This is just as much a celebratory post for Bob Parlee as it is for Mike Yakubowicz. You see, Parlee Cycles just won the Gold award for their all-new TTiR at the behemoth 2016 Eurobike show and simultaneously, Mike was in the final stages of building up this Z1, his ultimate dream bike.
To fans of high-end road racing carbon-framed bicycles, Parlee needs little introduction. The company was founded in 2000 by a boat builder by the name of Bob Parlee, who applied his knowledge of composite materials to bicycles and has since established a reputation for very desirable bikes with innovative frame design and construction.
Mike Yakubowicz might be less familiar but rest assured, he knows what he’s talking about when it comes to superb two-wheeled vehicles. He’s the manager of Toronto’s Blacksmith Cycle, purveyors of exceptionally beautiful bicycles and components and official dealers for some of the world’s most exotic brands.
With that experience and access to such a cornucopia of quality, Mike still opted for the Parlee, claiming a reverence for the brand dating back to the 2002 Giro d’Italia, when Tyler Hamilton rode a Parlee with a LOOK livery. Mike’s choice was the Z1, considered by many aficionados to be the Holy Grail of custom carbon cycles.
The Z1 has been a centrepiece of the Parlee range for over ten years, gradually improving its stature as the ultimate composite road warrior. Mike didn’t hold back with his build, as you’d expect: the component list consists of all top-shelf parts, from the Lightweight Gen III Oberymayer tubulars to the Fizik Aliante 00 saddle.
The Ultegra Di2 groupset on Mike’s bike might be the second lower tier in Shimano’s range but it’s only a placeholder until the 2017 Dura-Ace Di2 set is released. To shave weight, Mike substituted a Dura-Ace chain and cassette, and replaced the brakes with THM-Carbones Fibula calipers and a Clavicula SE crankset.
The Obermayer tubbies are encased in Vittoria’s new Corsa+ Graphene rubber, in the rare Anthracite side-wall option. They’re a perfect complement both for performance and looks; a subtle adjunct to that magnificent Metallic Coral Pink paint — which Parlee have never actually used, but is sure to impress even those of the stealth inclination.
Mike has intricately explained the reasoning for every component on his bike (including the SLF ceramic pulley wheels) in an extremely readable Blacksmith blog post, which you can enjoy along with these excellent photos — taken by Jeremy Nathan of Life Is A Beautiful Detail, who has described his process from a photographer’s perspective.
And the intriguing hashtag title? It’s a “Shout-out to Prince,” Mike relays, “whose recent death inspired the Blacksmith crew to dub the look of this Parlee as #PrincePink in a note of reverence to the incredible artist and basketball player.” If Prince Rogers Nelson was about two feet taller, he’d be enviously eyeing off Mike’s new Z1.