IMG_6974

First look: NeilPryde Alize/Nazaré Di2 aero test platform

One of the best bikes I’ve ever owned was my original NeilPryde Alize aero bike. I bought it when I worked with the brand as UK agent when they first arrived in the UK. It was also a great bike to test aero wheels on, like the review I wrote on the Reynolds Forty Six wheels a while back (http://girodilento.com/reynolds-forty-six-clincher-wheelset-review-or-how-i-learned-to-love-cheating/). Sadly financial pressures meant I had to sell that bike last year and it was a very reluctant sale and one I immediately regretted.

Discussions with a few different people in the bike industry in the months following and it became clear that for blogging and review purposes it made a lot of sense to try and get another one – especially as I’d spent so much time on my old one making it a frameset I knew very well for reviewing components on. Take aero wheels for example – it makes more sense to test them on an aero bike as well as my steel Stoemper Taylör, particularly as most people will put them on a carbon bike.

NeilPryde Alize (Nazare) Di2 6870 front mech & cranks
NeilPryde Alize (Nazare) Di2 6870 front mech & cranks

After a few discussions, my friends at NeilPryde found a frameset that they could help me out with. With the frameset safely stashed in my office I got to thinking about gruppos. Even after 3,000+ km on Campagnolo on my Stoemper, I’m a Shimano guy and I’ve been very keen to try out Di2 for sometime. Given that Ultegra 6870 had just been released, it’s the one I set my heart on and the good folks at Madison helped me make that a reality. They were even kind enough to build it up for me (there’s a blog to come on that). The only non-Shimano part I’m using is the Praxis Works conversion bottom bracket to allow me to run the new Ultegra crank (I’ve gone for 52/36) with the Alize’s PF30 bottom bracket (http://praxiscycles.com/conversion-bb/).

NeilPryde Alize/Nazare complete
NeilPryde Alize/Nazare complete

The Alize I have is the 2013 model year in matt black. It has some improvements over my original bike so it’ll be good to see how they work out. I rode 4,000km on my old one and I’m hoping I can notice the difference. The changes include changing from BSA to PF30 bottom bracket, which drops some weight and makes it easier to manufacture. The dropouts are now carbon. It’s now dual compatible with mechanical and Di2 groupsets. The headtube area has been stiffened following requests from the UHC who loved the frameset but wanted a little less weight and a bit more stiffness in the front end without sacrificing the compliance at the rear. I’m also curious to see if this new and improved bike can still run 28mm tyres like the old one could. All of the changes should have made what I already think is an excellent bike, just a little better. Time will tell. I may even get a TT seatpost for it. Maybe.

NeilPryde Alize/Nazare with Deda Zero100 finishing kit and Lizard Skins tape
NeilPryde Alize/Nazare with Deda Zero100 finishing kit and Lizard Skins tape

For the finishing kit, I’ve stuck with some personal favourites as the base point: Deda Zero 100 bars and stem. I love these Deda bars, so they’re a great starting point. Obviously I hope to swap them off to try and review others in time – but they’re the base case. The bar tape is my first time to try Lizard Skins highly regarded product and I have the 2.5mm version on the Alize (Nazaré). I’ve been given one of the new Pro Turnix saddles to try and that’s on the bike – they’re a new product, are very light and the one I have is the 132mm width.

New Pro Turnix Saddle
New Pro Turnix Saddle

Rounding it out is a set of fabulous Reynolds Aero 58’s including the new Cryo-Blue Power brake pads, which promise big gains in braking performance. I’ve just ridden these wheels at Liege-Bastogne-Liege on my Stoemper with the old pads, so I’m looking forward to trying the new ones out. Tyres are another old favourite now: Michelin Pro 4 Service Course in 25mm. I love 25mm tyres and I like race tyres and I find these both fast and comfortable.

Reynolds Aero 58s and Cryo-Blue Power pads look fantastic
Reynolds Aero 58s and Cryo-Blue Power pads look fantastic

I think the build looks fantastic and I can’t wait to try it out. I’ve been busy since it’s been built up so I’ve only ridden up and down my street (in my jeans and boat shoes) to make sure the Di2 gears didn’t get knocked in the car on the way here. They seem fine and this weekend it’ll get it’s first ride at the Wiggle Jurassic beast – just on the short course. I may even dust my UHC Pro Cycling jersey off for the ride if the weather plays ball (not looking enormously likely).

NeilPryde Alize/Nazare with Deda Zero100 stem and Di2 junction box
NeilPryde Alize/Nazare with Deda Zero100 stem and Di2 junction box

I’ll be doing a long term test on Di2 and will also write a review on the Alize/Nazaré which I didn’t do on my old one as I was working with NeilPryde and I didn’t think it was a fair thing to do as I had a commercial interest in saying great things about it. I really, loved the bike but didn’t review it. Now I have no such commercial interest and will write a review but I’d be shocked if NeilPryde had dropped the ball with it. I’m expecting it to be very good still – perhaps a touch more race bike than before.

Ultegra 6800 brakes have been highly praised - looking forward to trying them out
Ultegra 6800 brakes have been highly praised – looking forward to trying them out

The great thing for me about changing to Shimano 11 speed on the NeilPryde is that now things are more interchangeable with my Stoemper which is 11 speed Campagnolo. I’ve been running the Aero 58’s on both bikes using an Ultegra 6800 cassette. My Campagnolo Chorus just needed a barrel adjuster tweak and it’s been working very, very well.

IMG_6974The complete bike as you see here, sans bottle cages and pedals is 7.4kgs which is pretty respectable for a bike with 58mm deep carbon clinchers on it.

I also have some Rolf wheels here to try and again they’ll be run on both bikes starting shortly.

New Ultegra 6870 Di2 rear mech
New Ultegra 6870 Di2 rear mech

Actually, the only things I’m missing are new bottle cages, perhaps a Garmin Outfront mount (thanks to the Di2 junction box under the stem) and maybe new pedals – also made of carbon to match. Minor details and not ones that’ll stop me from getting riding.

IMG_6981Thanks for reading.

More information here:

http://www.neilprydebikes.com/bikes/nazare/overview.html

http://cycle.shimano-eu.com/publish/content/global_cycle/en/nl/index/components/road/ultegra_6870.html