Integration and innovation were the buzzwords as LOOK unveiled the 675 road bike in Liege, Belgium, ahead of the Tour de France.
Integration was at the heart of the launch of the 695 – LOOK’s top-of-the-range model to be ridden by the Cofidis team at the Tour – in 2010, and the company’s drive to innovate has seen that concept developed and delivered in the 675, a ‘mid-range’ bike designed, according to LOOK, to offer the right blend of comfort and performance.
The 675’s most striking feature is at its front end, where, for the first time on a road bike, the stem has been integrated into the frame design. Aesthetically speaking, the headtube has essentially been chopped off at its top, with the stem slammed into the headtube-toptube junction. It’s certainly a challenging look. That’s not to say it’s good or bad, just that it immediately grabs your eye, after which you’ll just as quickly form an opinion.
Named the Direct Drive Concept, LOOK claim the integrated stem allows for the “optimisation of all cockpit parameters”. The logic is that, by using a shorter headtube and tapered headset (1 1/2″’ at the bottom to 1 1/8″ at the top), and by removing the spacers, the shorter pivot makes for a stiffer and more accurate front end. So how can you find a riding position that suits you? LOOK say their A-Stem allows for length and height adjustments without the need for spacers. The Direct Drive Concept isn’t actually a brand new technology, as it debuted on the LOOK 920 mountain bike last year, but it’s new territory as far as road bikes are concerned.
LOOK employ the second generation of their Dual Comfort and Stiffness Concept (DCSC) to the chainstays, translating to tube profiles which have been flattened on the upper and lower sections. LOOK claim this improves lateral rigidity and vertical flexibility -the holy grail for bike manufacturers. We’ve heard those words before so will pass judgement once we’ve swung a leg over the 675 for a test ride, but LOOK were keen to emphasise the comfort aspect of the bike and DCSC is designed to play a big part in this.
What else? Continuing the theme of integration, there’s also an integrated seatpost clamp, while the 675 adopts the 86.5mm Press Fit bottom bracket standard. Internal cable routing makes for a clean finish, and removeable cablestops smooth the transition from a mechanical to electronic groupset (or vice versa), should you wish to make the switch. Oh, and the frameset weighs 1,150g, which is far from light by modern standards – although this isn’t a range-topping machine – but LOOK counter that by saying they set out to produce a bike which rides well, rather than just impresses on the scales.
As for geometry, despite its name, which should place it directly beneath the 695, the 675 is designed to sit between the 566 and 586 models. That means it’s less race-orientated than the 695, with a shorter and higher position as a result. LOOK see the 675 as a bike which sits between Trek’s Domane ‘comfort’ bike and the race-ready Madone, while the Cannondale Synapse and Specialized Roubaix were also named as competition during LOOK’s presentation for the 675.
And after all that, how much is it? The frameset will set you back €2,500, with a Shimano Ultegra build €3,699, Ultegra Di2 €4,499, Dura-Ace 11-speed mechanical €4,899, SRAM Red €4,999 and Dura-Ace 11-speed Di2 €6,499. We’re waiting on UK prices, while stock is expected from October.