Savile Road Specials: Parlee Z-Zero XD

This customer has been with Savile Road since the beginning, so long in fact that his former "gravel bike" predated the industry's broader adoption of the trend. While it was progressive at the time, his Moots Route 35 and its modest (by today's standards) tire clearance had begun to show their limitations in the evolving gravel scene. While shopping for it's successor this customer hoped to maintain the handmade quality and all-road handling characteristics while adding tire clearance and reducing weight. The choice quickly became clear, and we fitted him up for a Parlee Z-Zero XD.

Each of Parlee's Z-Zero models is made by hand in Beverly, MA. Using a modified tube and lug construction method they're able to fine tune the geometry and tube selection to the end user, and our customer opted for a raw finish to showcase the craftsmanship. The logos are a unique ghost reflective color, and you can see here and in the photo above that depending on light conditions they can appear anything from absent altogether to matte chrome.

A lifelong Campagnolo fan, he had previously been forced to settle when it came to his off-road bikes. With Campy having turned it up to 13 with their Ekar group, there was no other choice for this bike. In addition to stuffing an extra cog in the back, Campy subtracted a tooth (or two) from the smallest cog resulting in a 9-42 tooth range. Paired with a 38-tooth ring in the front and a 40-42mm tire the group provides similar gearing to a compact road crankset at the top while still achieving that coveted sub-1:1 ratio.

Road wheels have steadily increased in width over the past few years, keeping pace with the widening of tires and the dropping of pressures. It's easy to imitate these measurables, but when it comes ride quality Enve has bottled lightning with their SES 3.4 wheelset. Aimed directly at the all-road niche, these wheels have the internal width to support 40+ mm tires, the depth to provide some aero edge on the road, and most importantly a uniquely calm and damped feel to help tame rough roads and gravel. Plus, the rims are made in the USA and the satin raw finish is perfect for this frame. He's wrapped those in some 40mm Schwalbe G-One All Road tires for a nice consistent feel onthe road and just enough bite to instill confidence on softer surfaces.

Parlee has their own cockpit to go alongside the Z-Zero but the customer elected to keep the finishing kit all Enve on this one. The bartape is one final nod to the handmade in USA theme of this bike: Leh Leather's Shrunken Bison tape neatly finished with a nice waxed twine.