Parlee Z-Zero XD Cyclocross

Bike Check: A Closer Look at Danny Summerhill’s Team Maxxis-Shimano Parlee Z-ZERO XD

With winter sweeping across North America, Team Maxxis-Shimano is settling into its first season on the US Pro Cyclocross Tour. We tracked down Danny Summerhill and his Parlee Z-ZERO XD for a bike check before he heads off to the Cincinnati Cyclocross Festival over Halloween weekend. Summerhill is fresh off a resounding win at the US Open of Cyclocross in Boulder, Colorado, and will be looking to take that momentum into the later half of the season. With the conditions now changing from dry races to the muddy later season events, bike set-up becomes ever more crucial. Read on to take a look at the details of Danny’s ride.

The Parlee Z-Zero XD frame is built from the ground up to be a race winner. Danny’s bike, hand built in Beverly, MA, is unique in every aspect. From the layup schedule of the carbon fiber to the tubing sizes and geometry, the bike was made to fit just one rider, an undeniable advantage when pushing one’s body to the absolute limit in a race. The skilled builders at Parlee pride themselves on their attention to detail, and Summerhill is happy with the quality build, “The bike fits like nothing else. It was so easy to transition to the Parlee because their experience with fitting and geometry is so advanced.”

  • Design: PARLEE Z-Zero XD, tube-to-tube High Modulus carbon fiber
  • Tubing: PARLEE High Modulus XD
  • Seat Stays: PARLEE XD with 40c tire clearance
  • Color/Finish: Nude/Waxed Carbon
  • Frame Weight: 950g (M)
  • Fork: PARLEE XD
  • Drivetrain: Shimano Dura Ace Di2
  • Brakeset: Shimano Hydraulic Disc
  • Wheelset: Shimano (various depths and profiles to match terrain)
  • Tires: Maxxis Raze
  • Handlebar & Stem: PRO Components
  • Saddle & Seatpost: PRO Components
  • Bottom Bracket: Kogel Bearings, custom engraved
  • Power Meter & Head Unit: Pioneer

With tight and often off-camber turns on varying, loose terrain, the sport of cyclocross is all about traction. Summerhill has been riding on Maxxis tires all summer with the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team, so it wasn’t a difficult transition into cross season, “tires make a huge difference in racing. Having a choice of tires is so important, and the guys at Maxxis really value our feedback.”  As Maxxis designs new cross-specific treads, Summerhill and his Maxxis-Shimano teammates will be an integral part of the development process. Currently, Danny is training and racing on the Maxxis Raze tires with great consistency and success.

With no cables to contaminate with mud or dust, the Shimano Dura Ace Di2 groupset has proven itself to be reliable and easy to maintain during the cyclocross season, offering up crisp, reliable shifts regardless of the conditions. Utilizing the Dura Ace Di2 groupset, Summerhill’s bike is set up with a double chainset and an 11-28 tooth cassette, giving an extremely wide variety of gears. The gear range is important for the ever-changing conditions found on modern cyclocross courses, and provides the high-end speed needed for make-or-break sprint finishes. Combined with bar top remote shifters on his PRO Components handlebar, a feature only available with Shimano Di2 drivetrains, Summerhill has a range of hand positions to utilize while staying in complete control. The Dura Ace crankset is running on Kogel Bearings’ renowned bottom brackets, which utilize high-quality bearing and seals to withstand a season of racing in the elements, and the constant washing required. The custom blue offering on Summerhill’s Kogel bottom bracket is an easy way for Danny to keep track of his bikes and further stand out from the crowd. For the ultimate in braking power and modulation in any condition, Summerhill and the team use hydraulic disc braking systems from Shimano. The brakes have been a revelation for the riders, “The power and control is incredible. With just one or two fingers, you can quickly reduce your speed, allowing me to dive into corners faster and brake later with confidence.”


Always focused on performance, Danny is tracking his racing and training with the industry’s most accurate and comprehensive on-bike data system: Pioneer Power Meters. With unmatched accuracy and high-definition data output, the Pioneer power meter is able to give accurate recordings during technical races and all weather conditions. The robust power meters and head units can survive a full season and racing and training, even in the worst weather conditions.


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Danny Summerhill Wins US Open of Cyclocross, Day 2

Summerhill proves form leading up to Pan-Am Championships with 2nd place on day 1, followed by Victory in Boulder


Danny Summerhill turned the tables on his opposition on day 2 of the US Open of Cyclocross in Boulder, CO., this weekend. After a close-fought 2nd place result on Saturday, Summerhill took control on Sunday and rode at the front of the race to earn a confident win at Valmont Bike Park.

Lining up on the front row of the UCI C2-ranked event, Summerhill quickly took the lead and set a pace that few could match. On a course that tested technical skills and strength equally, Summerhill stayed at the front of the race, content to choose his own lines and make the pack follow.


With two laps to go, the lead pack had been reduced to just four riders; the Raleigh-Clement duo of Jamey Driscoll, winner of day 1, and Fernando Paez, along with Allen Krughoff of the Noosa CX team. Not wanting the race to come to a bunch sprint, Summerhill upped the pace on the front. Driscoll was the only rider to follow. Coming into the last lap, Summerhill went to the front again, “I felt confident that if I could get through the stairs first there was almost no way Driscoll could come around by the finish, just due to the technical decent and corners leading into the finish.” Summerhill’s tactics paid off with a resounding win in front of a large crowd of spectators.

Summerhill was happy but exhausted after his win on home turf in Colorado, “It definitely took its toll on me by the end of Sunday, spending that much time at the front, but I think it was really a tactical decision towards the finish. It gave me the jump on Jamie. The day earlier I had a touch of bad luck a couple corners before the finish so it was nice to get some redemption today and also in a race I’ve finished 2nd at so many times!”


In the women’s race, both Cari Higgins and Erica Zaveta had a weekend tinged with bad luck and crashes, but still had positive things to say about the experience and weekend of tough racing. “It was awesome racing in Boulder with so many friends on the sidelines,” said Higgins, a Colorado resident with many fans and friends in the area. There are plenty of people pleasantly surprised to see Higgins on the dirt following her success on the track and road, “I’m looking forward to learning more through this season and getting better on the technical sections.”
The USA Cycling Pro Cyclocross calendar continues on October 31st with the Cincy After Dark race in Mason, OH., followed by the Pan-American Cyclocross Championships in Covington, KY., on November 1st.

An Off-Season Love Letter to Dirt

I ♥ dirt!


Recently I was donating some old cycling clothes and came across one of my first pair of cycling socks that simply read, “I ♥ dirt!” A subtle reminder of days past and a clue to what lies ahead.


Earlier this year, I made the tough decision to stop chasing the World Cup/Olympic Track Cycling dream. It has been an amazing journey full of accomplishments I never could have predicted when I started riding a bike at age 29. But, this decision left me staring at my first ever winter that some people might call an off-season. What the hell is the point of an off-season? Yes, that’s exactly what I thought.


So, I called my coach, Mark Legg and before I could finish my sentence he said yes. For years Mark, Katie Compton’s husband, has been telling me how much I would love cyclocross and that my physiology would make a good engine for the sport. For several years, when I was feeling mentally tired from training, Mark would tell me to go hit the dirt knowing it always rejuvenated my cycling spirit by bringing a simple smile to my face. After a very brief conversation that amounted to approval, my mission was clear: make this dirt-party thing they call cyclocross my new winter sport.
Zaveta and Higgins Warming Up, KMC Providence Cross Fest p/b Maxxis

And so it began…


Exactly twelve days after competing in the Team Time Trial at the UCI World Championships in Richmond, VA, I was flying to Providence, RI to compete at the KMC Providence Cross Fest presented by Maxxis Tires in the UCI C1 race. I was diving head first, blindly, into what I’m trusting is going to be one hell of a challenge. The goal of the weekend in Providence was to smile. Secretly, I also had the goal of not crashing!


Day one was unbelievably fun! I laughed, I smiled, I didn’t crash myself (I did crash but I swear it wasn’t my fault) and I realized there isn’t much you can do when you start on the back row. So, small things became my personal challenges: dismount, remount, pedal through the turns, gear selection, fly-overs!?!, head up, and most importantly HAVE FUN! I accepted my place in the back of the pack, never even trying to pass other women for fear I would fumble a technical section in front of them. By the end of the race, my confidence was building and I was begging for a couple more laps of racing.


Day two was slightly more challenging as I started, once again, in the very back and then didn’t manage to clip in right away. So, being last into the single track and stuck behind 3 crashes in the first lap was frustrating. Luckily I had some guys I met right before the start yelling “SMILE!!” each lap. The day ended with a DNF from a mechanical but my spirit is far from broken!


I’m realistic. I know I need more than the four days I spent on my cyclocross bike pre-Providence to become efficient and skilled. I respect what these top competitors have done to reach their level in this sport. I have much to learn in order to make that beautiful Parlee bike proud! But, I’m not new to challenges and learning. Happiness is a not-so-secret training tool of athletes; take away the smile and you stifle progression. I love dirt! If the amount of smiles this weekend is any indication, I’ll be progressing as a cyclocrosser pretty quickly.

Danny Summerhilld, KMC Providence Cross Fest p/b Maxxis

Thanks so much to my teammates for being my mentors. Danny, Luke, and Erika, this weekend would have been impossible without you. Chris Kreidle, thanks for the hugs when I needed them most. David Sagat, thanks for all the cheers from the pits!


Thanks to my Boulder cyclocross community for being so encouraging. The amount of people who have helped and offered to help is unbelievable!


To the Ladies of the cylcocross peloton, thank you for your support and heckling. I can’t wait to mix it up with you again!!


One thing is for sure, jumping in head first in what was described as a very “European-type UCI race” did not discourage or scare me. I’m ready for more…more dirt, more smiles!


Photo Gallery: KMC Providence Cross Fest p/b Maxxis Tires

Was a cold weekend in Providence, the rain abated for most of the day providing sticky and fast conditions on what has become known as a classically European style course.  This race weekend marked the first UCI Cyclocross event for team member Cari Higgins and saw Danny Summerhill throw down an impressive performance, just off the podium in fourth place, on Saturday.

Photos: Meg McMahon