The new 2023 Wilier GranTurismo SLR aims to combine long-distance comfort with that race feeling thanks to its ACTIFLEX 2.0 damping system and Italian aesthetic. We put it to the test on Italian roads to find out how it fares on rough asphalt, and if it manages to combine the best of both worlds.
What do cars like the Ferrari 250 GTO or Lamborghini Miura have in common with the Italian bicycle brand Wilier? On the one hand, it’s the exclusive and imposing Italian design that makes these vehicles so distinct. On the other, it’s their racy character. Like a Lamborghini, the Wilier doesn’t just aim to look the part, but also deliver the performance to back it up. However, not everyone wants to, can or even should ride a thoroughbred race bike. A high-performance Italian steed can’t just be quick but it can also quickly get uncomfortable. With the Wilier Cento10NDR the Italian brand already have a performance- and comfort-oriented endurance road bike in their portfolio. With the development of the ACTIFLEX damping system and an overhauled design language, this concept was transferred to the 2023 Wilier GranTurismo SLR, whereas the new Cento10 has gone more in the aero direction.
Where does the 2023 GranTurismo SLR fit into the Wilier portfolio?
Wilier bikes are rated highly by many in the road cycling community. The Italian brand don’t just want to sell bikes, but rather make riders’ performance and design dreams come true. The feeling that many bike enthusiasts get when looking at such a thoroughbred Italian steed is impossible to put into words, let alone put a number on. As such, the monetary value of a bike like the 2023 Wilier GranTurismo SLR plays a subordinate role. It’s all about passion, bike-porn, and perhaps even amore!
Wilier have many such bikes on offer. Usually, it’s aerodynamics (Filante SLR), a low weight (Wilier 0 SLR), or heritage (Superleggera) that riders are after. But there’s always an element of racing performance in there, too. Currently, Wilier’s portfolio is missing a dedicated high-end endurance road bike, however. The above-mentioned Wilier Cento10NDR initially took a step in this direction, but then disappeared from the market. With the new 2023 Wilier GranTurismo SLR, they’ve now refined the concept around the ACTIFLEX damping system. A lot has changed compared to the first ACTIFLEX version, shifting the damper mechanism further upward from its original position between the seat stays and the seat tube. The damper itself is now attached directly to the top tube where it meets the seat stays, bypassing the seat tube. The shape and mechanism have been overhauled too. The latest ACTIFLEX 2.0 system relies on four ball-bearings, working together with an elastomer. The aim of the changes is to better protect the ACTIFLEX system from dirt and moisture, improve its serviceability and durability, and increase the bike’s stiffness.
The term “gran turismo” hails from the world of motorsports, where it’s used to describe comfortable yet high-powered sports cars. So, Wilier stay true to their performance aspirations with their latest interpretation of a long-distance road bike. Directly translated, “gran turismo” means “a great tour”. And since not every rider on the planet wants to or can ride a high-performance racing machine with extreme geometry, Wilier now offer the 2023 GranTurismo SLR. It promises to combine the stiffness and efficiency of a rice bike – though slightly toned down – with the comfort and long-distance capability of an endurance bike.
Since a bike’s comfort isn’t determined solely by its geometry, Wilier have given the 2023 GranTurismo a maximum tire clearance of up to 32 mm. It might not sound like much, but a few millimetres can go a long way in making a bike more comfortable. There might even be enough clearance to accommodate tires that are 1 or 2 mm wider still, though not officially endorsed. With the right pressures, the tires can absorb vibrations and small bumps without passing them onto the rider. That reduces the strain that repeated and continuous impacts have on your joints and muscles, especially on epic all-day rides.
What are the design features and innovations of the 2023 Wilier GranTurismo SLR?
The biggest innovation on the 2023 Wilier GranTurismo SLR can be found along the top tube and goes by the name of ACTIFLEX 2.0. Like the suspension on a mountain bike, it allows the rear end to move and give way to impacts. Instead of a coil or air spring, it relies on an elastomer that can both stretch and compress. Thanks to its elasticity, it can absorb impacts to a large degree and mitigate their effect on the rider. Thanks to the use of different 3D printed elastomer inserts, the ACTIFLEX 2.0 system can be adjusted to suit different rider weights. They will be available separately from the end of 2022 and are included in the top-end Shimano DURA-ACE, SRAM RED, Campagnolo Super Record EPS equipped models.
When it comes to the design, Wilier have combined various elements, some of which you might be familiar with from other road bikes. The asymmetric fork and rear end are said to offer aerodynamic advantages and are thus also included in a similar guise on the Wilier Zero and Filante. Moreover, this approach promises to offer the ideal balance between braking force absorption, distribution, and weight. Unlike the above-mentioned bikes, the 2023 Wilier GranTurismo SLR can officially accommodate up to 32 mm wide tires.
By routing the brake lines internally throughout, the endurance road bike is given a super clean and exclusive look. If you opt for a 1x drivetrain, the mount for the front mech can be replaced by a specially made cover. The one-piece 0-BAR cockpit completes the bike’s refined impression, and the high-quality finish of the HUS-MOD carbon further underlines its exclusive look. To keep everything consistent across the board, many of the bike’s specs are frame size dependent. Even the diameter of the down tube differs from one frame size to the next. Apart from that, Wilier have opted against the Mavic Speed Release system. Instead, they’ve chosen to go with standard thru-axles, measuring 12×100 mm up front and 12×142 mm at the rear.
The geometry of the 2023 Wilier GranTurismo SLR
The geometry of the 2023 Wilier GranTurismo SLR is clearly distinguishable from other Wilier bikes. Both the reach and the stack are significantly less aggressive than on the Wilier Garda or the Wilier 0 SLR, for example. In direct comparison to the Wilier Cento10NDR, we noticed no difference in the geometry, as it relies on the same figures. A shorter reach in combination with a taller stack result in a more upright and therefore more relaxed riding position. The wheelbase, on the other hand, is almost on par with much racier models. As such, the 2023 Wilier GranTurismo SLR promises to be nimble and agile.
|Seat tube||460 mm||490 mm||510 mm||530 mm||560 mm||590 mm|
|Top tube||517 mm||532 mm||547 mm||558 mm||574 mm||592 mm|
|Head tube||117 mm||136 mm||157 mm||177 mm||196 mm||217 mm|
|Chainstays||406 mm||406 mm||408 mm||408 mm||411 mm||411 mm|
|Wheelbase||974 mm||982 mm||991 mm||998 mm||1012 mm||1024 mm|
|Reach||369 mm||374 mm||379 mm||384 mm||389 mm||395 mm|
|Stack||527 mm||546 mm||566 mm||586 mm||604 mm||625 mm|
Models, prices, and sizes of the 2023 Wilier GranTurismo SLR
The 2023 Wilier GranTurismo SLR is available in three different colours: faded red-white (a fiery and glossy Ferrari red), faded silver-emerald (a modest glossy white/grey), and faded black-grey (an elegant matte black). There are 6 frame sizes to choose from. In terms of the components, Wilier have got a build for every preference, allowing you to choose a groupset from Shimano, SRAM or Campagnolo. Whatever camp you’re in, the shifting happens electronically. If you go for SRAM, you can take your pick from the FORCE AXS or RED AXS 2×12 drivetrains, Shimano lovers get to choose between the ULTEGRA Di2 or DURA-ACE models, and Campagnoloists only have one option, the Super Record EPS. If you’ve kept count, that’s five different models to choose from for the 2023 Wilier GranTurismo SLR, ranging in price from € 7,400 and € 11,700.
Besides the drivetrain and brakes, you get a choice of two different wheelsets. The Vision Trimax 30C are € 1,000 less per wheel than the Wilier SLR38KC option. As an exception to the rule, the 2023 Wilier GranTurismo SLR with the Campagnolo Super Record EPS groupset is exclusively available with the Wilier SLR38KC wheelset. The setback of the seat post is available in 0 or -15 mm. All the remaining components, such as the one-piece stem and handlebar combination, saddle, and seat post remain the same on all model variants.
Wilier GranTurismo SLR 2023
Seatpost Wilier Aero Seatpost 15 mm
Brakes SRAM Force eTap AXS HRD 160/160 mm
Drivetrain SRAM Force eTap AXS 2x12
Stem 0-BAR Integrated Carbon 110 mm
Handlebar 0-BAR Integrated Carbon 420 mm
Wheelset Wilier SLR38KC
Tires Continental Grand Prix 5000 TR 32 mm
Size XS S M L XL XXL
ACTIFLEX 2.0 damping system
cover for the front mech mount when using a 1x drivetrain
The new 2023 Wilier GranTurismo SLR on the road
The 2023 Wilier GranTurismo SLR makes quite the impression before you even swing your leg over it. It’s a looker from every angle! Once aboard the bike and rolling along, you’ll quickly notice its performance aspect. It clearly leans towards the more aggressive end of the endurance spectrum. The riding position isn’t the most aerodynamic and stretched out, yet it conveys a clear sense of speed and efficiency.
The ACTIFLEX 2.0 damping system makes a noticeable difference, especially on bigger impacts and poor road surfaces. In that case, the elastomer does a good job of ironing out bumps. Despite that, it has no noticeable effect on pedalling efficiency as the 2023 Wilier GranTurismo SLR remains stiff and responsive. However, there’s a slight imbalance between the front and rear in terms of comfort, as the front features no active damping element. Of course, a large part of the vibration damping comes from running the 32 mm Continental Grand Prix 5000 tires at the right pressure, which do an excellent job in this regard. As such, we’ve got to ask ourselves whether a relatively complex damping system like the ACTIFLEX 2.0 is even necessary, or if you can gain sufficient comfort from the compliance of the carbon layup or voluminous tires. At least the damping system in the GranTurismo generates comfort regardless of the tire pressure and it promises to be low maintenance, too.
When riding slowly, we clearly felt the increased stack height and shorter reach, though. It makes the 2023 Wilier GranTurismo SLR somewhat cumbersome and wobbly. Overall, however, this effect isn’t that pronounced, and it self-corrects as you pick up speed, stabilising the bike. Other than that, the handling of the 8.3 kg GranTurismo SLR is pleasantly composed. It corners willingly and holds its line with precision through a turn, allowing you to ride aggressively if you feel like it. That said, it doesn’t allow you to attack quite as hard as on a race bike, and you’ve got less weight and therefore grip on the front wheel due to the moderate geometry, which is something to keep in mind when charging through the corners. We’ve got nothing to complain about regarding rider confidence either, as the Wilier doesn’t do anything unexpected, always responding predictably and intuitively. This is underlined by the SRAM Force brakes, which perform brilliantly. So, the 2023 Wilier GranTurismo SLR delivers a high fun-factor, and you’ll often catch yourself riding it with a silly grin on your face.
Tuning Tip: different Wilier or other compatible handlebar for better all-road handling
With the 2023 GranTurismo SLR, Wilier have brought a versatile all-rounder to the market. It feels sporty despite the relaxed geometry, striking a good balance: the name GranTurismo suits it just as well as the Ferrari red paint job. There’s nothing to stop you from taking on rides that go beyond perfectly tarred roads thanks to the ACTIFLEX 2.0 damping system and 32 mm tires. The GranTurismo is a modern road bike that combines tradition and tech into one beautiful package, rounded off by its direct yet intuitive handling.
- overall look
- ibration damping on rough surfaces
- stable, predictable handling
- comfortable yet racy
- cockpit can only be adjusted via the Wilier system, or compatible components from certain brands (FSA and Deda)
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Words: Martin Staffa Photos: Mike Hunger