Danish national cyclo-cross champion Joachim Parbo (KCH-Leopard Cycles) has been sponsored for the past few years by Leopard Cycles and the cooperation has now yielded a prototype signature model for the 2010-11 season called the JPX.
Parbo says one of the biggest differences from his old CX-1 is the beefed-up front end. Though the steerer is still 1 1/8" in diameter from top to bottom instead of the increasingly popular tapered format, the legs and crown are much bigger for more precise handling and better braking. That extra material has also brought along with it a few extra grams but given his 1.89m height and 78kg weight, Parbo says he's happy with the trade-off.
Geometry has also changed significantly with the chain stays shortened by a substantial 15mm – from 440mm to a more reasonable 425mm – making for a nimbler overall feel that's better suited to tight corners and quick transitions.
Major components haven't changed much from last year with SRAM still providing its Force transmission and DoubleTap levers, Zipp and Challenge providing the rolling stock, and stopping duties handled by TRP's ultralight EuroX Carbon cantilevers. Gone are the matching Force carbon cranks, though, in favor of CNC-machined aluminum Rotor 3D arms and matching elliptical Q-Rings.
According to Parbo, the move to Q-Rings came right before the start of the season so he's still getting used to them but he was immediately happy with the increased ankle clearance afforded by the narrower and less bowed arms as well as the stiffness provided by the clever hollow-drilled construction.
Cockpit components have also switched for the new season. Up front, Parbo is now using Zipp's newly introduced Service Course SL aluminum bar and stem in place of his old Selcof gear while a Truvativ Stylo Team alloy post stands in for the equivalent Service Course SL piece as there's currently no zero-offset model available.
Lastly, there's a pedal swap to Exustar's latest E-PM215 model. Though not quite as fancy looking as the cast titanium model Parbo used last year, the tidy forged aluminum bodies still keep the claimed weight to just 143g each.
Parbo has made his career on the racecourse but back at home in Denmark, he adopts a decidedly slower outlook as a part-time 'bicycle path inspector' for the city of Arhus. Among the job responsibilities are surveying the 560km (350mi) of paved paths, reporting any damage, and generally acting as an ambassador for the fellow commuters he encounters, offering up riding and bike maintenance tips.
Sound like a dream job? Parbo seems to think so.
"I have to oversee 350 miles of bike paths and other infrastructure so I have a lot of ground to cover," he told us just a few hours before leaving the US to head back to Europe. "I can actually train while I'm working!"
Exustar's E-PM215 pedals use forged aluminum bodies and are claimed to weigh just 143g each.
Parbo takes the role quite seriously, though, using his extensive travels to bolster his job qualifications and also giving presentations in host towns and cities on what can be done to improve infrastructure and attitudes for commuting by bicycle.
"It makes it totally more interesting to go out training and see the differences between different areas in the US," he said. "Even when I'm traveling in Europe I look at the different solutions that are made. I guess it takes my mind off of racing which is a good thing but also it gives me an opportunity to talk to people who are engaged in the bike infrastructure so I can learn more about my job."
Parbo even entertains the possibility of transitioning to that role full-time once he retires from racing.
"It would be easy to go [to Arhus] and stay there," he said. "I'm pretty well qualified and public service employees in Denmark are pretty secure. In that sense it could be tempting but on the other hand I might miss racing and traveling. Right now I'm mixing all of them – the urban planning, the bike racing, and even some marketing."