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HomeCyclingParlee's New Sky Ridge Carbon Gravel Wheels Spotlight Parlee Chebacco XD LE...

Parlee’s New Sky Ridge Carbon Gravel Wheels Spotlight Parlee Chebacco XD LE Evaluation


Parlee has been making stunning customized carbon highway bikes in Massachusetts for over 20 years. Initially targeted on customized highway rockets, in 2015 Bob and the workforce launched the go-anywhere Chebacco which has grow to be their finest vendor.

The Chebacco bike is called after the previous parish and lake in close by Essex, MA (not Kashyyyk, sorry). This space is stuffed with pine timber and ponds, with beautiful gravel roads behind inexperienced steel gates. However these gravel roads can rapidly flip into gnarly previous carriage roads and steep rock-n-rooty singletrack, so it’s no place for a highway bike.

The Chebacco woods require a motorcycle and rider up for journey. The Chebacco bike has been up to date a bit since 2015, persevering with to enhance on its offroad journey capabilities to reside as much as its namesake woods, whereas nonetheless sustaining its highway bike roots.

The bike’s recognition isn’t stunning. Parlee’s years of inhouse customized carbon manufacturing transitioned rather well to the Asia-made Chebacco, which is extra reasonably priced, whereas nonetheless retaining the sunshine and environment friendly nature of a customized body. Mix that with the potential for one bike for each gravel and highway, and it is smart {that a} ton of riders are going to line up for one.

Parlee Chebacco XD LE

Dwelling within the space, I’ve been itching to attempt one for years, and I used to be not upset after per week of driving a brand new Chebacco XD LE with Parlee’s all-carbon components equipment, new Parlee Sky Ridge carbon wheels, and SRAM eTap shifting. I crammed a number of memorable group rides and lot of enjoyable solo exploring into that week, and like these final days of summer season, I want I had slightly extra time. 

 

Worth and Construct

Parlee presents 2 construct ranges. Our take a look at bike had the LE construct, which usually retails for $8,599, and has Parlee’s personal carbon components spec: publish, stem, cages, and handlebars. The LE usually ships with ENVE AG25 carbon wheels, nonetheless, the take a look at bike was arrange with Parlee’s new Sky Ridge carbon wheelset (MSRP $2,499). Compared, the core stage Chebacco with alloy publish, stems, bars and wheels retails for $6,499.

The LE full carbon Giant take a look at bike weighed simply over 18lbs, which is apples to oranges lighter than the same old $4k or $5k carbon gravel bikes I see on group rides. And now my older era carbon highway bike appears like a ship anchor. The Chebacco is tremendous straightforward to shoulder or “throw” over a fence.

Drivetrain choices can range, however I completely loved the SRAM Drive eTap AXS groupset and 1x Eagle gearing. It’s an excellent clear trying setup, and 1x is intuitive to a MTB rider like me. I’m a fan of eTap’s crisp and flawless shifting (and the on-the-fly micro-adjust buttons to maintain that manner). With restricted time to check, I didn’t geek out on the out there AXS App, however there’s a entire world of shifting choices, battery standing, and connections to different units and meters to be explored. The spare battery is a pleasant possibility too, piece of thoughts, although I in all probability wouldn’t have wanted it on the quick take a look at. Total I actually favored the cleaner look and quieter experience of 1x eTap, regardless of my retro-grouch nature.

Parlee Chebacco XD cable ports

Parlee Carbon Body

The Chebacco body checks all of the packing containers for a quick gravel bike. It’s a bit slacker and has a decrease BB than their highway bikes, for extra stability. Plus there may be ample 45mm (47mm with 650 rims) tire clearance. Sure, there are gravel frames with extra clearance, however I have already got a shed filled with XC mountain bikes for that. The Chebbacco additionally has hidden fender mounts and adequate storage mounts: high tube, underside of downtube, and fork legs. You possibly can load it up with tons of drugs for a multi-day journey; then strip all of it off to its 18lb base for a gravel race.

Parlee Chebacco XD 45mm clearance with 40mm tires

The body is light-weight (950-1025g) and complicated. The BB is flared and braced alongside the decrease edge, creating an open field for max energy to weight and presents inner cable routing. The top tube can also be beefed up as anticipated for a carbon body, however has a flowery steerable hump, which Parlee calls a “flex match built-in top-cap”. These frame-matching spacers are available in 2 extra sizes to additional modify stack and attain up or down from every body measurement, and I favored the look of it earlier than I knew it had a function.

The interior cable routing handles mechanical or digital shifting, with intelligent clip-in stoppers to maintain shifting choices open and body strains clear. And lastly it has carbon dropouts with a 12mm through axle and replaceable hanger.

Parlee Chebacco BB

Altogether it’s a really glossy and properly designed body. The geometry is scooched from highway towards gravel/offroad, however not radically (71.75º/ 73º for measurement L). With years of inhouse expertise making high-end, light-weight and tremendous environment friendly highway bikes, it was clearly in Parlee’s wheelhouse to design a light-weight and tremendous environment friendly gravel body.

Parlee Chebacco XD LE integrated top-cap

The scale Giant body match me properly, regardless of my leggy T-Rex physique sort. I all the time should push saddles ahead, however whether or not you’re a t-rex or gorilla, the 5 measurement choices and built-in top-cap changes ought to match most riders. With remaining match being dialed in on the LE construct from the non-obligatory sizes in stem, bars, and seatpost (25mm offset, or in hindsight I might have tried the zero diploma offset).  

Parlee Chebacco XD Geometry Chart

 

Components

In the event you’re questioning, the ‘LE’ a part of the Chebacco XD LE identify signifies that this bike is one in every of Parlee’s premium manufacturing bicycles. All LE fashions embrace upgraded, carbon parts and personalization choices, together with Parlee Paint Lab customized paint.

The Parlee branded carbon bars, publish, and stem on the Chebacco LE are the identical ones they spec on their highway bike fashions, so that they’re gentle. It’s a testomony to their energy that Parlee didn’t want to vary the designs for the Chebacco’s rougher meant use. The 35mm diameter bars (220g) are ovalized and supply large, comfortable grip choices, and matched the stem (125g) which has rear-facing ti bolts. Bars, publish, and stem are the identical understated grey matte shade.

The 31.6mm seatpost (190g) has replaceable alloy rail clamps, that are accessible and simple to regulate. The 35mm clamp diameter bars and 31.6m dia seatpost would possibly set off purple flags for an excessive amount of stiffness over tough terrain, however I didn’t discover them harsh, or price any princess-and-the-pea experiments with different components. If you would like a gravel bike environment friendly sufficient for racing, then the half spec makes full sense. The fork (400g for 400mm steerer) is clearly particular to the Chebacco, with extra mounts and extra offset for better stability on looser terrain. 

New Sky Ridge Carbon Wheels

Parlee’s Sky Ridge carbon wheelset is designed for greater (32 – 47mm) tires and decrease pressures. Billed as “highway bike gentle, mountain bike powerful” they’re fairly gentle at a reported 1,490g. With a shallow rim profile, these received’t do properly in a wind tunnel (except it’s a sideways wind tunnel), and lean towards compliance over aerodynamics. The I9 Torch hubs buzz with 6 pawl engagement, an audible name out for immediate acceleration over tough terrain, and for much less coasting over tarmac. The hubs and rims are US-made and assembled, and match the Chebacco’s meant offroad use.

Parlee Sky Ridge carbon wheelset

The experience

It’s been just a few years since I’ve examined a sub-19lb bike, and whereas I used to be organising the Chebacco for my first experience I moved it gently across the store like a priceless vase. However as soon as on the bike, I used to be quickly hammering each roads and trails with confidence.

Arguably overconfidence, judging by a few of my route selections. Over the course of the week, previous carriage trails typically become gnarly technical singletrack, however I by no means circled. And the Chebacco got here via unscathed, sans some dings on the crank ends (and my pedals). The WTB Nano 40mm tires gripped agency to singletrack and uncovered ledge and with the 50T Eagle I might climb steep ups like I used to be on a XC bike.

On trails I picked my manner across the massive rocks, however in any other case let it rip, utilizing the drops for higher grip and braking, and sometimes sliding again behind the saddle on the steep downhills. I trusted that the Sky Ridge wheels would maintain up positive on rocky singletrack, they usually did.

Parlee Chebacco XD LE fast getting up to speed

Underneath regular gravel driving situations, the Chebacco excelled. On a pair 25mi group rides I used to be giddy from the bike’s effectivity via rolling double monitor, and climbs. The bike’s highway racing pedigree shone via on the climbing particularly. It additionally did rather well in sandy areas and trails, due to the knobby 40mm WTB Nano tires. Nevertheless, “gravel driving” in my space requires lots of pavement to hyperlink the wild areas collectively. No less than 50% pavement on a lot of the longer rides, and the aggressively knobbed Nanos and compliant Sky Ridge wheels had been noticeably slower on highway descents. Whereas the dealing with and climbing felt nice on the highway, I might hear the vibrating tires drag on the descents, and I needed to pedal to catch the pack coasting away from me. However would I’ve traded anybody for another bike on these rides? No manner. 

So my quick time on the Chebacco confirmed the plain, that highway driving needs to be executed with highway wheels. And a second set of wheels shod with highway tires is the answer to the one much less bike “drawback”. The place the Chebacco might serve twin roles of quick gravel bike and cozy highway bike. For precise gravel racing and lengthy gravel rides, the take a look at Chebacco was arrange completely, with presumably a change to much less aggressive tires for identified routes with tamer situations. However when you needed the Chebacco to function your highway bike too, then on the minimal you’ll want to vary over to smoother tires for the highway.

Who ought to get this bike?

I’ll admit that the reply to this query is usually “me”, irrespective of the bike. However on this case, it’s very true. I used to like highway racing, and miss the pace, however I can’t justify a brand new highway bike proper now. Nevertheless, I’ve caught the gravel bug and the miles of latest adventures available.

One Chebacco with a second set of wheels would kill 2 birds, and achieve this with spectacular fashion. If I had been to drag the set off, I might stick to the 1X setup, and digital shifting with SRAM Drive eTap a terrific alternative. And I actually just like the gloss inexperienced/black paint scheme (sand or matte black are the opposite selections). I’m certain Parlee will proceed to do properly with the Chebacco, as a result of it continues to be a stand out, at the same time as the sphere of carbon gravel bike choices has exploded in recent times.

And I do know now that I want one for for much longer than per week.

parleecycles.com

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