Parlee bar, stem and seatpost review
Massachusetts-based Parlee has branched out from creating custom carbon frames to producing high-end composite components. Its bar comes in three sizes (40, 42 and 44cm), the stem in four (90, 100, 110 and 120mm), with the 350×31.6mm seatpost available in zero and 25mm offset versions.
But just what do you get for your insanely high outlay (see below for price breakdown)? Well, for starters you get a cockpit that delivers a great blend of stiffness and comfort. The 239g bar (44cm) is all about ergonomics, featuring a short reach (70mm) and a shallow 128mm drop with long extensions that you can cut to length.
The oversize 35mm diameter pioneered by Deda results in a handlebar that’s superbly solid even during full-on sprints, with the carbon successfully taking the sting out of what would otherwise be finger-numbing vibrations. If you leave the long drop section (we’ve got ours on test so will eventually have to be returned) it’s perfect for keeping things comfortable during head-down efforts over bumpy roads and cobbles.
The matching oversized carbon stem belies its 143g (110mm) weight to deliver a similarly stiff performance, with none of the torsional twisting that afflicts some lightweight stems we’ve tested. Titanium bolts keep the weight down, while threaded alloy inserts mean you won’t damage your valuable product. The two-part faceplate is also made from alloy for durability. The stem’s reverse fasteners are set at an angle away from the stem axis to allow you easier access for tools.
The lightweight 227g seatpost does an excellent job of keeping you comfortable, especially given its 31.6mm diameter, the split section below the clamp providing plenty of give and lots of surface area to dissipate vibrations before they reach your tender parts. But it is a shame that it’s only available in the diameter that Parlee uses for its own bikes, especially as more manufacturers are now reverting to slimmer 27.2mm seat-tubes.
There’s no doubting that the performance of Parlee’s beautifully crafted components matches that of the company’s bikes. Equally, though, this is a huge investment for a cockpit and seatpost.
Bar: £320 / US$375
Stem: £250 / $325
Seatpost: £260 / US$350