It might seem an odd leap for a windsurﬁng and sailing company to start making bikes, but that’s what NeilPryde have done. The company discovered that 60 percent of their customers are also keen cyclists, so started working with Designworks USA to create a bike range for windsurfers who swap Neoprene for Lycra.
Frame: At the ﬁrst attempt, NeilPryde hit the mark. For an aero frame, the Alize is very light, and very little of your effort is wasted (9/10)
Handling: Lively enough to race, stable enough if you want to ﬁt tri-bars and enter time trials or triathlons. The ride is ﬁrm but far from uncomfortable (9/10)
Equipment: A full house of Shimano Ultegra kit is solid value at this price and shifts gears with quiet efﬁciency. We also got on well with the Selle italia Sl saddle (8/10)
Wheels: As an all-round wheelset you can’t argue with Mavic Ksyrium Elites. But these aren’t the most aerodynamic wheels for a bike like this (8/10)
NeilPryde alize ultegra: neilpryde alize ultegra Paul Smith - www.smithpic.co.uk
There are two bikes in the line-up, both high-end carbon ﬁbre racers. NeilPryde say the range-topping Diablo is for all-round racing and climbing. The Alize is aimed at breakaway specialists who value aerodynamics over having the lightest bike, in particular someone who wants one bike for road riding, time trials and triathlons. For that reason Alize buyers can choose an additional 76-degree seatpost to get the seating angle that many triathletes prefer.
There’s a choice of two builds, both of which come with a high enough standard of kit to do justice to the frame. We’ve been riding the Ultegra bike, which costs £2,799. You get Mavic Ksyrium Elite wheels, fast and light Hutchinson Atom tyres, an FSA handlebar and stem, plus a Selle Italia SL Kit Carbonio saddle. The more expensive build swaps the Ultegra groupset for Dura-Ace, upgrades the wheels and adds a smattering of carbon components.
We reckon the Alize Ultegra is better value. For one thing, it rides like a more expensive bike. Push down hard on the pedals and the bike shoots forwards. There’s no wasted effort and little inertia to overcome from the Ksyrium wheels. You can hit serious speeds seriously quickly. Think aero bikes can’t climb? Think again. The stiff, responsive frame and the low overall weight are both allies in your ﬁght against gravity.
Sit down and spin or stand up and stomp – the Alize is happy either way. This bike suits burly sprinters as much as skinny climbers. Hard, out-of-the saddle efforts produce hardly any ﬂex down at the bottom bracket (NeilPryde say the Diablo is stiffer still), and the same stiffness is noticeable around the head tube and fork, no doubt helped by the headset’s oversized bottom race.
The Alize goes where the rider points it, and mid-corner bumps fail to shift the bike off-line. The geometry neatly hits the sweet spot where agility and stability meet. We’d be conﬁdent ﬁtting clip-on tri-bars to this bike, knowing the steering wouldn’t wander. The 180mm head-tube allows a low, wind-cheating position, and the frame plays plenty of aero tricks.
Internal cable routing, an aero seatpost and the tubing’s Kamm proﬁle (a cut-off aerofoil that some aerodynamicists say is more slippery than a conventional 3:1 proﬁle) all play their part. Mind you, if you are going to race against the clock, we’d consider swapping the wheels. Mavic Ksyrium Elites are light, durable and stiff, but a mid or deep-section wheel would be more aerodynamic.
The Ksyriums aren’t the most forgiving wheels either so you do feel bumps in the road more than you might riding a sportive bike, for example. But the Alize isn’t harsh, and we’d expect lone breakaway specialists to ﬁnd the relatively ﬁrm ride a price worth paying for the undoubted speed. You’d never guess NeilPryde are newcomers to this bike-building game.