£1,500 can buy you an impressively specced bike, as this is one of the most competitive price points on the market. We review four
With the smallest and most compact frame of the four, the Wilier Mortirolo Mirage's carbon monocoque design did not disappoint, making for a very nimble, responsive ride.
The frame and fork complement each other well, neither giving way to flex, so the response to rider input is immediate and holds its line in turns very reassuringly – you really felt like you could throw it into turns and have some fun with it.
So good was the performance of the Wilier Mortirolo frame on the climbs, it started to highlight flex in other areas. The frame is remarkably stiff, and stands firm to large forces being applied. We’ve ridden Fulcrum Racing 7s a fair bit — indeed they are specced on the Kuota — and never found them to be particularly flexy. But in combination with the Mortirolo’s frame stiffness, the back wheel particularly stood out as having a bit of ‘give’ under high stress. The frame seems to be fighting above its weight and is as stiff as a good majority of top-end race rigs.
Both the Wilier and the Boardman Pro Carbon picked up speed well, and it was becoming apparent that these two bikes’ frames shared a number of similar traits, except the Boardman’s combination of low weight, stiff wheels and stiff frame gave it a tendency to skip around if you weren’t careful. The Wilier kept a straight line and delivered a good result.
What stood out was the big gap between the kit on the Wilier and that on the Boardman. OK, so the Wilier is a couple of hundred pounds cheaper, but even so. Its Campagnolo Mirage spec, while a solid choice, is somewhat belittled by the SRAM Force and Ritchey WCS kit on the Boardman.
The lively carbon frame of the Wilier Mortirolo Mirage elicited a highly charged ride feel, which meant you got a fair amount of vibration coming back through the bars and saddle, but also, quite noticeably, the pedals. It’s certainly surprising how much the Mortirolo felt like a race bike, considering it was the cheapest on test. At 74.5 degrees, the Wilier's seat tube angle is a whole degree steeper than the Boardman's, which means that much less vertical 'give'.
The Wilier Mortirolo Mirage was runner-up in our test, behind the Boardman Pro Carbon. The Wilier frame and fork is exceptionally good for the £1,299 price tag, it’s just the stuff bolted to it is a little low-key. Such a stiff and punchy frame with superb handling is crying out for something better than Mirage and Fulcrum Racing 7s. So it’s a very similar dilemma to the Kuota, but the difference is the Wilier’s starting price is £200 less, so you’re left with some spare cash to invest in some choice upgrades in the future.
We unlocked some of the Wilier’s potential by giving it a run with Fulcrum Racing Zero 2-Way Fit wheels during our recent tubeless tyre test. The transformation was clear, although this was taking upgrades to the extreme, with the Racing Zeros costing nearly as much as the bike.