Modeled on the top selling Izoard XP men’s road bike, the ‘Stella’ is Wilier’s lastest foray into women’s cycling since the Mimosa XP in 2011, and it looks absolutely lovely.
Considering the frequent debate over whether us ladies need female specific geometry for our bikes, it’s interesting to note that the Stella’s frame and fork are identical to those on Wilier’s Izoard, having been proportionally sized down. So in essence, the Stella is a small Izoard equipped with well thought out female specific parts and a really nice ladies paint job.
There’s a reason behind using the same geometry as the Izoard – Italian frames like these are fairly short to begin with, so if Wilier changed the geometry by shortening the length of the top tube for instance, you’d get a lot of ‘toe overlap,’ meaning your lead foot might hit the front wheel when you corner. So rather than changing the frame geometry, Wilier has simply fitted a shorter stem to the Stella to suit ladies’ shorter reach.
Aimed at the entry-level racer or women looking for a slick, sporty road bike, the monocoque carbon frame and fork use Wilier’s WMS carbon technology with an outer layer of unidirectional carbon fibre. The result? A lightweight frame that rides smoothly and feels suitably stiff.
When it comes to geometry, if you’re accustomed to bikes aimed at sportive riders, you’ll notice that your hands are lower and your body position less upright astride the Stella. I found this slightly more race-like position very comfortable; it’s great for an all out attack at speed.
The Stella felt really good on the drops; not only was the riding position very comfortable, the inherent sturdiness of the bike really came into play – when I stood up and sprinted while on the drops, I really liked the way the bike felt so stable and true, with no flapping around at the front end, even when I was pushing and pulling on the bars.
On the flipside, when cruising along at lower speeds, I occasionally wished the bike felt a tiny bit more lively; I sometimes felt like the Stella lacked a little ‘oomph,’ or eagerness, though I do suspect this might have a lot to do with the components rather than the frame.
The levers were easy to reach when on the hoods and the drops, thanks in part to the shallower drop women’s specific bars, and also due to the design of the Shimano Tiagra levers. I can’t tell you how many women’s bikes come with levers you can barely reach when riding on the drops, so this was a massive bonus.
Though the Tiagra levers were easy to reach, they look really out of place on a frame like this. The overall look of the bike is spoiled by budget looking shifters and I really don’t like the gear cable coming out of the front; it would look so much better if the cables were routed through the bars and the frame.
For me, the Stella’s Achilles heal is most definitely the Tiagra derailleurs and cassette. I feel that it doesn’t make sense to have such a nice frame with a groupset such as this, particularly when far cheaper carbon bikes come fitted with superior components. Tiagra is one of Shimano’s budget ranges, and not only is it weighty, adding heft to the light carbon frame, it’s terribly clunky to use. If you were to start racing you might want to consider upgrading to something that changes more smoothly.
When it comes to gearing, the 11-28 cassette and compact crank delivered plenty of speed when put through their paces in a race situation. A custom FSA seatpost and a custom FSA Gossamer crankset add to the swish look of the Stella, and with a lovely black, blue and grey paintjob, this is definitely one of the best looking ladies’ bikes I’ve seen. Custom FSA and Wilier branded brake calipers also look really nice, though sadly didn’t perform particularly well.
The Alex wheelset is fairly standard and does the job, but if you were looking to fine tune the performance of this bike an upgraded, stiffer wheelset would sit better with such a great frame. Ditto, the saddle – I checked with Wilier and it seems that the perch they had originally selected for the Stella is currently unavailable so they’ve had to substitute this Selle San Marco ‘Milano.’ It’s a shame, as it’s plainly the wrong kind of saddle for a bike such as this.
A great looking bike with which feels strong and reliable and very comfortable on the drops. The Stella is only let down by some of the components – the majority of your money is going on a great frame.
– Stiff, lightweight frame, feels superb on the drops
– Very good looking
– A budget groupset
Sizes: XS 47cm, S 50cm, M 53cm
Price: RRP £1599
More information: Wilier
What Wilier say about the Stella road bike
The 2013 Wilier Stella Women’s road bike has been modelled after one of their top selling men’s bikes, the Izoard XP. It typifies the brand’s emphasis on styling and ride quality, while representing an amazing value. The Stella continues to push the boundaries of comfortable road bikes that are race-ready and affordable and styled specifically for women.
The carbon monocoque frame utilizes the same award-winning tube shapes and geometry that has made it’s brother, the Izoard XP a best seller worldwide over the past few years and further benefits from an outer layer of unidirectional carbon fiber, while its proprietary fork is designed and contoured specifically to enhance the bike’s superior handling.
The 2013 Wilier Stella is the perfect bike for the entry level female racer who demands light weight and performance with an emphasis on comfort.
- Carbon Fiber Monocoque Frame with Wilier Monocoque System (WMS) Technology
- Carbon Fiber Monocoque Wiler Custom Fork
- FSA Gossamer Custom Wilier Crankset
- FSA Gossamer Custom Wilier Brakes
Colours: Blue/White/Silver mix
Frame: Full carbon monocoque
Fork: Carbon / aluminium steerer
Wheels: Shimano WH RS10
Tyres: CST 700 x 23
Shifters: Shimano Tiagra
Front derailleur: Shimano Tiagra
Rear derailleur: Shimano Tiagra
Crank: FSA Gossamer, 50/34T
Cassette: Shimano Tiagra 11-28T
Saddle: San Marco Milano
Seatpost: FSA SL280
Handlebar: FSA Omega Compact
Stem: FSA OD190
Headset: FSA Integrated
Brakeset: FSA Gossamer