Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Pegasus Reviews the 2014 Neil Pryde Zephyr

At last, the rain had cleared, and I was able to finally take the Neilpryde Zephyr out for a ride. You might be wondering where Neilpryde comes from, and who they are. Neilpryde was started in 1970 as a professional sail maker for racing boats. Soon, they took the sailing world by storm making carbon fiber masts for racing boats across the globe. In 1982, they took windsurfing to a whole new level, with many professional athletes taking the top step of podiums all over the world. Today, are considered carbon fiber experts in the sailing industry, making carbon components for the racing boats you see in the America’s Cup. 
In 2010, Neilpryde partnered with motorsport royalty, BMW, to create their first carbon fiber road bike designed through collaboration with BMW Group DesignworksUSA. The unique design and technology are an evolution of years of experience working with composites and a deep understanding of aerodynamic principals. But the primary focus is the same as with all Pryde Group brands – to elegantly engineer products that allow you to ride longer, harder and faster. Just like in the sailing world, Neilpryde seems poised to take on the road cycling landscape and make an immediate impact. 

Now, back to the bike . The Zephyr is the brand’s Gran Fondo bike, a bike that can be ridden all day, and keep you comfortable throughout your ride. The Zephyr is decked out with Shimano’s brand new Ultegra 6800 11-speed group set. Rolling out towards Diablo Road, I immediately noticed, or should I say didn’t notice, any road vibration that you would normally feel on any other bike. The Zephyr was rolling on 28c Vittoria tires, perfect for crappy roads, and even the gravel roads you will undoubtedly find the further away from civilization you go. Eventually, I was able to find some chip-seal/gravel roads to take the bike over, and it felt remarkable.
The Zephyr is a very stable bike, with a longer wheelbase than the other bikes in the Pryde line up. This created a ride very similar to riding in a Cadillac, smooth and leisurely. As I climbed up Diablo Road towards Blackhawk, I tried time and time again to get out of the saddle and really hammer it. With the bigger tires it was hard to get a good jumpy feel, but instead, the Neilpryde is very grounded and more geared towards a slower, but smoother pace. I noticed that the bike wasn’t as effortless to get moving as their Alize or BuraSL models, but what it lacked in get-up-and-go, it made up for ten fold in just how comfortable the bike is and how well it holds it’s speed.
As I turned the bike downhill towards Highland road, the long wheelbase really came into it’s own. The Zephyr was extremely stable at high speeds, and very predictable in it’s handling through quick corners, and long, sweeping turns. When the road evened out, I was able to get into a good rhythm, and truly appreciate what this bike is, a perfect Gran Fondo bike. Once I snapped out of my usual racing-only mindset, I realized what Neilpryde was trying to create with the Zephyr. I could only hear the tires rolling over the pavement, and nothing else. The bike was so quiet! Every bit of road chatter was gone, creating a riding experience that is unmatched by any other bike in this category, at this price point.

Along with the silky-smooth ride qualities, the Zephyr turned heads out on the roads during my test ride. I continuously got questions about the bike, and there was always a comment about how smooth and clean the bike looks. They were right, the Zephyr’s tubes all flow into each other seamlessly. It looks just as comfortable and smooth as it rids!

In conclusion, the Neilpryde Zephyr fits riders perfectly who are looking for a bike that they can ride everyday, no matter the distance. Gran Fondos? Centuries? The Death Ride? Gravel Grinders, even??? Yes. It can really do it all. Plus, being equipped with Shimano Ultegra 6800 11-speed group set, the Zephyr mixes form with function. The Neilpryde Zephyr is more than just a pretty face, but a fantastic ride too! Want to try the bike for yourself? Come on down to Pegasus any day of the week and take one for a spin. In stock, we have X-Small, Small, and a Large complete bike in stock (I rode the Large model today). For those of you who are looking at a Medium, we have a frameset that we can build up to your exact specifications! Also, HUGE THANKS to Robb Wolf, our local rep, and US Brand Manager for Neilpryde for bringing these bikes our way!

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