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Road bike is slimmed down for improved aero efficiency

The guys from Neilpryde have just swung by road.cc to show us the new Nazaré SL aero road bike that’ll be available through Wiggle from the end of the month, and we reckon it’s an interesting design that looks very good value for money.

The Nazaré has been in the Neilpryde lineup since 2009 (when it was known as the Alize before an enforced name change, Alize being deemed too similar to Specialized’s Allez; no, really!). It’s now into its third generation.

Check out our review from way back in 2011 here.  

Neil Pryde Nazare SL - headtube.jpg

One of the key features of the new design is that the tubes have been slimmed down. A few years back, aero road bikes tended to have wide tube profiles as a means of ensuring frame rigidity. These days, though, bottom brackets like PF86, better carbon-fibre and improved manufacturing techniques mean there’s less need to oversize the tubes, so manufacturers can slim them down and reduce the bike’s frontal area for an aero benefit.

Of course, manufacturers could always have gone with slim tubes on an aero road bike if they wanted, but the resulting bike might have ended up feeling flexy in use. 

Neil Pryde Nazare SL - seat tube shape.jpg

Slimming down is a definite trend in the bike industry at the moment. Merida, for example, has recently reduced the diameter of the tubes on its Reacto aero road bike with no detriment to frame stiffness. 

Neil Pryde Nazare SL - down tube.jpg

With the Nazaré SL, Neilpryde has narrowed the head tube, for instance, and done the same with the down tube, although it’s still a truncated (cut-off) airfoil profile. 

Neil Pryde Nazare SL - stem.jpg

Neilpryde has gone with a combined, aero-section Aeroblade handlebar and stem too because, it says, up to 15% of the drag of the entire bike comes from this exposed area. Again, Merida designed its new Reacto with a Metron 5D aero cockpit in mind and Trek, for example, puts a KVF (Kammtail Virtual Foil) profile integrated handlebar/stem on its 9 Series Madones to improve the aero efficiency.

Neil Pryde Nazare SL - bars.jpg

The cables initially run through the bar but then emerge towards the stem section to make the bike easier to live with. Running the cables internally throughout might have a slight aero benefit and it might look clean but it can make for nightmarish maintenance.

Neil Pryde Nazare SL - rear brake.jpg

The rear brake used to be positioned underneath the chainstays but it’s now back on the seatstays, as it was on the Alize. Neilpryde says that the disadvantage in terms of aerodynamic performance is very small because the airflow is so ‘dirty’ by the time it reaches that area, disrupted by the movement of the rider’s legs. Plus, with the brake positioned on the seatstays, the bottom bracket doesn’t have to be overbuilt to resist flex caused by braking and there are no issues with power meter compatibility.

Neil Pryde Nazare SL - saddle and post.jpg

One other new feature worth mentioning is the reversible seatpost with a clamp that can offer you 20mm of setback from the middle of the post or position you 20mm forward of that centreline. The idea is to give you a wide range of effective seat angles that might come in handy if you wanted to go with aerobars for a time trial or triathlon.

The Nazaré SL is available in two different builds, the top one (pictured here) being built up with a Shimano Dura-Ace (mechanical) groupset and Fulcrum Racing Quattro wheels. It has a retail price of £4,800 but is currently listed as £3,840 on Wiggle. 

The version with a Shimano Ultegra groupset and Fulcrum Racing 5s is £2,800, currently reduced to £2,240. 

Neil Pryde Nazare SL - front brake.jpg

If you can’t (or don’t want to) spend that much, the Nazaré (minus the SL suffix) comes out of the same mould but it’s made from a cheaper grade of carbon-fibre. This means that whereas the Nazaré SL has a claimed frame weight of 940g – impressively light by aero road bike standards – the Nazaré is 1,100g. 

Again, the Nazaré is available in two different builds. The cheaper of these has a mid-level Shimano 105-based spec and is priced £1,650, currently reduced to £1,320. The other one has a next-level-up Shimano Ultegra groupset and is priced £2,300, currently reduced to £1,840. We have one of these in for review at the moment so keep your eyes on road.cc for a review in the next few weeks.

www.neilprydebikes.com

Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over 20+ years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for eight years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.