Riding with Look

It is over a quarter of a century since the original Look clipless pedal made its debut at the Tour de France courtesy of 1985 winner Bernard Hinault.

A SRAM RED-equipped Look 695

Testimony to the rightness of that first pedal is the fact that the latest design from Look, along with many of its competitors, differs only in detail – materials, bearing technology,cleat dimensions.

Pedals – road and mtb – still comprise the bulk of the Look business despite the success of the company’s frame and fork manufacturing operation and there’s an exciting power-measuring pedal under development in collaboration with Polar of HRM fame.

Unsuprisingly, then, when I was provided with a bike for a spin around Look’s home town of Nevers, it was fitted with the firm’s Keo Blade pedals. Which are very fine.

To be honest, however, I was more interested in the bike itself, which was a SRAM RED-equipped 695. The model, top of the Look road range, features a full house of technologies: C-Stem, HSC7 fork with Head Fit 3, ZED2 crankset and, er, E-Post.

And it was good. This was my first chance to ride the all-carbon one-piece crankset, which offers three crank lengths depending on the orientation of a tri-lobed insert in the crank. Not wanting to cut the integrated seat post just for one ride, I stuck with 172.5mm to get a reasonable leg extension.

Look HQ

One thing’s for sure; the ZED2 crankset is stiff. Smooth, too; the huge bearings must contribute something to a ride notably lacking in noise, looseness or anything else untoward. Except the front Mavic Cosmic Carbone wheel, which made a slight swishing noise. May have been the glue under the tub, but it prompted Look’s Arthur Espos to swap front hoops. Which is why I had to overcome a deep-rooted phobia and ride a while on non-matching wheels and tyres.

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