LOOK 785 Huez + Keo 2 Max Pedal Launch
21 hairpin turns, over 1000m elevation over 13.8km, the iconic Alpe D’Huez is not just a difficult climb, but most cyclists also refer it to the “Hollywood” climb. It is also where LOOK Cycles launched their latest products – the all new LOOK 785 Huez and 785 Huez RS as well as the updated Keo 2 Max pedals.
On behalf of Cycling Magazine Malaysia, I was lucky enough to be invited to the press launch event which included tests rides and a race, the Prix des Rousses. I had the chance to ride the new LOOK 785 bike with anger, just to see how good of a bike LOOK have designed and engineered.
First let’s talk about the new LOOK 785 Huez and 785 Huez RS. LOOK Cycles has always been an iconic brand in the industry, and till today are still one of the only ones that makes their own frames. In conjunction with their tagline – “Ride Your Dream”, they identified a gap in their line of products that would fit their market as well as generate a new innovation in manufacturing as most bike companies now have split their bike lines to three different segments – Aero, endurance and finally lightweight. LOOK Cycles, having already pushed the boundaries with state of the art aero bike (LOOK 795 Aerolight) and endurance bike (LOOK 765) decided to utilise their expertise in manufacturing carbon frames to create a lightweight bike that will be World Tour worthy. Enter the LOOK 785 Huez and 785 Huez RS. Both these frames have the exact same optimised inertia section that allows LOOK to create a lightweight yet stiff frameset, while maintaining the guaranteed feel of a race bike. The difference between the 785 Huez and 785 Huez RS is that the RS is moulded with a mixture of 5 different types of carbon fibre instead of 4 in the normal Huez, and that extra type is a ultra high modulus carbon, developed into a special super thin sheet for multiple direction layup. The result is that both framesets are superlight (785 Huez inc fork 1340g, 785 Huez RS inc fork 1340g), yet as LOOK describes it, pure, essential and effective. The LOOK 785 Huez RS, combined with SRAM eTap & Corima wheelset, comes in at only 5.9kg.
Next in their new product launch was a revolutionary approach to allow amateur / gran fondo level cyclists to obtain professional kit at a lower cost. The new LOOK KEO 2 MAX pedals, developed alongside World Tour professional riders such as Andre Greipel, introduces an advance in technology and improvement to mid-level products. LOOK has included 5 updates to the new KEO 2 MAX pedals, which includes a whole new design (sexier look), a wider platform (from 57mm to 60mm) that gives more comfort and provides more feeling, more cleat contact surface (from 400mm² to 500mm²) allowing better power transfer, while maintaining the same weight (125g) that now improves the power to weight ratio, and lastly a whole new spindle design that positions the bearings similar to top end pedals allowing more power transfer smoothness
I had the opportunity to test both new products to the limits on the legendary climb – Alpe D’Huez alongside some legendary and professional riders such as Laurent Jalabert and u23 UCI World Champion from 2015, Kévin Ledanois (currently riding for Fortuneo–Oscaro, a French professional continental team). Having also been entered to the 40km time trial also known as Prix des Rousses, I looked forward to putting the bike and pedals to good use for two days.
Chris (middle) with Laurent Jalabert “Jaja” (left) and Kévin Ledanois (right)
First impressions of the bike is that, the LOOK 785 Huez definitely fits into the lightweight bike category, yet retaining a stiff criterium-like bottom bracket to allow power transfer. Three words that would describe the LOOK 785 Huez for me would be nervous, responsive and explosive. I understood why LOOK Cycles named the bike after such a beautiful and elegant climb that averages just over 8%, as the bike was great and comfortable to spin up the mountain, yet was able to cope with the extra power I was pushing through the steepest bits that were around 13%. It is definitely a bike worthy for the highest of competition, as well as for those who really want to ride their dreams, to push the limits on climbs that test you mentally and physically, as the bike really compliments to any climbs a cyclist would ride, and will probably get you to the top of the climb faster and fresher. The new LOOK KEO 2 MAX pedals also probably did some justice, as it felt like other top end pedals that I have used in the past. As an amateur time trialist, I always look forward to products that perform just as well as top of the range but at a lower price with minimal penalty, and this new pedals by LOOK definitely fit the picture well. I could really feel the smoothness of the bearings while having a good, consistent contact, shoes via cleats to the pedals.
Chris in race mode on the LOOK 785 Huez, making his way up Alpe D’Huez
In conclusion, LOOK Cycles have really outdone themselves this year. The good news out of this is that, they are now also offering lifetime warranty on their 785 Huez and 785 Huez RS framsesets, as a bicycle manufacturer that has so much confidence in their products, they are heading in the right direction, and will hopefully remain as an iconic brand in the bicycle industry.