A race machine with added comfort

Wilier Cento10NDR

Wilier’s new take on its Cento10Air road bike is perfect for older, less flexible riders who nevertheless enjoy long rides, says Sarah Moore.

Wilier has launched a new take on its Cento10Air road bike, the Cento10NDR. As many people don’t want the “race-oriented geometry” that you find on top-end road bikes – which are often consumer versions of the bikes ridden by pro teams – the NDR builds on the design features of the brand’s successful race bikes to offer a more endurance-focused ride, says Paul Norman in Cycling Weekly. (NDR stands for endurance, apparently.)

Although the new version bears a striking resemblance to its predecessor (the frame shape is very similar, with dropped seatstays, truncated aero tube profiles and a conspicuous lack of cables), there is one very crucial difference, says James Spender in Cyclist: active rear suspension. Instead of being bonded to the seat tube, the NDR’s seatstays are connected via a bolted alloy linkage and an elastomer – essentially a lump of hard rubber.

When the rear wheel hits a bump, the chainstays “flex upwards” and the elastomer is compressed between the top of the seatstays and the back of the seat tube. What this means is that, when necessary, the back wheel is free to travel a few millimetres independently of the rest of the frame.

Thanks to that new suspension, “broken road surfaces that would normally leave you battered and cursing were noticeably muted and smoothed”, says Simon Withers on BikeRadar.com. The bike combines “the much-vaunted combination of being laterally stiff – ie, efficient – and vertically compliant, or what we call ‘comfortable’ in non-marketing speak”.

The NDR is a “race machine with extra comfort… well suited to the needs of older, slightly less flexible riders”, Wilier’s product manager Claudio Salomoni told Withers. In fact, “within moments of rolling down the… driveway, the NDR’s rear end came to life in a way I can best describe as like swapping brogues for trainers: a revelation in smooth comfort and traction”, says Spender.

Model: Wilier Cento10NDR, Wheels: DT Swiss ERC 1400 Spline 47, Weight: 7.72kg (medium), Price: £9,300