The Montegrappa is styled just as we’d expect a Wilier to be. That means sharp graphics, a cool colour scheme and plenty of frame annotations (Wilier seems to love to explain every element of its frames with handy descriptions as part of its graphic design ethos).
It does however have a few distinct differences. For starters, the neatly appointed disc-specific alloy frame features provision for both mudguards (or fenders, if you’re of a transatlantic persuasion) and a rear rack. Up front, the carbon fork has external mounts half way up the fork legs (to keep them away from the disc brake and rotor), again for ’guards or even a rack at a push.
A change of identity
All this, we think, adds up to the first Wilier that you could commute on with panniers – or even head out for a light spot of touring.
The brand also claims clearance for up to 28c rubber, but ours came fitted with just that and still had plenty of room for more. So not only do we have an Italian thoroughbred that’s up to commuting duties, it’s also got the room (and ride) to take it into gravel-bike territory.
The relatively relaxed geometry makes for a forgiving riding position
Wilier describes the Montegrappa as having ‘relaxed’ geometry – our XL test bike has a 58cm top tube and a 195mm head tube, not exactly sit-up-and-beg but a little easier on the rider than a out-and-out race machine.
Out on the road the Montegrappa feels immediately impressive. The big-volume tyres cushion you well while the San Marco saddle adds comfort at the rear, but some plaudits must go to the frame. Often lower-priced alloy can be harsh, but the Montegrappa’s simple yet well-finished chassis offers the stiffness you want when applying power without this translating into harshness throughout the rest of the frame.
The drivetrain consists of Shimano’s latest incarnation of Tiagra, which feels every inch as good as its bigger brother 105, though it does lack the eleventh sprocket. The wide-range 11-32 cassette and 50/34 compact are most welcome as the Montegrappa’s 10.5kg all up weight certainly becomes telling on long extended climbs, and having those big sprockets at the back make the difference between conquering that ascent or resorting to a walk of shame when things get really steep.
The 2x10-speed Tiagra groupset lacks little compared with its 105 big brother
The Vero crankset is a budget item from FSA, but as with all of the brand’s offerings the tooth profile ensures slick, accurate transitions between rings. The downside with the Vero is that it’s not exactly a lightweight addition, though given the complete-bike price tag we can understand why its here.
Once you get into descending territory the Montegrappa is well balanced and stable when your velocity starts properly ramping up. Through sweeping bends it’s assured and accurate, and only comes out wanting in really sharp corners where the slower steering response means a tendency towards under steer. Its easy to catch when swinging wide, however, thanks to the excellent TRP Spyre mechanical disc brakes, arguably the best of the cable actuated bunch and usually found on bikes much pricier than this.
The Vittoria tyres with their defined tread work well when it’s damp or wet underfoot, cutting a secure path without slipping or drifting. On dry tarmac however you can feel the surface of the tyre shift and deform under loading, which can be disconcerting – and also a little slower than a true slick.
The Vittoria tyres grip well in damper conditions but lack the out-and-out assurance of a slick when hammering it on dry roads
Over rolling terrain the extra heft in the Montegrappa (and its wheelset) actually seems to help you maintain a fair lick of speed. As the percentages of incline increase you will notice a drop-off in pace however.
The Montegrappa rams home that things are a-changing round Wilier’s way. The brand now not only makes highly focused racing machines; it’s (finally) woken up to making bikes for people who don’t aspire to a pro-style life and just want a bike that rides well everywhere, and more importantly well for everyone.