BIKE TEST: Look 795 Aerolight

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and whether your eyes find the new 795 Aerolight to be stunningly gorgeous or an aesthetic atrocity, no one can take away the fact that Look poured more ingenuity and refinements into their latest high-end bike than just about anything else currently on the market.

THE FRAME
At the top of the carbon range, the 795 exemplify Look’s continued push for as much component and frame integration as possible to maximize aerodynamics and rider customization. Two versions of the 795 are available: the Aerolight that features a front brake that’s integrated into the fork legs, and an under-chainstay-mounted Shimano direct-mount rear brake, while the 795 Light uses traditionally mounted front and rear brakes.

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For the 795 Aerolight, aerodynamics are a key component throughout its design, and that begins with the frame’s true airfoil tube profiles. While many companies have gone with truncated aero tubes, Look maintains the highly aerodynamic airfoil shape on the downtube and seat tube, while the seatstays have a very slender profile where they meet the wind. An hourglass-shaped head tube goes from a 1 1/4-inch upper bearing to a 1 1/2-inch lower bearing, with the center narrowing down to minimize surface area.

Where the 795 Aerolight really stands out from the pack is what Look has done with the front end. Between the carbon Aerostem that sits flush with the top tube, and the integrated front brake that’s housed within the legs of the HSC 8 fork, we have yet to find any better aero integration than what Look has achieved here. Finer touches—such as a small compartment inside the frame to hide away the Di2 junction box, and direct cable and wire entry in the front of the head tube—all add to the bike’s uncluttered, sleek look.

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THE PARTS
The whole is greater than the sum of the parts, and in the case of the 795 Aerolight, this is an understatement. Those parts that make the 795 Aerolight what it is include the Aerostem that doesn’t use a traditional spacer system for height adjustment, and instead uses a pivot to raise or lower handlebar height, giving a range from +17 to -13 degrees. Then there’s the one-piece carbon Zed 2 crankset that can be used with either compact or standard chainrings, and if you decide you want to change your crank length somewhere down the road, 170, 172.5, and 175mm lengths are all options allowed by the three-lobe insert in the crank. An integrated seat mast has the new E-Post 2 topper that uses spacers for height adjustment and elastomers to aid in the comfort department. As for the non-Look part of the build, it came down to Shimano Ultegra Di2 and Mavic Ksyrium wheels. Unfortunately, for any Campy EPS lovers out there, the frame is not compatible with the Italian electronic drivetrain.

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THE RIDE
There was much infighting around the office to see who got first-go with the 795 Aerolight since we had fallen in love with the ride of the 695 Aerolight that we tested last year. We all finally got our turns, and even without much saddle time we became fully aware of its design intent as a ProTour-caliber bike. This is evident in its ride, which ends up being fairly stiff vertically, though that is slightly offset by the elastomers that are part of the E-Post 2 seat mast setup. Likewise, the stout feel was also carried over to pedaling and torsional stiffness—two things that are quite necessary in a high-level race bike and helping the 15-pound bike feel especially lively on the climbs. In a nod to its aerodynamics, while in a tucked position, we hit speeds on some descents faster than ever before, and that’s even with shallow-depth Ksyrium wheels.

We did have a couple of gripes with the cable routing that was given to the 795 Aerolight. As clean as it looks to have the cables enter the frame through the head tube, the bend is too tight from handlebar to frame and caused a brake cable housing to crack. Another cable woe we encountered was hearing the internally routed rear brake housing occasionally knock the top tube over rough terrain. Neither of these things were deal-killers, but for a bike at this price range, they are notable.

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THE VERDICT
Even with our complaints about the cable housing routing, the 795 Aerolight is a standout bike not only for its ride performance but also the fact that so many parts are designed intrinsically around the bike as a whole. Trust us, you will be seeing more of these “system” package designs coming on more aero bikes in the not-too-distant future, as well as on the new Venge (page 48). The 795 Aerolight integration pack comes with the frame, fork, Aerostem, E-Post 2 seatpost, brakes and Zed 2 crankset for $7699. For $700 less, you can get the 795 Light with all the aforementioned parts minus the brakes.

PUNCH LINES
• Clean and uncluttered
• Cable routing isn’t without issue
• A bike like no other

STATS
Price: $7699 (795 Aerolight I-Pack), $6999 (795 Light I-Pack)
Weight: 15.2 pounds
Sizes: XS, S, M (tested), L, XL

Go to lookcycle.com to view all of their parts and bikes

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