I had the pleasure of building it up with Campagnolo Super Record, Enve bar/stem/post and Mavic RSYS SLR wheels. Complete built it was ridiculously light and has a very subtle understated look to it. The Parlee Z5 SL looks very much like a bike in the traditional sense. Not everyone notices this bike from a long way off but up close the reaction is always the same "Wow! - what is that? what does it weigh? what does it cost? how does it ride??"
The short answer is it rides amazing. The Z5 SL is a perfect combination of stiff and smooth. It's one of the best bikes I have ever ridden and not only for climbing it's also very good for descending and tracks straight on the flats. The Z5 SL is a stock geometry monoqoq frame made in Asia and not a full custom bike that Parlee has become famous for. Although a frame with custom geometry and hand built in the USA is very romantic and for some might be the ultimate bike for me the stock geometry is more appealing because I can be confident Bob Parlee has achieved a perfect balance and optimized it's geometry whereas a custom bike is a one off that you never truly know how it's going to feel. Also if it's weight and performance you are looking for in a bike then it's had to beat what the Z5 SL has to offer. It differs from the standard Z5 in that the frame blanks are chosen off the production line and identified as the premium frames. The chosen SL frames are not covered in paint like a standard Z5 which saves weight and all it's fittings are either titanium or carbon.
|Parlee Z5 bottom bracket. Unlike anything else on the road the chain stays have an unusual look. It works. The rear end is a perfect combination of stiff and compliant for me at 180lbs and average power.|
Features: The Parleee Z5 SL Limited has a BB30 Bottom bracket and when built with Campagnolo it's a easy conversion to with the Campagnolo BB30 cups. My experience with this combination has been very positive on a few bikes. The seatpost is a 31.6mm with a carbon post clamp that looks very much part of the frame. The headset is from Cane Creek and works flawlessly with the Enve fork 1.25 to 1.125 tapered. We added some matt carbon spacers to really make it look great. The dropouts on the fork and frame are high modulos carbon and beefy enough to inspire confidence.
The relationship between Enve and Parlee produces a fantastic final product and the matching finish of the Enve post, stem and bar with the Z5 SL frame is a nice touch. Add Parlee's lifetime frame warranty and the Z5 SL Limited starts to look like a bike that covers all the bases for someone looking to buy once and feel completely satisfied with their bike.
|Cross section of the Z5 head tube. Ultra thin, high modules carbon with the bearing races molded in are just another feature that makes the Z5 so light, simple and effective.|
|Parlee make their own carbon front derailleur clamp. Standard with the Z5 it's a fantastic compliment to the frame.|