Bikeboard.en Logo
Simplon Pride Disc 2018

Simplon Pride Disc 2018

28.09.18 22:11 2.148Text: Reinhard Hörmann; Luke BiketalkerPhotos: Erwin HaidenThe Pride is back - and doesn't share much from the popular predecessor, apart from its model name, lettering and the existence of two wheels.28.09.18 22:11 2.148

Simplon Pride Disc 2018

28.09.18 22:11 2.148 Reinhard Hörmann; Luke Biketalker Erwin Haiden Dieser Beitrag ist auch in Deutsch verfügbarThe Pride is back - and doesn't share much from the popular predecessor, apart from its model name, lettering and the existence of two wheels.28.09.18 22:11 2147

The name 'Pride' is not a new addition to Simplon's road bike family, the 2018 edition's concept however has absolutely nothing in common with the original Pride. Except perhaps, that both bikes from the long-established company in Austria's Vorarlberg were, or are considered outright milestones at their time.

Already introduced in 2004, the Pride's uncountable top reviews have cemented the reputation of Simplon's carbon racers up to this day. Up until 2012, the name remained part of the program, even if not resembling their flagship model at that time anymore. Beyond that point, the lettering disappeared from catalogs altogether.
It took until the beginning of 2017, when a story on YouTube hinted at the possibility that a brand new Pride was under development. Chief of Development Rainer Sebal and R&D Leader Jonas Schmeiser - who has been an active racer on a continental level himself for years - got free reign to dream up a polarizing, and especially, an aerodynamically advanced bike, from scratch.

Revolutionary and Polarizing

What came to be is as radically different, as it's dividing minds. Available exclusively with disc brakes and spurred by the easing up of the UCI's 3:1 frame regulations, the 2018 Pride matured into an appearance that's trimmed to aerodynamic and race-performing heights with looks that could certainly gain George Lucas' approval.
The voluminous, distinct top tube, the edged brace at the bottom bracket area, which smoothly flows upwards into the smaller tapering down tube, the 'fin' at the right chainstay - nothing on the Pride seems to have been randomly placed or designed to accommodate the masses. Form follows function at its finest.
Even the seatpost and highly distinctive cockpit bear the mark of the company. A wholesome aerodynamic approach only works if all the cogs are mashing together perfectly.

That way, the entire cable routing and hydraulic lines disappear into the handlebar without ever showing up and run through the unusual split stem directly into the frame. Only close at their destination do they reappear. Even the fork's brake lines are routed through the inside of the fork. The fork itself is supposed to provide added comfort at the front, thanks to heavily bent 'Raptor' dropouts.
Taste is a matter of choice, and Simplon is aware of that. But individuality, forward-looking ideas and approaches are hard to ignore, even for traditionalist steel fetishists. Quite the change, as Simplon had to endure criticism for repeatedly not building the most creative road race bikes, not too long ago.

Aerodynamics at its best

Even with the entire appearance being unusual: no other component is as polarizing as the Advanced Cockpit. The handlebar/stem unit is stylish and fluently integrated into the frame - at least in the eyes of the editors. The slim profile of the bar and especially the split stem is delivering a futuristic look. Even the biggest critics won't dispute that inside cable routing constitutes the best aerodynamics and without giving away too much, the bar/stem combo's stiffness is simply breathtaking.
In order to not only attract hardcore racers with the Pride, various handlebar widths and stem lengths can be configured. Even a marathon-version with 2 cm rise and spacer is optionally available. Interested parties that just can't deal with the bar's look can equip the bike with a regular stem and therefore use regular race bars.
In a similar fashion, the designated aero seatpost can be exchanged for more regular round models, after swapping the seat clamp. That way, potential customers are not pressured into the dependency of in-house solutions - a commendable approach.

Geometry

Size: 46 49 52 55 58 61
Seat tube (mm): 463 470 486 505 525 539
Top tube (mm): 530 543 557 568 579 595
Head angle (°): 71,5 71,9 73,0 73,0 73,0 73,0
Seat angle (°): 73,5 73,4 73,0 73,0 73,0 73,0
Steer tube (mm): 130 130 135 153 175 195
Chainstays (mm): 410 410 410 410 410 410
Wheelbase (mm): 976 983 984 995 1006 1022
Bottom bracket drop (mm): 77 77 74 74 74 74
Fork length (mm): 368 368 368 368 368 368
Fork offset (mm): 45 45 45 45 45 45
Standover height (mm): 740 743,8 761 777 796 813
Stack (mm): 530 535 544 562 582 602
Reach (mm): 374 383 391 396 401 411
Stack to Reach: 1,417 1,371 1,391 1,419 1,451 1,465
Only with disc brake and thru-axle

By making the decision to offer the Pride with disc brakes only, the move to thru-axles is a logical consequence. 12 x100 mm out front and 12 x 142 mm in the rear are not an uncommon setup these days. However, to keep the axles from falling out of the dropouts by an end stop, when removing a wheel, is new. A clean and pretty simple solution that came in handy when dealing with a flat during the test period. It's your own choice though, if you want to use the system or not, even if there's no reason I can think of why anyone wouldn't want to reap the benefits of it.
Regarding disc brake sizes, Simplon chose a 160 mm diameter for the front and 140 mm in the back. A decision that could be interpreted as only fulfilling the minimum requirement since not every rider is bringing distinctively less than 70 kg fighting weight into the equation.

Pride Dura-Ace Di2

Frame: Pride Disc, integrated seat clamp, Flatmount, integr. bar stops, 12x142 mm, HPMC Hot Melt Carbon, Double Fusion technology Brake: BR-R9170, hydraulic Flatmount disc brakes
Color: Carbon Matt/ Black Glossy or Graphite Grey Glossy/ Luminous Yellow Glossy Discs: Dura-Ace RT-900 160/140 mm
Fork: Simplon Pride Disc, Hot Melt Nano Carbon, i-Cone, Flatmount, 12x100 mm Cockpit: stem/bar combo: Simplon PRIDE PRO (other variants possible)
Headset: Acros Seatpost: Simplon Pride | Hot Melt Carbon (other variants possible)
Bottom bracket: Shimano PF Saddle: Selle Italia SLR Flow - black
Cranks: Dura-Ace R9100 53/39Z Wheels: DT Swiss ARC1100 DiCut 62 db Tubeless
Cassette: Dura-Ace R9100 11/30Z Tires: Schwalbe ONE EVO | 700 x 25C
Chain: Dura-Ace R9100 Weight: 7.13 kg
Brake-/Shift levers: Dura-Ace R9100 Di2 Price: from € 8,499
Front derailleur: Dura-Ace R9100 Di2 BB-config.: about € 10,100
Rear derailleur: Dura-Ace R9100 Di2

Although the Pride's appearance is mimicking that of an advanced interceptor, trying to keep the weight down was an important design objective during development. Therefore, the field of use is certainly broader than its optics might suggest. Aiding the low weight is the Hot Melt manufacturing process, which reduces redundant resin inside the carbon filaments. Simplon saves a few extra grams by combining a monocoque-construction with tube-to-tube and lug technology. In frame size 55, including derailleur hanger and hardware (but without seatpost clamp), Simplon claims a weight of 920 g for the frameset. Our test bike with Dura-Ace base equipment and an upgrade to DT Swiss ARC1100 DiCut 62 db tubeless wheels stops the scale closely above 7 kg.

Equipped this way, the configuration moves from a base price of € 8,499 towards about € 10,000 - a considerable sum, even for an absolute high-end road bike.
The cheapest entry into the Pride's world starts at € 5,399 with a mechanical Ultegra group. Versions with Sram Red or Campa Super Record are also available.

On the Road

Enough talk about looks and technical data. They're only one aspect - how a road bike handles in real life is much more important.
Before we start, let us state beforehand that after long evenings of discussion, we decided to go 'all-in' with the spec. We could surely have chosen a configuration that would have shown that the Pride - like most regular road bikes - could perform well on long climbs as much as on flat high-speed courses. Still, we had the feeling that it would be outrageous to not trim this speed machine towards pure aerodynamics. Ergo: the longest available stem length, a 42 cm narrow handlebar without any rise, no spacers - lower and narrower almost isn't possible. We added to that some really fast DT Swiss ARC1100 DiCut 62 db tubeless wheels. Go big, when you get the opportunity ...

Exactly the way this configuration reads, the Pride handles on the road. The sound inevitably reminds of the ambient noise of riding time trial bikes, with a disc wheel at the rear, hard. Following are some superlatives:
Because of the chosen setup, you're forced into an aerodynamic position, if you want to or not. The forward drive is, without exaggeration, fabulous; the stiffness of the bar/stem combo is unrivaled. Shimano's electronic Dura-Ace Di2 allows to individually configure shifters/buttons via software and is simply the best drivetrain I was ever able to put to the test: precise, quick and pleasing on the eye. No one would expect that the stylish and slender STI levers are hiding hydraulic brake fluid reservoirs for the disc brakes.

Already during the first base endurance training sessions, while defying cold temperatures, the average speed showed considerably higher numbers than I was used to within such low intensity. There was hardly ever a ride where less than 32 km/h on rather flat terrain have shown up on Strava's final analysis. Sure, without a wind tunnel it's hard to come to a valid statement about the Pride's aerodynamic benefits, especially since the rider's position is taking the lion's share in saving watts against the wind. And even tests under artificial airstream, as our German colleagues like to practice regularly, should be eyed skeptically. In the end, it's the own personal feel and many KOMs during the test period in the flats that indicate that the Pride's potential for speed is enormous.

Simplon's Pride presents itself just as exemplary at downhills and in undulating terrain, as it does in fighting against the clock. Thanks to its high lateral stiffness and therefore forte at sprints, it certainly qualifies as a real option for crit riders and sprinters.
Lacking real mountains and epic mountain passes around my home territory, I wasn't able to put the high alpine capabilities of the Pride to the test. It's safe to assume though, that it's not going to shine in the same way, unless you'll configure the bike differently.

In regards to comfort, the Pride can (compared to other aero racers) surprise when rolling over some larger surface irregularities and even when sprinting on cobblestones, traction is top.
In order to mount head units on the distinct (speak: not compatible with a lot of accessories) handlebar, Simplon is currently developing an appropriate mount. Fitting Garmin and Wahoo, we already received a first prototype that, except for its slightly bulky looks, gave no reason to complain about.

Covering closely to 2,000 km during the test period, I had to deal with two (tire) damages. Once, the puncture ended up to be irreparable on the spot and involved messing around with the tire sealant and having had to insert a tube after all. The second time only became obvious while cleaning the bike and finding specks of dried sealant on the seat tube from a hole the sealant clogged at the rear wheel, just as it should. After reinflating the Schwalbe tire (25 mm), it held pressure without a problem. However, I am still not fully convinced of this system in combination with the high air pressure on a road bike.

After all the praise for Shimano - the standard Dura-Ace rotors add a drop of bitterness to the package. While deceleration - after having broken them in properly - left no room for complaint, the discs do deform ever so slightly after hard braking. Up until the next regular braking maneuver, you can notice a slight rub. Shimano would be well off to improve upon the matter, since this small flaw doesn't fit the rest of the high-end group's image.

Bottom Line

Simplon Pride Disc
Model year: 2018
Test period: 2,017 km
Price: from € 5,399 (test bike around € 10,000)
+ Handling
+ Aerodynamically exhausted
+ Extreme forward drive
+ Very stiff bar/stem combo
+ Innovative
+ Individual optics
+ Outstanding ride characteristics
o High price of base setup
o Brake rotors (including dimensions)
BB-verdict: Phenomenal

It's obvious that Simplon's approach with the Pride was daring - also the fact that the road bike's optics are polarizing and has a tendency to stir emotions. Some will love it. Part of those is our entire office and absolutely everyone I invited to do some laps on the test bike. Others will skeptically reject the design. Naked numbers and subjective facts from practical testing are an indicator that the Pride wants to, and can, speed along the asphalt at extreme velocity. The concept is full of innovation, no compromises and individuality.

The few weaknesses are quickly listed: Firstly, the Shimano rotors aren't optimal, secondly, the price of the test bike - despite its highest quality - is probably situated beyond the pain threshold of most mere mortal road racers. Thank god that the purchase price can be severely reduced by equipping the bike with different drivetrain and components. Equipped like our test bike, the Pride is a true weapon for serious racers and performance-oriented hobby riders, de facto the purchasable Formula 1 machine of road cycling. Because of its diverse setup possibilities, we consciously did not try to categorize the Pride's suitability for other areas of application. For riders like me, the Pride is a bike that is best described in one word: phenomenal!