When windsurfing company NeilPryde moved into the bike arena, they enlisted the help of BMW Design California to develop the aerodynamic Alize and the Diablo. Where the Alize is all about wind-beating ability, the Diablo’s design focuses on lighter weight and true race bike potential.
The frame is all muscular tube shapes, and they aren’t purely cosmetic. The triangular top tube and down tube have an external rib through their midsections which NeilPryde claim adds rigidity side to side while enabling the top and bottom sections of the tubing to be made thinner, saving precious weight.
The down tube is hugely oversized leading into a large bottom bracket shell and Y-shaped chainstay junction, and the 2in-deep stays taper towards a box section at the rear dropouts. These are all design cues we expect to see on a modern performance bike. Our top-flight-equipped test bike is built up with a high performance mix of Shimano Dura-Ace, the excellent SL version of Mavic’s Ksyrium wheels, and FSA’s SLK finishing components.
The Diablo feels very positive to ride, with the taut, rigid frame giving a responsive ride. We loved the long, low position combined with a long, 45mm offset fork; it produces a very stable and somewhat neutral steering performance – just how we like it on a bike made to go quickly. Point the Diablo downhill and push the power and it rewards your courage with perfectly balanced and confidence-inspiring control.
When climbing, the Diablo’s high performance and low weight, particularly the wheels, are a real bonus. We felt compelled to hit the hills at a high tempo and found ourselves out of the saddle attacking climbs that we would normally be sitting down and grinding out. We loved the responsive rewards at speed too.
The sheer rigidity of the frame does mean a little less comfort though: it does an admirable job of dulling vibrations from coarse surfaces, but it does rock and jar more than some of its competition. But for a bike that’s defined as an out and race machine, NeilPryde have made an admirable debut with handling that any bike designer would be proud of.
This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine.