Compliance + Traction = Performance like nothing else, ever.

“Gravel” has become more than just riding on dirt roads. More than a way to escape traffic and routine. It’s a way to immerse ourselves in our environment, and the all-new Parlee Taos blends our unique carbon fiber expertise with a progressive, groundbreaking design to eliminate chatter and vibration, letting you focus on your surroundings…and your performance.

We purpose-built the Taos to deliver more than comfort. More than confidence. It is designed to deliver new experiences, blurring the line between bike and rider, moving with you over the terrain and offering traction like nothing you’ve ever felt before. Combined with a uniquely modular design, it gives you the right fit, the right performance, and the right options for any ride… and every ride.

Taos Key Highlights

  • All-new monocoque frame, handmade in the EU
  • Sleek, sloping design w/ dropped stays & tuned compliance
  • “Nude” finish shows UD carbon, no paint necessary
  • Wider 700x50 tire clearance
  • Full stealth integrated routing including dropper seatposts
  • Open, easily-serviced standards like FSA ACR, T47 and UDH
  • Sub-1,000g frame

Taos Dealer Assets


Taos Image Gallery

Taos FAQ

Where did the Taos name come from?

This bike was inspired by Taos, New Mexico. This historic southwest community turned artist colony turned resort town at the foot of Sangre de Cristo mountains gives off serious desert vibes that make it the Soul of the Southwest.

But it's the seemingly endless views, gravel routes, and wide-open singletrack going from valley floor to snow-capped mountain top that make it a cycling destination. Whether you want to roll out on winding roads, granite and gravel paths, or sweet singletrack, the Taos is ready for all of it.

Kicking back after a long ride and watching the sky turn a shade of purple you didn’t know existed, you’ll realize this place, and this bike, are something special. The fresh roasted green chiles and smothered burritos don’t hurt either.

What sets the Taos apart from other gravel bikes?

The Taos is the first gravel bike designed specifically to improve traction, and we do it without resorting to gimmicks, linkages, pivots, or anything else that adds weight or complexity.

A lot of brands talk about compliance, but we think traction is the more important metric. It gives you improved control and more confidence on rough terrain. Whether you’re climbing, descending, or railing a corner, knowing that your tires will stick to the ground lets you maintain speed.

The added benefit is that our layup and frame design also improves compliance, which means it is comfortable over the longest rides, no matter what you get into.

How does the Taos improve “Traction”?

With the one-piece construction, we are able to tune the carbon fiber used in the seat tube, top tube and seat stays to be more compliant at the saddle than a typical gravel bike. We’ve benchmarked the compliance at the saddle and found that we are able to engineer 20% more compliance at the saddle than is typical. This translates to better traction as the wheel skips less.

The Taos also allows for larger tires front and rear vs. typical gravel bikes. With maximum tire widths of 2” (50mm) the Taos provides a much larger contact patch than typical 1.5” (38mm) gravel tires.

What are the other key features of the Taos?

Three things: Geometry and fit, versatility, and the layup and molding technique. Here’s a quick summary of each, with deeper dives following later this FAQ:

Geometry & Fit: The Taos’ modern geometry is long, low, and slack, letting you lay down the power on the flats and the climbs, hold steady at speed, and dive into the descents with confidence.

Versatility: Six frame sizes, each with custom size-specific layups, and our unique Flex Fit system that easily adapts it for taller riders without adding a bunch of spacers, means the Taos will fit almost any rider perfectly.

Layup & Molding Technique: The Taos, like our Ouray all-road bike, has a one-piece monocoque carbon frame, but differs in two key ways. First, since it’s intended for more aggressive terrain, we’ve reinforced the bottom of the downtube and other areas likely to see rock strikes. Second, the Taos’ layup and design create more vertical flex at the rear axle for improved traction and compliance.

What’s the big deal about one-piece Monocoque construction? And what is it anyway?

Most other bicycle frames are made in sections, then bonded together or overwrapped with more carbon fiber. While both of these methods produce great frames, and we use these methods ourselves on other models, a monocoque frame allows for an overall lighter frame with a more refined ride quality. Here’s why:

Bonding creates joints that have to be filled and sanded, then painted to hide those joints. Overwrapping, which is combining tubes or sections by wrapping additional layers of carbon around the joints, adds more material. Paint and extra material both add weight, but more importantly, assembling a frame from individual pieces makes it harder to achieve a cohesive ride quality throughout the frame.

By making the entire Taos’ frame as a single piece, we eliminate any joints and precisely control how each piece of carbon fiber interacts with the next, allowing us ultimate control over how the finished product rides.

We go a step further to ensure that every layer is perfectly aligned, allowing us to offer the frame with our gorgeous “nude” finish, showing off the beautiful carbon construction.

What's the big deal about a "nude" carbon finish?

Ever wonder why so many high-end, boutique carbon fiber frames add 100g or more of paint on top? Laying up unidirectional fibers, particularly when laying up the entire frame as a single piece like we're doing here, is exceptionally hard.

It's even harder to keep those carbon layers perfectly positioned, wrinkle-free, and without gaps or steps that require sanding and fillers to smooth over.

With the Ouray, we take it one step further. No cosmetic woven layers hide our perfect UD carbon frame. Everything you see is functional (and beautiful!), and it's the result of more than 25 years of perfecting carbon fiber bicycle design and manufacturing.

The nude carbon finish also means that there’s no paint to chip so the bike will look great for years and years to come. It’s the perfect finish for a bike that can go anywhere and ride anything.

Are they clear-coated? Painted?

Every nude frame will be sold with a durable wax coating to protect it. This adds just a couple of grams to the frame, compared to 100g or more of paint. We use a standard 303 Aerospace wax available easily online and through most marine suppliers. It’s super easy to apply - just wipe it on with a clean cloth once or twice a year to provide protection from the elements and keep the bike looking like new.

Of course, we offer full custom paint through the Parlee #PAINTLAB if you’d like to truly customize your Taos! The beautiful nude carbon provides a perfect foundation for applying tinted clearcoat finishes or much more intricate hand-painted designs.

How are you producing these? Where are they made?

The Taos is designed in Beverly, Massachusetts, USA, by Bob Parlee and his team. The frames are made in limited quantities in small batches at a dedicated manufacturing partner in Western Europe. We work directly with them to ensure every Ouray frame is perfect, then bikes are built and, if requested, painted in-house in MA.

Some quick background: The Z4 was our first production bike made outside of our own US factory, manufactured in Asia at a carefully selected factory. For the Taos, we wanted to raise the bar and deliver an even better product more in line with customers' expectations for our brand.

By producing in Western Europe it allows us to deliver that authentic Parlee product (incredibly high-end frame with perfect layups), but do it at a larger scale than we can do in-house. It also lets us create a premium bike at a more attainable price point.

Where does the Taos fit into the Parlee lineup? Does this replace the Chebacco?

Yes, the Taos replaces the Chebacco. Some cyclists who used their Chebaccos as allroad bikes may prefer the Ouray but Taos is the direct replacement for the Chebacco. We also still offer full custom Z-series road and gravel bikes that are handmade in our US HQ.

What’s the max tire clearance? Can I make it an all-road bike?

Maximum tire clearance is 700x50mm without fenders, and 42-47mm with fenders. The Taos is designed for 700c wheels on all frame sizes, we do not recommend switching to 650B.

The minimum recommended tire size is 700x32mm, which, combined with a flip-chip at the front axle, turns the Taos into a great all-road bike, too!

Can I add a suspension fork?

The Taos’ geometry is suspension corrected to work with 30-40mm gravel suspension forks.

The stock fork’s axle-to-crown height is 425mm and its offset is adjustable from 45mm to 51mm via a flip chip at the axle. We recommend suspension forks with matching offsets.

We found in our testing that with typical sag and individual tuning, the changes between 30-40mm forks are quite small and not noticeable for most riders. The head angle slackens less than a degree but the bottom bracket to bar relationship does not change, nor does the wheelbase. The choice of fork/no fork is driven by the rider and terrain.

How many mounts does it have? Can I use it for bikepacking?

The Taos has two standard bottle cage mounts, plus top tube mounts for “bento box” type storage. The Taos also has an easily accessed, high-volume storage compartment in the down tube for service items, spares or nutrition for longer events.

We intentionally oriented the design of the Taos towards the faster, longer single-day events like Unbound, D2R2 and BWR. It’s also quite capable for adventure-riding and light “credit card” bikepacking, but is not designed for fully-loaded touring or multi-day, self-contained bikepacking.

What else should I know about the Taos’ design?

Parlee bikes are known for their supremely lively performance with sublime ride quality, and the Taos continues this tradition but accomplishes it differently.

It, and the Ouray, are our first bikes with a dramatically sloping top tube. This lets us offer longer seatposts which, combined with a traditional round post, adds more compliance and comfort over mixed surfaces. For the Taos, you also have the option of adding a stealth dropper seatpost.

How do the Taos and Ouray differ?

Each bike’s geometry is designed for the intended use, of course. The key difference is that compared to the Ouray, the Taos’ frame has more compliance, and the rear end is a little longer to accommodate larger tires, which aids stability and traction. The Taos also has a slightly longer top tube and slacker headtube angle, compared to the Ouray, which give the Taos rider a bit more confidence and control over rougher gravel and through technical sections.

Both models use a flatter top tube, which aids in overall vertical compliance for the seat tube and post, further improving comfort, the Taos simply takes it a bit further.

Both use angular downtubes that create a laterally and torsionally stiff lower half of the bike, improving power delivery and pedaling efficiency.

By using a monocoque construction, we’re able to perfectly combine these opposing qualities (compliance and stiffness) while minimizing weight and maximizing durability.

Is it aero?

The Taos’s downtube's design is based on the extensive wind tunnel test data used to create the RZ7’s Recurve aero profile, however, the main aero consideration is using a fully integrated stealth cockpit. All brake lines are run through the stem (or bar and stem, depending on cockpit selection), and it's only compatible with electronic drivetrains. This leaves no wires, cables, or hoses visible to the wind.

Which standards does the Taos use?

A key design principle for the Taos was to extensively embrace Open Standards. For example: Our headtube uses stainless IS52 upper and lower headset bearings for native compatibility with FSA, ENVE, Deda, Token, and PRO, among others. The open design allows for future compatibility with other component systems. 

We stick with all common standards, including 12mm thru-axles, a round seatpost (31.6mm standard), and T47 threaded bottom brackets. But we do look to the future with our brake mounts…

The front flat-mount brake mounts fit a 160mm rotor standard, or a 180mm rotor by flipping the mounting bracket. More aggressive riders will likely benefit from a larger front rotor. The rear flat-mount brake sticks with the standard 140/160mm rotor mount. 

Parlee ships 160mm rotors front and rear in all complete builds.

Can I get custom geometry?

The Taos is offered in six stock sizes. Each frame ships with top caps and spacers to set up in either our standard or tall configurations. This allows a perfect fit for the vast majority of riders.

For clients who need custom geometry, we recommend the Z-Zero RD and XD models. We are not offering custom geometry for this model at this time.

What customization do you offer?

Paint: Full custom paint available through the Parlee #PAINTLAB

Fit options: This includes cockpit selection (crank length, bar width, stem length, seat, seatpost setback, etc.), wheels, tires, drivetrain, and other accessories, making every Taos unique to its owner.

Kit specs and Framekits: Full range of Shimano and SRAM with 12 different standard build configurations. Frame kits are also available for customers looking for additional customization flexibility

Where will the Taos be sold?

We remain committed to the independent bicycle retailer. All Parlee bikes are sold through our dealer network to ensure every customer receives the best possible experience. All of our dealers are trained to guide the rider through the purchase process, which includes fitting the cockpit dimensions and frame options to them and selecting the best components for their riding style and experience.