Since my first look review of NeilPryde’s Zephyr I’ve spent another couple of hundred kilometres on the bike to get to know it better. From the first ride, I liked the bike and more time in the saddle has only strengthened that view. The NeilPryde Zephyr is a fine endurance bike. The slight tweaks to the geometry and layup have made for a comfortable, fast, fun bike. Those of you who’ve visited this site before will know of my deep and lasting affection for the NeilPryde Nazare (formerly Alize) aero bike but in my heart of hearts, it’s a Zephyr I should probably be riding. Especially now that I’ve spent more time on one.
The slightly more relaxed geometry (7mm shorter reach and 4mm taller stack) on the size Large I should be riding, combined with the 72 rather than 73mm head angle, makes the Zephyr a touch easier bike to ride. The front at is hardly high at 4mm higher and for me it’s the shorter reach that helps significantly with my on bike comfort. The frame design to add in more comfort certainly works very well too and I found the Zephyr a very comfortable bike but one that’s not too soft. It’s still got some zip and I posted plenty of PR’s on the bike. I never felt it lacked speed and in fact I think the extra comfort over rougher surfaces (relatively speaking) helped me keep my speed in certain situations.
To my mind the “cost” of this extra comfort was slightly less direct acceleration of a race bike and I felt the Zephyr didn’t climb quite as rapidly as the fastest race bikes. It was however, plenty fast enough on the climbs but didn’t have say the “snap” of the BMC TeamMachine I was testing at the same time. Whilst it may lack a little “snap” in acceleration, the bike’s ability of the rougher sections of road pays you back by allowing you to hold more speed across rougher ground.
After several hundred kilometres the one thing I struggled to form a clear view on was the bottom bracket stiffness. I didn’t feel it lacked anything but I didn’t find the acceleration as direct as say my NeilPryde Nazare/Alize.
I loved the blue finish and the Zephyr turned more heads than most of the bike I’ve ridden or reviewed. After one sportive I rode on it, when shod with my 58 Aero Reynolds wheels, it drew an almost constant stream of admirers who wanted to ask about it. It’s a very good looking bike. The tube shapes and dimensions give it an almost classic look in what’s actually a pretty bang up to date carbon bike.
This Ultegra specced bike has really a really well chosen finishing kit. I personally consider mechanical Ultegra the best combination of performance for cost on the market and on the Zephyr we a full gruppo apart from the chain and cassette that are 105. The cranks are the semi-compact 52/36 combined with an 11/28 cassette, which is an excellent choice. The FSA SL-K carbon bars and seatpost remain a personal favourite and it was great to be acquainted with them again. They look great, they’re comfortable and they’re a nice choice that help give the bike a luxury feel.
The Fizik Aliante saddle was very enjoyable to use and another good choice for this fast endurance bike.
The Fulcrum Racing 7 wheels were the weak link in terms of they’re from a cheaper price point that all of the rest of the components. They rode fine and are tough and I think they’d last a long time but if I’d bought this bike, I’d ebay them before using them and invest in something lighter and faster.
NeilPryde have talked of the Zephyr as being compatible with 28mm tyres and the bike I was sent had a pair of 28mm Clement Strada LGG tyres (which are very nice) but there’s really not enough room for 28’s – 25mm should be your widest tyres and they are perfect with the bike. So if you’re specifically looking to run wider tyres on your endurance bike, this might be a black mark for the Zephyr.
If you’re looking for a fun, fast, lively bike that’s on the racy side of endurance but offers a little more comfort with the speed …. And you want to have a caliper braked bike, then absolutely put the NeilPryde Zephyr on your short list. It’s a great choice and if you shop around you might find a bargain too as at least one of my friends has. NeilPryde is still not an enormously well-known brand but it’s developed a reputation for well-designed, fine riding bikes and owners tend to become strand fans of the brand.
I think the tweaked geometry on the Zephyr works brilliantly and for those of us who know we’re not going to race but want something good looking, fast, comfortable that won’t beat us up, the NeilPryde Zephyr is a fine bike. It’s the NeilPryde bike I should probably be riding, so if anyone wants a nearly new Nazare frameset – let me know 🙂 I thoroughly enjoyed my time on this bike and have no hesitation in recommending it.
You can find more information here: http://www.neilprydebikes.com/bikes/zephyr/
For more details on the technical aspects of bike, please do read my first look post here: http://girodilento.com/neilpryde-zephyr-first-ride-review/
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