June 29, 2012 at 8:46 pm #93372Participant
While we got our NeilPryde Alize bikes at the end of 2011 we never had the chance to write an extended review. Perhaps that was a good thing because now with over 10,000 miles on several frames we’re able to give you a better idea of the newcomer to the road bike market. Without further adieu here are some of our thoughts now that we’ve had a chance to put some more miles on our NeilPryde Alize road bikes.
A look at weight
I have the second-largest size of the Alize called the XL and the bare frame weighs 1099g. Built up on training clinchers with a power meter as shown it’s still a bit under the 6.8kg/14.99lb UCI weight limit. After seeing the photo of my bike I have to concede that it just begs to lose the training wheels in favor of deep aero wheels..
Madcow’s frame is the size small and weighs 1020g. Built up with Enve SES 6.7 clincher wheels it weighs 6.2kg/13.6 lbs complete. With carbon tubulars we are seeing weights in the low 12lb range.
Frames built with narrow and deep airfoil shapes often make trade-offs in ride quality, namely in their lack of long-distance comfort. The aero bike category is where fast trumps all else, for riders willing to ignore all the other qualities or at least grade them on a curve.
I expected some of these tradeoffs, but from the first ride the Alize has been a very pleasant surprise — it is very smooth. Everyone we’ve talked to about the Alize agrees with us on how it soaks up the bumps and rough pavement very well. And we were surprised to discover they have clearance for 28mm tires. So with our experiences of comfortable 8-10 hour rides, the Alize has earned the status of a ‘century bike’.
With the aerodynamic properties, is there a noticeable advantage out on the road? I have had plenty of moments on a familiar section of road where it felt like the bike carried more speed than ever before, and demanded upshifts I had never expected there. And descents feel spicy again — I am a lot more encouraged to tuck in and look for warp speed. Maybe I wouldn’t go as far as saying X number of watts are being saved, but in any case it makes me anticipate hammering the fast sections of a ride.
Otherwise for a description I’d say the ride is very stable. Having a 73 degree head angle in the 2nd largest frame size, it is relatively slack. This well-planted geometry works well and I like being able to take 1 or both hands off the bars with it tracking straight. I found the handling feels refined and plenty sharp, so it encourages always taking on a little more speed. It felt right at home immediately. (Read more on the Alize Geometry.)
Although Neilpryde is no stranger to carbon fiber, being a market leader in windsurfing, this is still quite a debut for a newcomer to the cycling market. The four frames they currently have designed all appear to be from a much more mature company. With this level of product it’s no surprise to hear that years before launch Neilpryde began amassing R&D and working in collaboration with BMW Design using rapid prototype models to test designs in the wind tunnel and refine its slippery Kamm-tail profiles.
Living with the bike and admiring the form over time, my eye keeps being drawn to attractive details like the strong edges and ribs where the surfaces turn corners. Also the downtube, it has the distinctive tapering flat spoiler that splits the airflow at the lower half of the frame. The 1.5″ tapered fork seems very solid. On a more practical note, I really love the standard BSA bottom bracket. Not kidding — its universal compatibility and creak-free use still may trump all other standards. The seatpost design is their own unique design and works great. I never had any slipping and it has a very clean look.
Any Draw Backs?
The bike has worked so well I don’t have much here. Just 2 thumbs way up. In fact, if you’re looking for a reasonably light aero bike for racing that will give you a comfortable and stable ride you’ve found the bike. Also, if you’d like a lighter bike designed as a true climber the Bura SL may be a solid choice once they’re available. However, the allegedly stiffer Diablo model seems caught in limbo. It’s very close in price and weight to the Alize, but with a round seatpost and a less aero shape. Being that the Alize is stiff enough for heavy riders and its compliance is a positive over long rides or bumpy roads, I think it leaves the Diablo without a purpose to fill.
Neilpryde in the News
Remember the road bike trials video? It was very amusing that many peoples’ introduction to the Alize was seeing us jumping them off picnic tables. Both of those bikes are still going strong — Madcow’s is pictured here and Richard’s has since racked up thousands of miles and some wins, and is currently traveling to race L’abitibi with one of our shop-sponsored Juniors. Furthermore these bikes have seen a lot of professional racing success recently in a variety of disciplines. Alberto Blanco won best rookie and 4th on an Alize in the 2011 Race Across America. United Healthcare (link opens with music) continues to win races with sprinter Jake Keough leading the team on the flats and Rory Southerland turning in impressive TTs and contending climbs in races like the Amgen tour of California. Rory also scored GC wins at both the Tour of the Gila and the Tour of the Beauce. These recent races have been a good chance to spot the upcoming Bura SL frame that is rumored to weigh 715g.
There is a lot to be excited about from this company, and we look forward to posting all-new builds here.
Neil Pryde Alize Image Gallery