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When you’re descending, the frame weight isn’t noticeable but the stiffness certainly is
Super-light frame offers impressive stiffness
This article originally published on BikeRadar
Although veterans of carbon fiber construction in watersports, NeilPryde are quite new to cycling. At PressCamp, BikeRadar took the company's third bike, the forthcoming BURAsl, for a test ride in Utah. It proved to be quite a snappy little climber.
Ride & handling: Light and stiff
"We didn't set out to design the world's lightest bike," said Mike Pryde, a lifelong cyclist and son of company founder Neil Pryde. "We have three target criteria – high bottom bracket stiffness, high head tube stiffness and low weight."
NeilPryde claim that a stripped-down 56cm frame weighs just 740g, while one with hardware comes in at 772g. Paired with a 308g fork, the frameset weighs 1,080g. Some super-light frames look impressive on the shop scale but feel whippy out on the road. We're pleased to report that the BURAsl isn't one of these bikes.
The Hong Kong company used Cervélo's R5 as a benchmark for testing, and NeilPryde claim the BURAsl has exceeded that bike in terms of stiffness.
The bottom bracket/chainstay area simply doesn't budge under heavy torque, and hard accelerations are perfectly efficient. While the 3T cockpit we tested had a small bit of flex under a high-torque sprint, the head tube underneath was an immovable fortress.
Descending back down, the bike tracked nimbly and predictably through corners.
Bombing over deep cracks in the pavement, head tube stiffness was again apparent, but this time in a jarring fashion. We'd need more time on the bike to suss out this aspect of comfort compared to that from other bikes in the BURAsl's class.
Massively tall chain stays make for snappy acceleration
Frame & equipment: Internally and externally braced
As of press time, NeilPryde hadn't decided on a final spec for the BURAsl. We rode the bike with ENVE 25 climbing wheels, a 3T cockpit and Shimano Dura-Ace group.
The only bits of metal on the BuraSL frame are the derailleur hangers. A press-fit 30 bottom bracket shell means no metal at the BB, either, and the headset cups, dropouts and cable stops are all manufactured from molded carbon fiber.
Many of the tubes are quite wide – the head tube, top tube, down tube and bottom bracket, for example. On top of that, NeilPryde has added carbon braces under the top tube, at the head tube and seat tube, for further stiffness. The chain stays are enormous, and many parts of the frame have internal ribs to strengthen the tubes even more.
To take the edge off of all this severity, the ‘chopstick' seat stays are minuscule, and the seatpost is the standard 27.2mm diameter. Geometry is identical to that on NeilPryde's two existing bikes, the Diablo and Alize.
We'll be looking forward to riding the BURAsl more, but so far NeilPryde's third stab at a road bike has us impressed. A frameset will cost US$4,250, with complete bike prices to be confirmed.