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Parlee Z4 and Hillclimbing

by Anthony Little |

Saturday was Ross' Epic Hill Climb. The race is a mass-start 12 mile climb up 3,200 feet with a 6 mile flat lead-up. The grade is steeper than 20% in places. Ian lined up for the Pro/1/2 race and ended up taking 4th. The route demanded a special machine, and Ian chose the Parlee Z4. The Z4 is fast becoming his go-to choice for every race, as its light weight, razor-sharp handling, and not-too-jaw-dropping price of $3200 for the frameset make it an ideal race bike. It's such a great bike that this week we'll do a special post focusing just on the Z4.


Ian rode it with full Campy Chorus, aluminum bars and stem, a compact Chorus crank and Lightweight Ventoux wheels with a Titanium cassette. Could we have made the bike lighter? Undoubtedly. But this is a bike you could take to any race over any terrain and ride with confidence. No carbon cogs or brittle handlebars.

The Campagnolo full Ti cassette on the Lightweight Ventoux wheel. The Ventoux wheel is Ian's new favorite piece of equipment. Their stiffness, road feel, strength, and ethereal weight are ridiculously, brilliantly, ear-to-ear grinningly amazing. In fact, after our special post on the Z4, we'll do a special post on just the Ventoux's. They are INCREDIBLE!

A top view of the bike. Ian's favorite saddle is the relatively stiff Aspide from San Marco. He's tried many a saddle, and for him this one is the most comfortable over the long haul.
Deda Newton aluminum stem and bars. The stem could be "upgraded" to Deda's Servizio Corse model... but the only difference is titanium bolts rather than the standard steel. Again, could we have saved grams with the SC? Yes. But in our opinion it's not a very cost effective upgrade at $80.
The Deda Deep Drop bars. Not Ian's favorite. As with saddles, everyone fits a different shape.

As built and ready to ride, this Z4 came in under 15 pounds. For a frame off the floor with nothing too fancy, it makes a very nice machine to take to a hill climb. For Ian's race recap visit: www.acracer.blogspot.com.

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