Two hybrids from Bianchi and Wilier mix Italian flair with flat bars and relaxed gearing. So which one fired us up the most?
A low front end is always a winner with me. It's not just that though; the matt black finish with red highlights looks superb draped over the shapely aluminium frame. It's definitely a racy-looking customer.
With ‘Weekend' printed in various places over the bike, Wilier is trying its best to separate the Bassano from your average run of the mill commuting machine - this isn't made for the weekly office slog. It was born as an alternative for your weekend drop-bar racing bike. A bike for casual trips in your best loafers. No clipless pedals here, please.
Design-wise, the Bassano ticks all the right boxes. There's a real road bike inspired down tube, all boxy and strong - a likely by-product of engineers spending many happy hours in the R&D department at Wilier headquarters. It's the kind of thing roadies and ex-racers are going to relate to, because it's something you see on many road racing bikes these days.
The same goes for the compact crankset, thinner road tyres and Shimano RS10 road hoops. They're all products a road rider would be accustomed to on their drop handlebar machine, thereby making the transition to a hybrid at the weekend, or in the off-season, a lot more appealing.
The unbranded caliper brakes are actually Tektro FL540. They do the job just fine, though in comparison to the Bianchi's discs there was a cavernous gap in performance, both in terms of overall stopping power and modulation.
Other visual highlights on the Bassano include a carbon fork and a snazzy Prologo saddle. The fork looks the part with its subtle carbon pattern and elegant curves, but struggled to appease the random potholes on my test rides.
The riding position is sporty, and can be increased to full-on aggressive by lowering the stem. Racers looking for something more casual will find themselves feeling at home relatively quickly when aboard the Bassano. When compared to the Bianchi it's either uncomfortable and rough, or exhilarating and speedy, depending on your personal riding preferences.
When I did my best to forget how much I enjoyed the Bianchi, and stopped comparing the Bassano to its fatter brother, I liked the ride. It definitely felt faster, if a lot less forgiving. (There I go again.) It does weigh significantly less, though, so despite having a smaller range of gears it climbs relatively well. The frame is responsive and agile; two great characteristics to keep in mind when you're thinking about how you want your bike to handle.
The contact points previously mentioned on the Bianchi - the grips, saddle and pedals - are all less rewarding here. The pedals especially so - it didn't actually come with any! That's when I realised this is a true racer's casual bike. It's like Wilier just decided to swap out an anatomical drop handlebar for a straight-line version. Job done. Geometry, groupset, wheels, styling. It's a racing machine with a flat bar moustache. You're not fooling anyone, Wilier.
Double-butted aluminium with carbon fork
Shimano Tiagra/105 mix and Tektro FL540 brakes
S, M, L, XL
Maxxis detonator 25mm