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  1. #1
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    Colnago C59 vs Parlee Z5 SLi - (Parlee wins this time)

    Against my better judgment, I am throwing this out for opinions and comments...

    I am in the process of choosing between a C59 and a Z5 SLi. Have had a demo ride on a C50 and will also do a demo ride on a Z5 SL. Can anyone that has appropriate experience give more detailed riding impressions between the two? I'm not racing, just an old guy with an itch for something new and expensive and less common (and perhaps more money than sense). Currently very comfortable on a 2011 Tarmac Pro SL3 Dura Ace at about 15.7 pounds,but ultra light is not a goal. Just want to get a sense if there are any positive traits with the C59 I'd be giving up. Bike will be built with Dura Ace Di2.

    Off topic and humorous comments will be accepted and evaluated at face value...
    Last edited by carlislegeorge; 05-06-2012 at 10:35 AM.

  2. #2
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    The C59 and Z5SLi have different geometry and angles. Which one fits best?

  3. #3
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    Should you need warranty support, you'll have a much easier time with an American based company such as Parlee. Note: I'm not saying the Parlee is American BUILT, just that they're American BASED.

    Compare the warranties of the Parlee vs. the Colnago. For what it's worth, try calling Parlee and discussing their warranty with them. Then try calling Colnago or, to be a little bit fair, try calling the importer.

    The warranty is just as important as the product.

  4. #4
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    Peter P - agree that Parlee has the better warranty. And I'm aware that the Z5 is produced in Asia.

    dcgriz - although geometries are different, either one will be able to fit me, I'm okay with either from that perspective. am looking for more qualitative aspects to base my decision on.

  5. #5
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    One is Colnago...the other is who cares.

  6. #6
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    Colnago handling is what pushes it over the top over any other bike! Go C59!
    Ordered and Fitted for my Custom DEAN Titanium frame on Sept 17th, 2008. Finally got it in Oct, 2010!!!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by carlislegeorge View Post
    ...just an old guy with an itch for something new and expensive and less common...
    There's a lot of that going around lately.

  8. #8
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    This is pretty nice....


  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by chuckice View Post
    One is Colnago...the other is who cares.
    Exactly what he said.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by carlislegeorge View Post
    ........just an old guy with an itch for something new and expensive and less common....
    Which is the truth for most but few have the b@lls to publicly admit it.

    I am also looking into these two but will not be able to comment on ride impressions before mid of April. It took 7 months to arrange for a C59 demo ride with the size I would be interested at. Until then expectations could be derived from the published geometries and discussions like this realizing that the variables at hand are too many to form anything else other than expectations.

    For my size, I expect the Z5SLi to be overall somewhat more comfortable but a bit less agile. I think both bikes fall within the neutral-handling range but at different sides of the spectrum. The expectations on the C59 is to shine at the descents IF its set up properly with the rider's weight distribution assuming it is ridden fast enough to make the artistry work. At normal recreational speeds I expect both to be quite comparable.

    The HT length is drastically different between all three bikes with the C59 the shortest by about 1.5 cm. The SL3 has the tallest HT of all. You did not indicate specifics on your current setup but typically you don't want stems pointing to the sky or a stack of spacers taller than 2 - 2.5cm at the most. You may want to check that closely as it could potentially affect comfort and handling.

    At the end of the day after all is said and done, the decision might be based on which color looks the best and that's all right as look is one of the bike's purposes.

  11. #11
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    I would choose the Colnago C59

    Colnago C59 Italia Review - BikeRadar

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by chuckice View Post
    One is Colnago...the other is who cares.
    +1

    and about fit, Colnago produces 22 different standard sizes + custom option so fit would not be a problem here
    Quote Originally Posted by zank
    They're just bikes. Ride 'em in the rain, salt, snow and crap to fully appreciate them.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sean Kelly
    The thing about the cold is that you can never tell how cold it is from looking out a kitchen window. You have to dress up, get out training and when you come back, you then know how cold it is.

  13. #13
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    Parlee has long had a sterling reputation for geometry. The two are more alike than different in that regard. Acting like Parlee is some newcomer is bizzare. And Parlee certainly has a better reputation for quality than Colnago over the years, as well as a real warranty.

    Just curious - why the stock Z5 over a custom Z2/Z3? I believe either will be cheaper than a stock C59, and have those gorgeous and functional Ti dropouts plus custom paint.
    Get a better saddle: www.kontactbike.com

  14. #14
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    You could get a Crumpton built to fit you for around the same money. If I was an older guy with an itch to spend money, I would get a stainless Firefly, but I'm just an old guy.
    Retired sailor

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kontact View Post

    Just curious - why the stock Z5 over a custom Z2/Z3? I believe either will be cheaper than a stock C59, and have those gorgeous and functional Ti dropouts plus custom paint.
    The Z3i semi-custom is the same $ as the C59. It's geometry is more aggressive than the Z5's and comes with choice of tubes in addition to choices in HT height. Fancy paint is not included but Colnago does no longer offer the paint jobs that set it apart on the looks department either, so it evens out.
    What the Colnago has over the Parlee is the heritage of the eras past and the aura of the artisan ( I think they made a mistake when they decided to start painting them like the rest) and maybe the effect of sponsorship if anybody cares about it.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by dcgriz View Post
    The Z3i semi-custom is the same $ as the C59. It's geometry is more aggressive than the Z5's and comes with choice of tubes in addition to choices in HT height. Fancy paint is not included but Colnago does no longer offer the paint jobs that set it apart on the looks department either, so it evens out.
    What the Colnago has over the Parlee is the heritage of the eras past and the aura of the artisan ( I think they made a mistake when they decided to start painting them like the rest) and maybe the effect of sponsorship if anybody cares about it.
    There is considerably more handwork that goes into a US made Parlee than the C-59, and no history of widespread frame failures.

    We sell both at the shop, but I'm not going to give the modern Colnago credit for anything beyond geometry and ride. The C-59 is a nice frame, but it takes them about 15 minutes to assemble them from bins of stock tubes and lugs, and they are still using aluminum dropouts.

    If we were comparing a lot of different bikes, the C-59 would be a standout. However, Parlee is an incredible company who makes one of the very highest quality bespoke carbon frames in existence. I would strongly urge you to look at a Z3 with the Enve fork.
    Get a better saddle: www.kontactbike.com

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kontact View Post
    . I would strongly urge you to look at a Z3 with the Enve fork.
    About a $1000 difference between the two Parlees but it may be money well spent if the SL tubing is not your thing.
    What do you think about the PF30 vs. the English? Any creaking, clicking noises develop down the line from what you see at the shop?

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by dcgriz View Post
    About a $1000 difference between the two Parlees but it may be money well spent if the SL tubing is not your thing.
    What do you think about the PF30 vs. the English? Any creaking, clicking noises develop down the line from what you see at the shop?
    $1000 more than the Asian Parlee, but about the same as the stock C-59, right?

    Parlee makes their own high quality PF30 adapter - seems pretty nice so far. But if you have a group in mind that uses English, I'd lean that way in a custom Parlee. BB30/PF30 are only really worthwhile if you are using real BB30 cranks, like Force or Red offerings. The Rotor 3D+ and the like are a joke. I don't know what's going to be available in 5 years, but English is a good bet. BB/PF30 seems like the second best bet.
    Get a better saddle: www.kontactbike.com

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kontact View Post
    $1000 more than the Asian Parlee, but about the same as the stock C-59, right?
    That's right.


    Quote Originally Posted by Kontact View Post
    Parlee makes their own high quality PF30 adapter - seems pretty nice so far. But if you have a group in mind that uses English, I'd lean that way in a custom Parlee. BB30/PF30 are only really worthwhile if you are using real BB30 cranks, like Force or Red offerings. The Rotor 3D+ and the like are a joke. I don't know what's going to be available in 5 years, but English is a good bet. BB/PF30 seems like the second best bet.
    Thanks. I do find myself going back to the Durace cranks. I never had any problem with either them or the threaded English.
    I can't say the same about the Specialized BB30 and the house brand crank.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigbill View Post
    You could get a Crumpton built to fit you for around the same money. If I was an older guy with an itch to spend money, I would get a stainless Firefly, but I'm just an old guy.
    C'mon Bill, you are a senior naval officer! You make the big bucks!

    If I had to pick between a Crumpton SL/Corsa, a Parlee Z1/Z3 SL, or a C59, I don't think I could make the choice. Can't go wrong with any of the three. Although, I've seen some Parlees with some funky geo numbers- 74 and 74.5 degree HT angles on a few Z1s and Z3s. I'm sure Parlee adjusts the fork trail to compensate for the steeper HT angle so that the net effect is hardly noticeable. One Crumpton I saw had the exact same numbers as a 55 Colnago. On V-salon, I asked Nick about that particular frame and he basically said it was an exact copy- "custom" to achieve the correct "centering" of the client. The C59, I hope doesn't have differences in geometry compared to its predecessors. The C40/C50/Extremes achieved handling nirvana IMHO.

    Aim high! Go navy!
    Last edited by Ride-Fly; 03-25-2012 at 09:36 PM.
    Ordered and Fitted for my Custom DEAN Titanium frame on Sept 17th, 2008. Finally got it in Oct, 2010!!!

  21. #21
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    If I was going custom (more or less), it would likely be standard geometry Cyfac Absolu. But likely won't.

    With regard to Colnago versus Parlee, I can get a little discount from either of the LBS involved. So...Here's part 2 of the question...if you could buy the C59 at the same price as the Z5 SLi, comparably built...then which would you pick?
    Last edited by carlislegeorge; 03-26-2012 at 06:36 AM.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by carlislegeorge View Post
    If I was going custom (more or less), it would likely be standard geometry Cyfac Absolu. But I can get a little discount from either of the LBS involved. So...Here's part 2 of the question...if you could the C59 at the same price as the Z5 SLi, comparably built...then which would you pick?
    I've ridden many Cyfac bikes (Nerv, Nerv carbon, Gothica's lugged version, Zona, Infini, Absolu) and have had some saddle time on Parlee bikes (Z3, Z5) courtesy of very generous friends. The ride characteristic of Cyfac carbon frames and Parlee carbon frames are very different. I highly recommend that you test ride both if at all possible to make sure that you like what you are getting.

    The workmanship of both are really excellent, so you can't go wrong with either.

    I haven't ridden a carbon Colnago in a very long time, so I can't comment on Colnago.

  23. #23
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    I would think that these two frames would have quite different handling characteristics. Colnago has a long history of slack HTA and large trail frames (60mm - 65mm). Since they don't publish the HTA of the C59 I can only assume this is still the case since it really is their biggest distinguishing factor. The Parlee is more traditional in this regard having a trail in the mid 50's.

    I know the trail component is not the only factor involved and some might argue that differences in trail only create minor differences in handling, but in this case the difference in HTA (and trail) is significant enough to distinguish the handling of the two frames. Personally I prefer Colnago's geometry. In my experience, nothing descends better.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kontact View Post
    ....Just curious - why the stock Z5 over a custom Z2/Z3? I believe either will be cheaper than a stock C59, and have those gorgeous and functional Ti dropouts plus custom paint.
    I can get some discount in either the Z5 or the C59. Not so sure about getting one if going custom. So hadn't really considered it.

    I can get a better discount on the Colnago. Hence part 2 of my question...if the price for the Parlee Z5 SLi partial build is about the same as a comparable partial build on the Colnago C59, does that influence the decision? This isn't a "money no object exercise for me" and I'm eager to demo a Z5 SL next week to see if I can feel the "feel"...but I also have respect for some of the wise folks on RBR (scary thought that).

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by carlislegeorge View Post
    I can get some discount in either the Z5 or the C59. Not so sure about getting one if going custom. So hadn't really considered it.

    I can get a better discount on the Colnago. Hence part 2 of my question...if the price for the Parlee Z5 SLi partial build is about the same as a comparable partial build on the Colnago C59, does that influence the decision? This isn't a "money no object exercise for me" and I'm eager to demo a Z5 SL next week to see if I can feel the "feel"...but I also have respect for some of the wise folks on RBR (scary thought that).

    Try setting them up with the same length stem ( no more than a size different) and handlebar height. Then take them to the same hill and see how they do on a fast decent, how they hold the line on out-of-the saddle sprint and whether either is more maneuverable than you would consider comfortable. These drills should highlight the main differences between them.
    When you do that, you will become the expert on how each of these bikes wants to treat you based on what you want to do with it and how good you are doing it.

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