In this latest staff review, Cycle Marketing Manager Rob takes a look at the lightweight and agile Neil Pryde Bura SL.
When I was given the opportunity to get on board the NeilPryde Bura SL for a few weeks, I was stoked. It is a bike that had taken my eye since I saw it lurking in the office at the time of launch.
I was taken by the asymmetric tubing profile on the downtube, the bold looks, and the listed weight of the frame (just 790g!).
On paper, the spec for money looked right up there with the best; and then our very own Tim Wiggins rode this very same frameset on his recent ‘Everesting’ challenge; so I was confident it would be up to any climbing I had planned.
I collected the bike from the Wiggle mail order team, bolted on some bottle cages and pedals, and dialled in my saddle height - 81cm crank to seat. Then, I immediately set off on my weekly 100Km commute from Cosham to Brighton. The route is a mixture of some stinking sharp climbs, scenic rolling lanes, and rarely the tailwind promised by my Dark Sky app…
'They' say never to try any new equipment for a longer ride, but from the off I was comfortable in the cockpit of the Bura.
The geometry is deceptive; it doesn’t have a high headtube you will find on modern endurance bikes, however the ride feel gave you that sensation – I have a strange set of limbs so appreciated the compact look.
When I am riding any new bike, I usually pick up an early indicator of the character of the ride from the first couple of miles; that develops further as the hours in the saddle pass by. For the Bura SL… 'Smooth'. The ride is super compliant. The carbon layup has been done in a really clever way, to eliminate more road buzz than any bike I have ridden before. I found that I got off the bike 4 hours later feeling fresher than I usually would, as a result. Well, I would have, if I hadn’t used that banked energy to go hunt out a few more ramps to attack… it is a welcomed characteristic.
Aside the comfort, a couple of things of note after the first 100 kilometers…
The bike was flawless, credit goes to the Wiggle bikes team for making sure gear changes were crisp, tyre pressures where I wanted them, and everything running perfectly for the whole of my test period.
I was going to have to make a couple of changes to the spec for my next ride.
I really cannot fault Shimano Ultegra. Value, performance, feel… it just works, perfectly, always.
This groupset compliments the frame perfectly. Sure, you could opt for Dura-Ace, or upgrade to eTap,; but I personally love what you get with Ultegra. It is a honest hard-worker that is always ready. The profile of the bar is comfortable, and I appreciate the shallow drop. Carbon bars with flat tops, a really nice touch.
The bar tape though, does not do the bars justice; a cheap, quick swap to make a big difference.
I have been riding the Fizik Arione for years, and love it. Mine is a really old model though, and the new shape did not agree with me so much. Saddles are a personal choice though, and while I was pining for my old sofa, the chances are you will love it - it is a Wiggle best-seller for a reason!
The wheels are great training wheels, and winter mile eaters. Strong, good looking and great quality. Their weight does not really compliment the weight of the frame though, so I wanted to swap the wheels with the Fulcrum Racing Zero I usually ride, to really gauge how the bike felt.
NeilPryde did an epic job to get this bike under the £3,000 price point, and to do that the wheels were the place they have brought in cost savings, on the assumption that you will get great training wheels with the bike, and you will likely have your own performance wheelset you will be moving across to your new bike.
The next 300 kilometres
With a set of wheels that I was used to, I was able to get a better impression of the frame. I was blown away with the compliance.
Racing Zero wheels have a reputation for being some of the stiffest hoops available, but road buzz was kept to a minimum, on even the roughest roads the south coast had for me.
It meant I was no longer choosing lines on the road based on the surface, and I could focus on flow and pedalling.
I am often guilty of being quite aggressive in the saddle, but found that the NeilPryde Bura SL rewarded me when I wound it up, rather than stomped. It wasn’t my usual style, but I really enjoyed the sensation of building up my speed gradually and being able to carry the speed in such a smooth motion.
On climbs, I found the frame rewarded me when I maintained cadence either in or out of the saddle. I might not have been hungry for climbs, but I was really happy on the upwards grades; as well as confident on the downs.
The Neil Pryde Bura SL is an incredibly comfortable, fast endurance bike. If you are spending long periods in the saddle, you will be hard pressed to find a bike that will look after you like this.
Out of the box I can confirm it is going to give you no issues over the first 300Km, but upgrading the wheels and bar tape when you get the chance, will take this bike into the next level.
The Bura SL looks great, and zips over rough pave and climbs like a freight train.
Take advantage of the Wiggle 30-day test ride and you will never look back!
View the Neil Pryde Bura SL Ultegra Road Bike at Wiggle
Read more about the Neil Pryde Bura SL, and its Endurance capabilities in these two great editorial pieces: