Friday, June 22, 2012

Test Ridden Parlee Z5 SLi with Di2 and Ksyrium SLR

Hello again children of the internet! This is Calvin from Wrench Science with the skinny on the Parlee Z5 SLi. Devon Cooper of Parlee Cycles delivered a stunning all matte black Z5 SLi for evaluation.

After two weeks of group rides, training, and commuting I am extremely impressed with this off-the-shelf offering from the otherwise custom-geometry oriented Parlee Cycles. Many more pics after the jump!

The Z5 SLi - the "i" is for electronic shifting frames - is one of the lightest road frames on the market. Even with the comparably hefty Shimano Dura Ace Di2 this XL bike weighs in at 15.7lbs with bottle cages, pedals, and pump.

Parlee believes that careful selection in carbon fiber and lay-up are superior to overt tube shaping found in many popular carbon fiber road frames. The result is a frame with simple rounded tubes, traveling the shortest distance possible between tube junctions. Bob Parlee certainly knows his way around the magic fibers after 12+ years hand building carbon frames, preceded by 20 years in boat building with exotic materials.

Ride quality is up there with the very best in the industry. The handling and comfort of the Z5 SLi were very reminiscent of the venerable Colnago C59 Italia. This bike FLOATS over choppy roads, with rider isolation similar to Gran Fondo style road frames. Power transfer is good - not a pure sprinters bike, but with plenty of snap.

We certainly must give credit to the Shimano Dura Ace Di2, ENVE Composites cockpit, and Mavic Ksyrium SLR wheels for completing the look of this sexy, stealthy bike. If the components are the choir, they are singing in perfect harmony with the wailing contralto of the Z5 SLi frame. 

The Mavic Ksyrium SLR wheels deliver something very unexpected - comfort. If you've been road riding for some time you've probably ridden the older all-aluminum Ksyrium SL or ES wheels - known for being very stiff. The new Ksyrium SLR wheels use Mavic Tracomp carbon spokes on the rear wheel non-drive side. This truly transforms the feel of these wheels - adding vibration damping with their classic snappy acceleration. 

The Mavic SLR series wheels feature a machined and textured braking surface called Exalith which gives the rim it's unique dark gray color, and prolongs the life of the rim. Special brake pads for the rims seen above in dark green. 

The more time you spend with the Z5 SLi, the more subtle details you'll find in the gray-on-gray paint scheme. Many road bikes of this caliber like to shout the manufacturers name out in bright contrasting marquee, hoping to get on camera in a grand tour. I must confess that I do not want to give this demo back, such a compelling bike to own! How's my credit score? - I wonder if I can get a loan...

1 comment:

George Carlisle said...

I have had one of these for about 6 weeks, and can attest to the superlatives that Calvin mentions. Love this bike!