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From the Pages of Velo: VeloLab tests bikes of the WorldTour

  • By Brian Holcombe & Caley Fretz
  • Published Jul. 11, 2012
  • Updated Jul. 22, 2013 at 10:21 AM EDT
Velo September 2011. Photos by Brad Kaminski

Look 695 IPACK Cofidis

By Caley Fretz

Looks’s 695 IPACK is a phenomenal display of art and engineering. Designed around the twin ideals of integration and adjustability, it treats both frame and major components as a system, endeavoring to optimize every interaction both within the bike and with the rider. The Zed 2 crankset, BB65 bottom bracket, Fit 3 headset, 295-gram HSC 7 fork and adjustable stem are all proprietary, built without any heed to international standards. They’re all highly adjustable too: the crank has rotatable pedal inserts to adjust arm length and twin bolt holes for compact or regular chainrings, and the stem can easily rotate from -9˚ to +13˚ or be made 10mm longer or shorter with a simple handlebar shim. The ability to dial in fit with the 695 is truly impressive.

Subjective Ride Quality

User Friendliness: 14/15 points
The integrated seatpost is a bit funky and finicky, though the rest of the adjustable points are relatively easy to use. Nonetheless, all that adjustability can be a liability in the hands of an inexperienced mechanic, losing the 695 a few points. It gained some back with its excellent internal cable routing system. The built-in sleeves have flared ends to keep them from pulling through the frame, but can be temporarily removed for cleaning.

Value: 13/20 points
The 695, as we rode it, is atrociously expensive. With Campagnolo Super Record 11, carbon tubulars, and a $5,500 frame module that’s no surprise. But regardless of the excellent performance, we have trouble justifying that kind of cash.

Comfort: 8/10 points
Everything is oversized, from the bottom bracket to the head tube to the seatpost, which I assumed would make for a harsh ride. Wrong was I, as the 695 soaks up road vibration surprisingly well. The seatpost in particular provides a welcome measure of flex, and the Vittoria tubulars used by Cofidis provide excellent ride quality. Though the Look is more comfortable than the average race bike, it still falls a long way from a luxury ride, with the frame’s stiff attitude shining through over rough chipseal or other harsh surfaces.

Acceleration: 8/10 points
The 695’s proprietary Zed 2 crankset and enormous BB65 bottom bracket no doubt contributed to the planted, solid feel of the bike when under power, particularly when out of the saddle. The low weight — just a hair heavier than the Trek — was much appreciated as well.

Handling: 7/10 points
The Look’s tall head tube, more than 3cm taller than the Trek at 170.5mm, made it more difficult to achieve my preferred position. It has a higher-than-average bottom bracket too, raising the center of gravity a bit. Combined with a somewhat long 58mm of trail, the result was a bike more at home cruising in a straight line or diving into corners at high speed than twitching between wheels mid peloton. The front-end stiffness was phenomenal though, with the oversized stem and chunky head tube doing good work to hold the bike on line when leaned into a corner.

Scientific Testing

Torsional stiffness: 20/30 points
Though it was only third stiffest in our lab testing, the 695 came within spitting distance of the Fuji’s excellent bottom bracket stiffness, and was the second stiffest at the head tube as well.

Weight: 4/5 points
The 695 IPACK was the second lightest in our test.

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