I picked up a new ride at the start of the season: a LOOK 695 SR.
It took me a while to get to write about it, I’ve been enjoying it so much. I was down in Austin riding with my friend. This was his “spare” bike. It was a perfect fit, he wanted to sell it and the price was right. I couldn’t say no.
The frame is full-carbon with an integrated seat post. Look brands this frame ‘SR’ for ‘super-rigid’. The ride quality has been superb: taut, responsive, comfortable. The handling is crisp. It feels like flying a jet fighter — not that I have any experience doing that. The power transfer is solid, with little noticeable flex and most of that coming from the drivetrain and wheels. It’s a beautiful looking frame, too — red and white graphics laid over luscious carbon weave.
Look finishes the frame with a one-piece full-carbon crankset and carbon stem. There are some nice features on these components: the crank length can be adjusted via a small insert where the pedals attach. This is nice when setting up the bike, but I suspect it’s a way for Look to manufacture one crankset, rather than 3 or more in different sizes. I don’t tend to change my cranklength that often.
That’s said, the crankset and over-sized bottom-bracket combination make for a very stiff setup.
The stem is another beautiful piece of carbon weaving. The pitch can be raised or lowered. Likewise, I set this once and haven’t touched it since. The rest of the bike is built-up with SRAM Red 10 speed, ENVE carbon bars, ZIPP 404 clincher wheels, Vittoria CX tires, and Look Keo pedals.
I’ve been a life-long Campagnolo user, so switching to SRAM felt like a sacrilege. I’ve been satisfied with it. The “double-tap” to gear down took some getting used to, maybe after so many years on Campy Ergo levers.
The one anchronism on the bike are the bottle cages. These are American Classic cages that I’ve had for 15 years. They’re indestructable and I’ve never lost a bottle from them. I only wish they still made them.
Overall, I’m very pleased with the bike. If only I could ride it more…and more often. This season was light in terms of bicycle racing. Next year will be different and hopefully I’ll get to enjoy the bike all the more.