Neil Pryde Bikes entering the bike market has been met with some interesting response from the cycling community, who can quite rightfully be described as progressive yet stodgy. Comments like “who needs another bike brand” and “go back to the beach” seem to represent one camp while others are truly impressed how Neil Pryde brought BMW Designworks to assist in the design of the Diablo and bring the bike to market at prices well bellow bikes of the same caliber with a consumer direct model.
Neil Pryde Bikes has cut a new path in the bike business, I guess this answers the question, “who needs another bike brand” - we all do if that brand is going to bring something new like Neil Pryde has. www.neilprydebikes.com for the full story and technical info.
Bring on the bike. First ride out was big for me. I had committed to working with Neil Pryde Bikes before I got to ride any of the bikes. I liked the way the company approached the design and distribution of the bikes but had no idea how they would ride. If the bikes performance was lacking I would most likely not have written a review. But the Diablo is really impressive and here is why. It’s a full throttle race bike, really light and the weight to stiffness ratio might be one of the most extreme I have felt in any bike. Equipped with Dura Ace 7900 group (no substitutes), FSA SLK bars, stem, seatpost and Mavic Ksyrium SL wheels - it’s ready to race right out the box.
The most remarkable characteristic of the Diablo is the way it feels out of the saddle on a steep climb. Its stiff up front with the widest top tube and hugest fork crown on the market. When you get out of the saddle and put your full force on the pedals the rear end is stiff enough but it’s the super solid front end that makes out of the saddle climbing feel fantastic. Descending on the Diablo is equally exhilarating, this is a bike you can really dive through corners on. There is no second guessing - it’s a straight arrow. You read this quite often in bike reviews but re-read the last line - I really mean it. The Diablo is very smooth and firm and allows you to be exactly where you want to be descending and cornering. What’s the catch? There is one, the large cavernous headtube and downtube resonate sound and don’t make this a bike for relaxed recreational cycling. It’s like a real sports car, don’t expect the Diablo to ride like a mom van.
As stiff as it is, the Diablo rides very smoothly in the saddle but this took a gutsy move on behalf of BMW Design Works and NPB. They opted for the retro standard 27.2mm seat post while all other bikes at this level have either integrated seat posts or the larger diameter 31.6mm. The downside is the bike would look better with the larger diameter post but it flat out rides better with the more forgiving 27.2mm. Neil Pryde designed their own post clamp and were bold enough to bring some water sport inspired looks to it’s rubber cover. The upper rubber ring marks the saddle height should you remove the post for shipping and prevents moisture and sweat from penetrating the frame.
Braking. My test bike has a Dura Ace 7900 group which is well known for its braking power and when combined with the super beefy Diablo fork it makes for the best braking you could ever want from a bike. The fork does not vibrate at all no matter how hard you break. The Diablo is a killer for breaking hard into a corner and accelerating out again.
Weight and frame shape. The Diablo frame comes in well below the magic 1000 gram mark and the complete built Dura Ace bike weighs 6.75kg (14.9lbs) which is a good bit below the UCI legal limit for a road bike. That’s out of the box with no modifications. Very impressive for a bike this stiff. So stiff in fact the Neil Pryde publish the EFBe test results on their web site for all to see. Given that Neil Pryde has been working with carbon longer than most bike manufacturers and BMW are who they are, I suppose it’s no surprise that this bike is impressive.
Replaceable derailleur hanger, internal cable routing for the rear brake, english threaded bottom bracket and 1 1/8th to 1 ½ inch headset bearings on a monocoque fork round out the rest of the frame. It’s all pretty standard stuff for top of the line bike. The Diablo’s finish is perhaps a cut above most. The colors of the white/red are very rich and the paint seems to be durable with a nice smooth finish. The matt black/gloss black frame is striking yet subtle and can be dressed up with almost any color cables, hoods and tape to be a real jaw dropper. It’s an understated look that is aggressive without being arrogant.
This bike has character. If you sat on a plane ride next to Diablo you might come away feeling you'd want to know more about that good looking, ballsy character just starting out in the bike game. One thing is for sure, you know you will be hearing more from him.