About Parlee Cycles
Bob Parlee's experience with carbon fiber dates to the '70's working with high-tech builders in the sailboat industry. In 2000, he took brought that experience to bicycle framebuilding. Working with a carbon fiber manufacturer that allowed him access to facilities, equipment, and expertise, Bob developed bicycle-specific carbon tubing and carbon frame building methods that result in the finest full-carbon frames available. Today Edge Composites, based in Utah, supplies carbon tubes manufactured to Parlee's stringent specifications. Everything in Parlee's Peabody, Massachusetts factory is done by hand, from the selection of rider-specific tubeset for custom frames, and the lay-up of the carbon fiber lugs, to paint and finishing.
To understand how the perfect balance of performance, comfort and durability is achieved in a Parlee, one must look at their bike-building process. PARLEE is the leading manufacturer of custom carbon bikes. All of their models are offered in stock sizes as well. Parlee stock bikes are built using the same process as the custom bikes. Each is built with uncompromising care and attention to detail.
The process begins at Grace Bicycles with a bike fit and consultation about how you want your Parlee- designed and built. Carbon tubes are selected based on desired ride qualities and individual rider characteristics. These tubes are then precisely mitered in a process that combines old world craftsmanship with cutting edge materials and construction methods. "The build time is around 40 hours - more than four times longer than the average custom bike," says Bob. Everything that goes on a Parlee frame has been designed and constructed at the their factory. Parlee make their own carbon fittings, cable stops and front derailleur clamps in house. By designing and building parts specific to their bikes, Parlee is able to create the lightest, most durable interfaces between the frame and components and as such some of the lightest, most durable bikes on the market.
The integrity of each Parlee frame begins with the high modulus, uni-directional, carbon fiber tubing and parts. All tubes and sub-assemblies are produced exclusively to Bob's design and specifications. Upon arrival each tube is meticulously inspected, then mitered to size. All tubes are then inspected again, ends cleaned and media blasted. "It is about creating perfect surfaces to work with," says Bob. "Perfect surface prep leads to long term durability." All Parlee frames are backed by a lifetime warranty.
When it is time to start building, rider-specific tubing is assembled on a specially designed jig accurate to sub 1mm tolerances. The lugs are assembled by hand around the mitered tubes and become an integral part of the frame. This allows for angular adjustment of the lugs, as well as customization of stiffness. Each lug is comprised of over 100 separate pieces of carbon fiber each placed with a different fiber orientation. "What's important is that you have the fiber orientation correct because that is what gives the frame its strength, and ride quality," says Bob.
The frames are then put through a proprietary heating and pressurization process that bonds the frame together. "We've developed our own molding processes to get the best parts and consistent surface finish," says Bob. The frames are then hand sanded, cleaned and the small parts are installed. The final touches are applied in our paint booth where the customer has unlimited color choices to create a truly unique bike. After painting, the frames undergo a painstaking process of wet sanding with progressively finer grit paper, then buffed to a mirror-like shine. "Our process is exacting and done for the love of creating bikes that perform exceptionally well," says Bob, adding. "It is really a great feeling knowing you've built something that satisfies each person's unique wishes for a bike."
We realize that the decision to order a custom bicycle is not one that's done lightly. If you'd like to find out more about Parlee Cycles, and the benefits of a designing and building a custom bicycle, feel free to email Roy at email@example.com. He can set up a quiet time to meet at the store (or at home or even our local coffee house) to answer the questions you have, and guide you through a process of discovery that will help you make the best decisions about your next bike.
Designed from the ground up for custom geometry, Z1s may be customized by 1mm and .1-degree increments to fulfill any custom design from 47cm to 65+ cm. Custom carbon fiber lug lay-up along with five tube set choices allows the Z1 to be perfectly optimized for each individual rider. We offer a fixed wheel option for track use or fixed wheel road riding, as well as updated geometry and additional stock and custom sizes, including an option for 650c wheels. Z1s can be built with semi-sloping geometry up to 7 degrees. Optional upgrades include the super light SL tube set, the extra stiff XL tube set, the X woven tube set and the compliant CL tubeset. New for 2011 is an option for internal Di2 wiring.
Each year, after riding thousands of miles on bikes from all over the world, the editors of Bicycling Magazine select one bike as the ultimate, cost-no-object road bike. The bike they choose is a bike that represents the very best - it's the bike that you dream about owning. We're proud that our Z1 has been named Bicycling Magazine Editor's Choice for Dream Road Bike. The Z1 was the first all carbon fiber bike to be awarded this prestiguous award.
Z1 Full Custom Frameset $7,899
Z1 Semi-Custom Frameset $6,899
Z1 Complete Bicycles- please call for pricing
Z2 and Z3
Originally designed to be a less expensive alternative to the Z1, our Z2 may be the best-kept secret in the PARLEE lineup. Built using the same tube sets and techniques as the Z1, the Z2 offers a wide range of sizes and options for those who prefer a level or gently sloping (up to two degrees) top tube. The Z2 is offered in five FLEX-FIT semi-custom sizes. Options for the Z2 include custom geometry, the super light SL tube set, the XL tube set, the compliant CL tubeset and the X woven finish tube sets. 100-300lb rider weight tuning option available. Internal Di2 wiring now available!
The Z3 is our vision of the perfect sloping geometry frame. Recognized as Race Bike of the Year by Cycling Weekly Magazine, the Z3 has become the favorite of racers and enthusiastic riders worldwide. Never before has such a great performing frame been available with so many options for customization and ride tuning. Ride a Z3 and you'll see that it delivers the magic balance of stiffness and comfort. New for this year, the Z3 is offered in seven FLEX-FIT semi-custom sizes as well as custom geometry. We are pleased to offer custom Z3s sized to 70cm virtual, which along with our XL tube set can provide an excellent ride for larger riders. Options for the Z3 include custom geometry, the super light SL tube set, the XL tube set, the compliant CL tubeset and the X woven finish tube sets. 100-300lb rider weight tuning option available. Internal Di2 wiring now available!
Z2 or Z3 Full Custom Frameset $6,899
Z2 or Z3 Semi-Custom Frameset $5,899
Z2 or Z3 Complete Bicycles- please call for pricing
The latest iteration of Parlee's heralded Z5 range, the Z5i features all-new integrated cable management system, which cleanly routes all mechanical and electronic drive and brake cabling inside the frame set.
Parlee's industry leading Flex-Fit sizing, tapered ENVE Composites all carbon fork with a lighter, all carbon, Press-Fit30 bottom bracket ensure the Z5i fits and performs as flawlessly as it looks.
The Z5i is natively compatible with all SRAM, Campagnolo mechanical and EPS systems as well as 10 and 11 speed Shimano mechanical and Di2 systems.
Z5i Frameset $3,999
Z5i Complete Bicycles- please call for pricing
You’ve done the research. You understand that when it comes to reduced frame weight, the Parlee Z5 SL is the industry standard in achieving the balance between ultra-light and ultimate performance. Now you wish to go a step further and embrace the electronic age.
Enter the Parlee Z5 SLi, the Shimano Di2 and Campagnolo EPS compatible version of Parlee's lightest production road frame. Traditional cable stops have been removed, mold holes are reinforced, and a non-riveted carbon fiber battery mount has been installed out of the rider’s way.
The end result is an intelligent, clean implementation of necessary structural change, without the addition of needless clutter or over-engineered excess. Welcome to the electronic age.
Z5SLi Frameset $4,999
Z5SLi Complete Bicycles- please call for pricing
THE FIRST AERO BIKE TO RIDE LIKE A ROAD BIKE - SLEEK, FAST AND COMFORTABLE
The goal with our TT design was simple. Create the best performing bike for individual efforts against the clock. You might expect that given our background in developing NACA-based low-drag sections, we would be speaking endlessly about the aerodynamic qualities of this design. Well, we could, it is fast in theoretical situations (i.e. by itself in a wind tunnel) but no race is won by a bare frame in a wind tunnel. Maximum performance depends on a unique blend of fit, ride quality, efficiency and aerodynamics. If an athlete can't be in the ideal position where comfort and power are maximized and road shock is minimized, then all the aero tricks in the world won't make you faster. In designing our TT bike, we focused on several key areas.
RIDE QUALITY: Cycling Weekly says about our road frames "the road feels smoother when riding the PARLEE". As important as this is on a road frame, take into account being in a full tuck on an aero bar with a deep section front wheel and disc out back. Comfort does matter. So expect our TT to have the ride quality of our road bikes.
FIT: Low drag is great but if you can't comfortably put out your maximum wattage, there is no point. For the first time on a stock geometry bike, you can get each of our sizes with one of two head tube heights. This is important because every athlete has their own individual position where power, comfort and aerodynamics can be maximized along with predictable handling and precise steering. This, along with our unique, multi-position seat post, provides the widest range of fit options. Fit is key.
AERODYNAMICS: All of the sections are bike specific, optimized NACA-derived, low-speed sections designed exclusively for the typical, variable wind conditions faced by cyclists racing solo against the wind. Equally fast in a 0 degree (head-on) as in varying crosswind conditions. Cable routing and brake mounting are as clean as possible. The cables take the shortest possible path from the controls to the point where they enter the frame. Cables remain out of the airstream as much as possible. The rear brake sits under the chain stays. The top tube is perfectly parallel to the ground. Frontal area is reduced as much as possible, but nothing gimmicky is added that takes away from the handling or set up.
USABILITY: Having a design that is easy to build up, easy to adjust and easy to maintain is paramount to us. A reliable, quiet riding bike is a joy to ride. All the cables run through full length guides so contamination is minimized, installation is simple and service can be performed quickly. The seat post features independent adjustment for height, setback (fore-aft) and angular (tilt) and the bike fits in standard travel cases and shipping boxes. TT's can also accomodate internal wiring for Shimano Di2 electronic shifting.
WEIGHT: While our focus was elsewhere first, we simply built one of the lightest time trial machines on the market without sacrificing comfort.
EFFICIENCY: A quick glance at any review ever written about a PARLEE will show that we get the balance between stiffness and comfort. Why should an aero bike be any less responsive? A stout drive train delivers exceptional sprints and out of the saddle feel. Expect our TT to respond to pedal input just like our road bikes.
TTi Frameset $3,499
TTi Complete Bicycles- please call for pricing
The TT Custom is our vision of the perfect frameset to be used against the clock. Whether you are a time-trialist, duathlete, triathlete or track racer, there is no faster bike available. All TT Custom's feature custom geometry and carbon fiber lay-up optimized for each individual athlete. Using some of the cleanest low-speed NACA sections, the TT fuses Bob's experience in racing boats creating slippery sections with nearly a decade's worth of experience building the most desirable custom carbon fiber road frames. Exclusively available with full custom geometry and carbon lay-up, the TT Custom features the same smooth ride and efficient drive train as all Parlee frames, yet allows mm by mm customization of the frame to match each riders unique positional requirements. Now available with internally routed Di2 wiring.
TTi Full Custom Frameset $9,899
TTi Full Custom Complete Bicycles- please call for pricing
Below are photos of a custom Z3 SL built for N.S., who wanted extraordinary lateral stiffness from the bottom bracket, while still getting the vertical compliance that yields all-day comfort.
We wanted to take more photos, but N.S. didn't want to part with his new bike for very long. Oh well, next time...
R.S.'s Z3 built up quite nicely with Campagnolo Record and Eurus tubular wheels.
After many years and thousands of miles on his I.F. Steel Crown Jewel, A.K. decided to try something very new and very different. His Z4 added comfort and lost about two pounds off his old bike.
B.R.'s custom Parlee Z1 is a thinking man's superlight bicycle. He estimated the weight of complete bike before it was built by keeping a spreadsheet that tallied the frame weight, fork weight, and the weights of the individual components. We worked with him to make sure that the components being selected were not "stupid light", meaning that they had a very good track record of quality and durability as well as light weight.The result is a complete bike that weighs 12.7lbs, and complements B.R.'s spinning and climbing style very well. After all, that's what custom is all about.
Custom Parlee Z1 SL at 12.7 lbs
Note the Parlee carbon front derailleur clamp
A couple of years later, B.R. decided that he wanted a dedicated climbing bike for events such as the Mount Washington Hillclimb. We talked about the gearing necessary, and what design parameters were important, not only for the hillclimb but also for other climbing events. In the past, we would modify his Z1 by installing a mountain bike triple crankset with the outer two chainrings removed, and we would also remove the front derailleur since it was not needed. Now, we decided to use Sram's XX drivetrain with a 39x26 crankset and an 11x36 10 speed rear cassette, coupled with Sram's Red shifters. With a few modifications to the components, we finished the bike, and B. has been riding it in climbing events ever since. Even with a 39x11 high gear, his Z5 can easily double as his second road bike in a pinch.
Parlee Z5 built for climbing with Sram Red shifters and XX drivetrain
Sram XX 39x26 crank and XX front derailleur
Speedplay Nanogram pedals
Sram XX front derailleur
The front derailleur band had to be modified to clear the lower bottle cage bolt
Sram XX rear derailleur and 11x36 cassette
Zero Gravity brakes and Nokon carbon derailleur cable housing
Cane Creek Aer headset
Fizik Antares saddle with braided carbon rails
S.N. has an appreciation for good carbon fiber work. Thus he enjoys his Z1.
S.N.'s Parlee TT bike is freakishly fast. That's all that needs to be said.
After completing a bike fit on his Lemond, D.H. decided on Parlee's Z4 and decked it out with Shimano Dura Ace. Shimano's Dura Ace carbon tubeless wheels give a tubular-like ride quality and eliminate pinch flats.
Edge 2.0 Road Fork and Shimano Dura Ace WH7850-C24-TL Tubeless wheels for a smooth, fast ride
K.M wanted a bike that was light, fast, and comfortable. Because Parlee's Z5 comes with Flex-Fit geometry, we were able to choose a size that has a slightly taller head tube to give him the comfort that he was looking for without sacrificing the thoroughbred performance that is Parlee's heritage.
Twenty-something years ago, S.O. raced a steel Trek. Fast forward to today, and after losing over fifty pounds S. had decided to treat himself to a modern carbon bike. The Z5 fit the bill. S. will be riding with the GVBC, and is looking forward to mixing it up at Wells Ave. and other races this year.
M.C. owns the absinthe-green IF Steel Crown Jewel pictured on our IF Page. Just like A.K. above, he decided to try something different after thousands of miles on his trusted steel bike. The Parlee Z5 fit the bill.