With its steeply sloping top tube and integrated A-stem, the 675 is a distinctive bike. For the Light version it's been on a diet, with upgraded carbon and no metal components, reducing the frame weight to below 1kg. Andrew Dilkes tells all.
Having been around for a couple of years, the 675’s divisive style still looks as fresh and innovative as the day it was launched. It now sits second in line to the Look throne, with the 795 and 695 slotting in above and, having been on a diet since we last saw it back in 2013, the 675 Light now boasts a sub-kilo chassis. We’ve given this bike another shake-down to see if still delivers.
Originally aimed at the endurance (read sportive) market, bringing the top tube up to meet the stem and merging them together does a good job at disguising the surprisingly high front end. This integrated ‘A-Stem’ also does away with a stack of spacers, making the front end stiffer than other bikes in this category.
This construction does mean that prospective owners need to be very sure of their sizing. Yes, the stem is flippable (available in either +/- 5° or 15° angles) and available in a variety of lengths (80mm to 130mm for the 5° angle, and 80mm to 120mm for the 15° angle). Personal preference is calculated using Look’s virtual measurement tool, but the bespoke shape means you can’t swap out for any old stem, should you want to make adjustments. Arguably, though, it’s worth it for the pro slammed front-end look that’s achieved.
It’s worth noting that even with its 100 per cent carbon forks, bottom bracket, head tube and dropouts — the ‘Light’ element is only in reference to its own breed. Look is also celebrating the use of 1.5k carbon in its manufacturing. At 8.2 kilograms, it’s still pretty rotund but the total build is about a kilo lighter than the standard 675.
The frame’s adornments add to the weight. Put aside the top-drawer 3T Ergonova Carbon bars, everything else is pretty workmanlike. We suspect a large part of the heft is due to the Mavic Aksium wheels. Strong and robust they are, lightweight they are not.
Dressing them in Continental’s Ultra Sport tyres also adds to the chub. Running Shimano’s faultless Ultegra groupset throughout, it’s still weightier than the brand-topping Dura-Ace found on bikes at a similar price point.
Despite the load, the 675 is by no means sluggish, with only the steepest gradients revealing its true weight, barely noticeable while ripping along the flats. The bike feels as urgent as you make it. Leaning on the gear out of corners or up small rises sees the bike roar forward eagerly. Even with its stiff front end, the 675 Light retains enough comfort to ensure you’re not feeling brutalised by the end of a ride.
This stiffness makes for very precise and predictable handling. It was pushed hard but at no point did it feel ‘on the limit’.
However, not all in the garden is rosy. Despite the great ride, this is an expensive bike for the spec on offer. For 3.5 grand, I’d be expecting Shimano’s flagship mechanical Dura-Ace groupset, Ultegra Di2, or a better-spec set of hoops. For a frameset weighing south of 1kg, the completed build seems portly and out of place at this price point.
Despite my complaints, the 675 Light is still an awesome chassis. It inspires confidence, and although I have to attribute some of that to the Continental’s budget- end Ultra Sport tyres, I can’t help think how railed it would ride given a lighter groupset, some Gucci wheels and faster- rolling rubber. But all of that costs money, and given the fact that you’ve already parted with the best part of £4k, justifying another two grand’s worth of upgrades off the bat is going to be out of the question for most. However, like we always say, spend your money on the heart of the bike — that is, the frame.
Thus, if you’re done with ‘clone’ bikes, and looking for an exceptional ride on which to add upgrades over time, the 695 Light would be a fair bet.
Awesome frame which really needs some serious upgrades to bring out its best