A rich history, our own heritage, expert know-how, countless champions… passionate men and women : these elements come together to shape the DNA of the LOOK brand and are reflected in all our products.
This strength is also what has allowed LOOK to remain as one of the last French brands standing on the cycling market today: producing top-of-the-range, high-performance bikes characterized by innovative, lightweight and precise geometries.
As one of the first manufacturers of carbon frames in the 1980s, LOOK has always moved with the times, taking care to stay true to our unique values of craftsmanship, which we consider the key to exclusive bicycles.
To better understand what drives us and what in the end makes us stand out, we paid a visit to one of the most important craftsmen of our brand: the local bike shop.
Frédéric Annequin’s shop on the outskirts of Lyon, France, in a true testament the passion of an authentic lover of all things cycling. It has been a reference in the area for 20 years and Frédéric has proudly been selling LOOK bicycles for the last 15 of those. “When you are a passionate retailer in France, you want to sell French bikes; it’s a question of pride. And so I wanted to sell LOOK bikes.”
We asked him what, in his eyes, makes LOOK bicycles so special.
Engrossed at the back of the workshop, surrounded by dozens of bikes and parts all carefully stowed, sorted or hung, Frédéric is carrying out a full service on a 785 Huez RS. He gestures as he remounts the crankset: “Can you see how well this ZED crankset is designed? It’s built as one single piece, it's unbeatable in terms of stiffness.”
Casting our eyes around, we see LOOK bikes everywhere. Brand new models, older ones, old ones… VERY old ones! Hanging from the ceiling is a frame that must have been there for as long as Frédéric, a KG 281: “for all familiar with LOOK, that’s Jaja’s bike, Hinault’s bike. It's the bike of the French champions,” confides Frédéric with a hint of nostalgia.
A frame champions win on Frédéric, a high-level amateur cyclist himself in younger years, considers this the first sign of a quality bike. And, pulling out a replica model of the KELME team bike, he launches into an inventory of what makes LOOK frames so exceptional.
The main detail which keeps coming up is the geometry: “designing a good geometry is far from easy; LOOK’s is unique, and always perfect. I can tell I’m riding a LOOK frame even with me eyes closed”, he adds.
And then quickly, the "old school" mechanic (who as a teenager made his own steel frames) moves onto the subject of carbon: “the first carbon frame I ever saw was a LOOK. When everyone had cottoned on to the idea, the first frame I saw with different carbon layups was a LOOK.” As an experienced cyclist who has seen many bikes in his time, he believes it is the proficiency in mastering this flagship material, "the base" as he calls it, that makes LOOK bikes unrivaled when it comes to comfort and performance.
He nevertheless struggles to find similarities between the 2020 785 RS displayed in the shopfront window and the old KG 381. Everything has changed, yet he sees it as “a sign that the brand has moved with the times,” and ends his analysis with conviction: “the finishing is still as good as ever.”
When you walk into the shop it’s difficult to tell whether it’s the client or the owner whose eyes shine the brightest in seeing the flagship models of the 2020 collection: a Full Black 795 Blade RS, an ultra-lightweight Black Red 785 Huez RS with disc brakes or a 765 Optimum, the entry-level model that offers any cyclist the chance to dream.
It is the 785 Huez RS that is currently under scrutiny, serviced by Fred under the eyes of an attentive client. He points out the latest technical features: the integrated components, the new discs, the improved aerodynamics, the carbon layup (again), the “extremely reliable” Shimano Di2 groupset that highlights the advantages of the 785 Huez RS.
Watching him work, it is clear that he has done more than just read the technical spec sheet to learn about the bikes he sells. We should perhaps expect nothing less from a former racer. Between twelve and two, when everyone else is catching a quick nap, he hops onto his Metallic Blue 795 Blade RS, custom-built with Campagnolo Super Record components, for a spin around the local roads.
Custom builds are one of the characteristics of a LOOK customer, Fred tells us: “Firstly, you have to remember that when a customer comes into the shop and already rides a LOOK bike, there is no point in talking to them about any another brand. On the other hand, they are passionate about cycling and very demanding. They want everything to be perfect, so I do a lot of custom builds.”
Such are the expectations of cyclists who spend almost as much time in the saddle as professional riders. Fred knows these customers very well and keeps their exact requirements in mind: “They are connoisseurs. Some guys ride more than some of the pros. 15, 20, 25’000 km per year!”
Such are also the expectations of those who want perfection. And to reach perfection, Frédéric has a trump card he can always pull out to satisfy even the most demanding customer: his relationship with the LOOK teams in Nevers.
The fast and reliable communication is essential to provide a service and delivery to match the demands of a rider buying a (very) high-end bike:
LOOK remains a family and that's important in everyday relationships.
“When I have a problem with a LOOK bike, I call, I get someone I know and can talk to on a first-name basis. That person is in Nevers, not on the other side of the world. And that's not just easy for me, it’s easier for everyone. Because in the end we very quickly find a solution for the client, and that's the most important.”