Whereas Look’s bikes have always boasted outstanding technology, their prices have put them firmly in the luxury category.
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The design of the new 765 range is derived from Look’s premium 695 and starts with a Shimano 105 equipped bike at £1799, which makes it price competitive with other major manufacturers’ endurance bike ranges.
An increasing number of manufacturers are launching endurance race bikes – rather than full-on endurance frames, these bikes are more performance oriented but have comfort features built in such as slightly higher headtubes and vibration damping.
At the heart of the 765 is a new unidirectional carbon frame which incorporates layers of flax fibres into the chainstays and the forks and has a claimed weight of 1100 grams.
Look’s data suggests that flax fibres provide significantly greater damping than either carbon fibre or fibreglass.
Flax is already used to add vibration damping in other applications such as aircraft cockpits and car panels and has also been used by other bicycle manufacturers such as Merida and Bianchi.
The 765 is on-trend with current bike design in other ways: there’s a chunky downtube, a full carbon BB30 bottom bracket shell and carbon dropouts, asymmetric oversized chainstays and internal cable routing with electronic shifting compatibility.
The frame has modest sloping geometry, with a long head tube for a slightly more upright riding position and enough seatpost extension to add increased compliance at the saddle.
The £1799 entry-level bike comes with a Shimano 105 groupset, an FSA Omega compact chainset for BB30 compatibility and FSA Gossamer brakes. The wheelset is Shimano RS010, and there’s an FSA Vero bar and Selle Italia saddle.
For £1999 the mid-priced model has Shimano Ultegra shifters, an FSA Gossamer Pro BB386Evo chainset and FSA Gossamer brakes. Wheels get an upgrade to Mavic Aksiums.
The top spec bike comes with a full Ultegra groupset including brakes and Mavic Aksium wheels. Look claims an all-up weight for the 765 of between 8.25 and 8.54kg for a size M, depending on build specification.
Availability is expected from Autumn 2015.
Riding the Look 765
We rode the 765 for around two hours near Look’s Nevers headquarters. The terrain was mixed: some damp but well surfaced roads through forests and some chip and tar surfaces more typical of the UK.
There were also broken roads, roundabouts, speed bumps and cobbled traffic calmers through towns and villages and ascents, descents and tight turns on French D roads.
The bike impressed on all surfaces, with a well-damped ride but without the feeling of disengagement which you get with some endurance bikes. There was no feeling of flex or power loss when climbing and descending was confident, whilst the 765 was sure footed on fast turns and roundabouts.
Overall, the feeling was much more of a performance road bike with lively handling and good vibration damping rather than a super-stable endurance bike. As such it will appeal to the more performance-orientated long distance rider, who is looking to press on without sacrificing ride comfort.