Wilier Motirolo Mirage review£1,399.00

Charismatic carbon machine

BikeRadar score4/5

Wilier have been making bikes for over a century and the Mortirolo is the cheapest full-carbon bike in their catalogue. You don’t have to ride it far to realise that doesn’t mean we’re left with a compromise-for-cost chassis though.

Ride & handling: Handling and commitment is nothing short of excellent

The Mortirolo’s class very quickly becomes clear once you start riding. The first push of the pedal produces a reassuring surge of speed and even our large sample never struggled to keep pace in the pack.

As soon as the competitive urges appeared it was stiff and responsive enough to keep even the fastest of rivals in its sights. Accuracy, ability to effectively recruit upper body strength and final power delivery to the wheels is definitely impressive. The taut, muscular feel that resonates from pedals and bars never failed to fire us up for action on every ride.

What really sets the Mortirolo apart from most of its peers is the fact that it doesn’t punish you for making such good use of your effort. Careful layup of the big pipes and the tapered rear stays screen out a good amount of road grief. This leaves the frame feeling comfortable, buoyant and enthusiastically characterful – out of all proportion to its price.

The handling is excellent, with only occasional flutter and shudder from the fork on braking bump entries into corkscrew corners to get used to. Otherwise, the commitment – you can really chuck the front end of the bike into corners or roundabouts – is impressive and that effect increases rapidly the more you ride.

In fact the Wilier is still one of the few more affordable carbon fibre bikes that has a truly engaging and enjoyable personality beyond the obedient but dull option from a Taiwanese catalogue. The frame quality makes it well worth adopting as an upgrading project too.

Chassis: Outstanding frame and fork for the price, although cable adjusters can be hard to reach

The Wilier is certainly no shrinking violet. An oversized top tube and down tube lead back from the smooth head tube with frontal reinforcing bands. Out back, a tall slim wishbone with rectangular lower section splits into lazy ‘S’-to-round section seatstays.

The chainstays follow the same profile with a slight step where the white painted monocoque meets the chainstay bridge. Further triangulation comes in the shape of the smoothly tapered carbon fork legs.

Frame-mounted cable adjusters are harder to reach than the hood side Shimano ones though. We tested a large bike; medium-sized frames get a lower, aero-tuck-friendly head tube length.

Equipment: Campag Mirage groupset and Khamsin wheels, compact chainset and Ritchey finishing kit

For an Italian frame with as much heritage as Wilier, Campagnolo’s Mirage groupset is an obvious choice. It’s slightly clunkier in use than Shimano but the positive action means you’ll never not know you’ve made a shift.

The compact chainset keeps cadence and knee strain reasonable for mere mortals most of the time. The Mortirolo has a close ratio block, so you don’t get a dinner-plate climbing gear but you do get much better cadence control from the smaller gaps between gears.

According to the spec list, the bike should come with Fulcrum Racing 7 wheels. However, ours was rolling on the rarer, but equally effective, Campagnolo Khamsin 3 wheels, complete with eye-catching three-spoke grouping.

Wilier’s own Kevlar racing tyres complete the lightest wheelset here in a dependably durable style, although the classy frame gags for higher-quality rubber.

Powerful, if soft feeling, Mirage brakes control speed, while surprisingly un-Italian, but no less effective, Ritchey components complete the finishing kit. The Italians do mount a rearguard action in the slim shape of the Selle saddle.

Wilier produce a Shimano 105 version of the Mortirolo with a very similar spec for £1,775 if you prefer a Japanese flavour to your shifting. You get a bottle and Wilier cage too, which is a nice visual sweetener, if not a high value one.

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster than the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK

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