New aero road bike brand: Neil Pryde & a competition to win a bike for a year


Back in early August on my summer holiday, I first saw news about NeilPryde bikes and it’s an interesting model, so I wanted to write some more about it after a little more information had emerged. At the time, I started a couple of threads on some forums (Bikeradar and Weightweenies to name two) as it’s always good to know of new people entering the market, especially when they’re not just re-badging generic frames but completely new designs which in this case are in conjunction with BMW Design Works USA. 

NeilPryde’s a very successful sail and carbon fibre rig maker (http://www.neilprydebikes.com/euro/our-story) and it’s a name familiar to me from growing up in New Zealand. Even though I don’t have much of a sailing/windsurfing background, you couldn’t help know of the brand in a country where sailing and windsurfing are very high profile.
I’m a big fan of aerodynamic bike design and with a design heritage based around sails, it makes perfect sense to use this knowledge and expertise when the decision to move into the bike business was made. 

Two models have been launched to the market so far, the Alize and the Diablo. Both are aero designs but are aimed at slightly different markets. Both bikes are available as a frameset or fully built up with either Shimano Ultegra 6700 or Dura Ace 7900 groupsets. Both fully built options feature differing levels of Mavic wheels, FSA bars, stem and seatpost with a Selle Italia saddle. If you fancy one with either a SRAM or Campagnolo drivetrain you’ll need to go for the frameset option. 
The top of the range and all out racing and climbing machine is the Diablo, which is the lighter of the two models at 0.97kgs for a 56cm frame. It’s a high modulous frame that’s designed for all out performance (according to the website!). Fundamentally it’s lighter and stiffer as the flagship model.
The second model the Alize is also an aero design manufactured with high modulous carbon but is tweaked slightly more for comfort and is pitched as being a great bike for century rides – an all purpose aero bike if you like. It’s reasonably light at 1.05kg for a size 56 frame. 
For me my heart would be going for the Diablo as it’s the climbing/all out racing bike, but my head would be saying choose an Alize as it’s still a fast light and more aero bike but with greater comfort than the Diablo. So fast, light and comfortable – a bit of a holy grail for a recrreational rider like me, especially given the state of the roads I ride on.

It will be great to see tests of them both appearing soon.

There’s been some early media coverage but nothing in enormous detail.

I found a thread on Weightweenies from a new owner Sean Smith(the thread is here: http://weightweenies.starbike.com/forum/viewtopic.php?=10&t=78168&hilit=alize) who says he rates his Alize more highly than his Cervelo RS, which is a good compliment as I think the RS is a great bike. Sean has also written an excellent review on the Alize, which is well worth reading if you’re interested in learning more about this bike:  http://qualifyforraam2008.blogspot.com/2010/10/neil-pryde-alize-review.html

The Weightweenies thread also shows a further blog review is under development at the Glory Cycles Blog. I have contacted Clive de Sousa who writes the blog and although he says his review won’t be ready for a few weeks, he did tell me though that he loves both of the bikes – especially the Alize, which he says he likes better than his Eddy Merckx EMX-5 and his Ridley Noah, which are both fantastic bikes. Very high praise indeed and I’m really looking forward to the reviews.

Unusually for any bike company you can even see a photoset of the moulds used to make the bikes on the company’s flickr stream (http://www.flickr.com/photos/neilprydebikes/sets/72157625001248004/). It’s great to see such openness.They’ve also posted the stiffness measures too and you can read about that in the frame specifications.

There are another couple of interesting points to note. If you are interested in one of these bikes you order it direct from the website and the company are offering free delivery to 32 countries. There is a plan to start setting up some showrooms that will offer test rides but these are still fairly early in development. At present there is one in Hawaii and one in France (see the news section of the website). The prices include all delivery charges and taxes – so you won’t get any nasty surprises from customs when the bike arrives. In simple terms it’s the same model as buying from someone like Dell (computers). Choose what you want and order it online direct from the manufacturer. This is relatively rare in cycling, with perhaps Canyon being the largest online bike manufacturer that I’m aware of (http://www.canyon.com/_en/). What you can’t do at the moment is customise the builds -they are set but in fairness they’re well specified and chosen built lists at two sensible price points considering the quality of the bikes.

If for whatever reason you don’t like the bike you have 7 days from the date of delivery to arrange a return – but if you’ve ridden it – it might be trickier – so that’s something to be aware of before you hit the road.

Both bikes are also offered with a 10 year warranty which shows both confidence in the construction and a company that’s going to stand behind the customer for quite sometime.

Another reason for writing this post now is to let you know NeilPryde bikes are currently running a competition for bloggers and/or well connected (via social media) people to provide a free bike for a year to use and write about. Obviously I’ve entered just in case but I wanted to make sure everyone who visited this site knows about the competition so you can all enter too. How often to do you get offered a chance to have a free and really interesting bike for a year? 
If you’d like to check this out (and enter) the link you need is this one: http://www.neilprydebikes.com/euro/customform/epicridercompetition

Good luck … and if you win a bike (from reading about the competition here) do let me know and send me some pictures to put up. Obviously if I’m fortunate enough to be one of the people chosen, you’ll be seeing these bikes alot over the next year.
You can find a German Video review of the Alize here:

Here’s a video of the background for the project and the collaboration with BMW Designworks – it’s 10 minutes long but it’s worth watching if you have the time…

For more information visit: http://www.neilprydebikes.com/

Update: December 13th 2010: 
I’ve just received an Alize and a Diablo and have posted first look pictures here: http://girodilento.com/neilpryde-bikes-first-looks-alize-and-diablo
Thanks for reading.