thumb shifting that bit easier. Should the bike have had SRAM or Shimano then perhaps other bars would have been chosen.
The Selle Italia saddle is comfortable enough. It is quite a wide saddle and has a fair amount of padding, which is not what I’m used to riding on so I didn’t feel totally at home on it. But after three hours in the saddle I wasn’t sore either. The only lowlight of the bike is the Fulcrum 7 wheelset. These wheels are absolutely rock solid, stiff and strong, but weighing in at around 2kg, they compromise the feel of the whole bike and turn what is a racy, reasonably nimble machine into simply a frame with two heavy flywheels fighting every change in direction or speed. I think that even at this price point, better wheels should be offered. Even the Fulcrum 5s would be a significant improvement.