When the Cofidis Pro Tour Team lines up in Rotterdam later this week to start the Tour de France, they'll be doing so on top of Look's newest frame, the 695. Just announced this week, the 695 represents a shift for Look. Not only is the new top tier frame moving away from lugs, yes, it's monocoque, it's also going to an almost completely integrated system. The new frame continues the trend of integration making use of the ZED 2 crank, C-stem, E-Post, Head Fit 3 headset, and the new HSC7 fork to provide the rider optimal power transmission.
[youtube width="640" height="385"]httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WJyeFS93P6s
The 695 makes use of what Look dubs CFD (continuous fibre design) to shape it's tubes for optimized performance. Available in two versions, the regular 695 and a 695 SR (Super Rigid). The SR version is aimed at the more serious racing cyclists looking for maximum stiffness and power transmission, while the regular 695 has some flexibility engineered into the carbon for a little more comfort without sacrificing rigidity and responsiveness.
The 695 continues the trend of oversized bottom brackets with a 65mm casing, called a BB65. It's necessary to accommodate the newest version of their ZED crankset, the ZED 2. A single piece carbon crankset that will be equipped on all new 695s. Moulded as a single piece of carbon, Look claims it reaches a rigidity/weight ration that just was not possible before - in an extremely light package. The ZED 2 includes the same three lobe insert at the end of the pedal crank to allow for adjustments of length (170, 172.5, and 175) as the original ZED, but is now compatible with all pedals available on the market.
The new C-STEM was designed specifically for the 695 and was shaped to ensure an efficient cohsion between the steerer and the frame. Their pateneted tighting system allows the stem to be adjusted between -9 degress to +13 degress. The adjustement system makes it possible to rid the steerer of spacers that could decrease the bike's lateral rigidity and affect handling. A moon shaped shim will allow the user to adjust the position of the handlebar by 10mm. Weighing in at only 140 grams, the C-STEM is available in 5 sizes: 80-90mm, 90-100mm, 100-110mm, 110-120mm, and 120-130mm.
With the new Head Fit 3 headset, it's now possible to change the stem's height without the need to readjust the headset. The headset's adjustment is done by simply tightening the carbon ring on an offset thread placed on the fork's pivot, this eliminates the need or use of a compression kit.
The new HSC 7 fork is constructed of 100% single-piece carbon and is supposedly both 15 percent more ridgid and 16 percent lighter than the HSC6, weighing just 295 grams. A tapered steerer using the same CFD concept as the frame, contains 2 flat sections and is reinforced for the Head fit 3 headset.
Rounding out the integrated bits is the tried and true E-Post seat post. It's still insulated from the frame with the use of elastomers. If cut properly the E-Post also allows for a height adjustment of three additional centimeters.
Overall, the new 695 looks to be an innovative and revolutionary step for Look. Some die-hard Look fans will mourn the loss of lugs and tubes and maybe even shy away from the monocoque offering. For those that are willing to give up the lugs, Look has come up with a very compelling package. We're eager to get some saddle time in on the new frame, and will report back when we do.
On July 14th, Bastille day, the Cofidis team riders will be on a 695 Mondrian custom painted for the occasion. Vive La France!
What do you think of the new 695? What would you change? Let us know in the comments below!