RGT is importing the highly-regarded Parlee carbon bicycles into Japan, and David showed me 3 of them on display. All were beautifully built up with Campy Record groupsets and spectacular Gokiso wheels (especially the spectacular Gokiso hubs that GS Astuto, Gunnar and others rave about), and Enve handlebars to match their Enve forks.
In addition to David's custom built carbon bike (with various over-the-top components including the super light C-Tecs carbon seatpost), he had bikes featuring the Z5 SLi and Z5i "off the rack" frames on display. The custom frames are all hand made in America, while the Z5i, Z5 SLi and ESX monocoque frames come from "Asia".
The Parlee frames are beautiful in their simplicity and elegance, and the build reflects this -- nothing extraneous. Black bar tape. Black Supersonic Conti racing tires.
I am not the most perceptive or sensitive rider when it comes to assessing different ride qualities, and I test rode in street clothes/street shoes with flat pedals. That said, I could validate that the Z5i is beautifully balanced, the ride silky smooth and lively. I rode in a rough orbit around the RGT building, working outward until I was doing a decent-sized rectangle on streets of various sizes and traffic levels, with even a few very short hills and tight corners. I wanted to ride more -- to point the bike back toward Tokyo or at least to the hills in east past Inuyama. But in my street clothes, street shoes and with the oppressive July humidity, prudence seemed the better part of valor and I returned to earth instead of reaching escape velocity.
The Z5i feels like a much more refined machine than I am accustomed to -- very fast, immediately responsive, and very comfortable.
|Parlee Z5 SLi|
|Gokiso wheels with aluminum shell hubs; matching blue|
|David M's custom Parlee -- I did not even ask whether Z0, Z1 or Z2/Z3. Cannot afford to start that kind of bike lust!|
(Parlee's ESX aero frame sits in the background on the chairs, ready for its build).
|Enve fork, Gokiso wheels with Ti 6AV-4V hub shell and P5 ceramic bearings.|
|For a bit extra if you do not like basic black -- a wide range of colors|
|The Z5i I test rode. Is that a "no bicycle parking" sign on the pavement?|
David M. asked me to mention that the Parlee Japan Facebook page is here: https://www.facebook.com/Parleejapan.