Interbike 2012: Enve Composites, Parlee Cycles and New Ultimate

Carbon masterpieces on display

This article originally published on BikeRadar

Enve Composites didn't show any new products at Interbike but the Utah-based company has made a habit of showcasing boutique machines from supportive manufacturers in its booth and the 2012 edition was no different. While not quite an expansive as in some previous years, we caught a few stunners from Parlee Cycles and New Ultimate.

Parlee Cycles introduces new Z-Zero and disc brake option

Parlee Cycles has perhaps the star of the space with its new disc brake-equipped Z-Zero carbon road racing flagship. As compared to the current Z1's lugged joints, round tubing, straight 1 1/8" front end, and two-piece machined titanium dropouts, the Z-Zero instead sports smoother-looking wrapped tube-to-tube construction, Di2/EPS-compatible molded carbon fiber dropouts with a replaceable hanger, tapered and ovalized bladder molded tubing, a tapered 1 1/8-to-1 1/4" steerer, and a bottom bracket shell that's co-molded with the seat tube for extra rigidity.

Other optional features include rear disc brake mounts (coupled with 135mm hub spacing and a custom Enve fork) and an integrated seatmast.

Seamless tube-to-tube joints on the new Z-Zero

According to Tom Rodi of Parlee, the real draw of the Z-Zero is its modularity and greater tunability relative to the company's current offerings.

"Motivation for the Z-Zero was to use some of the advances we have made in our stock bikes (Z5 range) to our custom bikes especially bladder molded shaped tubes, 1 1/4" tapered forks, shaped stays, etc. in a modular design that could accommodate true custom geometry and lay-up as well as be a design to take future changes," he told BikeRadar.

"The Z1 design has had that type of modular construction and is one of the reasons it still sells for us. We now see changes coming (disc brakes, electronics) that are not really going to be compatible with the Z1/2/3 family so it was time to do something new. There are nearly no limits with this type of construction. The joints are only made of carbon – no paste epoxy, no filler. The frames are essentially monocoques when cured."

As a result, Parlee says the Z-Zero frame drops about 70g from the Z1 – claimed weights start as low as 750g - while also boosting the stiffness-to-weight ratio.

Rim brake versions will be begin shipping later this month while the disc versions won't be delivered until the first quarter of 2013. Retail price is US$8,200 for a fully custom frameset (frame, Enve 1.0 fork, headset, Parlee's own carbon fiber front derailleur clamp, and custom paint) or US$7,200 for standard geometry. Either way, Rodi says every Z-Zero will include custom tube selections and lug lay-ups.

New Ultimate's ultralight 29er hardtail

Jason Woznick of Fairwheels Bikes in Tucson, Arizona certainly gets to play with more than his fair share of lightweight goodies as one of the premier outlets of carbon fiber exotica, including bits from AX Lightness, Dash Cycles, EE Cycleworks, Extralite, Far and Near, KCNC, Mcfk, Parts of Passion, Schmolke, THM, Tune, and others.

This year, Enve put on display Woznick's own personal carbon fiber 29er hardtail, built around a New Ultimate Warp frame said to weigh around 1,100g. Woznick dressed up his new machine with Shimano XTR 2x10 derailleurs, Recon twist shifters, KCNC's machined aluminum disc brakes and prototype 11-38T titanium cassette, a THM carbon fiber crankset, a Cannondale Lefty fork, a Tune carbon fiber saddle, and custom wheels built with Enve Composites rims and Tune hubs.

High-end exotica on Jason Woznick's custom New Ultimate Warp.

Since the show, however, Woznick replaced the Recon shifters with XTR pods and the KCNC brakes with Tune's new Kill Hill stoppers.

According to Woznick, the complete weight without pedals is "right at 17 pounds [7.71kg] with durable parts that I consider race worthy."


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