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Bike at bedtime: Parlee Chebacco

Let's have a look at one of Parlee's best selling bikes, the Chebacco

Earlier this week we learned that the US-based high-end bike brand Parlee has filed for bankruptcy - and while many hearts are still raw from sadness over this news, we thought we’d turn that grief into inspiration and have a look at one of the benchmarks of Parlee’s expertise. 

Parlee was founded in 2000 by Massachusetts-based high-performance boat builder Bob Parlee, and quickly became known for its specialist, custom, and often stunning carbon fibre frames which aimed to provide speed without compromising ride quality. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on 6 February. This means that it might not go down, but rather be saved if external partners get in, so don't lose hope just yet. 

Parlee Chebacco  - 3.jpg

Right, financial situations aside, let’s have a look at one of Parlee’s best-selling bikes, the Chebacco. 

First introduced in 2015, the Chebacco is the brand’s all-road model, with the capability to shred on gravel and fly on the tarmac. We reviewed this very bike soon after its launch back in 2016, when Dave Arthur rode it at the UK’s largest gravel event, the Dirty Reiver, and subsequently rewarded it with a four-star review

While the Chebacco here is a little, let's say, retro in looks (let's not even mention the kit), Parlee’s since developed the Chebacco into two models: the Chebacco XD for rough gravel and adventures, and the more premium Chebacco XD LE.

Dirty Reiver Parlee Chebacco - 20.jpg

The Chebacco can take up to 45mm tyres and since 2016, the frame has got multiple more mounting points to the frame and fork - back in 2016 those were limited to the bottle and mudguard mounts.

The Chebacco was designed to be as comfortable on chunky gravel tyres as on 25mm road tyres, and Parlee said the biggest thing it tried to bring to the bike was a road bike feel, which meant a lot of work went into designing the main triangle.

> Should I buy a race bike or an endurance bike? The big differences, explained

Compared to a traditional endurance road bike, the Chebacco has a slightly slacker head angle, longer wheelbase and shorter head tube, in addition to offering space for much wider tyres and mudguards. 

Parlee Chebacco - head tube.jpg

The Parlee expertise in carbon is visible in the Chebacco: this frame has 870-980g weight, with the complete build with Shimano Ultegra Di2 groupset and gravel tyres tipping the scales at 8.51kg. ​

The bike here rolls on Mavic Ksyrium Pro All-Road wheels and Clement tyres, and Parlee’s own finishing kit including the wide diameter 31.6mm seatpost. 

Parlee Chebacco - rear hub and cassette.jpg

Parlee has extended its carbon expertise to the handlebars and stem, too, and they are the expected premium quality and price-point items we’ve come to expect. The Handlebars retail for £320, the stem £260 and the seatpost £250.

Parlee Chebacco - bars.jpg

Parlee has equipped the Chebacco with a chunky 35mm diameter handlebar, which should enhance stiffness while allowing weight to be reduced.

The bars are turning on a Cane Creek integrated headset, and at the drivetrain, we have something that some of us actually might want to wave goodbyes to, the Press Fit 30 bottom bracket. 

Parlee Chebacco  - 19

And if you are curious about the price of the bike… the 2016 version was £3,499 for the frameset only. 

Let us know in the comments what you think about this bike and make sure to check out our other bike at bedtime features

Suvi joined F-At in 2022, first writing for She's since joined the tech hub, and contributes to all of the sites covering tech news, features, reviews and women's cycling content. Lover of long-distance cycling, Suvi is easily convinced to join any rides and events that cover over 100km, and ideally, plenty of cake and coffee stops. 

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NotNigel | 1 year ago


IanMSpencer | 1 year ago

Looking at this, I was struck that a maker who is prepared to spend oodles on trivial detail slapped in a universally hated press fit BB.

It struck me that you out to be able to rework the BB to be an internal screw fit flush to the frame given the bulk of that area in modern designs. I think it would be quite easy, you put an external thread on a carrier and then some holes of sufficient depth in the carrier to apply a special tool to screw it in and out. You could even put a robust key on the inside of the frame with a tool inserted through the opposite side to keep the carrier compact (think of something like the Park Tool bearing removal tool).

Rendel Harris | 1 year ago
1 like

Unlike certain people I would never exult in the failure of a company, particularly a bike producer; those are people's jobs, after all. However, one can't help feeling that asking £250 for a seatpost and £260 for a stem might have rather a lot to do with customers going elsewhere; even an S-Works Tarmac stem can be had for well under half that price.

ChuckSneed replied to Rendel Harris | 1 year ago

The difference is that a Parlee stem is hand made and you just don't get that kind of quality with mass produced things like the junk Specialized sells.

mark1a replied to ChuckSneed | 1 year ago

ChuckSneed wrote:

The difference is that a Parlee stem is hand made and you just don't get that kind of quality with mass produced things like the junk Specialized sells.

You've changed your tune since last week...


Rendel Harris replied to ChuckSneed | 1 year ago

Didn't you say last week that Parlee failed because people realised that could buy the same thing for a tenth of the price on Alibaba?

(ETA posted before I saw Mark's - yes that's the one I was thinking of!)

ChuckSneed | 1 year ago

RIP Parlee

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