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PARIS (VN) — Look doesn’t play it safe.
The company’s new 795 Aerolight road frame oozes integration, stepping into a realm typically reserved for narrowly-focused, ultra-aggressive time trial bikes. It’s another bold step from the relatively small French brand, which has never been afraid to throw out tried-and-true designs, the modern headset and stem for example, in favor of its own inventions.
The brakes are hidden away, tucked inside the fork and under the bottom bracket. The cables, housing, and Di2 wires are only seen for a brief moment before they dive into the frame, away from the wind. The bike’s clever Di2 routing is among the cleanest the industry has ever produced. Even the stem is tucked away, notched into a steeply rising head tube to create a single, uninterrupted swoop of a line from the handlebars back to the rear dropouts.
The looks, well, you either love them or you hate them. The 795 is a piece of industrial design that is either ahead of its time, or woefully off the mark. I’d argue for the former; lovers of classic lines will certainly see the opposite.
795 Aerolight aerodynamics
The 795’s integration serves a purpose beyond tidy looks, of course. Look’s goal was to develop an aero road frame that could compete with the best available — bikes like Cervelo’s S3, the BMC TMR01, and Felt’s AR series.
To that end, the 795 borrowed aero features from bikes already in the company’s range, notably the brakes from the 695 aerolight and integrated stem from the 675, and combined them with deeper, more aerodynamic, NACA (National Advisory Council for Aeronautcs) tube shapes throughout the frame.
Look did not provide test results relative to its peers, but does claim that the new frame decreases drag by 8.7 percent relative to the 695. Based on our recent wind tunnel testing of that frame (available in the July issue of Velo), the 795 should fall in the same ballpark as the fastest frames available.
The 795 uses the same front brake that was debuted on the 695 last summer. The small linear-pull brake sits inside the fork legs, with each arm flush with the outside of the fork. Look claims that the brake is 20 percent more powerful than a traditional brake, and VeloNews testing can indeed confirm that it’s a powerful solution. Modulation is somewhat diminished, though.
The rear brake will be based around the Shimano direct-mount standard, and is located behind the bottom bracket on the chainstays. The 695, which places its rear brake in the same position, had some issues with brake rub under high load, so the chainstays of the 795 have been stiffened considerably. Looks says that the rubbing issues are now gone.
Of course, integrated brakes are not for everyone. Swapping wheels takes a bit more time, and the brakes cannot be easily adjusted for different rim widths. Thankfully, Look will also sell a version of the 795 with traditional caliper brakes mounted on the fork and seat stays. The company expects about 75 percent of customers to opt for the fully integrated version, but wanted to make the traditional brakes available for racers.
Brake cable routing is clever and clean. The cables enter the front of the head tube and are then routed around the headset bearings before splitting towards their respective brakes. Di2 wire routing enters at the same port and exits at the derailleurs. The frame even includes a slot on the top tube that hides away the Di2 junction box completely.
The 795’s integrated stem is identical to the stem found on Look’s 675 endurance frame. It’s light — just 160 grams — and offers an impressive range of adjustment, from 17- to 13-degrees. With the 110mm version installed, that’s just under 60mm of vertical adjustment. You’ll get more with a longer stem, less with a shorter one.
Of course, a traditional stem/spacer setup will still provide more range of adjustment. If you ride with a particularly high or low bar position, take a very close look at the geometry charts. The front end of the 795 has been built in between traditional race and endurance geometries, so it should work for most riders but not everyone.
There is some room for adjustment along the fork steerer as well, but raising the stem will interrupt its smooth transition to the top tube. The 795 uses Look’s Head Fit 3 headset, which allows for stem adjustments without altering headset adjustment. There’s no compression cap, just a carbon ring that threads onto the steerer itself to compress the bearings.
The stem is available in lengths from 80 to 130mm, in 10mm increments.
New E2 seatpost
Look has used its integrated E2 post for years, which slots into an extended seat mast and is adjusted with rubber spacers, but the 795 gets an updated version. The shape has changed due to the bike’s aerodynamic seat tube, and it’s 30 percent lighter. Best of all, though, is the new locking mechanism; a single half-turn of an allen key is all that is required to loosen or tighten the post.
The new E2 post is compatible with Monolink saddles as well as standard railed saddles.
Look 795 technical specs
The 795 will be available in two versions, the Aerolight, with integrated brakes, and the Light, with standard brakes.
Six sizes are on offer, from XS to XXL.
Look did not provide a bare frame weight, noting only that the 795 weighs about the same as the 695 — around 1,000 grams. Module weight, which includes frame, fork, crankset, seatpost, headset, stem, and brake calipers, is claimed to be 2,400 grams.
Look’s Tunisian factory is producing the 795 now, and frames will being shipping in the next few weeks.
PARIS, France (VN) — It’s finally all over. The barricades are long gone and the riders are off to various parts of the world before the next big thing.
But for three weeks in July, the riders knock into one another every single day, gentle, or not, reminders of a line, a wheel. And who better to ask about the experience of a Tour de France than an eyes-wide-open rookie?
VeloNews talked to Garmin-Sharp’s Alex Howes as he warmed up before the stage 20 time trial. He was about to do what he’d set out to do.
VeloNews: How are you?
Alex Howes: Good. I’ve actually come around in the third week. Feeling good.
VN: Physically, what’s it felt like?
AH: I think more than anything it’s mental. You know doing anything for three weeks is a long time. And you know, I feel like 17 days, you get up, you have your oatmeal, put your shorts on. And you say, “We’re still doing this. Still doin’ it.” So OK.
VN: It’s a bit like Groundhog Day.
AH: It’s very much like Groundhog Day. Just the same routine every day. Dialed in like that. It wears on you a little bit. But physically it’s been pretty trying. To be honest, when you go back and you look at the numbers from all of it, you don’t really comprehend that you did that. It’s like, “Did I do that?” I guess I did.
VN: What’s your routine? You wake up in the morning, etc. Take me through it.
AH: Get up. Throw your bag out, because you’re usually switching hotels. Then you stumble around. Get some water. Use the bathroom. Get out. Go get some food. Usually end up eating about 10 times as much as you want to. And then, maybe you have a minute or two to drink some coffee. Maybe you jump on the bus. If it’s a long transfer, try and take a nap. If it’s not super long, try and wrap your head around doing some bike racing. Then show up, get the music going. Have some more coffee. And clean your shoes off. Clean your glasses and helmet for the next day from the day before. Get some food. Go sign in. And get ready to go to war.
VN: Is that what it feels like — the brutality of the mountains. Is there a point when you say, “This is not for me. I’m going to go become an English teacher?”
AH: You definitely have your moments. There’s times when you think that this is the best thing on earth. And there’s nothing I’d rather be doing. And then there’s times when you’re like, “This is so stupid. This is so hard. This makes no sense. I’m flying down this mountain. I got spit all over my face. I’ve just like been digging so deep over that last climb. Flying down this hill totally naked. I’m freezing cold. I hate this.” And then there’s times you’re just like, “This is great, I’m the man. This is rad.”
AH: It’s almost like a hard Tour stage packs in an entire spectrum of emotions in one day, one ride.
AH: 100 percent. Just yesterday [stage 19], big example. We start the stage. I was gung-ho to be in the breakaway. And we’re sniffing, sniffing, sniffing. Tom [-Jelte Slagter] drew the card and I didn’t. I was pretty pissed. Really wanted to be up there. So that kind of put a damper on my morning. Then the rain shows up and I’m like “Ugh.” … Then it starts dumping rain. Riding along in the crosswinds in the rain. Can’t see anything. “Why do I even want Tom to finish the Tour de France? This is stupid, this sucks.” Then we turn it on for the final, get all the boys together. Like, “All right, we’re one unit and this is cool.” And then we win the stage and it’s like, “Ahhhh this is amazing. You totally forget about that hour and 20 minutes and it’s like, “I’m just going to get off my bike, get in some car, and go back to America.”
VN: Do you feel famous? You rode the Tour. People notice.
AH: I don’t feel famous.
VN: You look famous with that hair.
AH: Well, yeah. You certainly get some recognition. But I think I’m a long ways from being a celebrity. I’m no Ramunas Navardauskas.
VN: Is this race more nuanced than we can see on TV? We can only know so much without being in it.
AH: Yeah. There’s a lot of subtleties out there. There’s a lot of old grudges. There’s a lot of new grudges. And I think especially at the Tour. You really go no friends out there. This race more than any other I’ve noticed is kind of kill or be killed.
Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) angrily defended his fourth-place finish in the Tour de France, saying armchair critics don’t have the right to question his performance.
Valverde has come under fire in Spain for “blowing” his best and perhaps last chance at the Tour podium, finishing fourth behind winner Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and two French riders, Jean-Christophe Peraud (Ag2r-La Mondiale) and Thibaut Pinot (FDJ.fr).
Speaking on the Spanish sports radio chat show, “El Larguero,” Valverde angrily shot back at critics.
“You can accept the critics, but there are people who think that everything is easy, that everything comes easy, but that’s not all,” Valverde said. “A lot of these critics have not ever ridden a bike, let alone raced … They have no idea.”
The 34-year-old Spaniard was poised to finish on the final Tour podium, riding out of the Alps sitting second overall. With the abandonment of pre-race favorites Chris Froome (Sky) and Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Sky), Valverde, backed by the powerful and experienced Movistar team, was looking good for a first-ever podium.
Valverde was wildly inconsistent, however, dropping Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing) over the Port de Bales climb in stage 16 before losing time to Peraud and Pinot up Hautacam during stage 18. Despite starting 15 seconds out of second place in the final time trial, Valverde could not post a strong ride and settled into fourth.
“We were in the Tour, we fought for the podium right until the final stage — so you didn’t reach it? — but we were as close as you can be, and everyone gave everything they had, so we have to be content,” Valverde said. “Everyone has a right to think what they want, but you have to be here at the Tour, and finish fourth … I am not mad, I am just saying things the way they are.
“I wanted to be there, but in the end, I just couldn’t do it,” Valverde continued. “I don’t know why. Maybe it was the pressure of having [the podium] so close. That’s rare for me, because I am used to the pressure, but the Tour is the Tour … and maybe the pressure cost me a little bit. I was confident to reach the podium, but in the end it just wasn’t meant to be.”
Valverde admitted he doesn’t know what his future holds. According to sources, Valverde still has not re-upped with Movistar for next season. Valverde reportedly was waiting to see what happened with the team backed by Formula One driver Fernando Alonso, but that project looks dead in the water.
With Giro d’Italia winner and last year’s runner-up Nairo Quintana waiting in the wings, Valverde said he’s a “realist.”
“Was it my last chance? I don’t know. Look at Peraud, he’s 37, and he ends up second. I am not going to obsess about it,” Valverde said. “I know that Nairo is coming up very strong. Above all, I am a realist, and we all know that he’s going to be stronger than me, and that’s it.”
The post Valverde lashes out at critics after missing Tour podium appeared first on VeloNews.com.
23mm vs. 25mm tires
I ride with a group of recreational road riders who do, on average, 100 kilometers per week. Recently, most of the riders have switched from 23mm to 25mm tires and like the ride better (whatever that means). As a theoretical question, if you had one 23mm and one 25mm, which would you put on the front and why?
Well, I would put the bigger tire on the rear. It gives you more cushioning, and that’s where you need it more. The bigger tire size also reduces rolling resistance, and that will make more difference on the tire that is supporting more weight — the rear tire.
The 25mm tire also gives you more traction, assuming you’re running lower pressure in it than in the 23mm one. I suppose arguments about traction could be made for either the front or rear wheel.
Mixing 23mm, 28mm tires
I’m running road tubeless on a pair of Dura-Ace C24 rims. Due to limited Hutchinson availability at my favorite shop (and my own impatience to ride TODAY), I find myself running a 23mm Fusion up front and a Sector 28 in the rear. The rear fusion 23 was beyond repair and I was, and still am, too cheap to pop for two Sector 28s.
I’m aware of the multiple aesthetic violations here and I feel certain that Boulder has municipal codes that bar such a combination. However, I was wondering if you think the handling will suffer. After one ride, the rear end feels completely different — very loose.
A bigger tire, especially when run at lower pressure (which it ought to be), will have more give to it. This can certainly lead to a loose feeling in the rear. When I was first experimenting years ago with running pressures of around 30psi in cyclocross races on tubulars (32-34mm section), it was such a loose feeling that I couldn’t imagine how Sven Nys and the other top cyclocrossers could do it. But once I became used to riding on squirmy tires, I actually felt MORE secure with pressures as low as 28psi than up around 40psi; I had better grip and I didn’t get bounced around as much. Tire pressure for cyclocross is tire-, course-, and condition-specific as well as dependent on rider weight (I weigh 170 pounds). And if the conditions called for really low pressure, I certainly found I preferred it.
So I think your combination may actually be a good one to ease you into using bigger tires, because I think the loose feeling would be exaggerated were you to have 28mm tires front and rear.
Concerns about wet tires and rims
I got some water in my basement this week. Sadly I was sloppy, and had left my ’cross tubulars — Shimano WH 7850s — sitting on the floor (trying to take advantage of the humidity down there to lengthen glue life). It appears that water seeped into the front wheel. I can force water out through the stem and the weep holes in the rim, but there is still some sloshing around inside. What do you think has been compromised:
1. Is the tire shot, since I have water inside (Tufo Primus 32s).
2. Would you trust the glue job or am I safer just to peel off and re-glue?
3. Any concerns about the rim itself? I was out of town when this happened but my sister pulled them out after about an hour of being wet.
That is one of the best tubulars you could get water in because it doesn’t have an inner tube. You can’t use a shop vacuum with a thin tip on the hose to suck water out of a tubular with an inner tube in it because it will just suck the tube against the base of the valve stem and prevent anything further from coming out. But you can suck out a Tufo tubular that way. Here’s an article I did on that. (Regarding that link, note that I no longer rinse sealant out of tubulars, as I think getting the water back out is harder on the latex inner tube than the sealant is. I just squeeze out as much sealant as I can, and then I leave the valve closed so that air won’t get in and dry the sealant.)
It’s always a good idea to check a glue job before relying on it. On the other hand, a good glue job should be able to take an hour of being submerged in water without becoming compromised.
I think there is no cause for concern about the rim. Ride it some to let water be thrown out of the weep hole and allow it to dry. But compared to riding for hours in the rain, what happened to your wheel and glue job is pretty minor.
Referencing tire widths
I have seen, on your illustrious site as well as many others, references to tire width where well-meaning people for some reason put the letter ‘c’ in place of the letters ‘mm’ to denote size. One can read at length about the merits of 25c tires and 28c tires but as a person who prefers precision, this makes me want to rip my hair out. I suspect the same may be true for you. I for one am glad I don’t have to explain to customers about which letter denotes which width, as used to be the case. We’ve basically gotten past all that thanks to good ol’ ERTRO, but old (misunderstood) habits die hard I guess. Can you please send out an APB that tire width is measured in millimeters, not in letters, and make sure that at least I don’t see it on VN?
There’s your APB, in your own words. I think I generally refer to tire width in millimeters for road tires and in inches for MTB tires, but since the “c” doesn’t “make me want to rip my hair out,” I can’t guarantee that I have not used it sometimes. I have managed to live with the letters on the rim size, which have no meaning in millimeters or inches or any other measure (please tell me how to make sense of 700C or 700A or 700D, or 650A, B, or C), so using a “c” in place of “mm” for tire size doesn’t bother me.
I do agree that it’s more useful to give people a meaningful tire-width measurement, but, as you know, many manufacturers use the “c” nomenclature, and in product reviews, we tech writers have a tendency to simply pass on the manufacturers’ specs. I passed your note on to the Velo editorial team, and perhaps as a result you won’t see it again on VeloNews.com or in Velo but alas, I wouldn’t bet on it.
Air quality and latex tubes
I wanted to add a contribution to your recent (and informative) column on latex tubes.
Ambient air quality is another factor that can adversely impact the life of latex tubes (and other bicycle parts made of natural rubber). As a rider/occasional racer in Southern California for nearly 25 years, I have long noticed accelerated cracking/crumbling of rubber goods, including latex tubes. It appears that chronic, high levels of air pollution, especially ozone, can play a significant role in the accelerated breakdown process. In Southern California, these conditions are most acute in the San Gabriel Valley and inland areas to the east. I’ve heard of cyclists storing expensive sew-ups in impermeable bags filled with nitrogen, but can’t personally attest to the effectiveness.
The Giro d’Italia returns to Italy for 2015, with a three-day “Big Depart” along the Italian Riviera for early May next year.
After a highly successful start in Belfast, Northern Ireland this year, the Giro returns to home roads for the start of the 2015 edition.
Giro officials confirmed Tuesday that three stages will roll along the spectacular Ligurian coast, marking the fifth time in Giro history the race will start in the region known for its hilltop towns and sparkling beaches.
The Giro will open on May 9 with an 18-kilometer team time trial along a bike path built over an old railroad right-of-way along the Italian Riviera. The route will start near the base of the Cipressa climb, and hug the coast all the way to Sanremo. The pathway, which was recently inaugurated, is more than two meters wide, offering a narrow raceway for the technical, high-speed team race against the clock.
Stage 2 will run along roads, from Albenga to Genoa in a sprint-friendly stage. The stage will conclude with four laps on a 7.5km urban circuit.
The following day pedals further south, straddling the spectacular Cinque Terre coastline, hitting the Biassi climb before the finale that should test the GC riders right from the start. The race will conclude on May 31.
Recently crowned Tour de France champion Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) has hinted he would return to the Giro next year, setting the stage for a run at the Giro-Tour double, a feat not equaled since Marco Pantani won both in 1998.
Defending Giro champion Nairo Quintana (Movistar), who returns to competition next week at the Vuelta a Burgos, has suggested he will not return to defend his pink jersey next season, focusing instead on the Tour.
Complete Giro route details will be released later this year.
- Ritchey Logic Updates WCS Carbon Cross Fork: New Disc Brake Cyclocross Option, Integrated Crown Race, and Straight SteererNAHBS 2014 visitors may have seen a disc brake version of the Ritchey Swiss Cross bike sitting in the Ritchey booth, brazed by Tom Ritchey himself (see our review of the canti Ritchey Swiss Cross in Issue 15) . Astute observers may have noticed... The post Ritchey Logic Updates WCS Carbon Cross...
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