Look sees a big future in e-bikes. They already constitute around 10% of the global cycle market and sales are growing fast. So today, it’s launched the E-765 Optimum, its first electric bike. And it’s enlisted a formidable figure as ambassador for the new e-bike in the form of Bernard Hinault.
Commenting on the new e-bike, Hinault said: “It is a genuine revolution for any cyclist - I would never have believed they could retain all of the sensations of a 100% muscle-driven bike. It has become my benchmark bike!”
The E-765 Optimum’s carbon frame is made in Look’s own factory in Tunisia, with the bike built up and finished in the main factory in Nevers, France. It uses the German Fazua bottom bracket motor, with its battery clipping into the underside of the down tube. The motor and battery contribute 4.6kg to the E-765 Optimum’s 13.2kg overall weight.
But the motor will add up to 250 watts extra power output. Look reckons that a casual rider will average 120 watts, a keen rider 170 watts and a pro in training 200 watts, with the pro putting out 250 watts when racing. So the motor adds a big chunk of extra power.
Look has designed the E-765 Optimum as an endurance machine. It’s built extra compliance into the E-765 Optimum’s rear triangle with its 3D Wave seatstays. These have a bowed profile, as well as two extra-thin sections, which it says add 15% extra flex over a straight stay. There’s also clearance to fit tyres up to 34mm, with the bike supplied with 32mm Hutchinson Sector rubber.
There’s a new Look designed alloy stem, to help balance stiffness between the bike’s components.
Keeping up with The Badger
I rode a short, hilly loop around Sancerre with Hinault – probably the first and last time I’ll keep pace with a Tour de France winner. As I also found on an earlier full test of the Focus Paralane2, which uses the same Fazua motor system, the mid-mounted motor leads to a stable ride and great handling on the flat and descents, when it’s largely a passenger due to the legal 25kph assistance limit for all e-bikes in the EU and Australia.
But hit an uphill and it cuts in progressively, to boost even a modest rider to Hinault levels of power, accompanied by a low whine. You can choose between three assistance levels, or switch assistance off altogether, via the bar-mounted controller. The battery can be released from the underside of the down tube for charging and you can also ride the bike with it removed. Since it’s not structural, this doesn’t affect handling and saves around 3kg.
With the motor working, you’re not aware when climbing of the extra weight over a conventional bike. Look says that it’s fine-tuned the power output curve to suit road riders, after a year-long study of rider use profiles. Look reckons that on a hilly ride, you can get around 100km range on a charge, or 50km in the big mountains.
Fazua has an app which works with the motor system and gives you stats like battery temperature and charge level, as well as GPS navigation and an indicative area which you should be able to reach on the available charge.
E-765 Optimum specs and prices
The E-765 Optimum is available at launch in two specs. The higher priced Ultegra Di2 bike which I rode comes in red, with a carbon crank and 50/34, 11-32 gearing along with 42mm deep Vittoria carbon wheels. It’s priced at €7,699
The black gloss Ultegra mechanical bike comes with the same gear ratios, but alloy cranks and alloy Shimano wheelset. Price is €6,499 (UK and other currency prices yet to be announced).
At launch, the E-765 Optimum will be available in Europe only, with US and Asian markets availability planned to follow from next year.
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