NeilPryde have more than 40 years’ experience harnessing the elements to speed windsurfers over the waves. Their new Alize bike aims to cheat the wind to maximise land-based, two-wheeled power, and the result after extensive wind tunnel and CFD (computational fluid dynamics) modelling is blunt leading edges, oversized tubes and Kamm tail (truncated teardrop) tube profiles for aerodynamics.
Aero road bikes typically have deep-section tubes with narrow frontal profiles that require greater stiffening to prevent lateral twisting, often resulting in a heavier frame with a harsher ride. However, the Alize’s carbon frame has a reasonably light claimed weight of 960g (L/56cm) and a clever carbon layup in the rear triangle means that, even with seatstays as large as its chainstays, the rear end is extremely comfortable for such an aggressive-looking bike.
Stiffening ribs in the top tube, seat tube and down tube provide excellent lateral rigidity. The down tube/seat tube junction creates a huge bottom bracket area, housing a PressFit 30 BB, to which the one-piece asymmetric chainstay, dropout and seatstay assembly is mounted. The aero seatpost is available in a 78-degree TT/triathlon version, and the seatpost clamp is neatly concealed within a rubber collar to smooth the junction and prevent water ingress.
Stand on the pedals, and the Alize reacts like a rapid road bike, the aero design hindering neither response nor handling. It's as planted and stable as anything we’ve ridden, but it’s also agile, not afraid of corners and has an incisive turn-in from the solid front end. Its lateral rigidity, asymmetric stays and fine wheels give it no fear of gravity either, and it romps up climbs.
Shimano Dura-Ace mechanical is a joy, with swift shifting and great brakes, and the frame is also Di2 compatible. Mavic’s Ksyrium SLS wheels are light, fast and reliable all-rounders, and the carbon matrix bar has a pleasing rearward sweep and good shock absorption. Our XL model still laughs in the face of the UCI 6.8kg limit, and with such a great blend of performance, comfort, and competitive pricing, the Alize deserves to go far.
This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.