Custom carbon-fibre offering from the exclusive American manufacturer, £3,000
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.
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
Parlee Uni-directional SL Carbon
Bespoke Cycling. 0207 7390119,