How Parlee rounds out the Studio Velo performance line up.
Over the past 7+ years in this wonderful yet ever-changing business of bicycle retail, Studio Velo has had relatively little change in its product mix, particularly in its bicycle selection. We have been one of top bicycle dealers for brands such as Independent Fabrication, Guru, Cyfac, Ellsworth and lately Pivot, among others. When we commit to a brand, it’s a long-term, mutually beneficial commitment designed to create value and positive experience for our most important partner, our clients.
Last year, we added Moots (see previous blog post), a brand that no doubt will become a long-term Studio Velo partners and who will bring joy to every client who experiences them. As many of you have seen on Face book and Twitter, we have been delivering a new Moots nearly every other week since their introduction late last year. These are exciting times for all of us.
The latest introduction to our brand line up is Parlee, a bicycle manufacturer founded over two decades ago by a master carbon fiber “scientist” whose quest for perfection is second to none. What makes Bob Parlee, founder, and his team so valuable to this industry? The 20+ years of composite work, including tube creation, lay-up construction, material selection and any eye for style. Bob and his team became legends in the competitive and highly engineered boat business which offered direct benefits to the world of be-spoke bicycle construction.
What Parlee calls intelligent evolution, the progressive development, not superfluous styling, is (as shown below) the engineering developments over the past decade at the Parlee factory in Massachusetts. You can read more about the specific details of this pioneering phase here, but what impresses us most here at Studio Velo is the Parlee teams continual drive to push frame building to a new level. It’s not simply the focus on building the lightest, the stiffest, the “fastest” carbon frame in the world, though sometimes the pursuit and achievement is laudable. Rather, we are most impressed with their continuous drive in all aspects of frame building and the lofty goals Parlee is chasing, namely the “Holy Grail,” the true combination of stiffness to comfort for the individual rider. Not all bikes are (or should) be equal.
From the initial data gathering, using a custom computer-aided design system, to building custom tubes, and in-house assembly of the frame and/or component interfaces, to the finishing touches of custom paint, the process is thorough and highly tech-driven. Are the parts greater than the whole? We think so. When a manufacturer builds its own custom tubes, its own custom dropouts, its own lugs for lug-to-lug construction, the manufacturer has total control of the output. This is key to building a world-class, unique and perfect frame.
“Our process is exacting and done for the love of creating bikes that perform exceptionally well,” explains Bob Parlee. “It’s a tremendous feeling to know that you’ve built something that fulfils each person’s unique wishes”
IN THE MEDIA
We rarely heed the bicycle-industry media coverage. All too often, the ‘BIG THREE’
industry behemoths, along with a few niche brands with disproportionately large marketing budgets, dominate the mainstream press. Think about Studio Velo’s line up, actually. How often do you see full-page ads in major industry magazines from Time, Independent Fabrication, Moots, Pivot,etc? Rare to never. Yet these brands receive considerable product innovation and craftsman awards year after year. These brands spend their money in development, their staff, an their grassroots efforts to educate consumers on the demands and benefits of be-spoke-built bicycle frames. That said, Parlee has benefited from a considerable amount of media over the past years, something that provides some nice independent review of their product line. Below are links to some of the latest reviews that will provide you with great insights into Parlee Cycles. Enjoy.