Wilier Montegrappa elite£999.00

Historic Italian brand serves up a new model for 2014

BikeRadar score3.5/5

Wilier-Triestina may not be one of the best known brands, but it is more than a century old. The kit on its Montegrappa may be a bit more modest than on some of its peers – notably the Cube Peloton and Rose Pro SL2000 – but the Shimano/FSA/Tektro mix is much the same as on many £1000 machines.

Highs: Good frame, fine long-distance comfort

Lows: Weighty overall and quite heavy wheels too

Buy if: You’re looking for a quality frame worthy of upgrading later on

Its Taiwanese-made frame has had a revamp for 2014, the chunky down tube now joined by slimmer, flattened seatstays. The frame can accommodate 28mm tyres and that, along with its weight, suggests the Montegrappa is built more for endurance than speed.

Its kit is similar to that found on the Kona Zing and Boardman Team Carbon. The groupset is Shimano Tiagra with a 105 rear mech; the chainset and bottom bracket are from FSA. Tiagra has left a bit of a spaghetti junction of cabling at the front here, though its bright red cables do at least complement the Wilier’s frame. Shifting is light and accurate. The 11-28 cassette delivers a higher top gear than the Cube’s, for example, which does mean large gaps between gears, but for training, sportives, leisure and fitness riding this isn’t a major issue. The non-cartridge brakes work well enough and the design is good, though we’d swap for cartridge blocks later.

The montegrappa's well designed frame and quality saddle mean  the ride is rarely harsh over most surfaces: the montegrappa's well designed frame and quality saddle mean  the ride is rarely harsh over most surfaces

The Montegrappa's well designed frame and quality saddle mean  the ride is rarely harsh over most surfaces

It’s the wheels – relatively weighty, at a shade under 3.4kg – where the Wilier wilts slightly. The Shimano Claris cup and cone hubs are easy to service, though, and being Shimano they should be durable. The 23mm Maxxis tyres are reasonable, but we’d go for something wider for most general riding.

Our riding expectations were tempered by the wheels and kit, so we were pleasantly surprised that the ride quality surpassed our hopes. Acceleration and climbing is trimmed by its mass, but as the hours mount up the Montegrappa’s qualities come to the fore, and it would be a fine choice for the mile-eater. Its neutral handling never throws any surprises at you and that 28-tooth sprocket will get you up the hills. You do feel potholes, but its well-designed frame and quality saddle mean that the ride is rarely harsh over most surfaces. Stick on 28mm tyres and towpaths and gravel tracks are well within reach.

This is a bike suited to the endurance cyclist and perhaps the bigger, stronger rider. You may not break any PBs on the Montegrappa – but it's never going to break you, either.

This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

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