October 18, 2015 – LOOK may not be the juggernaut it once was, but its history of innovation demands its new products be taken very seriously. LOOK has changed the game more than once, the clipless pedal is the obvious example here, and with the new 795 they intend to chart a new direction for the bicycle frame itself. The 795 combines a few of LOOK’s recent ventures into uncharted waters into a single, striking piece of design and engineering that admittedly won’t be for everyone.
With the 695 LOOK pushed the envelope of integration, from cockpit to cranks the bike was designed as a single entity. With the 675 LOOK designed a front end that saw the stem and top tube draw a seamless line creating a new silhouette on the road. Then the 695 got an ‘Aerolight’ upgrade, with brakes integrated into the fork blades themselves. With the all new 795 every one of these elements has found a home in an aero frame designed to be an all-rounder.
The 795 comes in two flavors with a single difference. The 795 Aerolight features the integrated brakes from the 695 Aerolight and the 795 Light makes do with conventional brakes. It was the 795 Light we tested, while not quite as sexy, we imagine it will see more action than the ‘Aerolight’ version.
The top tube cuts a continuous line from bars to seat cluster thanks to the integrated stem concept and a very clean bar clamp. It’s an aesthetic some love and some hate. After our test we are leaning toward love with one exception. Since spacers on the steer tube can’t be used the Aerostem can be angled from +17 to -13 degrees which is almost 6cm of vertical adjustability, of course this is all with a 110mm stem. Run that stem at a +17 angle and the bike becomes truly ungainly, with the clean lines ruined. Despite the look the design creates the head tube is not overly tall, should you like an upright position you may be forced to run the stem in a very upright position.
The integration continues at the E-Post 2, it’s an integrated seat post with a few centimeters of adjustability built in. It’s a clean look that uses elastomer bumpers between post and frame to provide some shock absorption, but like the bike’s front end, it does limit fit options. LOOK specs its ZED 2 crankset and for our money it’s LOOK’s crowning achievement where integration is concerned. A massive BB diameter allows LOOK to insert a one-piece carbon crankset. There are no crank arms bolted to a spindle. This is complimented by clean cable routing that inserts into the head tube just below the stem. There is even a special compartment for a Di2 junction box behind the stem and the battery slots into the base of the E-Post 2.
This all adds to the bike’s aero potential which is really earned with tube shapes. Unlike the current crop of aero bikes and wheels that have moved away from traditional tear drop NACA airfoils LOOK has embraced them. If the current marketing campaigns of other brands are to be believed, NACA airfoils are limited in effectiveness by the UCI 3-1 ratio rule and really designed for higher speeds. That’s why we’ve seen so many bikes move to Kamm tail designs and low speed Eppler airfoils. We’ve also been told that these NACA airfoils create a rough ride and lack lateral stiffness. We asked for details from LOOK but their testing is kept private and we learned only that the bike is 11% faster than the 695 Aerolight, which was quite a fast bike. LOOK sees the 795 as more than just an aero bike, so weight was a real concern and LOOK’s not playing around. The 795 Light weighs just 13.6lbs in a medium with Dura-Ace Di2 and Mavic Cosmic Carbone Ultimate tubulars. Even with fairly run of the mill clinchers, the 795 is blissfully UCI illegal. Less blissful is the price. The Dura-Ace Di2 bike we tested is a whopping $14900, downgrade to Ultegra Di2 and you’ll still pay $13800, which as far as we have seen is a new record for an Ultegra level bike. Opt for the Aerolight version and the price tag jumps again.
LOOK has certainly proved one thing, NACA airfoils don’t need to be harsh and they can certainly provide a lively and rigid response to power. Combine this with the bike’s insanely light weight and other than the Felt AR1, it’s really the only aero platform a true climber can get excited about. Even big riders won’t find much to complain about with power transfer at the back of the bike, but the new Aerostem is not the stiffest stem in the peloton and riders wanting a more direct feel at the bars will find themselves out of luck.
When it comes to aerodynamics, well that’s tough to quantify even in a wind tunnel. The 795 does feel ungodly fast, but it’s more than just aerodynamics. There is an overall feeling of efficiency. Yes, the bike rolls very well, but the efficiency is evident even cresting little rollers or jumping out of a slow speed corner. The bike is lively and spirited, which makes you feel like the legs are good which makes the LOOK 795 Light just plain fun to ride.
You are not afraid to stand-out in a crowd of copy cat aero machines and hear comments about how beautiful or equally, how odd your bike looks. You might be a climber looking for a little aero help. You are not a big rider that needs to wrench on the bars to deliver power, but you are a rider with significant financial means.
Weight: 13.6lbs Size MD w/o pedals
Build: LOOK E-Post 2, LOOK Aerostem, LOOK ZED 2 Cranks, Dura-Ace Di2 shifting and braking, Selle Italia SLR saddle, Mavic Cosmic Carbone Ultimate tubulars with Yksion tubulars.