The Look 785 Huez RS Disc is the French company's flagship lightweight race bike and it absolutely flies while also pretty much nailing the whole stiffness versus comfort argument. You're getting some pretty cool little touches, too, like adjustable crank length.
The 785 isn't one of those bikes that is all buzzy and twitchy, making it feel faster than it really is. In fact the whole ride experience is actually quite subtle and smooth, allowing you to just waft along at a very decent average speed without the feeling of having to bury yourself to achieve it.
It has a very stiff frame, though – you can really feel that every time you bury the pedals – but it manages to deliver the power direct to the wheels without feeling harsh or uncomfortable.
The seatstays are very slender and this promotes a small amount of flex to take out the buzz from rough road surfaces, while the large diameter down tube, bottom bracket area and chunky chainstays keep the lower half of the frame tight.
Climbing is one of the 785's main roles so it is no surprise that it delivers in the hills even though it isn't exceptionally light, that stiffness coming into play here again, especially when you are out of the saddle. The Look Zed 2 cranks and LS1 carbon fibre handlebar contribute here too.
The 785 Huez RS was originally only available as a rim brake option but Look says that the disc version is 'equally efficient uphill and downhill' thanks to the braking power. That's true, in the wet at least or long technical descents in the mountains where there is less chance of brake fade. Unless there are loads of tight bends, though, you aren't going to really be using the brakes that much anyway as the handling of the 785 is spot on for this kind of bike.
In sizes medium and above, the head angle is 73 degrees and when paired with a reasonably short 161mm (M) head tube, you get a sharp front end with stiffness and directness added by the tapering of the fork steerer.
Descending is an absolute blast and thanks to the 785's ability to tame a rough surface the whole bike feels planted and solid underfoot.
Swooping bends can be taken smoothly, with corrections to the steering being dealt with by just a drop of the shoulder and a shift in weight.
I've ridden bikes with a faster, twitchier front end which I've found fun, but they do take plenty of concentration when really hammering through the turns. The 785 just takes a step back from that and if you have to tweak your line because of a pothole or gravel, the steering remains relatively unflustered.
The Look fork continues that stiff yet compliant ride feel carried through from the frame and giving plenty of feedback about what the front tyre is up to. It resists the braking forces well too when you haul on the hydraulic disc braking system.
As I mentioned earlier, the 785 Huez RS was originally released as a rim brake setup, so to create the RS Disc Look had to beef up the frame and fork a little to deal with the extra braking forces and where they are delivered. It has still managed to keep the frame down to a pretty decent 820g (+/-5%) in a small size, and the fork at 420g.
Look has had a long association with carbon fibre construction and it says that the 785 frame uses a mixture of five different grades of carbon to deliver the ride characteristics I've mentioned.
Tube profiling has just as much of an effect on how the frame behaves, which is why the 785 is a mixture of different shapes and sizes of tubes and junctions, adding material where it is needed and removed from where it isn't to control the weight.
The frame and fork come with a lifetime warranty to back up that design and manufacture.
Just when you were thinking we don't need any more bottom bracket standards Look comes along with its BB65 design to work with its Zed oversized carbon fibre cranksets. The '65' relates to the inner diameter of the shell which is pretty large, but does drop the weight of the frame a touch.
If you choose to run cranksets from the main manufacturers then you'd opt for the version that accepts a more normal BB86 setup. It's press-fit either way, but I didn't have any issues with creaking over the test period.
As you'd expect with a modern carbon fibre frame and fork, all of the cable routing is fed internally for a clean and smooth look.
The callipers are flat mount plus you're getting 12mm thru-axle fitment at both ends. This model comes with Mavic's Speedrelease system, which allows you to drop the wheel out much quicker as you don't need to completely remove it from the frame or fork to remove the wheel.
This is the top of the range RS Disc and it comes draped in the expected level of bling for the price point.
First off, you're getting Red eTap, SRAM's clever electronic groupset. For an in-depth look check out David's review, but I'll just give you a quick run-through of how it all works because it is a little different to any other gear system on the market – out of the box at least, as you can tweak systems like Di2.
Like its DoubleTap system found on SRAM's mechanical groupsets, everything is controlled by a single paddle behind the brake lever, but instead of the right shifter dealing with the rear mech and the left controlling the front mech, eTap uses both levers together to shift up and down.
Press the right paddle to drop down the cassette and the left lever to go back up; press both together to change between chainrings. Simple.
This is the first time I've ridden eTap and I adapted to it quicker than I expected – after a few miles it just felt so natural.
The shifting is quick both across the cassette and between the chainrings and you get a very defined click from the paddle to let you know you've made the gear change.
This is an 11-speed system which comes with an 11-28-tooth cassette which is pretty much the norm for this type of bike, especially when paired with the Zed 2's 52/36t chainrings.
Speaking of the Zed 2, the carbon cranks are unbelievably stiff and, as I've said, shifting across the rings is impressive.
Look has made the crank length adjustable too, by way of inserts used for attaching the pedals. Triangular in shape, they can be pressed into the cranks to give a length of 170mm, 172.5mm or 175mm.
Look has chosen to go for a 160mm rotor for the front brake and 140mm for the rear, which is a good setup for a fast road bike. The SRAM hydraulic brakes are very good indeed, offering plenty of power and great modulation.
Look provides the carbon fibre seatpost and LS1 handlebar, plus an alloy stem.
It all works really well with both the seatpost and bar offering just enough flex to further tame road buzz without sacrificing stiffness.
Look's spec list mentions a Prologo Dimension Tirox saddle but we have a full-carbon Selle San Marco Aspide which I got on well with. Its slender design again promotes a small amount of flex.
Wheels and tyres
As you'd expect for this kind of money, the Look comes equipped with carbon fibre wheels – Vittoria Elusions, which are 30mm deep and reasonably light.
This isn't an aero bike so to aid climbing by keeping the weight down a bit they are a good choice. Stiffness wasn't an issue when sprinting or climbing and they stayed perfectly true throughout the test period.
Lovers of large tyres will be happy to see that the RS Disc comes with 28mm Hutchinson Fusion tubeless-ready tyres fitted as standard. They are decent performers offering plenty of grip in the bends and they roll well too.
At £8,300 for this model, the 785 Huez RS Disc is up there with some of the most expensive bikes we've tested over the last 10 years, but you are getting a lot of bike for the money.
It is a very good frameset when it comes to ride quality and even though I've criticised the weight, that is more in relation to the rim braked version that reportedly tipped the scales at just 5.9kg compared to the RS Disc's 7.3kg.
Ribble's Red eTap AXS-equipped Endurance SL R Series Disc weighs in at 7.8kg but will save you nearly two grand on the rrp at £6,399.
Canyon's Ultimate CF SLX Disc 9.0 with a full Campagnolo, albeit mechanical, Record groupset and Bora wheels weighs in at 7.2kg and costs 'just' £5,099.
Overall, if I had laid out the asking price on the 785 Hues RS disc I wouldn't be at all disappointed as it is a great bike to ride, delivering everything I asked from it.
That excellent balance of stiffness and comfort is a very hard thing to achieve, and it doesn't change no matter how long you are sat in the saddle. If I had an epic, fast road ride ahead of me and I had the money, the Look would be on my shortlist.
A great handling race bike that delivers an excellent balance of comfort and stiffness
road.cc test report
Make and model: Look 785 Huez RS Disc
Size tested: Medium
About the bike
List the components used to build up the bike.
CRANKSET: LOOK ZED 2, 52/36
CASSETTE: SRAM RED 11X28
SEATPOST: LOOK LS1 Super Light 27.2 x 350mm
ROTORS: SRAM RED 160mm F/140mm R
HANDLEBAR: LOOK LS1 Carbon
STEM: LOOK LS1 Alloy
SHIFTERS: SRAM RED eTap
FRONT MECH: SRAM RED eTap
REAR MECH: SRAM RED eTap
SADDLE: SAN MARCO APSIDE
TYRES: HUTCHINSON FUSION 28mm
WHEELS: VITTORIA ELUSION CARBON 30mm
5 DIFFERENT CARBONS
BOTTOM BRACKET SHELL
100% CARBON, RS version with BB 65 FOR A ZED 2 CRANKSET OR BBPF 86.5
420g, 100% CARBON FORK, MONOBLOC EXTRA LIGHT
ULTRA HIGH MODULUS CARBON FRAME
XS – S – M – L – XL
Tell us what the bike is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about the bike?
Look says, "Equipped with FLAT MOUNT and SPEEDRELEASE, Technology, the new 785 HUEZ RS Disc enables you to perform safely on both slopes of the hill. Its stability, power and precision will assure an optimal security to help you keep your advantage."
The 785 Huez RS Disc is a pro-level all-round race bike.
Where does this model sit in the range? Tell us briefly about the cheaper options and the more expensive options
This eTap model sits at the top of the range but it is also available in Shimano Ultegra Di2, Ultegra and 105 options.
Frame and fork
Overall rating for frame and fork
Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?
A quality frameset throughout.
Tell us about the materials used in the frame and fork?
A mixture of differing grades of carbon fibre are used throughout the frame and fork construction.
Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?
The geometry is race orientated, full details here.
How was the bike in terms of height and reach? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size?
On this medium model the stack is 558mm and the reach is 385mm. Exactly where I'd expect it to be for a bike of this type.
Riding the bike
Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.
The ride quality is very good indeed.
Did the bike feel stiff in the right places? Did any part of the bike feel too stiff or too flexible?
Stiffness is also impressive, especially around the bottom bracket area.
How did the bike transfer power? Did it feel efficient?
Yes, the bike responds well to your input.
Was there any toe-clip overlap with the front wheel? If so was it a problem?
How would you describe the steering? Was it lively neutral or unresponsive? Lively without being twitchy.
Tell us some more about the handling. How did the bike feel overall? Did it do particular things well or badly?
The Look has direct and fast handling which makes it a joy to ride, especially if you like descending.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's comfort? would you recommend any changes?
The handlebar has just enough flex to take out some of the road buzz, plus I got on with the saddle too.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's stiffness? would you recommend any changes?
I was impressed with the stiffness levels of the Zed 2 crankset.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's efficiency? would you recommend any changes?
The tyres give plenty of confidence in being able to push the bike hard through the bends.
Rate the bike for efficiency of power transfer:
Rate the bike for acceleration:
Rate the bike for sprinting:
Rate the bike for high speed stability:
Rate the bike for cruising speed stability:
Rate the bike for low speed stability:
Rate the bike for flat cornering:
Rate the bike for cornering on descents:
Rate the bike for climbing:
Rate the drivetrain for performance:
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Tell us some more about the drivetrain. Anything you particularly did or didn't like? Any components which didn't work well together?
SRAM eTap has a clever design to its shifting and is great to use.
Wheels and tyres
Rate the wheels for performance:
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Tell us some more about the wheels.Did they work well in the conditions you encountered? Would you change the wheels? If so what for?
A quality set of wheels that work well with the frameset.
Rate the tyres for performance:
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Tell us some more about the tyres. Did they work well in the conditions you encountered? Would you change the tyres? If so what for?
Excellent grip levels and seem pretty robust too.
Rate the controls for performance:
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Tell us some more about the controls. Any particularly good or bad components? How would the controls work for larger or smaller riders?
Decent quality kit from Look and it's great to see a carbon handlebar.
Did you enjoy riding the bike? Yes
Would you consider buying the bike? Yes
Would you recommend the bike to a friend? Yes
How does the price compare to that of similar bikes in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's up there with some of the most expensive bikes we've tested but its performance and quality go some way to justifying that.
Rate the bike overall for performance:
Rate the bike overall for value:
Use this box to explain your overall score
Pricier than a fair few rivals but Look has delivered a very good frameset both in terms of performance and comfort, finished off with quality kit.
Overall rating: 8/10
About the tester
Age: 40 Height: 180cm Weight: 76kg
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed
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With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!