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 Post subject: Parlee Altum, Red 22
PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2016 7:16 pm 
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Joined: Fri Mar 18, 2005 4:12 pm
Posts: 2772
Location: eh?
Wheels are Pacenti SL23, Dura Ace, CX-Ray

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Not a lot on Parlee of late so I figured I’d add a data point. I think the combination of the abundance of lightweight options, the controversial top tube bulge, and the relatively high price has taken the spotlight off this brand somewhat.

I was looking for a bike that provided superior all day comfort, room for big tires, relatively conservative geometry, and light weight while still possessing racy handling. People like me whose racing days are long past and whose bodies are damaged beyond repair by decades of hard use (spinal injuries, etc.), are naturally drawn to the comfort/endurance bikes from the top makers – Cannondale Synapse, Giant Defy, Trek Domane, etc. However I did not want to give up the racy handling that I have always enjoyed. Most if not all comfort/endurance bikes have long wheelbases which seem to take the quickness out of the handling. To me they seem to wallow a bit when out of the saddle and the steering is vague.

The Altum maintains a short wheelbase and relatively quick handling. The comfort is there, the bike and the road really do disappear under you. The exception is ripples in the pavement or big hits where the short wheelbase will bounce you around like any race bike. Out of the saddle the Altum is the match of any race bike. It feels light and crisp but still super solid under hard efforts. Torsionally the bike is really rigid.

Coming from a Giant TCR Advanced SL, there is certainly less road feel and while the Parlee steering has a light feel and is nicely balanced, it is not quite as quick and precise feeling as the Giant. What I always loved about the Giant is that it seemed to have just the right amount of oversteer. I felt I could out corner anyone, as if I didn’t have to lean the bike over as much. The Parlee is dead neutral in this regard. The steering is still race bike sharp and it doesn’t drift wide at all in high speed curves and corners, but it also doesn’t turn in and hook up as quick as the Giant (to be fair neither did the Cervelo’s, Supersix, or Tarmacs that I have tried). I suspect part of this difference is due to the insulating ride that makes the Parlee so comfortable. (Comparisons were made with same wheels, bars, and saddle.) The Parlee is also as stable as any bike I have tried despite the light steering feel.

As for the geometry, the reach is short and the stack is tall. Not as extreme as some but certainly on the relaxed side. To deal with this I run 130 mm stem on a medium large frame. I can drop the bars further by selecting the available smaller headset spacer – still dialing in the fit.

There is plenty of room for tires. I am running 25mm on SL23’s and there is plenty of room for 28’s. I am using Conti GP 4000’s which measure a size bigger then labelled, so lots of room.

The weight? This bike is actually the heavier Altum R painted matt black with platinum logos. Because of the lighter paint it is a touch lighter than an R with stock paint - 840 -850 grams for the frame, but not sub 800 grams like the straight Altum. And this is another area where Parlee has the other endurance bikes beat. The bike as built is right on 6.8 kg with pedals and bottle cage. The wheels are over 1500 grams so not too bad overall.

In summary the Parlee Altum ticks all the boxes for me. It can accommodate my increasing need for comfort without giving up race bike weight and handling – a compromise without really compromising.

And yes it begs for some 30 to 50 mm carbon wheels.

_________________
wheelsONfire wrote:
When we ride disc brakes the whole deal of braking is just like a leaving a fart. It happens and then it's over. Nothing planned and nothing to get nervous for.


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 Post subject: Parlee Altum, Red 22
Posted: Tue May 03, 2016 7:16 pm 


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 Post subject: Re: Parlee Altum, Red 22
PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2016 9:35 pm 
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Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2010 9:14 pm
Posts: 4212
Nice write up @Mr.Gib. I completely relate on not wanting to give up any racy handling just because we're getting older. The frameset design is controversial as you mentioned, but that aside, how was it to build up? What's it got for seatpost clamp?... looks like one of those hidden type jobbies. And how about the Bottom Bracket... what's the design there, threaded, pressfit, etc.?

_________________
Colnago C60 - PR99
C59 Five Years Later
My Special Colnago EPQ
Trek Emonda SL Campagnolo SR


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 Post subject: Re: Parlee Altum, Red 22
PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2016 9:42 pm 
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Joined: Tue May 01, 2012 12:48 am
Posts: 31
So sexy


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 Post subject: Re: Parlee Altum, Red 22
PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2016 12:13 am 
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Joined: Fri Mar 18, 2005 4:12 pm
Posts: 2772
Location: eh?
@Calnago

As easy to build as internal could ever be. Clever system of removable grommets.
Seat post clamp is a minimalistic internal wedge design it works well but it is essential that the post is a tight fit in the seat tube for proper retention. Initially the fit was not tight and the post moved and ultimately slipped. Parlee fixed it fast at no charge.

IMO, even thought the seat post is held nicely in place now, I think the whole clamping mechanism is just a bit too minimalist. The seat clamp is a 4 mm hex bolt that requires 8 nm of torque. IMO that is too much torque for such a small bolt in that location. It is possible to strip it if you are not careful. Also the knurled surface of the wedge that presses up against the post is quite small, and at the recommended torque eats into the surface of the seat post ever so slightly. This probably occurs as the seat post flexes over bumps etc. We'll see how these things hold up over time but it is possible Parlee has sacrificed a bit too much seat post security in the pursuit of lower weight.

Bottom bracket is PF30 so ideally I should be running a BB30 crank. I had GXP on hand so I have a ceramic BB coming from VCRC. Right now I have 24 mm inside diameter bearings with a 22 mm sleeve on the non-drive side pressed into Parlee's own cups. Works well enough )until the new BB arrives. (UPDATE - VCRC bb is now installed. Excellent product and service. I highly recommend the company.)

BB shell perfect to spec, fork, head tube/headset fit perfect. Overall paint, fit and finish, really everything about the bike is very good but not flawless. A few tiny bumps in the paint.Also the RD cable housing touches quick release nut where it exits from the chainstay. A very minor issue and a non-issue if you run electric shifting.

(and no, it won't ever have fenders on it even though there is lots of room for them :wink: )

_________________
wheelsONfire wrote:
When we ride disc brakes the whole deal of braking is just like a leaving a fart. It happens and then it's over. Nothing planned and nothing to get nervous for.


Last edited by Mr.Gib on Tue Feb 21, 2017 10:47 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Parlee Altum, Red 22
PostPosted: Thu May 05, 2016 6:12 am 
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Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2015 9:47 pm
Posts: 207
Beautiful bike, I really like these frames. You bring up some great points. Perfect and simple build, nothing flashy, but would look great with some carbon wheels like you said!

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2015 Cervelo R5 (6.3kg)
Strava


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