SOC14: Parlee Cycles Updates Z-Zero with House-Made Tubes, ESX Aero Road Bike Shipping
When we visited Parlee in Massachusetts a while back, they had a single roll press for Bob to play with. Now, they’ve started making their own tubes 100% in house. Before, ENVE was making their round tubes, but now they’ve got a huge new hydraulic heat press and are bladder molding all of their tubes about 20 feet from where the frames are pieced together.
Parlee’s sales/marketing director Tom Rodi says it’s been a three year process, and it means all the tubes are now shaped, no longer just round. That includes the seat- and chain stays. For now, they’re not bladder molding entire sections of the frame as one piece…just making the individual tubes that way. They’re still joint wrapped like before, which gives them full control over the lengths and angles – They are full custom, after all…
“Before, and we were very happy with the quality of tubes we were getting from ENVE, but we were limited in how much we could innovate,” said Rodi. “From a manufacturing stand point, this will let us continually tweak, test and improve. And we feel like we have a better end product now that’s all truly custom from the ground up.”
This has let them tweak the top-end Z-Zero road bike a bit. Beyond the tube shapes, they’ve been able to create modular cable stops so the bikes can easily swap between running electronic or mechanical drivetrains. Overall weight on the Z-Zero frame won’t change much, but the tuneability of the ride quality will be that much better. Side note: Rodi says last year they were shipping about 20% of Z-Zero frames as disc brake models, but he anticipates that number being 50% within a year or so.
Some legacy frame parts for the Z1/2/3 models will likely continue coming from ENVE for now.
The first few production bikes of the Parlee ESX Aero Road left for customers’ homes around Christmas time, but now they’re up and running full speed, with a size run of demo bikes on hand at Sea Otter.
The ESX was their first to use their own fork and seatpost, designed 100% in house.
Like the Z5, the ESX is made in Asia in stock sizes, not custom like their upper end Z-series.