By Paul Norman
Look has today announced its new gravel bike, the 765 Gravel RS. It also has a new motor-assisted e-gravel bike, the E-765 Gravel, which sits alongside its E-765 Optimum electric road bike, which was launched last week.
To celebrate the launch of its new gravel bike range, it’s also brought out a limited edition of 2000 pairs in a brown colourway of its new X-Track SPD-compatible off-road pedals, priced at €48.90.
Look’s E-765 e-bike goes off road
Gravel is already an established market in the US and Look sees it as a growing opportunity in Europe too.
Like the E-765 Optimum, the E-765 Gravel is a carbon framed bike, powered by the 250 watt Fazua mid-mounted motor unit and a removable battery pack attached to the underside of the down tube, for an overall bike weight of around 13.4kg. There's also a 400 watt "Rocket Mode" if you need a boost of extra power.
But Look says that it has adjusted the motor’s power output curve to take account of the power delivery needs of gravel riders.
It’s used a different carbon fibre mix in the frame to the road-going E-765 Optimum to add extra compliance. The clearance is also increased from 34mm to 40mm for a 700c tyre or 55mm for a 650b. The E-765 Gravel also shares the 3D Wave seatstay design of the road e-bike for extra compliance in the rear triangle.
Spec-wise, the E-765 Gravel comes with a SRAM Force 1 42, 11-36 groupset and tubeless ready Mavic Allroad wheelset shod with WTB Riddler 38mm tyres, priced at €6499. There’s also a Rival 1 build with the same ratios and tyres, but on a non-tubeless Shimano wheelset, priced at €5799.
765 Gravel RS pedal-powered gravel bike
Alongside its two new e-bikes, Look has also unveiled its non-assisted gravel bike, the 765 Gravel RS. It’s got a full carbon frame that Look says weighs 1.2kg, with the fork weighing an additional 350g, resulting in an overall weight that’s low for a gravel bike.
The bike has a dropped drive side chainstay, to provide enough clearance that it can be set up with road-going, cyclocross or mountain bike wheels and tyres, either 700c or 650b, while still being compatible with a two ring 50/34 chainset and retaining a road bike Q Factor. Look says that there's enough space for 40mm 700c or 55mm 650b tyres.
Like the E-765, it has the 3D Wave seatstay design, which Look says gives 15% of additional vertical compliance, without affecting the bike's responsiveness and also helps deliver increased traction and control on mixed surfaces.
Whereas Look’s e-gravel bike has just two sets of bottle cage mounts, the 765 Gravel RS has lots of them: enough for four bottle cages and a top tube pack, even in the smaller frame sizes.
At launch, there will be three specs of the 765 Gravel RS on offer. Priced at €4299, the top spec comes with SRAM Force 1 with 42, 11-36 ratios. Next is an Ultegra 50/34 set-up with an 11-34 cassette for €3999. Finally, there’s a Shimano 105 spec priced at €3599. All come with wheels running on Mavic's Speed Release thru-axle system, Look's oversized alloy gravel stem and a gravel specific flared bar.
The 765 Gravel RS has a geometry that’s somewhere between that of most gravel bikes and a cyclocross bike.
Look has gained UCI certification for the 765 Gravel RS to be used in races. Why? It reckons that a change of components would set it up for cyclocross use and that UCI sanctioned gravel races could be just around the corner.
Riding the E-765 Gravel
I took the E-765 Gravel e-bike out for a spin over a range of unpaved tracks through the Sancerre vineyards, as part of a party led by ex-pro Laurent Jalabert. On steep, rocky downhills, I was initially worried that the extra weight of the motor unit would affect handling, but this really wasn’t the case.
Riding uphill on rocky, damp tracks, the motor cut in progressively, without overpowering my own efforts, so that although climbing was a lot faster, it never felt nervy. The e-bike was agile enough to take on sinuous singletrack through the woods as well, without the motor being so assertive that it was awkward to follow the trail.
Riding off-road, it’s useful for a less strong rider to have the extra power available from the motor. It means that you can climb seated more easily, for smoother pedalling and greater stability, with a reduced risk of wheel slip. With average speeds lower than on road and often below the 25kph legal cut-off limit, the motor is working more of the time.
I was quite chuffed to be keeping up with Jaja – until I realized that he was on the unassisted 765 Gravel RS. He’s impressively fit for a 50 year old, having taken to triathlons and Ironman events after his retirement from professional cycling.
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