2013 Parlee Z-Zero custom carbon fiber road bike with disc brakes

Parlee is introducing the Z-Zero, their new top of the line custom carbon fiber road bike that’ll come with either disc or rim brakes.

“The Z1 isn’t going away, but we wanted to make something that was more of a modular platform for future drivetrains and brakes,” says Tom Rodi, Parlee’s sales and marketing director. “We’re on the edge of some big changes, and this let’s us address them and continue to push the boundaries of what we can do with a frame.”

Tubes are bladder molded by ENVE for them, which is different than the roll wrapped tubes on the Z1. This gives them more control over the layup, and they’re continuing to push metal out of the frame.

The Z1 (and most other custom carbon frames) uses a metal dropout with a hinge to allow the required different angles. For the Z-Zero, they created six different dropouts, each requiring different molds. Rodi says it’s more expensive, but this gives them a range of frame sizes from super small up to bikes that’ll for riders almost seven feet tall.

Another benefit to this overall design is that the dropouts are not co-molded with the chainstays, which makes it easy to adapt to any thru axles or other future standards if they happen.

The bladder molded tubes also give them more flexibility in shaping the tubes. True, the Z-Zero looks pretty traditional, but the top tube is slightly ovalized, and it gives them more freedom to experiment in the future.

2013 Parlee Z-Zero custom carbon fiber road bike with disc brakes

The fork is a prototype of their own disc brake fork that’s also built by ENVE. Parlee prefers a 1-1/8″ to 1-1/4″ tapered fork, and ENVE’s stock disc fork tapers to 1-1/2″, so they developed their own.


This frame has standard cable stops, but future production versions will be like their new Z5i bikes with internal routing for both electronic and mechanical shifting systems. Same with the brake lines, they’ll be set up to run hydraulic lines, too.

The rear gets updated with better cable placement, letting the wire or cable pop out of the chainstay and dropout right by the rear derailleur.

2013 Parlee Z-Zero custom carbon fiber road bike with disc brakes

Rear spacing is 135mm on disc bikes and 130mm on regular ones. At this point, you will need to pick one or the other. They’re anticipating some riders will want the option for to run either, so there’s a chance you’ll see frames with both as an option.

2013 Parlee Z-Zero custom carbon fiber road bike with disc brakes

Compared to the Z1, the Z-Zero is about 15% stiffer at the same weight. What this really means is that they can push the weight down on the Z-Zero while keeping the well regarded handling and performance characteristics Parlee’s bikes are known for.

2013 Parlee Z-Zero custom carbon fiber road bike with disc brakes

The result is about a 100g drop from the Z1, putting it around 800-900g for a rim brake frame. Disc versions will be a bit heavier, likely adding about 100g on the fork and a bit less than that on the frame…around 150g total weight gain across the frameset.

They’re taking orders for the rim brake frames now, pricing should be about 5% more than the Z1. Thy means a range of $6,000 to $8,000 for most framesets. They should start shipping in November in some sizes. If you want dual cable/wire routing, it could be a few months later.

The disc version shouldn’t be too much of a premium if any, but you’ll have to wait until Q1 2013.

The Z-Zero pushes their custom carbon bikes forward a great leap. Not only can you get custom geometry, but the layup is custom tailored to your riding style and terrain and it’s using the very latest in frame building technology.

2013 Parlee Z-Zero custom carbon fiber road bike with disc brakes

True weight weenies will want the matte black frames. As for me, I’m torn…there’s just something about that blue and orange color scheme that strike my fancy.

2013 Parlee Z-Zero custom carbon fiber road bike with disc brakes

They’re still finalizing the cable/wire entry points for the combined version. Because the headtube on these is a single tube unlike the Z5i, they’ll need to enter the top and downtubes just behind the headtube. Rodi says they’re finding the best spot since it basically requires putting a hole in the frame ten reinforcing it properly so it doesn’t create fractures or weak spots.

2013 Parlee Z-Zero custom carbon fiber road bike with disc brakes

2013 Parlee Z-Zero custom carbon fiber road bike with disc brakes

2013 Parlee Z-Zero custom carbon fiber road bike with disc brakes

Rim brake bike hit our scale at 14lb 13oz. That’s founder Bob Parlee holding the scale.

2013 Parlee Z-Zero custom carbon fiber road bike with disc brakes

The disc bike with paint comes in at 16lb 1oz, pretty good considering, and it’s still a bit prototype.

To see more about how Parlee builds their bikes, check out our factory tour here.


  1. Disc bike has a nice paint job. IMO, about $3k overpriced. I certainly would take one, but can’t see myself paying $12K for a full build.

  2. All the talk about their tech being very future proof makes me wonder, whats the incentive to buying the current Z-Zero prototype when it becomes production if its just going to get better and better (errr, I should put better in quotes I suppose)?

  3. I’m really not interested in disc road bikes/cross bikes.

    As soon as a RELIABLE hydraulic disc system is developed that cools effectively, and provides the precision that modern mountain bike brakes have, I will be interested….Very interested.

    Cable brakes don’t provide the feel you need when you’re rocketing down a mountain at 50 mph, rim brakes offer the feel you need to enter a corner using all of the grip your tires have to offer. (Or am I the only person that really cares about feeling the ragged edge and holding the bike at the absolute limits of traction?)

  4. Awesome – I was thinking Colnago was my only option for a disc road bike.

    I do like the Ford GT40 colours. Discs aren’t responsible for 20 ounces difference – how much of that would be because of the paint? Looks like the matte disc version could be 15 lbs.

  5. @Matt:

    50 MPH? I think you meant 50 KM/H…

    IME, rotor size plays a bigger part in stopping power confidence. I currently have a 140 mm on my rear, and it’s non-existent at high speeds and/or steep descents. There’s a world of difference between that and the 160 mm on my commuter, nevermind if I ran 180 mm…

  6. The disc bike will weigh much less. The prototype fork is a bit overbuilt and is about a pound heavy. Production versions will bring the weight down 😉

  7. @Cancklehead:
    I think he meant 50mph. 50kph is only about 31mph…which is easily attainable even on flat roads (with a tail wind or the legs of Thor).

    I’m digging the Gulf/Ibis color scheme. Orange bar tape would cap it off nicely.

  8. @Gillis:

    The mention of hydraulics and rocketing down a mountain had me assuming Matt was talking mnt. rather than road. Matt doesn’t seem to be disagreeing 😉

    Personally, I don’t see the point of people commenting that they don’t care about technology X when news about tech X comes up. Why comment at all? Your “opinion” generally is not constructive, just screwing with the signal to noise ratio. It’s just narcissistic…

    Yes, Gulf Oil colours… which were made famous by the Ford GT40. A racing car… and this is the press release for a top of the line road bike.

  9. @ok1966 – Custom frame is a custom frame. Don’t want to spend 6-8k on probably one of the best riding frames out there, then don’t. Custom is custom for a reason. For people who can afford it, and that’s making a frame to your preferences with knowledgeable people actually making this thing for you properly so you don’t get some half assed frame builder robbing you of the 3k you originally wanted to spend.

  10. @vectorbug:

    It’s all about Return on Investment (RoI) for Parlee — the setup allows them to do more (custom and stay current).

  11. Two fantastic looking bikes. I would have a very hard time deciding which to spend my lottery winnings on.

    16 pounds and change without resorting to any obvious weight weenie sketchiness is very, very impressive for a disc road bike, and it looks hot as hell to boot.

    Road discs will continue to get better, and when they do we will have people like Bob Parlee to thank for showing manufacturers and the public what is possible in a platform for them.

  12. @canucklehead
    It may not be the disc that add the weight but the extra housing and cable, the added rotor weight, the few more spokes, stronger hubs, and a little more robust carbon all each add a little bit and likely add a good portion of those 20 ounces to the disc bike.

    I do agree its cool they built them up without using any weight weenie tricks, but i am curious on the weight of the wheel set on the disc bike. Could you get it withing spitting distance if you used tubulars instead of clinchers?

  13. @Ajax:

    If you read the entire comment thread, you’d see that I clarified that 50 MPH was in a downhill/mnt biking context. Which Matt didn’t dispute either.

    When I was looking, tubulars would save me ~200 grams/7 ounces vs Stans using DT Swiss 180s. That said, I’d really thought that 29er would’ve brought out disc specific rims by now that could be even lighter because of not needing the brake track. It wouldn’t do much to offset the materials cost of discs, but it’s an obvious option that still isn’t available.

COMMENT HERE: (For best results, log in through Wordpress or your social media account. Anonymous/fake email comments may be unapproved or deleted. ALL first-time commenter's posts are held for moderation. Check our Comment Policy for full details.)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.