Interbike Tech: Look 695 Pack

The Look 695 Pack builds up as a 14-pound machine with the right parts.

Day 1, Outdoor Demo West, Look 695 Pack
The Look 695 Pack can be built as a 14-pound bike with the right goodies.

One bike I was excited to ride at Interbike’s Outdoor Demo was the new Look 695 Pack. The “pack” consists of a Look 695 frame with E-Post integrated seat mast, HSC 7 fork, integrated headset, C-Stem adjustable stem, and Zed 2 crankset. The whole shebang weighs 2,390 grams. When equipped with a SRAM Red group, Look KeO Blade pedals, and Mad Fiber wheels, it comes in at 14 pounds.

The HSC-7 fork now has a conical steering tube with integrated crown-race seat. And the elimination of 90-degree fiber angles sets the stage not only for its superlight, unique integrated headset, but also for using fibers that run the entire way from the top of the steering tube to the carbon dropouts (“forged” under high pressure to make them super dense and strong). It weighs a mere 295 grams, which Look says makes it the world’s lightest fork. It is 16 percent stiffer than its predecessor, the company adds.

The Direct Drive System of the adjustable C-Stem relies on eliminating headset spacers and keeping the stem close to the top bearing to make it stiffer for more precise handling. The stem has large teardrop-shaped holes on either side with clamshell pieces inside pulled together by a bolt with left-hand threads on one end and right-hand threads on the left. Loosen the bolt, free the wedges with a light tap, and you can flip the stem up or down to negative 9 degrees or positive 13 degrees. The stem also has a 1cm curved insert that can be put ahead or behind the handlebar to vary its length by 10mm. So the stems come in 80,90mm, 90/100mm, 100/110mm. 110/120mm, and 120/130mm.

A unique headset holds the cockpit together. With molded-in angled bearing seats inside either end of the head tube and on the fork crown, the bearings just go in by hand.

So that the stem can be readjusted or removed for travel, or replaced with another stem without throwing off the headset adjustment, it has a threaded adjustment sleeve that is pinned to the steering tube.

Two rubber plugs cover holes on either side of the head tube. After the bearings are inserted and the threaded sleeve/bearing-centering wedge is slid down the steering tube and fully into the bore of the top bearing, a hole is drilled through the head tube, steerer and sleeve. A pin is pushed in from one side of the head tube to lock the threaded sleeve to the steering tube. A threaded top headset collar can now be screwed on and tightened in place with a pin tool in two of its four small holes on top. This locks in the adjustment independently from the stem.

With flat sides molded front and back of the steering tube, the sleeve will always go back to the same place, allowing reinsertion of the pin after tapping it out with a thin drift or hex key. And, if a non-Look stem is used on this fork, one can be slid on and clamped without spacers or any contact to lock in the headset adjustment.

Day 1, Outdoor Demo West, Look Zed 2 crankset
The Look 695 Pack comes with a Zed 2 crankset.

The Zed 2 crankset is still as unique as when it was introduced, but now it accepts any pedal, rather than having a Look pedal spindle sticking directly out of it.

It still has the wide spider arms drilled at both 130mm bolt circle diameter (BCD) and 110mm BCD to accept both standard and compact-double chainrings and a lobed pedal attachment allowing switching in a moment from a 170mm crank to a 175mm. With a 65mm OD bearing, it will only fit into a Look 695 road bike and a Look 596 time trial bike.

The 695 frame is molded as a single monocoque rather than as tubes and lugs bonded together. It joins the 566 and 586 as the only monocoques in Look’s line. They differ from other monocoques in that Look inserts mandrels into the lug areas to provide higher molding pressures at these critical junctions.

As in the fork, continuous fibers run from the compression-molded carbon dropouts all of the way to the top of the head tube. A mixture of high-modulus (HM) and high resistance (HR) fibers is employed, and Look president Thierry Fournier cautions people from drawing conclusions based on thinking that HM fibers are “better” than less-stiff HR fibers.

“It depends on what characteristics you want,” he says. HM fibers are stiffer but more brittle, while less-stiff HR fibers are much less prone to breakage and offer great fatigue life.

“It’s like a recipe,” says Fournier. “You wouldn’t say salt is better than pepper; it simply depends on what you want.”

The seat mast has an elastomer in one of three stiffnesses, and up to 3cm of spacers can be slipped on under it to maximize seat height once the seat mast has been cut to length. The mast also allows a variation of plus or minus 15m in saddle fore-aft position as well.

The frame can be adapted to a threaded bottom bracket shell, if someone wanted to use a different crank on it.