As soon as you pick up the Parlee Altum, you immediately know that you’re in for a treat. This Altum in a size Medium comes in at a hair over 14lbs making it feel premium and other-worldly.

Parlee Cycles was founded 15 years ago with the goal to build the best race bikes. Period. With a history in the boat building industry and seeing how composites were affecting the cycling industry, they knew there was an opportunity where composites would redefine the cycling world.

The beauty of carbon fiber is it's smoothness. As Parlee says "It allows the designers to become stylists, shaping the frame molds in all imaginable forms". It’s completely smooth in design creating an aerodynamic and futuristic feel that simply says "I'm waiting".

David Carson has a quote about design/life/visual communication that I often think about "You can't not communicate". And with a bike that is nearly all black with a satin like texture, it would be very easy to scream "Lets race, bruh" but the gentle, sleek amorphous lines and junctions of the Altum transcend any insecure and confrontational attitude. It's a visual language that creates a feeling of stability and esteem. This is an amazing bike, and it does not need to be shouted. It simply is.

What does that mean when the rider sits on a saddle attached to the Parlee-made-seatpost, and leans on the Parlee-made-handlebars and stem? It means that efficiency is "the guiding principle behind all Parlee bikes". Even though Parlee went through all the trouble of engineering and designing these parts, theres no information about it on the Parlee site and very little fanfare from Parlee in reviews and press releases. They simply are.

It takes a lot of effort to make something look easy, which is proven by the Altum. It makes cycling look effortless.


Thanks to Kempton who is a cycling touring guide at Bicycle Adventures for letting us shoot his new bike before it had even been ridden. This particular Altum was built at Cascade Bicycle Studio in Seattle, WA.