Look Cycle on Backcountry
It was 1986 when Greg LeMond rode his Look prototype carbon fiber frame to victory in the Tour de France. In the 2+ decades since Look bikes have been ridden to countless yellow jerseys, polka-dot jerseys, and other top results in the world's most prestigious races. No other company can compare to Look in its experience with composites technology, or in its heritage in the professional peloton. In case you're keeping history notes -- LeMond's La Vie Claire turned into Toshiba, led by Jean-Francois Bernard. Once the Toshiba era ended, Look then became the sponsor of showstopping teams like CSC-Tiscali, Kelme, and Credit Agricole, culminating with the French powerhouse Cofidis.
it's not just the longevity of Look's commitment to carbon frame manufacturing that sets them apart. What impresses most is their mastery of multiple construction methods. Many companies make nice monocoque frames. A handful make well-done lugged frames. But no one besides Look makes ProTour-caliber frames in both. And this kind of technological fluency carries through into subtler forms of innovation, like Look's vibration-damping E-Post and their compression carbon dropouts.
The Look 586 stands as the pinnacle of monocoque frameset innovation, as evidenced by its "Bike of the Year" award by French magazine Le Cycle. The subtle progressions in the 586's tube shapes provides the best of all worlds: Drivetrain rigidity, steering precision, shock absorption, and lightness. The undisturbed lines of flowing design isn't just beautiful, but it offers some of the best aerodynamics you'll find in a road bike.
By contrast, the 595 and 585 are lugged frames, joining sophisticated carbon tubes to carbon nanotube lugs for an ideal blend of lateral rigidity and comfort. Look's tubing is multi-shaped with variable wall thicknesses. Each frame size uses a different gauge tubeset to give it an ideal feel and responsiveness. In some circles, this is known as "Size-specific tubing." As you might imagine, a tubeset designed for a 51cm frame will result is a whippy frame if used in a 59cm frame. Look addresses this by varying the gauge per size. The ride of the 595 is tuned so beautifully that it was the bike of choice for Team Cofidis, even though it weighs 60g more than the 586.