This article originally appeared on BikeRadar
Look's top-of-the-range road bike, the 795, comes in two platforms: the 795 Aerolight, featuring a fork-integrated front brake and rear brake mounted under the chainstay, and the 795 Light, which runs a traditional brake setup. BikeRadar has a 795 Aerolight in for test, but both bikes are detailed below.
The 795 is available in a variety of SRAM and Shimano standard and mechanical builds. The integrated front brake has been optimised to work with Shimano levers, but will also work with SRAM and Campagnolo, although it currently can't take a Campagnolo EPS groupset because of its battery shape. A SRAM Red build with no pedals weighs a claimed 5.77kg / 12.72lb. All the bikes are kitted out with Look's own one-piece carbon crankset, the Zed2, which at a claimed 320g is light, and offers the unique option of three effective crank lengths in one, thanks to triangular inserts around the pedal threads.
The 795 is not cheap, by anyone's standards. The 795 Aerolight with Shimano Ultegra Di2 and Mavic CXR 60s we have in for test goes for US$13,499 / £7,999. It weighs 7.47kg / 16.47lb in size Large.
Look's product manager, Frederic Caron, told BikeRadarthat the 795 was ready last year but they decided not to launch it because of the financial climate. His analogy of the situation was that "we were like a hunter with one bullet, but not much prey."
The top tube sits inline with the Aerostem, making for a massive head tube
Look claims the 795 Aerolight is 11 percent more aerodynamic than its predecessor, the 695 Aerolight, and it's included a range of features that were designed to make it as aero as possible.
The frame uses NACA (National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics) aerofoil tube profiles to keep it slippery through the air. On the Aerolight, Look's own front brake, the Aerobrake 2, is hidden in the fork and there's a Shimano direct-mount brake under the chainstays. The 795 Light uses direct-mount calipers where you'd expect to find them.
The compact bar is a brand new part and the result of Look working with French track riders. The tops are flat, it has an ergonomic shape and a 120mm drop with 75mm reach. The brake and shifter cables exit from under the bars and there's very little cable/wire exposed before it all disappears into the frame. Once inside the frame, the cables run into a guide which carries them round the steerer, a feature which is one of 11 patented designs on this bike.
The 795 uses the same carbon Aerostem found on the 695. It was actually developed specifically for this bike, but Look had already finished it when the 695 was ready, so decided to use it sooner than originally planned. With the stem's design keeping it flush with the top of the top tube there are no spacers at the front, but the stem is adjustable through 13 degrees negative and 17 degrees positive rise.
The seat tube is a claimed 20 percent more flexible than the 695's, which is achieved through using a different grade of carbon. To further improve comfort, Look's E-Post 2 seatpost and seat tube are also separated by shock-absorbing elastomers, so they're never in direct contact. The locking mechanism that keeps it in place has also been designed to work with half a screw turn and the post sits flush with the seat tube, so the profile of the seat tube is uninterrupted all the way to the saddle.
Elsewhere on the frame, the bottom bracket shell is wider and a claimed 30g lighter than the 695's. Look also says the straight chainstays are stiffer than those of the 695, but are designed to offer some flex over poor surfaces.
Thierry Fournier, general manager at Look, told BikeRadar that "Look is not focused on immediate profit, we want to invest back into the company. We also keep the R&D department separate within the company."
"This allows us to have creative ideas, to dream about new ways of innovating, unclouded by marketing trends, sales and other influnces," Fournier said. "We also manufacture our own products and this means that we keep hold of our innovations, which is very important to us. If we came up with ideas and got products manufactured in Taiwan, after a while the manufacturer would become the innovator."
BikeRadar will be posting a full review of the Look 795 Aerolight soon. Stay tuned.