Parlee Z5 SL – first look

Parlee’s Z5 was well received when it was launched last year (you can read our first ride report here) with the 850g frame turning heads right across the internet. But news that an SL version has been released has been raising some eyebrows; can they possibly make an already very light frame even lighter?

The weight game is hotting up, with the Cervelo S5 and the recently launched Cannondale SuperSix showing barely believable numbers on the scales. Not to be outdone, the Z5 has gone on a diet. A slice here and a dice there and the Parlee designers have managed to find nearly 150g of weight savings, bringing the figure down to 750g.

And still the Z5 SL is offered with no weight limits, no change in the warranty, with the same promise of all-day everyday capabilities. The weight has been reduced by examining the layup of the carbon fibre and honing it to a higher degree, and a carbon fibre seat clamp and titanium hardware kit also help in the weight stakes. A new fork also helps to tip the scales towards an ever lighter weight.

Everything else is carried over from the previous Z5, so there’s a BB30 bottom bracket, twin carbon seat stays, tapered head tube, one-piece carbon dropouts, custom finish options (ghost matte is standard) and carbon fibre cable stops.

12 Flex-Fit sizes, with two head tube lengths offered per size, are available. The one pictured is a ML with a short head tube (16.5cm).

How does it ride?

We’ve just built up Z5 SL (size ML with a short head tube) with a SRAM Force groupset, complete with a BB30 bottom bracket. For the wheels we chose Fulcrum’s Racing 1’s, recently reviewed on RCUK, and USE supply the stem, handlebars and seatpost. An old favourite, Prologo’s Scratch saddle completes the build.

The first thing that is noticeable is the lack of weight. The spec I’ve gone for isn’t top draw stuff, nor is it entry kit, and the weight is incredible – everyone that has picked the bike up has exhibited the same signs of exclamation at how feathery it is. We’ll pop it on the scales this week and report on the actual figure.

We’ll bring you a first ride report very soon. If you can’t wait until then, you can take a look at our brief first ride on a demo bike.



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