By Sam Aplin
Sizes: XS S M
Size tested: XS
Princess Pea, or the Emperors’s new clothes? The stylish-looking 2016 Wilier Luna compact road bike upgrades to full carbon construction and certainly has the hallmarks of a nimble weekend-warrior embellished in its heritage. But what lies beneath the surface of the contours of the Luna’s carbon weave is what really counts.
The Wilier Triestina Luna a bit of a she-wolf in sheep’s clothing, so get your hands on the latest 2016 full carbon incarnation to enjoy a stylish compact road bike that’s ideal for both long training rides and sportive events any time of year.
Designed with a ‘soft’ geometry for enjoying a leisurely ride with friends, or equally at home unleashing your competitive side on the hills, the Wilier Luna is built to a high quality finish with a mix of Shimano’s latest Tiagra 10 speed groupset and Tektro brakes for a smooth, resilient and comfortable ride.
Wilier Triestina's history has been full of great achievements which have led to victories at International level races such as the Tour de France and the Giro D’Italia. The experiences of the professional teams sponsored by Wilier have helped to shape their new range of bikes offering a combination of utmost comfort with performance flair. Sitting at the more leisurely end of the scale, the Wilier Luna certainly doesn’t disappoint.
Whisk yourself off into the rolling hills on the soothing spin of the Shimano WH-R501 wheelset, perfect for gliding across the tarmac and through sweeping corners. But don’t be fooled by the Luna’s seemingly calm character – take it for a climb or a swift descent and it’ll soon reveal its class!
Faced with steep hills, sweeping descents or fast flats, the Wilier Luna seemed to take everything in its stride, and with the Tektro R-312 brakes bedding-in nicely, I could really push the speed with confidence. Even in the midst of winter when wet, squealing brakes often drown out the surrounding quiet, but the highly responsive Tektro R-312 brakes induced a sigh of relief as the silence continued and I swiftly came to a stop - superb for club or sportive riding when in close proximity to other riders.
The Wilier Luna’s carbon monocoque frame introduces the more recent “compact” design for an alternative look and feel to the traditional downward sloping toptube typically associated with women’s geometry. The Luna WMS monocoque frame is beautifully constructed, running my finger over the frame, which we’re all guilty of when faced with a shiny new bike, there were no faults, creases or blemishes to be found - it really is as smooth as it looks!
In terms of the all-important aesthetics, the stylish paintwork on the Wilier Luna really sets off the frame from the rest of the flock giving the bike a silky smooth look as the colours cleverly blend from one component to the next. This combination of geometry and paintwork is particularly attractive to the less feminine female as it immediately cuts out the often marketed and frustrating assumption that women need a less aggressive shaped frame to the men, reflecting a more passive personality.
Even for a women’s bike built for leisure, the Luna’s compact frame, plus blue, white and black colour-combo offers that subtle psychological advantage – or should I say gender ‘equaliser’! Wilier have also equipped the frame with smart internal caballing so that only the minimal essential connections can be seen externally. Even then, as the cables are black and reflect the curved lines of the paintwork, they are hardly noticeable.
Although hidden cables can cause access issues in terms of home-maintenance, especially if they are allowed to move freely inside the frame, the Luna’s cable system seems solid and completely stable, with the adjusters still easily accessible. Practicality-wise, the movement of the bike is therefore clean, and there is no chance of rubbing or wear and tear on the outside of the frame at the turn of the handlebars.
The only external features are two easily accessible water bottle holders, one on the down tube and the other on the seat tube for extra hydration which, for a long day in the saddle was very much appreciated ... even if it was freezing cold!
Accompanied by the 700c Shimano WH-R501 wheelset, rolling out the door on a wet morning seemed as smooth as the glistening tarmac beneath me! Although the wheelset is fairly low key, the smart subtlety of the black and white rims combined with the dark spokes highlight the sleek look of the bike as a whole.
Wrapped in the reliable grip of Continental Ultra Sport II Wire tires, this may not be the lightest of wheelsets, but with a high-quality, free-wheeling spin and a much welcome feel of safety on the wet roads, I had confidence in a solid base beneath me. With the added bonus of extra protection against pesky punctures. Sure enough, the slick winter-proof wheels and tyres rolled effortlessly across wet roads laden with grit from the heavy down-pours.
The Prologo Kappa Dea Woman’s specific saddle was so comfortable that it failed to distract me even for a moment during the ride... a nice change from shifting position every five minutes! With no sore spots or pressure points I was able to sit deep in the saddle and instead transfer all the pressure through the pedals, making it ideal for a long day out where comfort is key.
Talking of comfort and a lack of shifting, the new 50/34T Shimano Tiagra 4700 crankset is ideal for the mix of hills and flats that a long ride will throw at you. Although there are alternative ratios to consider in favour of some serious speed, the Tiagra cranks and cassette combo’ provides a range of easier gears for steeper ascents, as well as scope for entertaining some ‘big gears’ on the flats.
Similar in appearance to Shimano’s 105 or Ultegra, the latest Tiagra groupset’s clean and stylish grey finish delivers great shifting and excellent performance. The 165mm cranks were a pleasant surprise – great to see Wilier have created an all-round build for the ‘petit’ cyclist offering a shorter crank length – a component which I often have to swap from the standard 172.5mm.
However, even with the saddle in its most forward position, I found it a slightly uncomfortable stretch to the handlebars on the size XS frame. The 90mm handlebar stem added extra length on top, and the reach to the drops were a stretch too far. As a petit, 5ft1 female, I prefer a shorter stem so a switch to a much user friendly 50 or 70mm stem length plus an inline seatpost would have sorted the ride position for me.
No issues with the narrow 410mm width handlebars, they are a perfect fit and allowed my small hands to sit on the hoods directly in line with my shoulders and I felt in complete control of the bike – nice!
In summary: with its compact geometry and monocoque carbon frameset and Shimano Tiagra components the Wilier Triestina Luna is certainly great value for money. With a few personal changes to the ride position required for the most petit of riders, the Luna set-up is the perfect partner for sportive or leisurely group riding. Terrific bike for a long day in the saddle with a little added performance and Italian flair and know-how for when competition winds up on the hills.