August 26, 2020

The Parlee Z-Zero is one of the most expensive framesets we’ve had in the shop - retail price of these can be over £8000 depending on options. What justifies that sort of pricing?

Bob Parlee came to bike manufacturing from a background in high end carbon fibre racing boats. Since 2000 Parlee has been making some of the best carbon bike frames in the world in his factory in Beverly, Massachusetts on the US east coast. Making frames with US labour obviously has a much higher cost than in Asia but also means Parlee have full control of every stage of the process.  

His designs are simple and minimalistic. There’s a minimum of ‘styling’ - the focus is on creating fast, light, comfortable race bikes.  Their US made frames are built to order and there is usually a long waiting list.

Although they started out sourcing carbon tubing from Enve they’re now one of a tiny number of companies that manufacture their tubing in-house to allow for precise specification and customisation - one of only a tiny number of companies in the bike business who have the skill to do this. Even frame components such as cable stops and bottle bosses are Parlee specific rather than off the shelf items.

On the Z-Zero the dropouts and bearing races (in the head tube and bottom bracket) are compression molded carbon which reduces the metal content in the Z-Zero to less than 20 grams. Eliminating metal correctly in any carbon composite structure translates to lighter weight and better durability

Parlee say their exclusive molding process is the technical benchmark for fusing carbon fiber tubes into a single monolithic structure. Neither “lugged” nor traditional “tube to tube”, the Z-Zero joining process is more precise, and unmatched in strength, using only carbon fiber to fuse each tube to another in a manner that yields a wholly unified structure with almost zero redundant material.   

While Parlee produce fully customisable Z-Zero frames for the vast majority of riders an off the shelf frame fits pefectly so if you’re the right size you can pick up a lightly used example from us for just £1995.

As well as the Z-Zero we currently have a number of Altum frames in stock which are small batch manufactuered in Asia to Parlee’s exacting specifications.  

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