Bike Crit-ique: Nick’s Z5 SLWritten: May 23, 2012
Nick’s got a new toy…
- Frame: Parlee Z5 SL
- Forks: Edge 1.0
- Wheels: 2012 Zipp 303 Firecrest Carbon Clinchers
- Chainset: SRAM Red Black BB30 50/34
- Levers: SRAM Force
- Bars: 3T Ergonova Team
- Stem: 3T Ergonova Team
- Seatpost: 3T Doric Team
- Saddle: Selle Italia SLR Kit Carbonio Flow
- Front Mech: SRAM Force
- Rear Mech: SRAM Force
- Tyres: Conti GP4000s
- Brakes: SRAM Force
- Pedals: Speedplay Zero
- Bottle Cages: Arundel Mandible
Any other components worth a mention?:
Arundel bar tape
Tell me a bit about it:
Had my eye on a Parlee for a while, but due to cost ended up ordering a custom Viner. That fell through due to importer issues, and despite kid #2 being weeks away I thought “sod it” and went for what I’d wanted all along. A great decision – it’s an incredible ride. Silly light without really trying, it’s also supremely comfortable and fast everywhere, obviously up but an awesome descender as well, way better than it’s pilot.
If I could have stretched a few more quid I might have gone with a custom finish for a slightly less stealth look, but having gone with the stealth frame I’ve then gone all black with a vengeance!
The Zipp’s I got a great deal on otherwise it would be rolling on something a little more low key, but I’ve been very impressed with them. Not quite as impervious to cross-winds as they would have you believe, but fast and comfortable.
It certainly is stealthy…
This is actually quite a tricky one. With such a stealthy approach – which can’t help but look good – and a decent set of bits hanging off it there’s really not much to pick on. The components that are currently SRAM Force (particularly the rear mech and the brakes) could do with a switch to SRAM Red black to complete the stealthy look, and the seatpost could do with being the ‘Stealth’ version of the 3T kit. Those bits aside this comes down to pure aesthetics.
Whilst I’m personally not a fan of the matt black finish anymore (it was amazing when it first appeared a couple of years back, but has already been done to death) it’s hardly an ugly bike.
What might I do differently? You could take a leaf out of Sean’s book with the cabling – switch those Force components to Red and then pick up on the colouring on the cable outers. That aside it’s difficult to introduce changes for risk of them not matching the bike. A white saddle and bar tape could be used, but they’d stand out for the wrong reasons as there’s no other white on the frame. One colour that could be introduced without too much damage is a dark grey, but then aside from cables and bar tape you’d struggle to find a saddle to match.
The way to make this bike really dazzle would be to go with some real top level aftermarket kit – cranks, brakes and a more unique wheelset.
All that leaves me to pick up on is the Rule #26 issue of picturing the bike with the chain on the largest sprocket…
It’s an 8/10 – a solid score that even massive expense wouldn’t make much difference to.
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