Parlee Z-Zero launched – with disc brake option

Exclusive first pictures of brand new 750g carbon frame to be offered with disc or rim brakes

by David Arthur @davearthur   September 20, 2012  

US-based Parlee make some of the most desirable carbon-fibre frames in the world, and this week the company launches the brand new Z-Zero, which they claim sets a new benchmark.

Parlee started out as custom frame builder 12 years ago, when founder Bob Parlee decided to put this experience from designing fast motorboats into his passion, cycling, and started building his own frames. He knows a thing or two about carbon, and has produced some of the finest frames over the years.

The company has concentrated on successfully bringing to market more affordable stock bikes at reasonably affordable prices, such as the Z5 and before it the Z4. The new Z-Zero is a no-holds barred road frame that is the culmination of everything they know about carbon and how to work with it, all wrapped up in one of the most beautiful frames I've ever set eyes on. And in a first for Parlee, they'll offer disc or rim brake versions of the same frame.

Parlee's new Z-Zero is built using their proprietary construction method. The tubes - top tube, down tube, head tube and rear stays – are precisely mitred and bonded to each other, and each junction is wrapped with layers of carbon, That gives the Z-Zero its seamless look. This direct carbon-to-carbon bond means the frame can be very strong and very light.

This modular approach also means the frame can be easily adapted to any future standards... like disc brakes, electronic groupsets, and anything else that comes along.

The bottom bracket shell is co-moulded to the seat tube to improve stiffness. An integrated seat tube is an optional extra. It gets really interesting at the rear of the frame where new compression-moulded carbon dropouts slot into a mono box chainstay assembly. The frame pictured here has standard cable stops but it will only be a matter of time before internal cable routing (like on the Z5i) will be offered.

Integrated all-carbon bearing cups save weight in the tapered 1 1/8in to 1 1/4in head tube. Parlee have designed a new fork with Enve to fit the Z-Zero.

The main tubes are ovalised to allow Parlee to tune the ride characteristic. They're aiming this at people who want a versatile bike for all-day riding, where endurance is important. To that end there's clearance for whopping great 28mm tyres in the frame.

Like the Z1 which this new model will sit alongside, full custom geometry to the millimetre will be offered. And like the Z1, the individual layup of every tube can be tailored to the specific needs of the rider.

Frame weight for the rim brake version is a claimed 750g. Sizes from XXS to XXXL will be available. No word on availability or pricing yet; we'll report back as soon as we find out.

It feels like there's a whole new segment of road bikes opening up at the moment, with the key features disc brakes, huge tyre clearance and endurance comfort at the heart of their design. The Parlee is the latest to join this interesting new chapter of road bike design.

9 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

yes parleeZ!


mingmong's picture

posted by mingmong [242 posts]
20th September 2012 - 16:36


The black one looks lovely.

benb's picture

posted by benb [75 posts]
20th September 2012 - 16:56


I want the blue one. NOW.

posted by JohnS [198 posts]
20th September 2012 - 18:29


To me the disc model is like the Colnago disc version, both lacking in aesthetics, cycling's equivalent to the Chelsea tractor. I love track bikes.


antonio's picture

posted by antonio [1108 posts]
20th September 2012 - 18:52


love it love it love it, bring it on Parlee ...

posted by Karbon Kev [683 posts]
20th September 2012 - 19:03


JohnS wrote:
I want the blue one. NOW.

me too, disc brakes n all.

posted by fred22 [209 posts]
20th September 2012 - 20:28


I thought the road BB7s were silver? They look like the MTB versions.

nowasps's picture

posted by nowasps [352 posts]
20th September 2012 - 22:53


what is the weight penalty if any.They both look great but i see problems with the uci If eddie merckx did'nt ride it back in the day they will ban it.

big mick

posted by big mick [209 posts]
22nd September 2012 - 0:35


I can't see the weight penalty being that big Mick. I'm speaking to Bob Parlee at the moment for an upcoming interview and that's one of the questions I'll be sure to ask

The UCI have declared discs in cyclo-cross legal, and if they wanted to rule out discs on road bikes they really should be acting soon. Knowing the UCI, they'll wait until the first day of the Tour de France or something and get their rule book out

Even if the UCI did declare them illegal, there's enough demand from everyday real-world cyclists that the industry will still develop them, imo

David Arthur @davearthur's picture

posted by David Arthur @d... [2316 posts]
24th September 2012 - 12:28