Lowdown: Wilier Triestina 101X

Despite considerable advances in carbon frame design over the past few years, the mountain bike industry's focus remains on full suspension when it comes to comfort and all-terrain performance. And for good reason. Nothing compares to the smoothness and traction in rough conditions offered by a good 150mm travel mountain bike. But while suspension technology has come a long way, you still can't beat the climbing efficiency of a hardtail, where there is no compromising power delivery to the pedals. The 101X from Italian boutique builder Wilier Triestina is just such a bike.

Frame: Carbon Monocoque 60TONBars: Ritchey WCS
Fork: RockShox Reba 100 mmStem: Ritchey WCS
Reach: 420mmWheels: Shimano WH-M8000 thru-axle 29er
Wheel size: XS: 27.5, S-XL: 29Tires: Vittoria AKA 29x2.2"
Headtube angle: 70.5 degreesSizes: XS-XL
Saddle: Selle San Marco Aspide, openFrame weight: 2.4 pounds size medium
Chainstay length: 437mmBase price: $3450
Crankset: Shimano XT 1x11, 32T, M8000Price as-tested: $4052
Drivetrain: Shimano XT 1x11Rating:
4.5 Flamin' Chili Peppers
4.5 out of 5
Brakes: Shimano XT M8000
Stat Box


Pluses

Minuses
  • Easy to operate lockout
  • Heavy wheelset
  • Stiff and supple
  • No rear suspension limits use
  • Lightweight frame
  • No dropper post
  • Internal cable routing
  • Hard to pronounce!
  • Damped carbon ride feel
  • Beautiful aesthetics
  • Italian heritage
  • Easy tubeless setup
  • Great value


Review: Wilier Triestina 101X

My first ride aboard the Wilier Triestina 101X was an inspiring experience. It was at the Sea Otter Classic earlier this spring, where I was immediately struck by the bike's bold colorway and beautifully refined aesthetics, virtues you'd expect from an Italian bike maker. It was also super light. The size medium frame weights just 2.4 pounds.

On my first outing, I actually stopped on several occasions to check for a flat tire. My rear kept feeling as it was giving way a bit more than expected, as I was transitioning between raised hard pack and soft, sandy depressions at high speed. This bike was a hardtail after all, but there was no flat tire.

During quick accelerations on the paved access road, the bike behaved just as a performance hardtail should. Power transition was solid and direct. That efficiency, paired with the lightness of the frame, had me excited to hit actual trail. I couldn't wait to feel the powerful surge of speed that you just don't get on most dual-suspension bikes.

The tough Sea Otter Cat 1 XC race featured 4000 feet of climbing over 28 miles - and some ripping fast descents.

The tough Sea Otter Cat 1 XC race featured 4000 feet of climbing over 28 miles - and some ripping fast descents.​

In tight, fast corners the bike felt nimble and limitless in its responsiveness. Snapping back and forth between the tight brushy corners, my course preview was so enjoyable I thought I might win my first XC race of the season.

The 29" wheels rolled supremely, without any recognizable drawbacks in agility. Repeated accelerations were a bit tiresome come race day and eventually felt a bit lagging at times. But I attribute that to the heaviest and most critical component to a bike's performance, the wheelset.

A day later, after a tough Sea Otter Cat 1 XC race with 4000 feet of climbing over 28 miles, I had the satisfaction of knowing that my limitations were not attributable to my choice of bike. Instead, the 101X's stout frame and clever features let me focus on the race - not the fact that I was on a new-to-me bike.

Continue to page 2 for more of our Wilier Triestina 101X cross-country bike review »

Shimano's XT brakes offer all the stopping power you need along with great modulation.

Shimano's XT brakes offer all the stopping power you need along with great modulation.​

Build Highlights

Key component spec includes a 100mm RockShox Reba fork with a handlebar-mounted remote lockout. Unlike other remotes I've used, this one was fluid in reach and function, encouraging me to use it as much as I changed gears. On the course's numerous climbs I was grateful for the ability to go full-rigid, while on the smooth, fast descents, the fork was plenty forgiving. I was especially impressed with the smoothness of its return travel.

Also impressive were the Vittoria AKA tires, that performed well on the dry, smooth terrain at Sea Otter. They rolled up to speed without any feeling of added drag, and provided predicable traction and breakaway on loose sections of trail.

[IMG alt="The 29" wheels rolled supremely, without any recognizable drawbacks in agility. But repeated accelerations were a bit tiresome come race day and eventually felt a bit lagging at times."]https://reviews.mtbr.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/IMG_6067-1024x768.jpg[/IMG]

The 29" wheels rolled supremely, without any recognizable drawbacks in agility. But repeated accelerations were a bit tiresome come race day and eventually felt a bit lagging at times.​

The 1x Shimnao Deore XT drivetrain was smooth and responsive, and I was never left searching for extra gears, either on the steep ups or steep downs. And the Shimano XT brakes were more than enough for this XC race application.

The component I struggled with was the wheelset. While Shimano XT alloy rims are a solid presence, they felt heavy and cumbersome at times in the tight uphill twisties. A thoroughbred carbon race bike such as this deserves matching hoops, though admittedly Wilier offers a full XTR build. And of course aftermarket upgrades are always an option.

Geometry

Specs

Components are primarily a mix of Shimano XT and Ritchey WCS.

Components are primarily a mix of Shimano XT and Ritchey WCS.​

Final Word

If you're looking for a race-ready hardtail rocket ship, this bike is a fantastic option with Italian flair. Its blend of carbon frame construction, and geometry that allows for improved comfort and application beyond the specific race setting without compromising raw XC performance. With either the premium factory build package ($8547), or this bike with an aftermarket wheel upgrade, the Wilier Triestina 101X is a no-holds-barred race-day weapon with an unexpected level of comfort and rideability beyond the competitive setting.

For more information visit www.wilier.com.