Parlee Altum Disc Review - Thunderhead Alliance

Parlee Altum Disc Review

The rider’s ride.

Parlee made a name for itself building bespoke carbon fibre frames in the US when few other brands had even heard of the black stuff. Those bikes still exist today as the cream of Parlee’s crop, but in recent years it has branched into stock models, subcontracted to the Far East, to meet the demand for higher numbers and lower prices. Slightly lower prices, because at £3,999 for the frameset this is still an organ-sellingly expensive bike. Yo u do, however, get a lot for your money.

Even though this bike is stock, Parlee is all about fit, so the Altum’s stack height can be adjusted in tiny increments by way of the Flex Fit spacer cap, ostensibly an elongated headset cap that comes in three different heights: 8mm, 15mm or 25mm. The cap integrates into the frame, which is supposed to help maintain front end stiffness and preserve the bike’s aesthetics. In both cases I think it works – steering and tracking felt direct and I reckon the Altum looks the part.

Thanks to the heavily sloped top tube you get a lot of the Parlee-made seatpost on display for comfort-creating flex, which only adds to the intrinsically relaxed disposition of a bike where the lowest head tube height is 181mm for a size 56cm. For my riding preferences that feels too high, but statistically it should suit many other riders. Parlee has designed the Altum’s geometry based on average fit data collected through nearly two decades of custom bike building.

On the slopes of Mani the Altum felt every bit the right bike. Our pace was middling to fast, the terrain of average difficulty (although any climb can be hard if you hit it so) and our day was long. The Altum thus presented a suitably nimble, comfortable and dependable ride character that suited the dynamics of the day and left me feeling fresh 150-odd kilometres later. It is also available in custom paint schemes for a small upcharge, which is a big plus. A bike this expensive should be made precisely to your liking. and that he’ll leave me with his right hand man, Va ngelis. Joining me on the ride will be Dimitris, an energetic-looking chap still in his teens who, I’ m worried to hear, regularly rides up the climb I did yesterday on a 48x16t fixed gear. Later calculations reveal that’s 79 gear inches for Dimitris compared to my smallest – and well used – gear of 34. They did say they were descended from Spartans.

Source : Cyclist