For better and worse, the bike industry has always been an inviting magnet for non-endemic forces to come into the sport and take a swing at becoming a player in the milieu. Especially during the last two decades, there has been no shortage of new names entering the road bike game. New names are always a good thing as, more often than not, with them come plenty of new designs and technologies. No, not all of them pan out, but some do.
NeilPryde is one such newcomer. Although the name is well known in the world of water sports (specifically wind surfing), they have now jumped into the world of two wheels with a road and aero bike, which share the same geometry, to call their own. Having only two models is a nice distinguishing point from many other first-timers who feel it necessary to show up at the sandbox with a full catalog of bikes for every possible challenge: TT, road, ’cross, fixie and mountain.
NeilPryde may be new to bikes, but they have a history in designing highperformance sailing products.
We got our hands on the standard Diablo road bike, a $4350 model spec’d with a Shimano Ultegra drivetrain, FSA components and Mavic Ksyrium Elite wheels mounted with Hutchinson Atom Comp tires. Our bike was delivered to us with a black-on-black motif (three stock colors are available), which brings us to NeilPryde’s second distinguishing point: Being a consumer-direct company (meaning Internet-based sales), they have one of the coolest personalized paint programs in the industry. It’s another one of those handy conveniences where you’ll find yourself clicking on the different color schemes for about two hours as you try to figure out which of the 20-plus colorways fit your mood best. Pretty cool.
Not too unlike other bike companies, NeilPryde talks about their “Exoskeleton” technology, where strands of carbon run the length of the tubes to enhance overall stiffness. We suppose it’s in pursuing a point of further differentiation that the NeilPryde website warns potential customers that while “anyone can design a bike,” they, instead, went to a company called DesignWorksUSA who promptly helped NeilPryde—you guessed it— design their bike. We’re not sure what the real distinction is, but to their credit, from the cool graphics to the swoopy frame parts, the Diablo has an overall impressive design.
The Diablo’s integrated seat binder uses two rubber grommets, which proved irritating to use, as the seatpost kept slipping.
OK, if you’re keeping score, NeilPryde is a consumer-direct company, they have a cool menu of color options, and they used a proven design house to help design the bike. When it came to the ride, we found ourselves somewhat split. Everyone thought the bike was one of the stiffest they’d ridden, and some riders were fine with it; others, however, felt the ride quality bordered on downright harshness, especially through the front end. As one rider said, “Sure, anyone can design a bike, but what separates the really good bikes from all the rest is having the talent to properly engineer how a frame is made. The Diablo has the design end of things down, but it needs to have a much smoother ride quality if I’m going to commit to doing an epic, long ride on it.”
The frame’s stiffness was equaled by the bike’s overall responsiveness, and at the end of the day, the group consensus was that at 16.2 pounds, the Diablo would make a really good entry-level race bike. The Diablo is also available with a Shimano Dura-Ace drivetrain ($5900). But even with the higher-end spec, the bike’s overall weight wouldn’t drop significantly to put it on par with other real race bikes. Another option is the $2850 frame that can be built up as you like.
• A cool design with multiple color options
• Watch the seat binder
Price: $4350 (frame: $2850)
Weight: 16.2 pounds
Sizes: S, M (tested), L, XL