Located just a town or two over from Fit Werx in Peabody, MA, Parlee Cycles is a brand that has been near and dear to our hearts for awhile. We like Parlee bikes and we like the people who make up Parlee as a company – two important things! Parlee Cycles has officially launched their ’15 models and there is a lot to talk about. This is a short overview/review of some of the biggest news items. Contact Fit Werx to learn more about Parlee’s latest!
On the road side, the big news is that the popular and very nice riding Z5 line has been replaced in its entirety with a next generation series called the Parlee Altum. The Parlee Altum is available in three different configurations in a super light version (claimed 750 gram frame) called simply “Altum”; a little heavier (~100 grams or so) “Altum R”; and a cool new “Altum Disc” that will accept tires up to 28mm while offering the strength and multi-condition performance of disc brakes without sacrificing any of the performance road prowess that Parlee is known. All in all, the Altum line should offer an excellent platform for many riders in New England, New York and beyond as it takes everything the venerable Z5 did so well and enhances it further.
The Altum frame geometry remains similar to the Z5, but not identical. Parlee has introduced a new headtube spacer concept that allows for maximum versatility in headtube height within a given frame size. This offers similar versatility to the multiple headtube length concept found in the Z5. The bottom line is that the further away from the top support structure of the frame a stem gets, the less stable and torsionally stiff a bike usually becomes. You want a bike with the correct length head tube for your riding position and stock Parlee frames tend to fit a wide range of riders well. While you want to get fit at Fit Werx in advance of choosing a new Parlee (we have your numbers on file if you have already been fit…), the Parlee Altum will fit many riders well and we think it will be a common fit recommendation.
Parlee says that the new Altum frame shape, which is bolder and has more sculpted lines (including a hidden seatclamp bolt) than the Parlee Z5 it replaces, offers the great ride quality of the Z5 while further enhancing torsional stiffness and lower weight (100 grams per frame size on the average). While we have not ridden or tested an Altum as of this writing (the bike was just officially announced over the past few days…), we have no reason to doubt that this is true. Fit Werx has found that Bob Parlee wants (read: “insists”) that any bike with his name on it rides a certain way. The Parlee Altum design certainly indicates that the smooth, lively, responsive and stable ride, hallmark of Parlee frames, will be maintained.
The Altum R or Altum Disc start at $3999 for a frameset, but the best pricing for many riders will be on the factory equipped bike. Shimano Ultegra 6800 Parlee Altum R and Altum Disc bikes start around $4500. The new Parlee Altum R, Altum and Altum Disc also include Parlee’s new 31.6 seatpost, new modular cable routing and a new Parlee fork. The new Parlee fork is particularly exciting as it is not just the usual “over the counter fork”; Parlee is now designing and manufacturing forks on their own. Like all Parlee frames, custom paint and finish is available, so you can personalize your new Parlee Altum however you would like! The frames also include a lifetime warranty against manufacturer defects.
The Altum is the only news at Parlee. Parlee has also introduced a new ESX R model, which takes Parlee’s aero road frame concept (introduced last year) and offers it at a lower price point. You can now get into a full Parlee ESX R aero road bike complete with Shimano Ultegra or SRAM Force for under $5800. If you want the lightest and most refined aero road frame Parlee can build, get the top of the line Parlee ESX for $1000 more. Otherwise, the Parlee ESX R offers a similar fit and ride quality to the ESX (arguably the best ride in an aero road bike available today) in a package that is competitively priced with many less inspired offerings from some of the big bike brands. All good things.
If you are thinking about an aero road frame, but have been concerned about fit or ride quality, the Parlee ESX and ESX R should be on your short list as these models cover more bases than most any other aero road bike available today. The Parlee ESX and ESX R will make a great bike for ripping up the varied terrain of Vermont or New Hampshire; cutting through the ocean winds on the Northshore or Cape outside of Boston; tackling 9W near New York City or doing long rides out west or anywhere in-between. Aero can make a difference in your speed regardless of the geography…
Finally, on the triathlon and TT side, it is great to hear that the Parlee TTiR is coming back into stock. The Parlee ride quality is especially apparent on the rougher roads found in the Northeast and Parlee sold out the TTiR really early in ’14. We missed having it as an option after early spring this year for folks. If you have been waiting for a Parlee TTiR to become available, we are happy to say that Fit Werx is ready to take your order again and thank you for your patience!
As one of the top Parlee bike dealers in the country, Fit Werx is happy to be serving riders and triathletes from Burlington, VT and Montreal, QC to New York City and New Jersey, to Boston, New Hampshire and well beyond! Give us a call or drop an email for additional information on the new Parlee offerings and don’t forget to make sure you have had a Fit Werx fit before you get your next bike.