Simplon Pride first ride review

The coolest aero bike you've never heard of?

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
The one-piece cockpit's split stem is certainly eye-catching

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
The head tube is slimmed right down for minimal frontal area

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
The Pride's tidy seat clamp can be swapped out to fit a conventional round seatpost

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
Simplon's own thru-axle design aims to make wheel changes quicker and easier

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
You get used to the view pretty quickly. The promised out-front mount for computers will clean things right up

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
Yes, yes you can

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.

Matthew Allen

Senior Technical Writer, UK
Former bike mechanic, builder of wheels, hub fetishist and lover of shiny things. Likes climbing a lot, but not as good at it as he looks.
  • Age: 27
  • Height: 174cm / 5'8"
  • Weight: 53kg / 117lb
  • Waist: 71cm / 28in
  • Chest: 84cm / 33in
  • Discipline: Road, with occasional MTB dalliances
  • Preferred Terrain: Long mountain climbs followed by high-speed descents (that he doesn't get to do nearly often enough), plus scaring himself off-road when he outruns his skill set.
  • Current Bikes: Scott Addict R3 2014, Focus Cayo Disc 2015, Niner RLT 9
  • Dream Bike: Something hideously expensive and custom with external cables and a threaded bottom bracket because screw you bike industry.
  • Beer of Choice: Cider, please. Thistly Cross from Scotland
  • Location: Bristol, UK

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