Wilier has one very interesting and rich history.
It all began back in the summer of 1906 technology was moving forward and the bike was becoming what we know it to be today. In just a few years the bike was the main mode of transport for the Italians. Thanks to the initiative of pioneers like the shopkeeper and craftsman Pietro Dal Molin from Bassano. He was fascinated by bicycles and the speed with which they were gaining popularity in daily life. While newspapers focused on the sporting achievements of the first moustached cyclists in England, France and Italy, Dal Molin decided to get involved in this adventure and play a part in it by opening a small workshop to manufacture bicycles. He purchased an almost unknown English brand, Wilier, and established his first modest workshop in San Fortunato. The Wilier bicycle factory was founded here.
At the time of the outbreak of the First World War, the Wilier company in Bassano was well established, Bassano became a military crossroads a few kilometres from the frontline. The production of bicycles in the San Fortunato facility slowed down but did not stop. With Italy finally free from but exhausted by the war, cycling became legendary, particularly thanks to the astonishing reports that newspapers and the radio would spread about the mythical duels between Bartali and Coppi. At the same time sponsorship was becoming a common practice.
A new team joined the professional cycling scene in 1946: it wore a red jersey and bore San Giusto's halberd has its emblem. Practically a flag. Ciclomeccanica Dal Molin devised a new sports bicycle and called it Wilier Triestina. The unmistakable copper reflection of its colour was immediately patented and would become the company's distinguishing feature for decades.
In the period immediately after the War, the catalogue, in four languages, listed the main features of the bikes manufactured at the foot of Monte Grappa. The “speciale corsa – tipo Giro d’Italia” model was top of the range, identical to the one used by Magni, Cottur, Martini, Bevilacqua, Maggini and all the racers of the Bassano team. The advert clearly stated, “100% copper bikes”. A unique characteristic, unrepeatable and immediately eye-catching. The copper plating proved successful test after test, in the painting department headed by Bruno Villari, class of 1908, who had been kept away from home by the War for many years. A stroke of genius, driven by the desire to create something different for a team which believed in an Italian Trieste. There were many attempts, worthy of a medieval alchemist lab. Bruno Villari, who had an eye for colours, insisted. For Wilier he did not want those common and overused colours, but something different and special that would impress people. He mixed dozens of colours, poured and removed diluent, nitrate and white spirit to find a paint which looked like the red of the jersey. He thought loading carmine with traces of black was too dull. He was about to give up and use an industrial paint when he had an idea which radically changed Wilier bikes, giving them a jewel-like quality. The idea came to him while observing the galvanic procedure originating from the passage of electrical current in the tub containing the electrolytic bath. Anode, cathode, ions, mineral salts and infinitesimal deposits on the surfaces to be treated. Chemistry, electrochemistry and mechanics. After experiments and attempts – he went as far as taking home some pieces of zinc-coated pipes to continue experimenting in the oven of his inexpensive kitchen - Villari realised the potential of electrolysis and managed to entirely copper a frame.
Willier continued its rich racing career for many years to come. Until 1952 the company turned its efforts towards the motorbike. It wasn't until 1970 that they started to produce bike again taken over by the Giacetti brothers. Jump forward another 10 years and the brand is back racing.
Business was good and the Gastaldello brothers decided to supply their bikes to some performing teams. It was Dino Zandegù, a good racer in the 1950s and 1960s, then sporting director, to convince them to gradually attempt the adventure of professional competition. In 1979 Zandegù put Mecap Hoonved together, a team with no great expectations which had Mario Beccia, Luciano Rossignoli and Sergio Santimaria as it most representative racers.
Wednesday 18 May 2005: a date Rossano Veneto will remember for a long time. That day, thanks to the commitment of Wilier Triestina, Selle Italia and the town council, the town became the destination for one of the stages of the 88th edition of the Giro Ciclistico d’Italia, the Ravenna-Rossano Veneto, of 212 kilometres. Never before had the town been in the middle of such a resounding sports event and never before had it welcomed so many thousands of festive fans. That day transformed Rossano. Its crowded roads adorned in pink became unrecognisable by its own inhabitants; they were no longer streets but rather tracks for the champions of the Giro d’Italia. The end of the stage was a 5.3 km circuit that the group repeated three times before rushing to the finish line in viale Monte Grappa. When the convoy approached the finish line Rossano exploded in jubilation and thousands of hearts started pounding faster and faster until the final sprint. Pure adrenaline was flowing when the sprinters tackled the last straight stretch at full speed. The ultra favourite Petacchi from La Spezia fought until the last metre to then bow to the great unforgiving Australian cyclist Robbie McEwen under the finish line. It was an exciting spectacle, a reward for the long months of work by the organisers, who we must give credit to for placing Rossano in the limelight of world cycling for one day.
This is the last chapter in the section that celebrates Wilier Triestina's first hundred year anniversary. Since 2006 Wilier Triestina's history has been full of important achievements and acknowledgements at an international level. The victories of Alessandro Ballan at the Tour of Flanders in 2007 and Damiano Cunego at the Amstel Gold Race in 2008 and at the Giri di Lombardia in 2007 and 2008 are unforgettable. The apotheosis was reached in September 2008, when Alessandro Ballan won the world championship in Varese riding the mythical Cento1, followed by his teammate Damiano Cunego.
Also in the last great Tours, Wilier Triestina has led the way together with two first-class athletes. In the Tour de France 2010 with Alessandro Petacchi, who managed to win the green jersey, standing out as the leader in the points classification. Just one year later, in 2011, Michele Scarponi won his first Giro dItalia (a victory awarded after the disqualification of Alberto Contador). Wilier Triestina then continued its era of Best Sellers with new two-wheeled jewels. Cento1: light, stiff, fast and receptive. Sales really took off with this model. Granturismo and GTR: for those who love pedalling with the utmost comfort while still enjoying the performance offered by the most receptive racing bicycle. TwinBlade: the time trial bike with a completely innovative aerodynamic design. Zero.7: the lightest frame ever built by the Rossano Veneto based manufacturer. Less than 800 grams. Cento1SR and Cento1AIR: the sum of all the distinctive features of the previous models. Aerodynamic, light, with torsional rigidity and comfortable. A continuously evolving range of models, consolidated by the results and experience of the professional teams sponsored by Wilier Triestina. Relying on the strong combination of quality products and professional results, in the last decade Wilier Triestina has increased and consolidated its international presence with double-digit percentage increases in terms of turnover and bicycles produced.
We are very excited to have this brand in the store any company with this much history interests and excites us we love Italian and we love classic bike they are making some of the prettiest and most beautiful bikes on the market and they are keeping that amazing copper colour.
Give the team a call on 01202 775588 to get a look at the new brand instore.