Friday, July 22, 2011

Look 566 review

The clipless pedal pioneer is equally innovative with its aspirational composite bike frames. This distinctive looking mile-eater is more affordable than most in the range, but you’re still paying a premium for taking a Look.

While it’s sold as a complete bike on the Continent, the 566 is only available as a frameset in the UK. The full Force groupset courtesy of SRAM and Look distributor Fisher is a great value, lightweight setup with hoods that both Campagnolo and Shimano fans found comfortable. The S30 wheels are a decent long distance-friendly set too.

The kinked up top-tube is a current Look signature touch, but on the 566 it sits behind a taller than typical head-tube for a more upright riding position. In fact, the whole frameset is tuned for maximum comfort. The top-tube thins out to wafer depth behind the kink before curving into the seatstay wishbone the far side of the skinny seatpost. The stays have flattened centre sections and the thick upper fork leg tapers to alloy tips. The net result of all this narrowness is smoothness and serene comfort as though you’re riding on big soft tyres.

The short reach and tall head-tube give a very comfortable riding position that lets you take in the views while pedalling. unlike some of the race-orientated Looks we’ve ridden, the handling is relatively easy and relaxed. This all makes it perfectly suitable for social mileage or surviving rather than scorching around sportives.

Despite the big box section down-tube and wishbone box behind the bottom bracket promising decent power delivery, there’s a definite dullness and lag when you stamp on the pedals, though. Even when we swapped lighter wheels into the equation it’s definitely more malleable than muscular. While the overall bike weight is relatively light, the frame itself is still heavier than you’d expect for the skinny tubes and fat price tag, which reduces featherweight upgrade potential.

There’s also a fair amount of twist through the skinny top end if you start wrestling with the USE bar, and overall tracking accuracy becomes vague when you start taking the tyres towards their limit. But if you’re more into a ride akin to putting your feet up than trying to get your knee down, the Look is definitely one of the more comfortable cruisers we’ve ridden.

This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine.

By: Road Bikes & Gear

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