Wilier is celebrating the centenary of Japan’s most influential cycling company, Shimano, on the day it launches new Dura-Ace and new Ultegra, the brand's top two road groupsets.
From its humble beginning in 1921, Shimano has evolved to become a supplier of choice for many frame brands, Wilier included.
Centenaries are rare and worthy of celebration, and Wilier has done precisely that by producing a new, limited-edition Filante SLR series, the third in its Unico series of custom bikes.
The Unico bikes feature Shimano’s latest Dura-Ace Di2 9270 groupsets and a striking graphic design, by one of Japan’s most regarded contemporary artists, Jun Inoue.
An authentic Japanese design
Selecting the appropriate artist from Japan’s diverse and layered creative community can't have been a simple task, but Wilier opted for Jun Inoue.
Known for his powerful contemporary work, Inoue blends both the traditional Japanese discipline of Shodo calligraphy with powerful urban themes, typical of Tokyo and Osaka.
Using the aerodynamic Filante SLR frame as a canvas, Inoue has created a vivid Shodo design, the ancient form of Japanese calligraphy. Tube shapes and joint profiles can make outlandish graphic design challenging from a flat conceptual canvas to a bicycle frame, but the ens result is undoubtedly a success.
It sees a deconstructed flow of grey, black and red swishes across the entire frame and cockpit, creating a dynamic look that is unquestionably Japanese in its execution.
Wilier’s Unico Filante SLR bike has terrific visual tension, making it exude dynamism, even when parked. The design looks inarguably energetic, yet classic – a brilliantly original interpretation of Shodo.
If you are a committed follower of Japanese design, Italian carbon-fibre road bike design, and Shimano's road bike groupsets, the Unico Filante SLR qualifies as a veritable dream bike.
But to own one, you'll need to be fast. To mark 100 years of Shimano history, the brand is limiting the distribution of its latest Inoue design bike to just 100 units, guaranteeing owners an appropriate status of exclusivity. The only option regards wheelset choice: either Wilier's own SLR42 or Vision's Trimax.
Wilier is marketing its Unico Filante SLR with the Vision Trimax wheels for €12,200, while the SLR42 equipped version is priced at €13,100.
Lance Branquinho is a Namibian born media professional, with 15-years of experience in technology and engineering journalism covering anything with wheels. Being from Namibia, he knows a good gravel road when he sees one, and he has raced some of Africa’s best-known mountain bike stage races, such as Wines2Wales and Berg&Bush.
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