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Bike we like: NeilPryde Bura SL

23 Jun 2017
Verdict:

It may be a new kid on the block, but NeilPryde's Bura SL is a bike with racing pedigree

Price: 
£2,200 frameset only, £2,900 as tested

What is it?

If your sporting focus is firmly on cycling, you probably won’t be familiar with the name NeilPryde – hardly surprising since the adventure sports brand has only been making bikes since 2010.

If, however, you’re also into sailing, windsurfing or kitesurfing, you’ll know the name very well. Founded by a former Olympic sailor of the same name, NeilPryde’s been a big player in that field for 40 years.

The connection with cycling isn’t immediately apparent until you consider the company’s impressive pedigree as a leading developer of carbon fibre technology,

The firm was producing carbon masts and booms for world-class windsurfers when the Tour de France was still being won by riders on steel bikes.

NeilPryde produces four bike collections, from the endurance-focused Zephyr to the Bayamo, its hardcore triathlon/time-trial bike.

What we have here is the Bura SL, the flagship lightweight road-racing model, which has been completely re-engineered for 2017, aiming to bring new levels of stiffness while also ensuring all-day comfort in long, hard races or sportives.

What's it like to ride?

That balance of low weight, stiffness and comfort is a common enough objective in the bike industry, but with its heritage in working with carbon fibre, NeilPryde ought to be better at achieving this goal than many others.

This was backed up by our first test ride on the Bura SL. It instantly impressed with its solid feel, which is partly thanks to the massively oversized asymmetric down tube which forms the core of the bike.

If it's stiffness you’re after, this is an impressive bike, especially given its super low weight of a touch over 7kg – the frame alone, made with the firm’s highest grade C6.9 carbon, has a claimed weight of just 750g.

And although this is designed as a lightweight climber’s bike, aerodynamics have been given plenty of thought, too.

This is instantly apparent in such features as the teardrop profile of the head tube, and the integrated seatpost clamp recessed into the top tube.

What about the other components?

There’s more carbon fibre to enjoy in the finishing kit – carbon seatposts are a common enough sight on bikes of this price, but carbon handlebars are rare below the upper echelons of road bikes, so we were impressed to see one fitted here.

OK, so the SL-K is the cheapest carbon handlebar in the FSA range, but it’s an excellent compact shape, with a slightly flattened top section, and our test bike came clad in wonderfully grippy and comfortable Lizard Skins bar tape.

Gear shifts and braking are taken care of by the slick, reliable full Ultegra groupset, configured with 52/36 chainrings and an 11-28 cassette for a good balance of high-end speed and climbing gears.

Are the wheels any good?

Fulcrum’s Racing 5 wheelset are solid, reliable performers. They’re the one component we’d consider upgrading if we were looking for a performance advantage, but they’ll suit most riders very well for all-round use.

Although our test bike came with 23mm Clement tyres, NeilPryde tells us that the standard spec is 25mm, and that little bit of extra width should further enhance both grip and comfort.

What does a bike like this cost?

The Bura SL comes in two spec levels – the Ultegra version you see here will set you back £2,900, while the Dura-Ace version with Fulcrum Racing 0 wheels comes in at £4,200.

Given the quality of the frame, spending that bit extra on top quality components would be well justified if your budget can stretch to it.

If you fancy building it up to your own specification, it’s also available as a frameset only for only £2,200.

Spec

NeilPryde Bura SL
Frame BuraSL C6.9 Toray unidirectional carbon frame and fork
Groupset Shimano Ultegra 6800
Brakes Shimano Ultegra
Chainset Shimano Ultegra, 52/36
Cassette Shimano Ultegra, 11-28
Bars FSA SL-K compact carbon
Stem FSA SL-K alloy
Seatpost FSA K-Force carbon, 25mm
Wheels Fulcrum Racing 5 LG
Saddle Fizik Arione Flite
Weight 7.14kg (size 56)
Contact neilprydebikes.com

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