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Wilier’s Filante e-road bike gets ‘world’s lightest’ drive system

New Filante Hybrid racer gets Mahle’s super-light X20 drive system for help on the climbs

Joseph Delves
20 Apr 2022

Two new bits of e-road bike news in a single dollop. One, Wilier has added to its range of electric-assist bicycles, with the range-topping Filante joining the more budget-focussed Cento in going electric. Two, in doing so, it provides us with a first look at Mahle’s new X20 system, claimed to be the lightest e-bike system in the world.

As used by the Astana Qazaqstan WorldTour team, the regular-edition Wilier Filante is a top-flight aero racer.

With its name meaning racy in Italian, it’s not the sort of thing you want to spoil with a whacking great motor and battery. Thankfully, German firm Mahle has recently shrunk its already slimline components, so this electrified version is almost indistinguishable from its conventionally powered sibling.

World’s lightest drive system

Weighing a claimed 3.2kg for motor, battery and attendant parts, perhaps the most notable thing about Mahle’s new X20 drive system is how diminutive the rear hub motor has become.

Now smaller in diameter than most racing bike cassettes, it’s barely any different from a conventional hub at a glance.

This is despite its ability to add a valuable 40Nm of additional assistance to your pedalling. Helping reinforce this illusion, it now also comes with a complement of 24 straight-pull spokes. This allows it to fit into more modern-looking wheels – on the new Filante Hybrid e-bike it finds itself laced to Wilier’s own mid-section carbon rims.

While rear hub motor designs have often struggled when it comes to fitting and removing the wheel, the Filante uses a conventional thru-axle.

Automatically connecting the hub to the battery without disconnecting any wires, the system instead relies on electrical connectors built into the dropout. This should make it easier to fix punctures or remove the wheels for storage and transport, and the design looks to improve significantly on earlier versions.

Optional piggyback power

Located within the frame’s normal-looking down tube is a 250Wh capacity battery, which can be supplemented with an extra 185Wh bottle-shaped battery if you wish.

Because the battery is integrated into the frame, Wilier claims the only additional hole needed in the frame is the one near the bottom bracket to allow you to charge the system. 

This emphasis on integration carries through to the monocoque handlebar, which closely echoes that found on the conventional Filante bikes.

However, in this instance, the button and display connected to the assistance system are included within the stem section. This allows the rider to turn the system off and on or select from one of its four power settings, and this can be achieved without removing your hands from the bar.

Having cast their eye over the bike, aficionados might recognise the Mahle X20 system as resembling those previously made by Ebikemotion. In fact, the outfit has had a rebrand, adopting the name of its parent company to coincide with the release of a range of new electrical assistance systems.

Bigger clearances and slightly relaxed geometry

Moving on to the new Filante’s non-motor related bits. The electric version of the bike will accept tyres up to 32mm wide, a touch broader than the 30mm max on the conventional model.

The Filante Hybrid’s geometry has also been relaxed slightly versus the racing version. With claimed weights on the original bike hitting the UCI’s 6.8kg mark, we’ve yet have a precise figure for the new electric version, although we’d expect it to be under or around 11kg.

With aerodynamics a focus for the Filante’s design, it’s questionable how much time you’ll spend below the motor’s 25kmh cut off point while riding on the flat. However, with a decreased weight penalty, almost anyone is likely to find the assistance useful on extended climbs.

As you’d expect from a bike that was exclusive in its standard form, adding a motor hasn’t done much to cool the new Filante Hybrid’s price tag. The most costly SRAM Red eTap AXS version will cost €12,500 (UK TBC) while the cheapest Ultegra Di2 version with less fancy wheels will still clock in at €9,300 (UK TBC).

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