Product Overview

Overall rating:

Score 10

Pros:

  • Lighter than predecessor
  • Very light
  • Stiff

Cons:

  • Nothing

Product:

Parlee Z5

Manufacturer:

Price as reviewed:

£3000.00

Parlee is a small American outfit, mostly known for its highly desirable custom carbon frames. The Z5 is the latest generation, with genes passed down from other key models, together with new construction techniques.

Around 150g lighter than its predecessor, the Z4, the Z5 frame weight dips under 800g indicating the direction Parlee

is taking. Custom sizing isn’t available, and it’s only available as frame and fork, but with 10 sizes to choose from, including taller head tube options, there’s practically no need.

For me, that was like having my cake and eating it – a frame of this pedigree with the distinct possibility to ride a slightly less aggressive front end position without a pile of spacers.

Potentially lighter and stiffer, it’s no surprise the Z5 has a BB30 bottom bracket. SRAM’s latest Red groupset slotted in a treat. Its carbon BB30 chainset is superb and added an extra punch to an already impressive platform.

Elsewhere, you’ll find Dura Ace carbon laminate wheels, an Edge Composites stem, Fizik’s Cyrano seatpost and a Zipp SL compact bar – all top end and firmly in keeping with the level of kit the frame deserves. That said, as it turns out, I think the Z5 would have been a class act and a joy to ride regardless of spec.

Verdict

The Z5 oozes quality. Clean lines from its non-fussy, round tube shapes deliver a ride feel that bucks the trend for huge tube sizes - often more 'show' than 'go'. Impossible to fault.

£3,000 frame, fork, headset, custom carbon front mech clamp

Full Specification

Group Set: SRAM Red
Size Range: 10 sizes
Frame: Parlee Uni-directional SL Carbon
Size Tested: ML Tall
Weight: 14.12lb; 6.4kg
Supplier: Bespoke Cycling. 0207 7390119, www.bespokecycling.com
  • Jerryr R

    Put 150 miles on my new Z-5 this week in the only state that didn’t have snow and my opinion is the same as when I test rode it. The Z-5 exhibits very precise responsive handling with pedal to the pavement response unequaled by other bikes I’ve tried. I had the opportunity to test ride 4 or 5 different bikes back to back with the same wheels and gearing. The conclusion was unavoidable. The Z-5 was noticeably more responsive to pedal and steering input than any of the others (and they were great brandname bikes) but still had a very compliant ride. It’s a sports car of a bicycle and if it had a motor, I’d lose my license. Expensive, yes, but mad fun and I’m not looking back.
    JR