Velove - the reason people on a cycling dedicated forum and not a manufacturing overhead reduction forum dislike this is
1) One of Parlee's points of difference has been having many more sizing options than other brands.
2) They used to have classic good looks
3) They used to wave the made in 'merica flag, that has already gone long ago with the Z5 being the mass production model
Re: Ingenious design solution allowing a reduction in spacer by altering the top cap height - a top cap IS a spacer. It does not support the steerer and thus is no better than any other generic round spacer for purposes of effective headtube stiffness. Riding a stem slammed onto a 50mm headset cap means you are running 50mm of spacers under your stem, not 0mm.
Re: Have we ridden the ugly bikes, I haven't, but as I have to look at any bike in order to mount it I would never consider it an option. Looks may be superficial but they are important. A fat chick may be a more enthusiastic sexual partner than the hot skinny chick, but I would never know.
To answer your points:
So, a forum dedicated to cycling is supposed to completely ignore the manufacturing process and the needs of the manufacturer in producing and delivering the bikes that said dedicated cyclists ride? Good to know.
1: Yes. What's your point? Parlee still do have many more sizing options than other brands. The implementation of this topcap solution doesn't change that, it augments it.
2: If you are wanting a 'classic' looking bike, try their Z range. They 'used to' have 'classic' looking bikes, and you'll find the still do. An interesting point to note here: Parlee were lambasted in the forums (and occasionally still are) for producing bikes that are 'too traditional'. I think you'll find that function is more important to Parlee than pure aesthetics.
3: Yes. Parlee proudly manufacture in America. Their entire current Z range IS manufactured in America (note for the pedants - the Z5 range is no longer current, so don't scream that it's not manufactured in America okay?). Don't claim that their heritage has 'gone long ago' simply because they decided to leverage Asian manufacturing for select models in their range. If you wish to, you are more than able to purchase a hand-made Parlee, one that's made in America from American made carbon fibre tubing.
So, to clarify: you're incorrect on all three of your main points. Ah, the wonder of the Internet - even the ill-informed get a voice.
Re: topcap/spacer - I'll clarify with the source before I comment, but I'm pretty sure you're again in error.
You don't like the looks of the Altum? Great, move on. Clearly it's not for you. Conversations purely around the aesthetics of bikes are pretty pointless - for every naysayer there'll be someone else who loves the look. Conversations around the function and how that function dictates the form and to what degree are far more interesting and worthwile, they can be inclusive of facts and don't simply rely on opinion.