Few bikes we’ve tested seem as aptly named as the Wilier Gran Turismo. Just like its automotive namesake, the Gran Turismo is fast and reasonably light but impressively comfortable for long days on the road while still maintaining the look, feel and positioning of a full-blown race rig.
Ride & handling: Sharp enough and with a pleasantly refined feel
The Gran Turismo frame’s big and boxy tube profiles suggest a stiff and unyielding ride but in fact, it’s anything but, not so much rolling along but rather gliding across the road with impressive smoothness. Small-amplitude, high frequency chatter like course pavement and chip seal is barely perceptible and the frame even takes most of the edge off of bigger hits like potholes and pinch-flat-inducing road cracks.
The subliminal, natural-feeling handling is also well suited to the bike’s all-day intentions, with classic stage race geometry that falls somewhere in between a razor-edged crit bike and a more casual cruiser. The Gran Turismo is fantastically stable and calm at high speed – all-out 80km/h+ downhill tucks yield no drama whatsoever – and yet you can still blaze through a fast, tight turn when needed with just modest bar input unlike so-called ‘endurance’ bikes that often are less willing to lean into a corner.
Lest one think ride comfort is only for casual riders, the Gran Turismo proved to us once again that that slight bit of give also helps you go faster in certain situations. One of our regular test loops includes a wickedly fast downhill sweeper with coarse pavement and a precipitous fall-off to the right. Some uber-stiff superbikes we’ve tested in the past have felt skittery and nervous through that section, meaning we had to slow down entering the turn and had to sprint coming back out.
On the Wilier, however, we barely had to touch the brakes and carried much more speed. The bike felt more planted and stuck to the ground. It was a similar situation for a regular section of washboarded dirt road, which we were able to pedal through with more rhythm than more unyielding bikes that bounce you out of the saddle.
Front triangle rigidity is excellent and undoubtedly contributes to the bike’s confident nature and precise handling at high speeds but pedaling efficiency admittedly isn’t on par with some more race-oriented machines we’ve tested. That being said, the Gran Turismo is still no noodle, with backbone stiffness that falls mid-pack for higher-end carbon rigs – impressive considering the degree of comfort on tap.
Rider positioning is beyond reproach, though, and it’s refreshing that Wilier haven’t felt the need to couple the Gran Turismo’s smooth ride with a dramatically tall front end. In fact, the Gran Turismo’s head tubes are generally barely half a centimeter longer than Wilier’s top-end Zero.7 frame across most of the size range, with even the biggest sizes posting modest extensions of about 2cm or so. Top tube lengths are barely altered, either, so we had no problems replicating our standard positions.
The wilier triestina gran turismo lives up to its name with a sporty feel and a comfortable ride: the wilier triestina gran turismo lives up to its name with a sporty feel and a comfortable ride James Huang/Future Publishing
The Wilier Triestina Gran Turismo lives up to its name with a sporty feel and a comfortable ride
Frame: Edgy styling that doesn’t go overboard on tech features
The Gran Turismo sits toward the bottom of Wilier Triestina’s eight-bike range so it’s not surprising that it isn’t awash in technobabble. Indeed, there’s a straight 1-1/8in steerer on the all-carbon fork (albeit one that’s surrounded by a comparatively enormous square-profile head tube), a conventional threaded bottom bracket shell, and the slight seat tube extension houses a round, telescoping 31.6mm seatpost.
There’s an appreciable amount of careful shaping going on out back, though, which helps produce the Gran Turismo’s excellent ride quality. The chainstays start out tall at the bottom bracket but flatten out considerably as they approach the dropouts, while the seatstays are slim throughout their entire length. Asymmetrical shaping on the chainstays – the non-driveside one is much broader – and a fairly wide profile on the seatstays helps keep tail wagging at bay.
Actual weights are good but not exactly groundbreaking at 1,240g for our medium frame (with twin-bolt seatpost collar, rear derailleur hanger and water bottle bolts) plus 410g for the matching all-carbon fork (full-length steeer, no compression plug). Aesthetics are distinctive, though also a bit polarizing, with the Gran Turismo’s mix of an edgy front triangle matched to a more smoothly flowing rear end – and we’re not entirely sure of the benefit of the semi-extended seat tube.
Cables are neatly internally routed throughout and Wilier have wisely included provisions for both mechanical and electronic transmissions. However, we had some issues building our test frame up with Shimano’s new Ultegra Di2 group. The Gran Turismo apparently uses conventional internal inflatable bladders to push the carbon material out against the mold surfaces and in our case, the chainstay’s interior finish was so rough and cluttered that it took ages to feed the wire through. We also ripped a connector off in the process and had to obtain a replacement.
It’s a tidy arrangement once it’s all done, though, and most users won’t have to endure the process twice (we still have to tear the bike back down for return shipment to Wilier). Buyers running conventional systems will only have to remember to feed a new cable through the frame before pulling the old one out.
The chunky chainstays are joined to spindly seatstays on the wilier triestina gran turismo: James Huang/Future Publishing
The chunky chainstays are joined to spindly seatstays on the Wilier Triestina Gran Turismo
Equipment: Brilliant Shimano Ultegra Di2 group and fantastic matching tubeless wheels
We used the Gran Turismo as the test bed for our recent Shimano Ultegra Di2 group review and since we’ve already covered that in depth, we won’t repeat ourselves here. We haven’t yet covered the matching Ultegra WH-6700 aluminum tubeless road clinchers and Maxxis Padrone tubeless tires, though, and suffice to say it was a brilliant combo. Just as with the Di2 group, Shimano have replicated most of the benefits of the Dura-Ace version in a less expensive package. The ride quality isn’t quite as sublime as Dura-Ace’s carbon-and-aluminum rims but it’s not far off and matched well with the Gran Turismo frame.
The 1,631g actual weight (pair, without skewers) won’t blow weight weenies away but it’s worth noting that much of that resides in the chunky hubs so the Ultegra wheels feel lighter than they might seem on paper. Radial and lateral stiffness front and rear was outstanding, and while some might scoff at the seemingly old-school cup-and-cone bearings, we appreciated the ability to tune them perfectly, the arsenal of labyrinth and contact seals, and the ease with which the whole thing can be disassembled and serviced.
Rounding out our test build were PRO’s mid-range Vibe 7S forged aluminum stem, one-bolt seatpost and comfy classic-bend handlebar; a titanium-railed Ritchey WCS saddle; and Selle Italia’s intriguing Smootape bar wrap. Total weight as tested was a so-so 7.73kg (17.04lb), measured without pedals or cages.