Parlee adds Z5 to its road range
Parlee's latest Z5 carbon road frame is the company's lightest to date with claimed weights ranging from just 775-875g, depending on size. Unlike the tube-and-lug Z1 flagship, the Z5 uses a more conventional modular monocoque construction first introduced on the Z4 but with a wealth of upgrades to shed nearly 160g.
Relative to the Z4, new one-piece carbon dropouts on the Z5 reportedly save 20g, traditional dual seat stays drop another 25g, eliminating the seat lug spare 20g, and a new lay-up schedule sloughs off 25g more. Even the seat clamp is now a carbon fiber bit instead of aluminum, saving 7g.
Additional chassis rigidity is gained with the new BB30-compatible bottom bracket shell and tapered 1 1/8"-to-1 1/4" front end, too, plus they drop another 60g to boot. While the Z5 may be the lightest model in Parlee's range, the changes also make it the most rigid in the lineup while continuing to deliver the brand's trademark ride quality, according to Tom Rodi of Parlee.
The molded construction does mean that the Z5 will not be available in custom geometry, though. However, Parlee will offer the Z5 in a reasonably generous five sizes, each of which is also available with an optional 25mm head tube extension for a more upright riding position.
As always, this level of performance from a niche builder does come with a fairly hefty price tag of US$3,900 for the frame, fork and headset – expensive, yes, though still surprisingly reasonable in comparison with some other superbikes currently on the market.
Updated cranks, new Q-Ring offerings from Rotor
Spanish outfit Rotor's sponsorship of the Cervélo Test Team has not only netted some choice race wins in 2009 but also invaluable rider feedback that has been applied to its product range for 2010.
Case in point is the updated Agilis crankset, which boasts the same longitudinally drilled aluminum crankarms as last year but now with the more conventional pinch bolt clamp arrangement borrowed from the beefier 3D (which itself was developed specifically for team sprinters such as Thor Hushovd). Rotor still puts its own twist on it, though, using its proprietary Double Thread Technology bolt design plus replaceable threads lest the crankarm suffers the fate of an extra-heavy hand.
The spindle material has also switched from aluminum to chromoly. Thin walled construction still brings the weight down 15g, though, and Rotor says the material change will also reduce the chance of creaking.
The stiffer 3D crank is essentially unchanged from the most recent iteration used at this year's Tour de France but Rotor will introduce a lighter variant in about three months that uses a titanium spindle for a 35g weight savings. New for 2010 is a mountain bike version, too.
Thanks in part to their increased visibility on the team (and Carlos Sastre's Tour de France victory on them last year), Rotor's elliptical Q-Rings have also grown increasingly popular in recent months. New for 2010 is a version to fit Zipp's ultralight VumaQuad crankset in a 36/52T combination. The Zipp-specific four-arm 100mm BCD rings will include just the intermediate #2, #3, and #4 adjustment positions but Rotor says most road riders won't need the more extreme #1 and #5 positions anyway.