Heard of NeilPryde? You probably have if you're into your windsurfing, as they've been making all kinds of water-based sporty kit for decades. They've made plenty of it from Carbon, too, and someone over at NeilPryde HQ must have looked at a monocoque bike frame in the last few years and thought, "I reckon we could make a decent fist of one of them". The result is NeilPryde bikes, of which there are two: the slippery aero-styled Alize; and the full-on race unit that we've got our hands on, the Diablo.
First things first: it's a nice looking bike, a bit Felt-esque in its lines and that's no bad thing. It's not just a badged-up off-the shelf unit from a helpful Taiwanese factory, though. NeilPryde have been working in Carbon for a long time and have plenty of R&D knowledge and resource to chuck at the bikes, and that's reflected in some of the rather opaque things they say about the bike's development on their website.
"During the analysis and development phase, calculations of the mechanical behaviour of each tube and joint within the Diablo were based on an energy principle (i.e. to minimise the deformation) and resulted in a stiffness matrix, key to describing the mechanical behaviour of the structure. This matrix specified the reaction forces at the nodes when they were subjected to a set of known displacements", we're told. We think that means that the frame doesn't bend much. But we're being a bit facetious: there's lots of technology to talk about.
One of the key bits of tech in the Diablo is something that NeilPryde call the exoskeleton; basically the Carbon layup is controlled to make sure that there are continuous fibres running through the major stress points in the frame. That's something we've seen before (Cannondale springs to mind), as is the Virtual Kammtail Airfoil shape that they're using on some tube profiles on the Alize (Trek Speed Concept, in case you've forgotten...), but it does reinforce the fact that NeilPryde are coming with some hard-earned experience of working with Carbon. "When we first began to dream about developing cutting-edge, high-performance road bikes we started as we do with most of our projects, with a blank piece of paper", says their website. "However, while the paper may have been blank, the knowledge base from which the designs came from was extensive. We've cut and stitched, molded and formed, machined and extruded, a variety of materials over the last 40 years to make a wide range of products that enable athletes to push the boundaries". Alrighty then. That stitching experience might come in handy if they start doing saddles...
Okay, back to the Diablo. It's a two-piece monocoque construction (front triangle and rear stays) and the handy graphs on the website tell us it's tuned for stiffness and light weight, where the Alize sacrifices a bit of both for aero-ness and comfort. Light it certainly is; claimed weight for the frame is 970g and while our large test bike with Dura Ace 7900 and Mavic Ksyrium SL wheelset wouldn't quite have the UCI commissaires adding any lead shot to the water bottle, at 6.9kg (15.2lb) it's close to the limit. FSA supply most of the finishing kit (SLK components) in this build and you get a Selle Italia SLR saddle to perch upon. That little lot will cost you £3,699 or you can have an Ultegra build for £2,899. The frameset on its own is £1,899. All orders are taken via the website, there's no dealer network.
We've handed the Diablo over to our tester who was very happy to see it, and he'll be subjecting it to a range of tortures including some criterium racing up at Thruxton circuit. We'll have a review on road.cc soon!
Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.