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Bespoke Parlee - The dream ride?


Bespoke Parlee - The dream ride?

Clare Holdsworth

WOR crew member Ross was given the opportunity to design his own custom Parlee bike frame - and hopefully win one, with a little of your help! Here he shares the story and his dream...

The Bespoke Bicycle. Handmade. Unique. Custom. For most, it's a dream, something to fantasise over. The perfectly tailored frame, built for yourself and yourself alone. When uttering these words few names come to mind, and without doubt Bob Parlee is always  high on the list, if not the top. 

Based in Massachusetts USA, Bob and his team of only 18 employees use carbon fibre as their material of choice to create the plushest, ultra-light and laterally stiff frames  - often throwing away frames that don't make the cut which far surpass anything made in the far-east.

Ross cycling in the Alps

Ross cycling in the Alps

So, when an email from James at Cyclist Magazine came through saying that I was shortlisted to win one of Parlee's flagship frames a sense of childhood giddiness came over me - like waking up on Christmas Day knowing there was something in the living room that would change my life. The catch: I had to design the paintwork and submit the design for public vote on social media.

I start envisioning myself floating up the cols in the Alps on a slick multi-modulus carbon and titanium steed, effortless and smooth. But first, I need to win the public. The biggest issue: design something that is me, or appeal to the masses? At the end of the day, I would be happy riding a fluro pink bike up the Alpe d'Huez.. As long as it was a Parlee.

I mocked up some designs, sent them to friends and family for advice, feedback and criticism and posted on a couple of cycling forums for a wider audience. The result was mixed. A frame is an extremely personal choice, a true extension of ones cycling self, and everyone is different. Parlee's Paint Designer can lead to over 1,000,000 different finished possibilities, with both matte and gloss finishes, so it made choosing a design quite difficult. Especially when under pressure of a 3 day deadline!

Listening to the feedback from family and peers, the wise words of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe resonated: Less Is More. No need for 18 different colours. Appeal to the masses. Keep it simple. Classic. Classy. 

It's not fluro pink, and there's no Ferrari red, but it's my design. And I bloody hope the public likes it!!

thanks to those who voted on social media, because... ross won!!!


Will the Parlee replace Ross' Bianchi, as the ultimate Alpine machine?

Will the Parlee replace Ross' Bianchi, as the ultimate Alpine machine?