Paul’s New Parlee Z Zero Scores Ten


I decided to gift myself a new bike after my short hiccup this summer with my surgeries  to correct my occluded external iliac artery. It was time for me to create a whimsical paint scheme to remind myself that I ride because I like to feel like I am ten again. There is no denying it, we all ride because there are only a few things that we do as responsible adults that make us feel preteen and enjoy them as much now as we did when we used to skid in puddles with our Schwinn Stingrays.

At first look at my Parlee Z zero, you can’t get past the deep purple palette trimmed with gold accents. It screams “pop a wheelie” and “this is a great skidder”. This bike goes way beyond a chick magnet, it will turn heads at elementary schools. Parlee nailed the depth of my immaturity right down to the purple matching Enve seat post, stem and handlebars. I might be slow, for now, but I do feel pretty on this bike. Not that there is anything wrong with that. The only thing that is missing is streamers out the back of the handlebars.

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“Blasphemy, I tell you.” my good friend scolded me.

“Why would a company that built its stellar reputation on a custom platform entertain the idea of offering a non custom product line?” he continued the beat down.

It was a gut check, for sure. I know what attracts me to Specialized S-Works and Shiv offerings. I have seen first hand, while spending time at the mother ship in Morgan Hill, California, the attention to detail in the design, engineering and execution of these fine production bikes. I have ridden all the S-Works models when I could steal time away from my teaching duties at the Masters Body Geometry Fit classes. There is no doubting that Specialized S-Works models deliver something special while cruising the Santa Cruz mountain ranges.  Yes, “something special,” is critical in meeting our criteria to offer a product for sale, but is it enough?

It was time to put this decision through the litmus test of our corporate mission.

Signature Cycles is a service based company with a primary goal of offering our clients the best quality products, the highest level of expertise and service, and unparalleled ongoing support.

We create  a customer experience that is specifically tailored to our individual client’s cycling aspirations, delivered in a professional manner in which every client is made to feel understood and important.  We offer exemplary services and products which ultimately create raving fans.

When put through the test, Specialized S-Works and Shivs meet our criteria and then some. We have chosen Specialized S-Works and Shivs for the quality, innovation and variety the lines offer our discerning clientele.

Our commitment to a Fit First philosophy will never waiver. We believe that your bike doesn’t exist, until we fit you. Specialized S-Works and Shivs, like our other non custom models offered in our current lines,  will need to fit first before one will be allowed to roll out the door.

“Blasphemy?”  I think not. The only blasphemy part is that we will only be offering Specialized in our Greenwich studio. We sit too close to a current Specialized S-Works dealer in Manhattan and will respect their territory privileges.

So, say it is so. We welcome Specialized to the Signature Cycles family of the world’s best frame and bicycle offerings and are excited to add them to our stable. Please reach out to us in Greenwich when you are ready to see what all the fuss is about and have us check if one of the Specialized S-Works or Shiv geometries fit your positional coordinates.

If you are new to Signature Cycles and haven’t had a Sizecycle fitting, this would be the perfect time to get Fit and dial in your non custom current bike or take the plunge and discover what is special about riding a Specialized.

See our new Specialized S-Works gallery HERE

Paul Levine


Paul’s Zipp/SRAM Dealer Advisory Board Debrief

Spending time on a bike in Tucson in February is always a treat. This past week I was one of eight retailers invited to attend the Zipp/SRAM Dealer Advisory Board. The board meets every year to review the state of our businesses and industry, comment on the current Zipp, SRAM and Quarq offerings and get a peak at what is in the test lab forecasted to be on our bikes in the coming 1-4 years. The meeting starts with the formal ritual of filling out the N.D.A’s. So, I can’t share with you what the future will bring at Zipp and SRAM, but I can say that they will make cycling even more enjoyable than it is now, with intuitive improvements to our standard way of how we operate a bike. I am being vague for a purpose, I want to be invited back next year and don’t want to have a lawyer at my doorstep when I get home.

The stuff I can share is not about vapor ware, it is the cool stuff that we can all use right now. Aero bars, power meters and wheels, oh my.

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Zipp just released their new Stealth aero bar. A one piece number where the base bar and stem have adjustable ranges fore, aft and pitch to allow the slickness of the one piece shape not to compromise either the aerodynamics of the bar or the adjustable range of the stem. Ingenious. The pads and aero extensions are exactly what we look for in adjustability and range, whereas the broadest athlete and the narrowest athlete can find a nice home for their forearms to be supported. This bar is a winner, both for the athlete and the fitter. Getting you in the perfect position is the first step in setting you up to PR in your next triathlon.

Quarq power meters come in two new versions for 2013, the ELSA and the RIKEN.

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Call it what you wish, Quarq started with a clean slate and delivered on a promise to offer ease of use, accurate data and platforms that allow all of the chain ring choices and competitor manufacturer compatibility, leaving nothing else to want in a power meter. The Elsa gives you power balance data, allowing you to monitor your left and right leg efforts. I know that feeling like an astronaut is important to some cyclists, so strap an Elsa on to your bike and take off so you can fine tune your motor like never before.

Tucson isn’t chosen every year just for its glorious sunsets and dry air. It is chosen because nothing is better than looking at the new cool offerings in a board room and then going outside in 70 degree weather and taking the stuff for a rip. It has been a long time coming since we first heard about the new 202 clincher Firecrest at last year’s meeting. Not wanting lawyers on my doorstep, I kept this close to my vest, although there were sightings of the wheel being tested at small events. I waited patiently for my turn, until I could get a pair on a bike and see what all the fuss was about. In the interest of full disclosure, my baseline wheel is the Lightweight Ventoux. In my eyes the Ventoux is the best wheel money can buy for performance, comfort and durability. Yes, they are by far one of the most expensive wheels on the market. However, the holy grail of everything that is great in a wheel comes at a price. Until now.


The 202’s blew me away, without blowing me away. It was windy in the desert but the 202’s stayed on course and gave me confidence to descend the mountain passes without tension or concern that the next cross wind would put my out-of-shape ass into a cactus. I loved the quick windup when climbing out of the saddle and the braking feel was the best of any wheel that I have ridden. If you want the best of all worlds, the 202 is your answer. You get everything and give up nothing. Not to mention you get to keep approximately $2500.00 in your pocket compared to purchasing the Lightweights. Not a bad deal and well worth the one year wait for them to finally come to market.

Now I have to wait, once again, for SRAM’s new category killer to be released. I don’t know why I put myself through this torture every year in Tucson. Call me a glutton for punishment, patience isn’t my strong suit. I guess there are worse ways to spend a week in February than with one of the coolest companies in our industry, chatting with engaging retailers, riding vapor ware and sipping a Martini watching the Arizona sunset.


Behind the Scenes with Guru’s Ted Matthews

Guru CEO, Ted MatthewsOne of the reasons we work with Guru at Signature Cycles is because they are a no-compromise performance company that sweats the details. Guru is the one company that offers a state of the art custom tri bike that will match up against any manufacturers’ testing in the wind tunnel, while offering the athlete the best fit possible. We recently spoke with CEO Ted Matthews about what makes Guru tick, and what motivated him to step into a second career in the cycling industry.

Guru is based just outside of Montreal Canada, but the company was founded in 1993 by a young Italian engineering student, Tony Giannascoli. The name Guru reflected Giannascoli’s goal to create a handcrafted bicycle company that would be a leader and a guiding creative force in the industry. Though Matthews took over as CEO in September of 2009, he says Giannascoli continues to play a major role in the company and is still “the genius behind much of what we do at Guru”. Continue reading

Behind the Scenes with Serotta’s Howard Berkowitz

Serotta’s Howard Berkowitz

Serotta has pioneered almost every custom bicycle frame innovation over the past forty years. They have always set the bar for accuracy, build quality and finish for all others to compare. In May this year Serotta made a big shift as interim CEO Howard Berkowitz stepped in for founder Ben Serotta. Ben continues with the company focusing on their creative vision and innovation, and now that Berkowitz has taken the helm, we wanted to learn more about him and the direction he’s looking to take Serotta.

At 47 years old with 25 successful years in corporate sales and management, Berkowitz considers himself the black sheep of the family. He comes from a family of teachers, doctors and nurses, so moving up the ranks working with Fortune 500’s wasn’t exactly the track he was expected to follow. It turns out that ultimately the work he found most exciting had something to do with making a difference for others anyway. At his previous position with Zimmer, a medical device distributer, he found himself consulting with physicians, observing hi-tech surgeries and even meeting patients. Continue reading

A Special Look Behind the Scenes: SRAM & Zipp

Paul’s report from SRAM & Zipp’s Product Advisory Board, February 2012.

Seeing and playing with cool bike stuff before it gets released is fun. Having an influence on what great products come next in the bike industry is a privilege. I sat on the SRAM / Zipp Advisory Board with seven other retailers last week. Our group was eclectic in their business models, from arguably the most successful bicycle mail-order owner to owners of tri and road shops from around the country with both single and multiple sites. The common thread that ran through the group was that we challenge ourselves, our staff and our businesses to be on the cutting edge of bicycle technology. We don’t stay stagnant and we expect our manufacturers to give us intelligent, well thought out and executed products that will enhance our clients’ cycling experiences. This group would chew up and spit out any pretenders. The “powers that be” at SRAM did their homework and truly wanted to know how they can be the preeminent player in their market. Our group was not short on giving comments and advice.
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