Neil Pryde have introduced a fourth bike to their range for model year 2014 – the all-new Zephyr is the Hong Kong-based firm’s take on the ‘endurance race’ bike.
Neil Pryde was founded by the Olympic sailor of the same name in 1970 and moved into bicycle manufacture in 2011 with the launch of the Alize and Diablo.
The Bayamo time trial bike was added to the collection a year after launch and while the Alize remains in the range, the Diablo was replaced by the super-light Bura SL in 2012.
With aero covered by the Alize and weight by the Bura SL, the Zephyr looks to target comfort, but Neil Pryde are keen to emphasise their latest frame has a performance edge.
As a result, the Zephyr is described by Neil Pryde as a machine “for the competitive racer or sportive cyclist looking for the perfect balance between power transfer and compliance, combined with a geometry suitable for the longest of races.” Let’s take a closer look at how Neil Pryde claim to have cracked all three.
First up, power transfer. Neil Pryde say that by using a polyurethane mandrel during the construction process, rather than a silicone one, they have been able to control the thickness of the carbon fibre tubes to a more precise level at the headtube and seattube junction, and bottom bracket shell. Out back, the chainstays, rear dropouts and part of the seatstays have been moulded in one piece, which they say results in a stronger rear triangle.
As for comfort, the Zephyr has pencil-thin seatstays which gentle curve from the dropouts before sweeping into the seattube – a design which Neil Pryde say improves the vertical compliance of the frame. The carbon fibre tubes also have walls of varying thickness to allow them to flex more in key areas. Up front, the curved fork has offset dropouts, again to improve comfort but also to boost stability.
The Zephyr also has clearance for 28mm tyres, which in turn offer a plusher ride over narrower rubber, while Neil Pryde use a 27.2mm seatpost, which has fast become the standard on bikes like this.
Finally, the Zephyr has a more relaxed geometry than the Alize and Bura SL, which are both ridden by the Neil Pryde-sponsored United Healthcare ProContinental team.That translates to a shorter toptube, taller headtube, longer wheelbase and slacker headtube. However, the Zephyr is certainly on the racier end of the sportive bike spectrum with a 998mm wheelbase and 175mm headtube on a large model (55.5cm toptube).
Otherwise, additional frame features include a PressFit 30 bottom bracket, carbon fibre headset cups and a 1-1/8″-1/1-4″ tapered headtube. Claimed weight for a large/56cm frame is 1,050g, which is about par for bikes where comfort, ride quality and affordability are more important than low weight.
All that’s left to mention, then, is the price. The Zephyr will be available as a frameset only for £1,999, or as a complete bike with Shimano Ultegra, Shimano WHRS31 wheels and Neil Pryde’s own-brand finishing kit for £2,800.
Website: Neil Pryde