A few weeks before Interbike, C-Bear and Sprocket Scientist put together a custom build off between Parlee/Signature Cycles and Alchemy/Nie Brothers. Both shops scrambled to get a completely custom road bike built before the show, and you get to vote on which one is best. Today, we present the Parlee Z-Zero with a custom build from Signature Cycles in Connecticut.
This one was built for Ard Kessels, the owner of Sprocket Scientist, the US distributor for C-Bear’s ceramic bearings and bottom brackets. The idea was to showcase their products on a top end bike, so C-Bear provided the bottom bracket to convert the frame’s PFBB30 to a Shimano-friendly 24mm ID. They also replaced the standard DT Swiss bearings with their own ceramic ones. Beyond that, the only prerequisite was that it represent the brand in some way and use the new Dura-Ace 11-speed group.
The result is this beautiful road bike custom made based on a fit performed by Lori Hoefer at Signature Cycles…
The paint scheme was done in house at Parlee. Ard provided some thoughts on what he wanted to be represented, namely the C-Bear colors. The final concept was a collaboration between Parlee and Signature Cycles and represents the bearings that C-Bear makes. And it’s all paint…with the circle patterns all being masked. Those patterns were printed to create a negative mask, then pulled off before painting. The stripes were all hand masked.
Cable runs are kept simple, light and external. The Z-Zero is designed to be the benchmark against what all other road bikes should be, and from what we’ve seen here and in the past, it makes a strong case for being just that.
The lines scallop and fade as they head toward the back of the bike. To our eyes, the lines and curves of the graphics lend some depth to the primarily round tube construction Parlee uses (check our factory tour to see their process).
The ghosted ENVE and Parlee logos on the seatpost/seat tube are so subtle, they’re easy to overlook. Other Easter eggs are hidden on the frame and parts, such tech specs on C-Bear’s ceramic bearings painted on the handlebar under the tape. These are the little details Parlee likes to bake into their bikes and will only really be appreciated by the owner.
The frame is built using their usual tube-to-tube construction. Parlee’s manager Tom Rodi says the abrupt transitions from the top of the seat tube/top tube cluster aren’t abnormal. They’re thicker because that’s where the overwrap is that holds that junction together. On fully painted frames, they can taper it in or smooth it, but on this bike there was no need to hide the construction method. Ultimately, they can make it look anyway you want.
The bearing motif fades back in at the rear on the insides of the chainstays, tying the visuals together from stem to stern.
C-Bear’s bear logo makes an appearance on the rims, too, as a reflective decal. The headbadge on the bike is also reflective.
The bike required around 5o hours to build and paint, and then it was handed off to Signature Cycles for assembly. The build spec is as follows:
|brake/shift levers||Shimano Dura Ace 9000|
|front derailleur||Shimano Dura Ace 9000|
|rear derailleur||Shimano Dura Ace 9000|
|brake calipers||Shimano Dura Ace 9000|
|bottom bracket||C-Bear PF30 to 24mm bottom bracket with road bearings|
|crank set||Shimano Dura Ace 9000|
|chain rings||Rotor QXL 38/52T|
|cassette||Shimano Dura Ace 9000 11-28|
|chain||Shimano Dura Ace 9000|
|rims||Enve SES 3.4 clincher|
|hubs||DT Swiss 240s|
|wheel bearings||C-Bear ceramic road|
|spokes||DT Aerolite 20F/24R|
|saddle||Specialized Romin EVO Pro|
|handlebar||Enve Road Bar|
|bar tape||Arundel Gecko|
|head set||Cane Creek Carbon|
|tires||Michelin Pro 4, 25mm|
The complete bike comes in at 15.26lbs (6.92kg) with a price tag of $15,000. Check back on Wednesday for the Alchemy Helios, then again on Friday for your chance to vote for the winner and be entered to win a C-Bear bottom bracket for your own bike! In the meantime, here’s a little video they made about the project: