Gear

Tech report: Taking a first Look

Look introduced a line of high-tech, French-made carbon goodies during the company’s 2005 product unveiling Thursday in San Jose, California. Most impressive is the latest incarnation of the HSC fork line, the HSC 5 SL. Retailing for $500, this all-carbon fork is truly “all-carbon.” Using a new proprietary process working with super-high-modulus carbon fiber, Look has been able to produce the first road fork with a carbon steerer, legs and even drop-outs. No bonding is used in the production of this breakthrough fork; instead, the unit is molded as one continuous element. “This is designed

By Andrew Juskaitis, VeloNews technical editor

The all-carbon Look HSC 5 SL

The all-carbon Look HSC 5 SL

Photo: Look

Look introduced a line of high-tech, French-made carbon goodies during the company’s 2005 product unveiling Thursday in San Jose, California.

Most impressive is the latest incarnation of the HSC fork line, the HSC 5 SL. Retailing for $500, this all-carbon fork is truly “all-carbon.” Using a new proprietary process working with super-high-modulus carbon fiber, Look has been able to produce the first road fork with a carbon steerer, legs and even drop-outs. No bonding is used in the production of this breakthrough fork; instead, the unit is molded as one continuous element.

“This is designed to provide the best torsional and lateral rigidity while also allowing us to minimize weight,” said Ming Tan, a product manager with Veltec, who with Look France’s Pascal Navarro debuted the line in California. “If you follow manufacturer’s directions regarding clamping force of quick-releases and roof racks, there won’t be a problem with cracking or breaking. This stuff is that strong.”

This 295-gram fork also is the first production fork that does not require installation of a lower headset crown race. Using a sealed-bearing system, the lower headset bearing will rest directly on the 45-degree molded carbon fork crown.

The 585, also available in straight black

The 585, also available in straight black

Photo: Look

“Through all our testing, we’ve found our new carbon elements to be even stronger than aluminum alloys,” Tan said. “The lower headset bearing rests directly on the shaped carbon crown and won’t be a problem. The bearing handles the turning friction, while the carbon just has to handle the static load – which it can, with plenty of strength to spare.”

Along with the fork, Look showed off its newest frameset, the 585. This 990-gram frame (size 53cm), is almost a third the weight of its predecessor, the KG 486, and also sheds the “KG” prefix, according to Tan. Using a bottom bracket that boasts the same weight-saving high-modulus carbon technology found in the HSC 5 SL fork, the 585 will be formally unveiled at this year’s Tour de France on the Credít Agricole team’s bikes.

One final unveiling was what Look calls the “world’s first all-carbon clipless pedal.” The Keo pedal uses what Look calls a “carbon bi-material” to bring the weight of these pedals down to 300 grams (with hardware and cleats). Dropping the multitude of adjustment features found on the CX 7, the Keo will offer a minimalist tension release with the option of running fixed or 9-degree-float cleats.

The cleats themselves have been redesigned to provide lower stack height and come with Teflon-impregnated lips and heel for easier entry and exit.

A new cleat, too, with Teflon lips and heel

A new cleat, too, with Teflon lips and heel

Photo: Look

Two versions of the pedal will be available — a $220 chromoly-axle version and a $300 titanium-axle version. The cleats are not interchangeable with previous Look pedals.

Look for more details on 2005 Look products in my Wednesday tech column.

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