The NeilPryde BuraSL has arrived at road.cc for testing, a £2,900 Shimano Ultegra equipped carbon-fibre road bike that’s designed to be stiff and lightweight.
Lightweight? NeilPryde claims a weight of just 710g for the BuraSL frame (in a small size, 760g in a large size) with the fork adding another 300g. Our 55cm complete bike, built up with a Shimano Ultegra mechanical groupset and Fulcrum Racing 5 wheels, hit the road.cc Scales of Truth at 7.2kg (15.9lb).
Bikes aren’t all about weight, though – far from it – so let’s check out the BuraSL’s features in more detail.
The BuraSL frame and fork are both made from what NeilPryde calls C6.9 unidirectional carbon-fibre. This is “composed of the highest-modulus Toray 46T and 60T unidirectional carbon-fibre possible in bike manufacturing”, according to the brand.
Among the most noticeable elements of the design are the ‘exoskeleton ribs’ that sit at the joints between the head tube and the top tube, between the top tube and the seat tube, and between the seatstays and the chainstays.
Essentially, as you can see from the photos, these are extra sections of carbon-fibre integrated into the joints. NeilPryde initially used this tech for its Diablo although it says that the exoskeleton design has been further refined through finite element analysis (FEA, a computerised technique that predicts how a design will react to real-world physical effects). The idea is to increase frame stiffness.
Both the down tube and the seat tube are asymmetric, the intention being to handle the forces put on the bike by the drivetrain better than symmetrical tubes without adding unnecessary weight.
As well as the exoskeleton ribs mentioned, the rear triangle features what NeilPryde calls ‘one-piece stays’. That doesn’t mean that the entire rear section comes out of a single mould but the chainstay, rear dropout and part of the seatstay is moulded as one piece. NeilPryde says that this allows it to reduce weight and create a stronger, more durable rear triangle.
The deep section chainstays are intended to improve power transfer without adding greatly to the weight, and the very skinny seatstays are designed to soak up road vibration.
NeiPryde reckons that the square to oval section top tube adds both torsional rigidity and compliance, while the slim 27.2mm seatpost is held in place using an internal wedge and a recessed bolt.
The head tube is tapered, as it is on most high performance bikes these days. The moulded headset cups take a 1 1/8in bearing at the top and a 1 1/4in bearing at the bottom.
The down tube offers dual-position bottle cage mounting – the lower position is more aerodynamically efficient – and the bottom bracket is BB86 standard.
We have the medium sized BuraSL in for test with a 545mm top tube, a 500mm seat tube, and a 140mm head tube. The chainstays are short at 405mm, and so is the wheelbase at 975mm.
The stack (the vertical distance from the centre of the bottom bracket to the top of the head tube) is 555mm and the reach (the horizontal distance between those points) is 381mm. Those figures suggest you’ll get a performance orientated but not an extreme setup.
As mentioned up top, our BuraSL is built up with a Shimano Ultegra groupset. Well, mostly. The shifters, brakes, both derailleurs and chainset are all Ultegra 6800. That chainset is 52/36-tooth and the cassette is 12-25-tooth. You don’t get super-small gears, then, but 36 x 25 is a 38in gear that’s roughly equivalent to 39 x 27, if you’re used to a standard chainset.
The wheels are Fulcrum Racing 5s, as I said earlier, fitted with Vittoria Rubino Pro tyres in a 25mm width.
Most of the remaining components come from FSA, including the SL-K handlebars, stem and seatpost. If you’re not familiar with the way FSA does things, SL-K is its second tier of components, sitting below K-Force in the hierarchy. The handlebar and seatpost are both carbon-fibre, the stem is 3D forged and CNC machined aluminium.
Don't get too wound up by the angle of the Fizik Arione R7 saddle, by the way. We photograph bikes straight out of the box before they've been tweaked.
If you have more money available, the BuraSL is also available in a Shimano Dura-Ace (mechanical) build with Fulcrum Racing Zero wheels for £4,200.
NeilPryde is also launching a Bura made from standard modulus carbon-fibre for 2017. It is said to have the same stiffness and ride feel as the BuraSL but with an extra 200g frame weight. It will be available with a Shimano Ultegra 6800 groupset, Fulcrum Racing 7 wheels, and FSA SLK seatpost, stem and handlebar for £2,250, and with a Shimano 105 groupset, Fulcrum Racing Sport wheels, and FSA Gossamer seatpost, stem and handlebar for £1,650.
Of the road bikes that we’ve reviewed on road.cc lately, the closest in price to the £2,900 NeilPryde BuraSL is the £2,699 Wilier GTR Team Disc Ultegra. That’s another carbon-fibre bike with a Shimano Ultegra groupset including hydraulic disc brakes. It comes in an endurance geometry although other models are built to race geometries.
We were impressed by its comfort and by the all-weather performance of the braking. It’s considerably heavier than the NeilPryde, though, at 8.3kg.
The Genesis Zero Disc I that we reviewed recently is £3,299.99. Like the BuraSL, that’s a carbon-fibre race bike with a Shimano Ultegra groupset and Fulcrum Racing 5 wheels although, obviously, both are in their disc brake formats.
Stu concluded: “Impressive, lightweight, comfortable race machine, deserves better finishing kit though.”
Right, Stu is the man testing the NeilPryde BuraSL too, and he’s out there giving it the beans even as we speak. Er, write. Look out for his review on road.cc soon.
Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.