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girodilento Hall of fame: NeilPryde Nazare (Alize)

I’ve decided to create a new category for the products that are my favourites from everything I’ve reviewed during the last 6 years and over 400 blog posts. The NeilPryde Nazare (Alize) is the first of those reviews. I love these NeilPryde aero bikes, they’re fast, comfortable and fun. If you’re lucky you can also pick them up at a bargain price.

Not long after I begin this blog back in 2010, I wrote a post about the brand’s launch (https://girodilento.com/new-aero-road-bike-brand-neil-pryde-a-competition-to-win-a-bike-for-a-year/).  I sent NeilPryde a link to my story and a series of discussions ended up with me being appointed the UK agent to help launch the bikes to the press and to customers. Part of that meant I ended up buying one of the first of, what was then called an Alize, in the UK.

My original NeilPryde Alize

My original NeilPryde Alize

I remember that the day the bikes arrived at my house, I had a potential customer travel from London to try them out in the dark. Much like me, he was smitten as soon as he rode the Alize. Right from the first few hundred metres, we both were saying that it just felt “right”. He bought one and for me it was the beginning of a cycling love affair that’s still going strong in 2016.

To date, I’ve ridden around 6,500km and am on my second one. I had to sell my first one to pay some bills a few years ago and regretted it immediately. This began a process that led me to my current Alize, which is a 2013 model – just before the name changed to Nazare thanks to the legal department at Specialized, who were concerned that buyers for their aluminium Allez might be confused by a carbon aero bike called an Alize. I still call it an Alize but officially it’s now a Nazare as NeilPryde figured it wasn’t worth an expensive court battle for their small bike company.

My current Ultegra Di2 NeilPryde Alize/Nazare

My current Ultegra Di2 NeilPryde Alize/Nazare

I haven’t worked with NeilPryde for over 4 years but I still love the Alize. Aero bikes were traditionally uncomfortable and not the greatest to ride, but the Alize has always been a joy – smooth fast and comfortable, really everything I want in a bike.

I got back on mine after the winter last weekend and had forgotten how fast it was. It’s a good feeling and it made for a fun ride.

Kammtail tube shaping on the down and seat tube

Kammtail tube shaping on the down and seat tube

The frames have a few tricks up their sleeve these days, but the core has remained unchanged: high modulous carbon, Kammtail frame shaping by BMW Designworks (wind tunnel tested), tapered fork, a second seatpost option so it can double up as a TT bike, internal cabling. The frame weight has been lowered over time.

When NeilPryde worked with the United Healthcare (UHC) pro cycling team, the riders loved the bike but wanted less weight and stiffer front end. NeilPryde tweaked both and added Di2 compatibility as well as improved power transfer and a PF30 bottom bracket.

Chunky PF30 bottom bracket area gives excellent performance

Chunky PF30 bottom bracket area gives excellent performance

UHC said thanks by picking up nearly 100 pro podiums in the year they rode the revised bikes. So it’s well and truly race proven.

The geometry is excellent too, it’s race bike geometry but sensibly so by not being super low in the front end. I was told by the company that they consulted with someone on the geometry who’d ridden a number of grand tours, which might explain why it works so well.  It’s a bike that I’ve never had to doubt the handling on. This is a bike that’s always up for riding as fast as you want. Some race bikes urge you to attack all the time, the Alize/Nazare is a bike that works with you to go as fast or slowly as you like. It’s quite happy cruising along the lanes as you chat to your mates as it is attacking a high speed series of bends. I’ve ridden few bikes that can do this so well.

Shaped headtube has been stiffened up over the years to improve front end handling

Shaped headtube has been stiffened up over the years to improve front end handling

My original Alize could even run 28mm tyres! Although the moulds haven’t changed, I can’t manage that on my new one but there’s plenty of room for 25s. My own Alize is running Shimano’s fantastic Ultegra Di2 and is usually to be seen with a pair of Reynolds 58 Aero wheels which are a wonderful compliment to the frame. Fast wheels make the NeilPryde Alize/Nazare even faster! They look great too and make for intoxicating combination.

For me the bike is also a terrific test platform as I’ve spent so many miles riding these frames they’re a great benchmark – especially for aero components.

Internal cable routing capable of running mechanical or electronic groupsets

Internal cable routing capable of running mechanical or electronic groupsets

NeilPryde have struggled to cement their place in the cycling market in the UK with multiple changes in distribution over the years and this has meant that it’s been possible at times to pick these bikes up at really cheap prices. At the time of writing, Wiggle has a range of NeilPryde Bikes for sale at half retail price. These represent a fantastic buy if you want a bike that’s fast, fun, comfortable and suitable for everything from crit racing to weekend everyday riding. I can’t think of another aero bike with a high modulous frameset for anything like the value.

A terrific high modulous carbon frame, that's fast, fun and comfortable

A terrific high modulous carbon frame, that’s fast, fun and comfortable

Over the years, several of my friends have also ended up buying Alizes and some of those early customers have ended up friends. For all of these riders, it’s been amazing how universally positive they’ve been about the bikes. I’m not the only person I know who sold theirs and then had to track down another as they missed it so much. I also know owners with top end Italian exotica in their fleet but spend most of their time riding their Alize.

The NeilPryde Alize/Nazare well deserves its place on the girodilento Hall of Fame. It’s a fantastic bike and if you buy right, also an excellent bargain that offers a terrific blend of speed, comfort, performance and fun. It’s a hidden gem in the cycling market that riders in the know will seek out as a fantastic aero bike for all types of riding.

For more information, visit: http://www.neilprydebikes.com/bikes/nazare/

You can check those Wiggle bargains out here: NeilPryde Nazare Ultegra & NeilPryde Nazare 105

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My original NeilPryde Alize out for a ride with an Italian friend

My original NeilPryde Alize out for a ride with an Italian friend