Parlee ESX-R Custom review

For those unfamiliar with the Massachusetts-based brand, Parlee has a reputation for producing superb quality carbon-fibre bikes with a large emphasis on customisation. New for 2015 is the ESX-R, which is a slightly more affordable version of Parlee's ESX (£3.999). We put it through its paces to see how good it is.

Distinctive tube shapes may not be to everyones taste, but the ESX certainly looks like it means business.
Cycling Weekly Verdict

If you are lucky enough to be in the market for a Parlee, the ESX-R will not disappoint. For £700 more, you could buy the 100g lighter ESX, but considering how good the ESX-R is, I’m unsure why you would. Having ridden both, I could not tell the difference, and the £700 saved would buy you a stunning custom paintjob. Obviously I am biased, but I really like the way this machine looks. It is stealthy with the flashes of orange adding an element of Lamborghini excitement. While testing this, I was simultaneously testing the Cervélo S5. So good is the Parlee ESX-R that having to ride the top-spec Cervélo S5 felt like a chore. First-world problems…

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Incredible custom paintjobs available

  • +

    Sublime ride quality

  • +

    Superbike excitement

  • +


  • +

    Lifetime frame warranty

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    High front end geometry

  • -

    Paint mark on the fork from catching the frame

  • -

    Saddle clamp can slip. Allen bolts are hard to access

  • -

    Aero seat post can stick.

You can trust Cycling Weekly. Our team of experts put in hard miles testing cycling tech and will always share honest, unbiased advice to help you choose. Find out more about how we test.

When Parlee approached us with the offer of supplying us with a custom ESX-R to test and review, it was quite frankly too good an opportunity to turn down. The first part of the process was a trip to Bespoke in Farringdon, where their fitter Chris used a Retül jig to determine the exact frame size I would require and how to best set it up.

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