Wilier Escape Xenon £799

Italian racing-fan fare for the common man

BikeRadar score 3.5/5

The Escape is the entry-level machine from this venerable Italian brand, and while it may lack the prestige of more famous brethren like the Cento Uno and Imperiale, it still has plenty to offer.

A shapely carbon-bladed fork leads the way, while graphics are attractive and eye-catching: a vaguely heraldic logo graces the head tube, and a distinctive italic font proclaims the brand along the down tube.

The frame is TIG-welded, butted aluminium, with triangular seatstays that offer multi-plane stiffness and echo the mid-sized triangular top tube and down tube.

The latter is gusseted where it meets the machined head tube – which features a fully integrated 1-1/8in headset, while chunky box-section chainstays morph into an oval-round profile, then merge into forged alloy dropouts with a replaceable gear hanger.

Out on the road, the Escape is well mannered and predictable, ideal for newer cyclists not ready for – or not wanting – one of the more edgy machines out there.

Its Miche Reflex RX5 wheels roll gracefully under pressure, and happily take a beating thanks to their muscular construction, with sealed cartridge bearings requiring little or no maintenance.

Less pleasing were the stock Cheng Shin tyres – get them upgraded to something better before wheeling it off the showroom floor; something like Vittoria Rubinos should add a bit more feel and zing to the ride without ramping up the price.

The drivetrain is Campagnolo Xenon 10-speed. The QS Rapidfire-type shifters really work well, and actually offer comparable accuracy and consistency to the new 11-speed kit.

Adding to the robust nature of the bike, stout Ritchey finishing kit and a chiselled but comfortable Selle Italia Q-Bik saddle keeps the premium brand name-check score high, and should provide years of reliable service.

The Escape brings a touch of all-Italian flair to those who want a reliable and affordable road experience. It’s available in S, M, L and XL sizes, and our medium test bike weighed 9.43kg (20.78lb).

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