The Z5 signals the arrival of Parlee's fifth generation of bicycles. With construction methods learned from building their latest TT platform, Parlee are able to produce the frame as one, continuous piece. This contsruction allows Parlee to produce a frame that has the same ability to perform as their Z1/Z3 in a much more accessible package. The Z5 is also equipped with carbon fiber cable-stops, co-molded carbon fiber dropouts, you will not find a bicycle that employs more technology. But even all of those bells and whistles cannot overshadow the legendary Parlee performance; providing incredible frame stiffness and rider comfort. All frame sizes are also available in a 2.5cm taller headtube version. If you want, or are interested in the taller headtube version, please specify in the "notes" section of your order.
Strengths: Best bike I've ever owned. My previous bike was a Pinarello Prince with Campy Record 11. This bike does everything better. It's lighter, it climbs better, it descends better, and it's more comfortable on long rides. I test rode it, along with a number of other high end bikes, and soon as I rode this, I knew it was the bike for me.
Weaknesses: I didn't like the wheels it came with, the HED Ardennes LT+. The shop I bought the bike from swapped them for the DuraAce C-24's, which I like a lot. I can't name any weaknesses with the frame.
I bought a Z5 SLi this spring, size medium, with DA Di2 components, Enve bars and post, DA C-24 wheels. After many years of riding Campy, I went with DA Di2 this time. I was skeptical about Di2, regarding it as an expensive solution to a non problem. But the demo bike had Ultegra Di2 and I was very impressed, so went DA.
It's not a cheap bike though it's on par with other high end frames. It looks fantastic - I got all black, matte black -- and it rides superbly.
Strengths: I have just over a thousand k on my 2013 Parlee Z5i, this is the latest version of Parlee's non custom offering. So far I am very impressed with everything about this bike. First off it is light, I went with a full custom paint job on a size large, with all 3T aluminum cockpit and seat post, using Speedplay Zeros, full DA9000 and Mavic Cosmic Carbon Ultimates the bike came in at 15lbs even, could be a lot lighter with more carbon! The ride is out of this world with just the right amount of feedback coming back to you from the road, not too harsh and yet not dulled out, bike feels very lively. I was concerned going in as I'm a big guy at 220(time of purchase) who likes to stand and mash on hills but so far those concerns are gone, bike is more than stiff enough with no noticeable flex. Only issue I have is when sprinting I pull the whole bike off the road, not bikes fault I just have to learn how to sprint again, this bike acts differently than my Madone when sprinting and I just need to learn the proper body position for this bike. For a light bike this thing descends with no concerns and corners like a dream. I can't wait to finally get in a good long ride as so far 115k has been the longest.
Weaknesses: Really the only issue is cost but you know that going in and if I wanted to keep cost down could have easily went with Ultegra and went with no paint.
Overall I am very impressed with everything on this bike, the finish is out of this world. I have never seen paint so deep and smooth, you can tell it's painted by someone who cares. If you are looking for a bike to love and keep for many years look no further.
Strengths: Stiff BB area, fairly aggressive geometry that dives into corners well, very stiff front end with the tapered steerer, very light, classy looking.
Weaknesses: It doesn't have a unicorn horn? A bit pricey if you have to buy at full retail, but that is every high-end frameset.
My Parlee Z4 was out of spec and upgraded via warranty to the 2010 Z5. This bike is definitely an evolution from the Z4, the only carbon bike I have ridden. Doesn't blow it away, but certainly it is stiffer, lighter and more refined. Feels very solid and handles all terrain superbly. Even the real rough stuff doesn't jar me that much.
I also received a custom pearl white paintjob and the frame still only weighed 880g in size M/L!
Similar Products Used: Parlee Z4 2009, early 2000's Colnago Master X-light
Bike Setup: Campy record (BB30 adapter- works well), edge clinchers, Easton EC90 post and bars, fizik arione carbon saddle, deda superzero stem.
14.66lbs is the full weight with everything. Only one true weight weenie part on it, the rest if fairly stock components balancing performance/durability.