Simplon Pride first ride review
Austrian brand Simplon has an all new aero bike and it’s pretty striking. The Pride is a lightweight, disc-only, full-carbon machine with some unique features.
Simplon is a well established brand on the continent, but it’s not well known elsewhere. That’s set to change, as bikes will now be sold in UK shops.
Simplon Pride spec as tested
Frame: Full carbon, 12mm rear thru-axle
Fork: Full carbon, flat mount, 12mm thru-axle
Levers: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 hydraulic
Brakes: Shimano Dura-Ace hydraulic disc
Front derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2
Rear derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2
Cranks: Shimano Dura-Ace
Cassette: Shimano Dura-Ace
Wheels: DT Swiss Arc 1100 Dicut DB 62
Tyres: Schwalbe One 25mm
Cockpit: Simplon carbon integrated
Saddle: Selle Italia SLR Kit Carbonio Flow
Seatpost: Simplon carbon aero
The Pride’s most noticeable feature is the integrated carbon cockpit with its radically split stem. Simplon will offer a range of bar widths and stem rises to suit different riders, and standard bars and stems can be fitted as an alternative.
An out-front mount for computers is planned too, which is good news as sticking a Garmin on top of that lovely clean bar just feels wrong.
The one-piece cockpit’s split stem is certainly eye-catching Matthew Allen / Immediate Media
Everything about the Pride is aero-oriented. The cables and hoses are almost entirely hidden, and the fork blends cleanly with the frame.
The head tube has a pronounced ‘neck’ to reduce frontal area, while the asymmetrical bottom bracket area looks like it’s designed to route air cleanly past the seat tube.
The head tube is slimmed right down for minimal frontal area Matthew Allen / Immediate Media
The squared-off seatpost is secured using a clamp with two rear-facing bolts. The clamp hardware can be swapped out to take a conventional round post, so there’s considerable scope for adapting the bike to unusual fitting requirements, for instance using it for triathlon or time trials.
The Pride’s tidy seat clamp can be swapped out to fit a conventional round seatpost Matthew Allen / Immediate Media
Simplon has devised its own quick release system for thru-axles, and it’s pretty cool. The lever flips open like a conventional quick release, but the axle doesn’t release unless you press the red button on the other side.
Simplon’s own thru-axle design aims to make wheel changes quicker and easier Matthew Allen / Immediate Media
The axle slides out of the way as you’d expect, but it doesn’t just fall out — a pin holds it in place, making it easier to reinstall the wheel.
Simplon Pride first ride impressions
You get used to the view pretty quickly. The promised out-front mount for computers will clean things right up Matthew Allen / Immediate Media
I had a very brief blast on the Dura-Ace Di2 Pride pictured, and first impressions are pretty positive.
It’s unquestionably a full-on racer that prioritises speed over plushness, but on Italian tarmac at least, it was pretty darned smooth.
I even rode a tiny bit of gravel on the Pride, and while it’s certainly not the bike’s natural milieu, nothing exploded or fell off.
The view of the front wheel through the stem is an amusing novelty. I can’t quantify the aero benefits, but the one-piece carbon cockpit certainly contributes to a stiff, pointy front end.
There must be at least a smidge of flex in the fork however as I was able to induce some disc rub up front when cranking hard. This was exacerbated by a noticeably warped rotor though, and a true one likely wouldn’t have rubbed at all.
I didn’t get the chance to weigh my test bike, but Simplon claims that builds start at 6.8kg and I expect this one was a touch heavier as it included deep section carbon clinchers.
Yes, yes you can Matthew Allen / Immediate Media
Whatever the precise figure, the Pride proved an able and willing partner on the climbs, one that didn’t resist being thrown around. It’s stiff too — not absurdly so, but enough to make bursts of acceleration feel rewarding.
I haven’t spent enough time with the bike to give a final verdict and I’d certainly want to try it on more familiar roads, but I came away impressed.
The futuristic looks are backed up by genuine performance, and I’m keen to see if the Pride lives up to its early promise with more extensive testing.
Simplon Pride pricing and availability
Pricing in other markets is to be confirmed, but on the continent complete bikes will start at €5,299 for a Shimano Ultegra Di2 build. The Pride will be available from September.