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LOOK’s last few bike launches have been about integration. The French brand pushed the limits with custom cockpits, single piece crank sets and aero brakes. For the new LOOK 785 Huez RS, launched on the mountain it is named for, integration took a back seat to weight reduction. The result is a 730gram frame LOOK feels is not just perfect for the climbers of Team Fortune Oscaro during the Tour’s big mountain stages, but perfect for any fondo campaigner looking for efficiency and comfort over long days. It’s not only the lightest bike LOOK has ever made, but the most traditional in years.
At 730grams, with a 280gram fork, the 785 Huez RS is not the lightest bike in the peloton, but it is certainly in a very small lead group. 1010grams for frame and fork is very light, moving it ahead of some manufacturers that just tout frame weight.
LOOK achieved this lightweight combo with the usual ‘optimization’ and ‘ultra-high modulus’ carbon. In a refreshing change, LOOK actually lets us look under the hood and understand what this actually means. A bike made entirely of high-modulus carbon would be brittle and too stiff to enjoy, so just 10% of the 785 Huez RS is made up of 90ton carbon. The vast majority, 50%, is tough and compliant 30ton carbon. In between LOOK uses 12ton, 24ton and 46ton carbon.
Under the ‘optimization’ heading we learned the bike has exceptionally thin tube walls – 0.6mm – and uses 260pieces of carbon in the frame with 90 in the fork. The carbon is laid up to 20 sheets thick at the bottom bracket and up to 10 sheets thick at the tube walls.
If there is one feature a climber wants after stiffness-to-weight ratio, it is comfort. These guys sit in the pack, trying to stay as fresh as possible for the vast majority of a grand tour. They truly only rev the engine four or five times during a three week race. They need to be fresh when they do. LOOK uses traditional solutions to produce this comfort – a 27.2 seat post and svelte seat stays. LOOK also claims this helps add to confident handling and a stable manner, something many ultra-light frames cannot boast of.
The 785 Huez RS has fairly traditional open road, race geometry. It’s got a short rear end, 405mm chain stays, with a head tube a bit taller than truly aggressive frames, but dimensions a grand tour climber and performance fondo rider alike will enjoy.
Team Fortuneo Oscaro’s, Maxime Bouet, also know as ‘Le Blond’ had this to say about the new bike, “It combines everything we are looking for in a bicycle, performance and comfort. In addition to being lightweight and lively on the climbs, the bicycle is also reliable on the descents, which is essential when hitting speeds of more than 100 km/h. It’s an excellent compromise between climbing, descending and the flats.”
LOOK has also produced a slightly heavier – and consequently less expensive – version of the bike with less exotic materials and a simplified layup, the 785 Huez. While it comes from the exact same mold the frame is 990grams and the fork it 350grams.
785 Huez RS: $3,999 to $10,699
785 Huez: $2,399 to $4,399
Available in the U.S. starting in September and November pending various models. Look for a long term test in the pages of PELOTON soon. For more on the bike from LOOK hit lookcycle.com