Parlee Cycles and New Ultimate at Enve stand - Interbike 2012
By James Huang in Las Vegas, Nevada | Friday, October 5, 2012 10.03am
Parlee launched its new Z-Zero flagship at this year's Interbike. Said to be lighter and more rigid than the current Z1 flagship, it's also available with optional disc brake mounts James Huang/Future Publishing
Enve Composites didn't show any new products at Interbike but the Utah-based company has often made a habit of showcasing boutique machines from supportive manufacturers in its booth, and this year was no different. BikeRadar spotted a few stunners from Parlee Cycles and New Ultimate.
Parlee introduces Z-Zero and disc brake option
Parlee Cycles was perhaps the star of the space, with its new disc brake-equipped Z-Zero carbon road racing flagship.
Unlike the current Z1, with its lugged joints, round tubing, straight 1 1/8in front end and two-piece machined titanium dropouts, the Z-Zero sports smoother-looking, wrapped tube-to-tube construction, and Di2/EPS-compatible molded carbon fiber dropouts with a replaceable hanger.
It also features tapered and ovalized bladder molded tubing, a tapered 1 1/8in to 1 1/4in 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 1/4in tapered forks, shaped stays, etcetera, in a modular design that could accommodate true custom geometry and layup 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 – and has a boosted stiffness-to-weight ratio.
Rim brake versions will 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 layups.
Ultralight 29er hardtail
Jason Woznick of Fairwheel Bikes, Tucson, Arizona, certainly gets to play with more than his fair share of lightweight goodies. Fairwheel is 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 at Interbike, Enve displayed Woznick's personal carbon fiber 29er hardtail, built around a New Ultimate Warp frame said to weigh around 1,100g (2.43lb).
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High-end exotica on Jason Woznick's custom New Ultimate Warp
Woznick has dressed 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.
Since the show, however, Woznick has replaced the Recon shifters with XTR pods, and the KCNC brakes with Tune's new Kill Hill stoppers. He says the complete weight without pedals is "right at 17lb [7.71kg] with durable parts that I consider race worthy".
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