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Ivar Slik's Wilier Rave SLR: The men's Unbound 200 winning bike

Ivar Slik's bike at Unbound 200
Ivar Slik's bike at Unbound 200 (Image credit: Wilier)

Ivar Slik's lack of the WorldTour background that so many of his contemporaries share maybe means the winner of the men's Unbound 200 this weekend was not so well-known as some of the other participants. But having already won The Traka and finished second at Gravel Locos this year, the Dutchman certainly didn't arrive in Kansas as a complete outsider.

Speaking ahead of the race, the European beach racing champion expressed a desire to learn from last year's mistakes: 

"Last year I wasted too much energy in the first part of the race," Slik explained. "The race is so long, more than ten hours [Slik's unofficial finish time was 9:22:04] and you need to ride smart and focus on your nutrition strategy. Also avoiding big sharp stones to not get a flat is really important. So my plan is to save some energy in the beginning and over halfway we can go full gas."

Outsprinting Keegan Swenson and Ian Boswell to take victory in Emporia, the strategy clearly paid off, but it wasn't one completely pinned on nutrition and line choice. Aerodynamics are also key in a 200-mile race, and it's for this reason Slik chose his sponsor Wilier's Rave SLR as his bike of choice, complete with Miche Graff wheels, Shimano GRX components, road pedals, an Ultegra chainset, and the one-piece Filante SLR cockpit replacing the V-shaped cockpit typically found on the Rave SLR. 

Ivar Slik's bike at Unbound 200

Custom mounts were printed to allow these Profile Design aero bars to be fitted to the aero bars (Image credit: Wilier)

What's more, despite the annual furore about whether aero bars belong in gravel racing, Slik saw them as essential. So much so that he 3D printed custom mounts to allow him to fit them onto the aero handlebars. 

Ivar Slik's bike at Unbound 200

(Image credit: Wilier)

The rest of Slik's setup is a mismatch of components, typical of a bike built for Unbound. With the Rave SLR frame as its base, a GRX Di2 groupset takes care of braking and shifting, though unfortunately not the polished silver GRX Limited edition launched just this week. Up front, an Ultegra R8000 chainset is fitted with 50/34 chainrings and Look Keo pedals

Ivar Slik's bike at Unbound 200

Disc brakes courtesy of Shimano's R9200 groupset, paired with GRX calipers (Image credit: Wilier)

Miche Graff Route wheels sit at 36mm deep, and are shod with Schwalbe G-One tyres. The aero extensions are courtesy of Profile Design, while little more than a top tube bag and saddle bag were tasked with handling the on-bike storage. 

Ivar Slik's bike at Unbound 200

This 500ml bottle was replaced by two 750ml bottles come race day (Image credit: Wilier)

Two Elite Vico bottle cages held what appear to be 750ml bottles, as well as a Lezyne mini pump and a CO2 canister. The hand pump looks to be missing at the end of the race, but it's unclear whether it fell off mid-race, or whether Slik was forced to put it to use.

Ivar Slik riding to victory at Unbound 200

Shown here at the finish line, you get a sense for the effort - and mud - that Slik went through... note that mini pump is missing. (Image credit: Instagram: Ivar Slik)

Road pedals are a fairly common choice for Unbound racers, and Slik paired his with Shimano's RC901 road shoes - in white (but not for long) - with socks that were also white.

Ivar Slik riding to victory at Unbound 200

They're not white anymore. (Image credit: Instagram: Ivar Slik)

Interestingly, on the subject of kit, Slik also wore a skinsuit and helmet inspired by famous American motorcycle jumper and stuntman Evel Knievel. This kit was designed by Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix winner, Niki Terpstra. 

Ivar Slik's kit at Unbound 200

Slik's Evel Knievel kit was designed by Niki Terpstra (Image credit: Wilier)

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Josh has been with us as Senior Tech Writer since the summer of 2019 and throughout that time he's covered everything from buyer's guides and deals to the latest tech news and reviews. On the bike, Josh has been riding and racing for over 15 years. He started out racing cross country in his teens back when 26-inch wheels and triple chainsets were still mainstream, but he found favour in road racing in his early 20s, racing at a local and national level for Team Tor 2000. He's always keen to get his hands on the newest tech, and while he enjoys a good long road race, he's much more at home in a local criterium.