Wilier Trestina is another Italian brand with over a century of bike building history. Pietro Dal Molin opened a small workshop in 1906 and purchased an almost unknown English bike brand, Wilier. The company grew through the first half of the century and diversified before being bombed out during WW2. After the war the factory was rebuilt with production returning fully to bicycles.
It was at this point Dal Molin entered the world of racing. He named a new bike the La Triestina to support the cause of the city of Trieste to be rejoined with Italy and a team of riders from the region was entered in the 1946 Giro d’Italia. From then on the company became known as Wilier Triestina. At some point some smart alec reverse engineered the acronym W l’Italia liberata e redenta, ie “Long Live Italy, Liberated and Redeemed” to the english originated Wilier name (W is a typical italian abbreviation for “Viva”)
The company went bust in 1952 but was reborn in 1969 when two brothers bought the disused factory and machinery and by the late 1970’s Wilier bikes were back under professional racing teams. In the 1990’s the brand became synonymous with charismatic climber Marco Pantani - known as ‘Il Pirata’ on account of his shaved head, bandana and earring. Pantani became only the 7th man to win both the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia in 1998. Chris Froome is hoping to become the 8th this year…
Their bikes are now thoroughly modern and the Wilier Twin Blade is no exception. Time trial bikes always look dramatic but the Twin Blade stands alone with its unique integrated “TwinBlade” fork which extends up the full length of the head tube. Rather than attempting to minimise the frontal area of the bike Wilier’s approach is to use these upper fork legs as ‘flow stablisers’ to minimise turbulence and steer air over the rest of the bike and the rider. Into this mount custom aero bar made by Vision.
A similar approach is taken at the rear with wide spaced seatstays that bulge out away from the seat-tube to be away from the turbulence caused by the rear wheel. You might expect that such unusual construction would make this a Triathlon only bike but it carries a UCI sticker and is race legal.
To further cheat the wind Wilier’s own direct pull brakes (made by TRP) are tucked behind the fork and follow its lines precisely. A carbon cover shields the chainstay mounted rear brake. Dropouts are conventionally vertical but can be adjusted by up to 6mm front to back to fine tune the clearance between tyre and seattube (which will alter depending on your tyre choice) and minimise turbulence caused there. Another simple but innovative touch is the front mech mount that allows angle adjustment to optimise for use with oval chainrings.
Wilier produce bikes that ride supurbly and have that typical Itailian flair. The Twin Blade is no exception.