Wilier is more than a brand moniker, it is a patriotic acronym—originally the name of the company founder's first pro racing team: Wilier Triestina, which flourished in 1945.
"W" is an abbreviation for "Viva!", and thus Wilier stands for "Viva Italia Libera E Redenta"—Long live Italy, liberated and redeemed! Dal Molin founded Ciclomeccanica Del Molin in 1906, and his bicycle factory survived two world wars to come into prominence in Italy's post-war revival, cycle-racing era, when it took on the name of its Giro-winning team—Wilier Triestina.
Today, Wilier is one of the most popular racing brands in Italy, which makes us proud to introduce the Wilier Mortirolo to the rest of the world.
Wilier takes great pride in the fact that their premier carbon frames are primarily molded in one-piece, monocoque sections using the highest quality carbon material from Toray. The belief is that the fewer junctions there are in a structure, the more that it will respond like a continuous whole.
Done correctly, this is the optimum method to squeeze the most performance from a carbon composite frame. Flowing lines at key frame junctions—the bottom bracket, seat cluster and at the head tube—belie the fact that Wilier uses the bladder-pressurized molding techniques to optimize the monocoque process.
Using Toray's very high modulus T700 carbon, Wilier whittled the Mortirolo frame to a respectable 1,270 grams, with its carbon fork coming in at 490 grams.
To keep the Mortirolo at the front of the break, Wilier chose Mavic Aksium Race wheels spinning on Maxxis Detonator tires, while Ritchey fills out its well-appointed cockpit with a WCS Pro seatpost and stem and a carbon WCS handlebar. Add Shimano's untouchable-in-its-class Ultegra SL ensemble, and the Wilier Mortirolo takes on an aura of Italian invincibility.
The 58-centimeter test bike we used had conservative numbers—a 73-degree head and seat angle (the road standard), with a compact, 57-centimeter top tube. The industry standard 40.5-centimeter chainstays and nearly-level top tube belie the popularity of Wilier in its homeland—the Italians virtually invented the Mortirolo's frame geometry. Six sizes are sold from extra small to double-extra large (from 47 to 61 centimeters).
The Wilier really did surprise at almost every turn. If you are used to the over-the-top Italian look, the Mortirolo doesn't have it. It's a bit boring, graphically; especially coming from a country that judges people by the expense and style of their shoes.
That being said, whatever hum-drum look the Wilier had (the black version is a lot more enticing), once we threw a leg over it, it became a surprisingly good bike. The Mortirolo, true to its name, climbed really well. The handling was solid, crisp and effortless, the weight of 18.6 pounds was not a consideration, and the bike really descended as well or better than many more expensive bikes.
If you ever get a chance to travel in Italy, the Wilier brand is everywhere. At Gran Fondo's, in local races—it's a significant part of the Italian cycling culture and you could do much worse than the $2,700 Mortirolo. We were duly impressed with the ride qualities.
The Mortirolo doesn't scream Italian; in fact, it barely whispers it on first glance, but the ride quality is 100 percent Italia! The price and quality of the Mortirolo make it a serious contender in the $2,500 to $3,000 range.
Weight: 18.6 pounds
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Bicycle photo courtesy of www.wilier-usa.com.