As the Tour de France approaches, teams and companies alike debut their newest products, and Look is no exception. While last year brought the ultimate in integration via the 695 i-pack, it also brought an Everest-steep price tag and a super stiff racing chassis. This year, Look is positioning itself more squarely in the comfort bike market with the new 675. Let's take a look at the new, eye catching offering.
The Dauphine is often a proving ground for new technology ahead of its debut at the Tour de France in 3 weeks time. This year, along with a number of teams debuting Dura Ace 9000 groups, Trek has put several Radioshack Nissan riders on what appears to be the new Madone. Supposedly dubbed the 7 series, it's currently unknown if this aero offering will replace the current 6.9SSL or be an addition to the lineup.
For years, companies have put special bikes under their sponsored riders specifically designed for the cobbled classics. Varied geometries, more tire clearance, increased brake clearance and better vibration damping are all some of the reasons for modifying bikes for the cobbles. Even though mechanics still have tricks up their sleeve for use while building “classics” bikes, the occurrence of “one off” or “team only” bikes has been fading with recent UCI regulations which require pro teams to ride bikes that can be purchased by the average joe. Essentially, this has forced development of “comfort” style racing bikes, which one could argue is just a refinement of the “all day” or “sportive” category of bikes that has been around for years. Less aggressive positioning, vibration damping properties and generally more durability are the hallmarks of these bikes which are designed to be ridden by normal people for hours upon end.
Trek has been one company that has seemingly missed the boat on this fad, at least until now. In the past few days, details have been released about the Domane, which is designed to “specifically addresses the challenges of rough road conditions found throughout the spring classics courses with a collection of key innovations unlike any available before today” according to Trek. Developed with extensive input from Fabian Cancellara, the Domane has a slew of supposed new features that will make it a formidable chariot for Sparticus (and the local Tuesday night racers who love dirt roads, too.)
Recently work and life has taken me on a move from the Hudson Valley to northern New Jersey. Throughout the month long frenzy of real estate agents, closings, packing, driving, more packing and moving, there was little of substance to lean on. Little, except for the one singular constant that has defined my free time and my life for the past half dozen years. Even with the weather being damp and unforgiving, a ride on the trainer was like an hour long escape from reality. Somehow, the simplicity of losing oneself within a bike ride is the perfect escape from reality.
Aside from the saddle, one of the most intimate and tell-tale parts of a bike are the handlebars. Not only do they mount the “brains” of the transmission (the shifters,) but they are always wrapped in some sort of ribbon like material that gives away some key parts of the rider's personality. Is the rider single-mindedly obsessed with speed or is comfort a concern? Are aesthetics an important part of their values? Where does cleaning and neatness fit into their persona? If you stop to think about it, bar tape is an expression of ourselves as riders, as well as your bike's way of telling stories. No part of the bike is more visibly affected by daily use and the moments, both good and bad, that stand out in a season's worth of riding.