LOOK have unveiled a radical update to their top-of-the-range bike. The LOOK 695 AeroLight is, as the name suggests, both lighter and more aerodynamic than its predecessor – a machine voted ‘bike of the year’ by readers of RoadCyclingUK.
The French firm’s range-topping machine was unveiled to the world’s media, us included, in Corsica ahead of the Tour de France and will be ridden by some (but not all) of the LOOK-sponsored Cofidis team during La Grande Boucle.
LOOK say the 695 has been their bestseller since being originally unveiled three years ago but the AeroLight has been developed to ensure the flagship machine keeps apace with the two key markets trends: aerodynamics and weight.
Most notable are the integrated brakes. The front brake is completely integrated within the structure of the fork, using a patented dual lever concept which LOOK say results in 20 per cent more braking power.
That makes for a incredibly clean front end – in fact, it’s the cleanest integrated solution we’ve seen so far. One drawback of integrated brakes is the limited, or troublesome, adjustability, but LOOK say they have overcome that by using a dual-lever, linear-pull system. The outer lever sits flush with the fork to optimise aerodynamics and is used to make cable adjustments, while the inner lever operates the brake and can be adjust independently according to rim width.
The fork weighs 320g, which is comparable to the existing 695, and LOOK say they’ve maintained stiffness despite effectively cutting a hole out of the fork. The front brake caliper, despite its completely custom design, weighs 137g, making it lighter than Shimano Dura-Ace (148.5g) and Campagnolo Super Record (137.5g), but a little heavier than SRAM Red (133g).
The rear brake, meanwhile, has been developed in conjunction with TRP and sits behind the bottom bracket. LOOK say that by moving the rear brake to the chainstays, they have been able to refine the seatstays for aerodynamics.
Another key innovation is the all-new AeroStem; the latest in a line of proprietary LOOK innovations which seek to integrate frame and components, which in recent years have included the super-stiff one-piece ZED crankset (which also features on the AeroLight) and the 675’s integrated stem.
The AeroStem is, like the front brake, another sleek design, and has a rounded aerodynamic design, with a slim frontal profile designed to minimise exposure to the wind. LOOK also saving they’ve dropped the weight by 20g compared to the 695’s C-Stem.
The AeroStem, which has a smooth semi-circular faceplate, clamps the handlebar by way of two 3mm allen bolts on the top of the stem (which are then covered by a magnetic plate). The stem is adjustable from –13 to +17 degrees and comes in a range of lengths from 80mm to 130mm in 10mm increments.
Meanwhile, the integrated E-Post, a feature of the existing 695, has an aero flavour and all cables run internally. The frame is compatible with both mechanical and electronic groupsets, plus it’s able to accommodate Shimano and Campagnolo’s new internal batteries in the seatpost and seattube respectively.
The combination of the AeroLight’s integrated brakes, AeroStem and internal cable routing means the frameset is three per cent more aerodynamic than the existing 695 – a “huge percentage” in aerodynamic terms, according to LOOK.
The 695 AeroLight has also gone on a diet, thanks to a new 1.5k carbon weave. The use of thinner, less dense carbon fibres has allowed LOOK to tweak the carbon layup to reduce weight without sacrificing strength or stiffness.
That saves a claimed 90g for the frameset and LOOK are able to get a complete bike comfortably under the 6.8kg UCI weight limit in a number of off-the-peg builds.
The LOOK 695 AeroLight will be available in six sizes from XS to XXL, with the frame kit (frame, fork, headset, ZED cranks, stem, brakes and seatpost) priced at €4,699. A number of complete bike builds will also be available, starting with a Shimano Ultegra Di2-equipped machine with Mavic Aksium wheels for €6,490 and rising to a top-of-the-range model with Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 and Zipp 404 Firecrest hoops for €11,990.