Cycling journalists forced to live in tiny flats long ago discovered that a single drop-handlebar bicycle can achieve a lot of different tasks. However, it’s a fact that bike makers have taken quite a while to clock onto. The latest of them is the Italian firm Wilier. Narrowing the gap between what constitutes a fast gravel bike and a still very nippy road racer, its Rave SLR is a single bike available on two distinct guises.
Despite being convertible between the two set-ups, each version’s unique build kit and distinct one-piece bar and stem assembly means there’s a minimum of compromise involved in selecting either.Using either the Zero-Bar to achieve a lower and narrower front end or the gravel focused J-Bar for a higher and broader stance, the wheels also vary depending on the option selected.
Besides changing the position, the stem on the gravel version also incorporates a radical-looking v-type split design. Coming in builds featuring Dura-Ace R9200, Ultegra Di2 R8100, SRAM Force Etap AXS, and Campagnolo Ekar, the wireless shifting on the first three of these will at least make swapping somewhat easier. Either way, each configuration manages to smuggle away any brake lines resulting in an extremely clean looking front end.
Known for making quick bikes, the Rave uses the same carbon mix found in Wilier’s Filante SLR and 0 SLR machines. With a partly aerofoil profile, it also shares many of the same design features. The Rave is not too far out of the ballpark for a competitive road frame either, with a claimed 950g frame weight, plus 415g for the fork. Geometry is, of course, somewhat extended and relaxed; however, the bike’s road heritage is evident in its relatively attacking angles.
At the same time, clearance for 42mm tyres leaves it capable on faster and drier gravel rides. However, rather than leave it simply to swapping the treads, each build comes with wheels suited either to the road, like the firm’s own SLR 42 KC wheels, or gravel, as catered to by Campagnolo Shamal or Miche Graff carbon options.
Gearing is similarly focused on surface type, with single ring options for gravel or dual chainring designs for the road. Leaving it less readily adaptable, this nevertheless means there are fewer compromises when fully applied to the selected genre of riding.
With more riders exploring different styles of riding, firms are increasingly betting riders will be less bothered by slight differences in geometry or a couple of extra grams of weight than they will be by having to purchase and store two similar bikes. Helped by the ability to now build robust bikes without significant weight penalties and the standardisation of disc brakes and bolt-through wheels, several have recently released similarly intentioned bikes.
Of these, the Rave SLR tends towards the racier end of the spectrum. It’s also unique in the focus with which each build pursues either discipline. Marketing them almost as separate bikes, Wilier is branding the Rave SLR as a single bike with two separate souls.
While we’ll need to take a test spin before we decide how well each version answers the questions asked of it, it’s one of the more unique takes on the trend for multi-purpose bikes. Assuming it keeps a record of how many versions of each it sells, Wilier will, if nothing else, provide an interesting barometer of which of the two styles of riding is winning out in each region.