Coming from the world of motor sport, cars, speed and all that comes with it, there is usually a saying that we all have out there, or let’s say there will always be someone to ask you what would be your dream garage or car. And pretty much, I don’t think I can say this is a test ride but surely, I’ve answered part of the question in terms of dream garage and why.
Yeah, I’m pretty new to cycling, it’s the same for all if thinking of sport, as I recall, I started running back in 2014 and only got into cycling at the end of 2016, still, I always had a crush for a nice bike and there’s always been a brand which I loved and I think it comes down to the design and colors of these, and it’s no other than French manufacturer, LOOK Cycle.
I was never a big fan of cycling in my early years but LOOK bikes always looked good to me when I would see one in the streets or anywhere else. As it also happened, I always loved the speed and track races, the competitions and above all the bikes do have something very appealing and LOOK bikes were and are always part of the show.
So back to that LOOK bike, it happened that I started on a pretty decent ride but nothing special, first a PlanetX and very shortly after I switched to an Argon18 as I had a bit of a funny start which involved crashing and destroying my first ride just two weeks after I got it… Aside from that, the Geneva Cyclists crew which I have been riding with since the beginning and which I still share some of my time with happened to be lead by a LOOK agent and of course, many of the riders were LOOK equipped as well…
One day, as we were hammering the Route du Lac coming back to Geneva after an evening ride, Thomas “The Schmelz” or “Panzer” as I like to call him, very nicely proposed to lend me his ride for a few kilometers. I of course jumped on the occasion and that’s when I realized what a good bike felt like. Rigid, light, stiff at the crank and all in all more precise in terms of feeling when riding it. That’s when I thought I really needed a LOOK 695 Light in order to ride properly and also because the bike was just a beast!
I mean, I made quite a few research on the frame during the time it took to actually find one and make it happen and the more I read or look at the quality and bikes that were on the market as well, the more I thought this would be a great all rounder aside from my competition time trial bike.
The first thing that stands out if looking at the frame is how light it is when naked and how good the carbon construction looks, I mean carbon is “the word” in cycling and just like it is when you talk about motor sport, then and as with any fibre construction, there are many qualities and technologies available on the market so the fact that it sports “the word” does not mean dead straight that it will be of a fantastic quality, carbon fibre has today become mainstream.
Having started on a great quality/price bike, the first thing that stood out when jumping to a better one when I first switched bikes was the general stiffness of the new frame and that happened again the day I got my TT bike. That’s something you would expect when going up in terms of quality and pricing. Considering the time trial ride which is heavy it didn’t surprise that it would be stiffer than all I had tried before.
I mean time trial bikes are heavier so they are more rigid in order to help the power to be transmitted to the road, it’s part of the thing but the LOOK frame happened to actually be light while feeling stiffer than any of the rides I’ve had. That certainly had to do with the fact that the carbon fibre and way the bike is constructed is altogether of a very high quality standard, other aspects are to be taken into account though.
First, there’s the way the frame is built which consist of two pieces. The main one which is the main “triangle” from head tube to the seat tube with integrated seat post and bottom bracket and the rear subframe which holds the rear wheel and derailleur, etc. Obviously, the main “triangle” having all integrated is more rigid than the usual construction with separate seat post tube that are standard to most frames for sure, in addition, there’s the crankset that bottoms that same part of the bike and that is the ZED2 which is a LOOK specific part.
What is special about that crankset is that it’s a monocoque carbon fibre part as opposed to the normal and usual setup of two-parts bolted together. There’s the high quality carbon which results in a higher stiffness added to the crankset and the integrated seat post which makes it a super combination when trying to put the power down. Torsion and losses are lowered if compared to what you would experience on a normal frame or crankset.
The ZED2 crankset is definitely something special, the crank arms, axle and chainring spider is a one-piece carbon fibre monocoque claimed to have the best stiffness-to-weight ratio available on the market. And it fits onto the huge BB65 bottom bracket which is named after the 65mm bearing holding the part into the frame.
On the feeling and riding the thing, as said, it claims to be the best stiffness-to-weight ratio on the market, truly, it feels like nothing else. I am no pro-cyclist but the pedal stroke feels marvelous, I mean either being up and climbing or hammering down the Route du Lac at 40km/h, the stroke feels smooth and continuous, and it’s the moment you ride one of these that you really understand the word rigidity and the fact that you’re not losing any of the power and truly the reason why I wanted that bike.
On the general stiffness of the frame, it means precision when guiding the bike on the routes, whether it’s going up or down, the bike is really precise which gives you more confidence if going downhill as an example. I’ll be careful there for the moment, rigidity meaning confidence also means that you get more easily to the limit and it takes time to completely understand your bike.
As far as I’ve ridden that beauty, the general feeling is great, smooth and with exceptional feedback through the saddle, rigid and light when it comes to pushing it up a climb or a flat but also, it’s not too aggressive or hard on the body. So yeah, it’s the second addition to my dream garage I would say along with the time trial bike.
On my setup it’s a LOOK 695 Light French Flag Edition from 2014 with Shimano Dura-Ace group – 52/38//12/28 and all mounted on Zipp 404s.