The latest bike through the gates of RCUK Towers is the LOOK 675 Light, the newer, and, unsurprisingly, lighter incarnation of the French brand’s endurance offering.
With a claimed weight of 990g from a medium sized frame – by coincidence, the model we have on test – it’s a machine very much inclined to performance, with an accent on comfort that separates it from its race-oriented senior sibling, the 695.
Paired with a 320g fork, the total claimed weight for the chassis is 1310g. The complete bike, equipped with a Shimano Ultegra 6800 groupset and rolling on Mavic Aksium wheels, tipped our scales at 7.55kg with pedals.
So-called endurance bikes, with a geometry inclined to comfort, but of a weight and quality to deliver performance over long miles, are becomingly increasingly sophisticated and no longer the ugly sister of the flagship race bike (witness Scott’s rather delectable Solace, Cannondale’s Synapse and its eye-catching ‘power pyramid’ seat-tube, or Trek’s pivot-equipped Domane).
LOOK, more than any other brand of our acquaintance, with the exception of Factor, place integration at the heart of their offering, and it’s an attempt to integrate the frame with the cockpit that is the most eye-catching feature of the 675 Light. In short, the top-tube and head-tube unite in what has the appearance of a single, moulded unit, cutaway at the top to create space for the integrated ‘A’ stem, whose upper surface continues an unbroken line from the top tube. Very sleek.
LOOK make substantial claims for the design, one they call a ‘Direct Drive’ concept, and say that more accurate steering results from the shorter headtube, oversized bearings (the headtube tapers from a 1.5” lower bearing to 1-1/8” at the top) and what they believe to be a stiffer stem. We’re looking forward to finding out.
Less obvious to the naked eye, but of equal interest, are the methods followed by LOOK to bestow the moniker ‘Light’ on this latest offering. The savings are said to emanate from the use of a full carbon fibre bottom bracket shell into which the bearings press directly, and full carbon dropouts, front and rear. The headtube is another area in which metalwork has been shunned and where the bearings are now situated directly. The net gain is a saving of 250g. The ride quality, LOOK claim, is identical to the standard 675.
The LOOK 675 Light is dressed in components that have a welcome familiarity. The groupset is Shimano’s second-from-top mechanical offering, the Ultegra 6800, deployed by LOOK in full, with no corners cut, even to the 11-speed cassette. Chapeau. As might be expected with a bike of ‘endurance’ inclination, the chainset is equipped with a 50-34 ‘compact’ ratio.
The finishing kit includes LOOK’s aforementioned A-Stem and their 27.2mm seatpost, whose slender proportions are intended to induce comfort through a tolerable amount of flex. It’s topped with a Selle Italia SLR saddle, pan flat in profile and so likely to suit our test pilot, whose standard perch is a PRO Falcon. The bars are 3T Ergonova Compact carbon offerings, whose neatly integrated cables are a nice nod to the bike’s design philosophy. It’s even supplied with pedals – LOOK’s own KEO 2 Max, in colour-coded grey and fluorescent yellow.
Mavic supply the rolling stock – the entry-level Aksium aluminium clincher, wrapped in the French firm’s own Aksion 23c rubber. We had good service from these hoops (rather than the tyres) when we tested them as a winter training wheel, and we’re not expecting issues here. We suspect the frame capable of doing justice to more sophisticated hoops, however, and may find the temptation to slot in more upscale rolling stock hard to resist.
Our final word concerns the appearance: naked carbon finished with a set of elegant transfers. The fluorescent yellow cables are, ahem, eye-catching.
Check back soon for a full review.
Size: XS, S, M, L, XL
Colour: slate grey
Website: LOOK Cycles