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Aerodynamics meets art: NeilPryde launches high-end road bikes


August 14, 2010

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If you're into windsurfing, you'll most likely be familiar with the NeilPryde brand. Now the company is taking a step in another direction by diving into the high-performance road bicycle market. Designed in partnership with BMW's DesignworksUSA, the result is a highly aerodynamic machine developed from extensive wind-tunnel testing and computational fluid dynamic modeling that makes use of complex – and very distinctive – aerofoil cross-sections in the carbon fiber frame and forks, while weighing in at as little as 6.75 kg. Slick in more than just looks!


Seeking to find the optimal balance between weight, aerodynamic performance and stiffness, the designers have come up with a morphing frameset that takes into accounts the varying airflow at different points on the frame. The down tube, for example, is sculpted to accommodate the turbulence caused by the front wheel at the top, while the bottom incorporates a progressive Kamm back aerofoil (the abrupt cut-off in the profile) to create more streamlined airflow around the rear wheel. Every surface, from the carbon fiber forks to the integrated seat clamp and chainstays has been designed to optimize aerodynamic performance.

The aerofoil design also takes into account the need to maintain lateral and torsional stiffness and good handling. To achieve this, improvements have been made to the monocoque molding processes with C6.7 carbon fibres running continuously through tube-joint-tube transitions. Stiffness ribs have also been added to the fork blades, chain and seat stays.

Alize and Diablo models

Two models aimed at the high-performance bike racing market have been developed – the Alize and Diablo. Both use Mavic Ksyrium SL wheels, FSA stems and handlebars and Selle Itallia saddles. Both are also offered with either Shimano's Dura Ace 7900 or Ultegra 6700 groupset. The Diablo Dura Ace is the lightest at 6.75 kg, but the heaviest model – the 7.3 kg Alize Ultegra – isn't exactly what you'd call obese.

Availability and pricing

As you might expect, these bikes aren't aimed at the budget conscious weekend cyclist. The Diablo Dura Ace is listed at US$5,400, the Diablo Ultegra costs $4,200 and the Alize models will set you back and $5,150 and $3,950 respectively.

The bikes are being revealed to the public for the first time this weekend (13-15 August) at the Vattenfall Cyclassics taking place in Hamburg. Pre-orders are being taken at the NeilPryde site and shipments are slated to begin in mid-September.

These are gorgeous bikes. It will be interesting to see what impression they make on professional cycling over the next year ... and a look at the design section of the NeilPryde bikes website suggests that some even more radical designs may be just around the corner.

About the Author
Noel McKeegan After a misspent youth at law school, Noel began to dabble in tech research, writing and things with wheels that go fast. This bus dropped him at the door of a freshly sprouted Gizmag.com in 2002. He has been Gizmag's Editor-in-Chief since 2007. All articles by Noel McKeegan

Maybe the rider should be put into an aerodynamic package too if streamlining bike frames makes any sense. Just consider the following: at 30 or 40 K/mh forward speed a crosswind of 10 to 15 K/mh throws off the headwind enough to change the direction from straigth forward (as in the windtunnel) requiring different aerodynamic shape to remain efficient. Add the disturbance in the air of the riders legs and body and you have a turbulent situation in which any reduction of drag due to aerodynamic shaping is mostly lost. At the speeds we cycle its better to look at mechanical efficiency. Aerodynamic shaping is more a cosmetic aspect, where a rider might gain half a second because he feels he has an advantage... A real aerodynamic advantage can be had with a recumbent bike. But these dont look good and the international professional cycling crowd has banned recumbent designs. Why? Beause recumbent bikes are really much more logical and would throw international competition into turmoil.


More important than an aerodynamic frame is aerodynamic spokes. At the top of the wheel, the spokes travel twice the speed of the bike. At 30 mph, the spokes at the top of the wheel are going 60. Since drag is a function of velocity squared, the spokes are the source of the most drag. Speed is speed so you can\'t change that. What you can change is the number of spokes and their drag coefficient. Minimize both.


half a century ago steel framed bikes were pushing the 9 kilo weight. And that was with Campi cranks etc. Remember those solid classics? HEAVY but forever stuff. The components anyway, though the frames i rode were pretty amazaingly durable what with my downhill and beach trashing. Anyway, what have we progressed? ah the price we expect to pay has broken all records and, ah....we\'ve given up lots of durability for a few grams off here and there. In my mind the only weight woth paying to remove would be the spinning wheels- tires and rims. The flywheels parts. I\'m not into plastic bearings weekly and that sort like i see so many kids shelling out for.

And the real point was to agree with BAS that the recumbent, or in any case the velo (enclosed) is the logical direction. The relevant fact is that at 20 mph over 90% of a cyclists blood sweat and calories are spent fighting the wind. Only the small remainder is internal and tire losses, chains over the wheels of deraileurs etc. Yes, 9/10 of our energy is thrown to the wind. But cyclists seem to be very traditionally hidebound. Any new material as long as its a diamond frame or such and open to the vagaries of weather. Same mindset as those my age who suddenly need Harleys or little red Italian spotsters etcetcetc....ego and image. My apologies to the simplicity folk who haul groceries etc and tour. And a laugh at the 20-30 something testosterones who try to run everything down on our local paths while pretending they are very important raciners in training. Its that sort that keeps cycling from progressing and growing as an alternative to the car . By keeping design stodgy, they inhibit real market growth.

But at least they pay FULL retail ey?


I gotta agree with bas! When you look at the whole package of bicycle and rider, the size and shape of the riders body is the overwhelming contributor to wind resistance. Spending big $ on making the bike aerodynamic is just short of pointless. If one still felt it was worth it to make the bike aerodynamic, the design needs to take into account how the air influences the bike when a rider is on it not just the bike in isolation. That would mean for example that all the wind tunnel testing would have to be done with a rider on the bike.

It\'s just a marketing gimmick to get $ out of customers who have more money than sense. And.. lets hear it for recumbents!


It's not discussed in the article, but it should be noted that the rider has been taken into account in the design and testing process.

From the NeilPryde Bikes site:

"The complex interaction of frame and forks, with wheels and components, at a variety of wind yaw angles, and most importantly incorporating the rider, necessitates the airflow to be managed specific to the aerodynamic characteristics of each element."


Bastards the lot of them.......

This tour of France is the ultimate marketing conjob.....

Lets see how they go on their dandylion race bikes, IF they only have the ONE bike for the complete trip, with the ONE set of wheels and tyres for the whole trip; AND they have to carry all their own spares for the entire trip - and repair their own flats......

I was at a Wanky bike shop a while back - and the bike shop dude goes, \"See these racing bike sun glasses - they cost $350\".

I said \"See these excellent quality light weight wrap around impact resistant industrial safety glasses - they cost $7\".


Mr Stiffy

Nice one, Mr Stiffy, you had me in stitches - and I agree about the DIY tour idea.


It would be interesting to see an open class race that would include recumbents. Take a look at the Silvio on cruzbikes.com and the YouTube videos of them passing conventional racing bikes uphill. I first saw Cruzbikes on Gizmag, and it\'s an interesting front wheel drive system. The rider is in an aerodynamic position that\'s much more comfortable for distance riding.


Tinkering to trivial effect with the aerodynamics of an antiquated century old design like the upright, drop bar, road bike, then touting it as the bleeding edge of technology is like building a carbon fiber stagecoach and presenting it as the future of urban transportation.

1 for recumbents as the future of bicycle design.

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