Some bikes need more introduction than others. Thankfully Dave gave this bike and brand a nice one in the Just In post about this bike. In a nutshell NeilPryde brings years of composite experience to the table in a direct distribution model, resulting in a high tech, high spec bike at a good price. This is a growing trend in the UK with Germanys Canyon recent launch to our shores.
What I like about NeilPryde's entry to the bike market is that its clearly more than just a NeilPryde bike for its existing loyal and wealthy windsurf customers. If that was the goal then it would have been much simpler to chuck some components on a kilo or so of Taiwanese black metal and be done with it. But NeilPryde have done so much more, with a heavyweight line-up of engineering muscle and finance feeding into this project. Several impressive collaborations and NeilPryde's experience in the material shine through, creating a chassis which punches above its weight against some much more established brands.
The form of the bike is definitely striking; on the one hand curved smooth lines and on the other harsh kammtail style cuts and crisp transitions in profile. To me the frame stylistically has elements of the Orbea Orca and the fork's aggressive leading edge profile is reminiscent of the Factor001's blunt front end. A deep glossy lacquer covers subtle graphics. A clean downtube and a tasteful lack of marketing jargon gives an impression of understated non-conformity. Perhaps a sign of its roots outside of the industry.
It's hard to fault the frame in performance. The Diablo ticks the usual stiff yet comfy boxes which is increasingly becoming the norm, especially at this price. High frequency road-buzz damping is good, although bigger bumps are still noticeable. NeilPryde publish values for BB and HT stiffness as 60 Nm/° and 90 Nm/°. Whatever those numbers mean to you - we don't have much to compare them to, to be honest - it translates to a very impressive ride with the Diablo being right at home as a sprinter's weapon of choice or a Gran Fondo mile muncher. The big and definitely burly headtube and fork (almost square at the join) come together seamlessly and create a super stiff set-up. Front end tracking is one of the best I've ridden, helped by solid wheels and confidence inspiring rubbers; the resulting precision handling is fantastic. The Diablo loves having a fistful of front brake put through it; watch out though as it may well come with euro cable routing out of the box as our test model did. No shockers on the geometry and no toe overlap, a potential pot hole for a new and inexperienced brand.
One of the niggles I had on the Diabolo is the seatclamp arrangement. The thin 27.2 SL-K post looks a bit out of place compared with the large section of the frame. The clamp has a collar which is useful for noting increments in saddle height adjustment and the clamp itself is hidden under a rubber boot with only a small entrance hole for a 4mm Allen key. What significant advantage this provides over a traditional setup is hard to see. Whilst used in anger at the Upavon winter series the seatpost did slip (I'll blame that for my pathetic bunch sprint), although admittedly it was only tightened using a multi-tool. A bit of anti-slip paste and torque wrench should solve that.
The spec is an impressive list of design classics. Shimanos 7900 Dura-Ace, Mavic Ksyrium SLs and a Selle Italia SLR complete the all-star cast, with a little help from FSA's SL-K controls. The Shimano/SRAM/Campag debate will roll on and on, and there is no option on this bike which might put some die hards of particular transmissions off. What was most striking about being back on Shimano was how fiddly they are when using gloves. The upshift trigger is quite a small target, in comparison to SRAM, and if the downshift paddle is even slightly displaced then the upshift doesnt function, which is a bit annoying. On the drops in winter gloves this made things difficult, on the hoods it was more manageable. Shifting was expectedly crisp although Shimano still feels less comfortable at extreme chain lines in comparison to SRAM or Campag in my experience.
The Mavic Ksyriums are a great and very useable set of wheels. Not earth shatteringly light but stiff and really solid. Bonus points for the red spokes matching to the frame highlights. In only a short test the longevity wasnt really tested here but the Mavic name brand should be enough to put your mind at rest. The Hutchinson rubbers were very impressive for all out slicks in winter. I gave them nothing short of a two week battering and they have gobbled it all up quite happily with plenty puncture free grip.
The FSA bits definitely fall under the functional but not exceptional category. The head of the seatpost is a bit large and clunky with no real intelligent/easy adjustment system. The bar was of the trendy short reach and shallow drop types but feels a bit messy with its various curves and flat spots. Nothing slipped upfront throughout test and they are plenty stiff enough for anyone, perhaps Greipel excluded.
Value is an interesting debate with this being a direct distribution model. At £3699 youre getting quite a lot of bike for your money here in comparison to a classic distributor dealer network. A more suitable comparison would be against the aforementioned direct distribution of Canyon. Canyon's Ultimate SLX 9.0 comes in a choice of Dura Ace or Record 11spd a whopping 800 cheaper. Racers may find that tempting, with 800 to splash on some race day only tubs.
An impressive and dedicated launch in to pastures new from NeilPryde. The Diablo is a stiff and aggressive chassis with a all star cast of components, combined in a good value package. This is not redefining the limits of performance but definitely an impressive launch and no sign of the brand's infancy in the industry.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Neil Pryde Diablo
Size tested: 56cm
About the bike
State the frame and fork material and method of construction. List the components used to build up the bike.
Various types of carbon used in a two monocoque and exoskeleton design.
DIABLO - DURA ACE
SIZE S, M, L, XL, XXL
FRAME NEILPRYDE DIABLO, High-mod monocoque
FORK NEILPRYDE DIABLO, Full Carbon monocoque
SEAT CLAMP NEILPRYDE DIABLO
SEAT POST FSA SLK, 27.2mm
HEADSET FSA ORBIT CF40, Integrated 1 1/8" - 1 1/2"
FRONT MECH SHIMANO DURA ACE 7900
REAR MECH SHIMANO DURA ACE 7900
BRAKE SHIMANO DURA ACE 7900
SHIFTER LEVER SHIMANO DURA ACE 7900
CRANKSET SHIMANO DURA ACE 7900, 53/39
BOTTOM BRACKET SHIMANO DURA ACE 7900
CASSETTE SHIMANO DURA ACE 7900, 12-25
CHAIN SHIMANO DURA ACE 7900
WHEELS: MAVIC KSYRIUM SL
TIRE: HUTCHINSON ATOM COMP, 700x23c
STEM: FSA SLK, 6 31.8mm
HANDLEBARS: FSA SLK Compact, 31.8mm
SADDLE: SELLE ITALIA SLR XP
WEIGHT 6.75 KG
HEAD TUBE STIFFNESS (FRAME) 90 Nm/
BB STIFFNESS (FRAME) 60 N/mm
Tell us what the bike is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about the bike?
"The Diablo takes you uphill easily with its lightweight frame and forks. And as for that moving target ahead, high bottom bracket stiffness and optimized chain stay profiles let you accelerate past. But what's brawn without the brains? There's no point in summiting first if you can't stay ahead of the pack when the fun starts. The Exoskeleton technology incorporated in the front triangle and forks ensure perfect balance and precise handling, letting you carve every apex more accurately than you've ever done.
Every single part serves one common purpose: ultimate riding performance."
Frame and fork
Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?
Excellent build and finish
Tell us about the materials used in the frame and fork?
High modulus carbon
Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?
No shockers here, a pretty racey set up but accomdating thanks to a compact bar.
How was the bike in terms of height and reach? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size?
56 top tube on the large which is fairly standard.
Riding the bike
Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.
Good rood buzz damping but the stiffness of the frame is noticeable on bigger knocks. On the whole great performance
Did the bike feel stiff in the right places? Did any part of the bike feel too stiff or too flexible?
Lots of stiffness in all the ride places
How did the bike transfer power? Did it feel efficient?
Very good here, muscular BB area is really noticeable
Was there any toe-clip overlap with the front wheel? If so, was it a problem?
How would you describe the steering? Was it lively, neutral or unresponsive? Lively but controllable
Tell us some more about the handling. How did the bike feel overall? Did it do particular things well or badly?
Quick and fast handling gives a very direct feel to the road
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's comfort? would you recommend any changes?
SLR saddle is a classic and very welcome
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's stiffness? would you recommend any changes?
7900 cranks are awesome from Shimano
quick handling means over 70km/h definitely felt fast. Great in the corners though
front end stiffness helps here as you can plough in the front brake with confidence
Good but could be lighter at this price, as many are.
Nt overly impressed by Dura-Ace shifting
Very expensive upgrade from very similar Ultegra
Tell us some more about the drivetrain. Anything you particularly did or didn't like? Any components which didn't work well together?
see article for comments on shifters
Wheels and tyres
solid, stiff, reliable and good looking
Tyres took a hammering and remained puncture free
Not the lightest you can find in this price range
Tell us some more about the wheels and tyres.Did they work well in the conditions you encountered? Would you change the wheels or tyres? If so, what for?
Would personally sell the Kysirium SL get some deeper section carbon tubs for racing and a cheaper set of wheels for everyday. Just opinion though.
complicated and fiddly shaped bar and a clunky looking seatpost, but stiff and
bar shape again
Did you enjoy riding the bike? Yes very much so
Would you consider buying the bike? would have to ride the Canyon mentioned in the article or other alternatives before parting with the best part of 4000
Would you recommend the bike to a friend? yes
About the tester
I usually ride: Boardman Pro C My best bike is: Canyon \"Grand Canyon\" Ergon24 team issue
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Semi pro
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, mtb,