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If you want to be visible in the dark, you're going to love the Look 765 Gravel RS's iridescent graphics, and the 'flip' paintjob looks the business too. It's not all show without the go, either, as the 765 has a speed orientated feel to it – although for the money the wheels could do with an upgrade.
The 765 Gravel RS is one for the gravel racer, or those road riders who fancy a bit of off-road action without dropping the speed element.
Tyre clearance is tighter than most – you can see that by how close the standard 40mm tyres sit to the seat tube – so the wheelbase, while longer than a road bike, isn't as drawn out as much as some gravel/adventure bikes, and that's what makes the 765 so much fun to ride.
Even with the limited edition Restrap bags loaded up with kit, the 765 feels nimble, flickable even, through the technical sections of the local woods or gravel singletrack.
The front end isn't that steep, which allows you to ride it hard through loose gravel, or – as most of our trails are in the winter – wet mud, without it ever feeling twitchy. But even when things are dry and firm there is still enough speed in the handling to make this thing a laugh.
If I was heading off to do an event against the clock again, like the Dirty Reiver, the Look would be on my shortlist of bikes to do it on. The wheelbase is long enough for stability on those sections when you just want to cover the miles, or when fatigue is kicking in and you just want to ride along without thinking.
Comfort is another big factor that the 765 delivers on. Look has been in the carbon game since the early days and that shows here – the ride quality is great. Just like on the road, I run my tyre pressures off-road higher than most (it's just my thing) and still found the 765 to be very absorbing.
This level of comfort complements the feedback levels. I always felt that I knew exactly what the Look was up to, even when riding flat-out and taking things a little faster than the tyres could cope with. A flick of the hips or wrists brought any slide under control.
Bringing all of this comfort to the ride doesn't mean that Look has sacrificed anything on the stiffness front. This is one tight frame that had no problem coping with the steep climbs up onto Salisbury Plain, and carries through that 'racer' type feel to it.
It's a capable machine on the road too, and let's be honest, the majority of us have to take to the tarmac to string the gravel sections together.
Okay, it's no lightweight road bike, and for those sections the Look lacks a little in the bends because of the slackened front end, but for everything else it really works. Stick some 35mm or 32mm slicks on and it'll make a comfortable commuter or lightweight tourer, provided you are happy to go without mudguards.
The SRAM gearing helps a lot; I'll go into that a bit deeper later, but the spread of gears from the Wide groupset gives you highly usable ratios at both ends, which means the 765 can be a high-speed descender one second and then a long-haul climber as you exit the valley, without leaving the saddle.
Adventure ready, that's how Look describes the 765 RS, coming with four water bottle mounting points alongside mounts for a bento style box on the top tube. There are no mudguard mounts which may or may not be an issue (it's not for me, it's off-road, you're supposed to get dirty!) and nothing in the way of rack mounts on the fork or seatstays.
Again, not a problem considering the number of excellent frame bags available on the market.
Look has gone for a gravel-specific layup apparently, optimising carbon fibre orientations and using 35% high modulus (HM), 40% intermediate modulus (IM), 10% high mechanical resistance (HR) and 15% specific fibre.
How does that affect the ride?
Not a clue! But as I mentioned earlier Look knows its onions as this is one very comfortable, smooth, and responsive frame – all the while maintaining stiffness. The frame also comes with a lifetime warranty.
The tube sizes are chunky, especially at the bottom bracket junction, which is massive, with the lower part of the seat tube extending out to meet the not-too-slender down tube.
The chainstays are pretty beefy, but not overly so, and the drive side is dropped to create more clearance.
Things are much more svelte above that, with the seatstays being a much more slender affair. Look says they are designed with two deflection points, which enables a 15 per cent increase in the natural compliance of the carbon.
I can't verify that, but I mentioned earlier that this is a very comfortable bike, so I have no doubt that these stays bring something to it. Also, the sloped top tube allows plenty of seatpost exposure for some added flex.
One thing that might put some off is the press-fit bottom bracket; while it's been largely a dry test period, I haven't had any issues with it. Six weeks of riding through mud, chalk and gravel with the associated dust hasn't resulted in any creaking. A short test, I'd agree, when it comes to longevity, but as I've said time and time again, I'm seeing fewer and fewer issues with press-fit BB setups.
Sizing-wise, there is the option of five, ranging from XS to XL, with effective top tubes of 507mm to 586.5mm.
This medium has a top tube length of 552mm and a head tube height of 162.5, which when paired with the head angle of just 70.3 degrees, gives quite a short reach of 375mm. Stack is 578mm.
This makes it taller and less stretched out than a road bike, but on the gravel still gives a racy feel, especially as the seat angle of 73 degrees puts you in a forward position to get the power out.
Tyre sizes achievable are the 40mm (700C) that come as standard, or a rather purposeful and plush 2.1in in 650B.
It's worth mentioning that this model is part of a collaboration with Restrap, a company that makes some excellent bikepacking bags; they don't come with the bike, though, which is a shame.
Lastly, the chromatic colourscheme of the frame and fork is subtle in certain lights, but hugely colourful and reflective at other times. It looks awesome!
This Black Chromatic option either comes as a frameset only (£2,399) or fitted with a SRAM Rival Wide eTap electronic groupset.
SRAM's Wide groupsets are gravel specific. I tested the Force version back in 2020 and was very impressed.
With its road groupsets SRAM has bucked the trend with its ratios, going with smaller chainrings at the front and a wider spread at the cassette, offering a 10-tooth sprocket for high-speed duties and larger 34T or 36T sprockets at the upper end, which I think works perfectly.
This Rival Wide setup pairs a 43/30T chainring with a 12-speed 10-36T cassette.
The whole thing is hugely efficient, giving you a bottom gear that you can tap out in the saddle, even when things get stupidly steep, and if you're like me and still want to pedal hard downhill there aren't many places where you'll be spinning out.
Mat recently tested the road version of the Rival eTap groupset so I won't go into a massive amount of detail here. The shifting is still crisp and precise even though the ratios are different, and I just love the simplicity of the single paddle operation on each of the brake/gear units.
Battery life is great, and you can even tweak the setup by way of SRAM's app.
Braking power is great from the Rival hydraulic setup, too. Up front you get a 160mm rotor with 140mm at the rear, which I'd say is plenty.
My 33-mile gravel test route has some steep descents on all sorts of terrain, and I find the modulation of SRAM's brakes spot on. The Look's tyres aren't the grippiest in wet, claggy conditions, but if you are about to lock up you can feel it coming and tweak the lever accordingly.
The main components come from Look's catalogue, the front end being part of its 'Direct Drive Concept'. The integrated stem is 'designed to compliment the frame's aesthetic and to be both lightweight and rigid to ensure precise bike handling'.
That might sound a bit marketing-y, but it certainly does suit the look of the frame, and I can't argue with its stiffness.
The Look LS2 AL Gravel bar has a 12-degree flare, and thanks to a shallow drop doesn't take too much of a stoop to get into the drops.
The seatpost is carbon fibre topped with a Look branded Selle San Marco Short fit Dynamic saddle, which I described when testing it as having 'supportive padding that works both on and off road'.
The 765 comes wearing a set of Fulcrum Rapid Red 500 DB wheels which, if I'm going to be honest, are a touch lacklustre for a bike of this price and capability.
They are probably the main reason that the Look is over 9kg too.
The durability is good, though, and they'll certainly take a knock or two. If the budget is there, though, upgrade to something lighter to really exploit just how good this frameset is.
As for tyres, you get a set of Hutchinson Touareg tubeless – good all-round tyres, but best suited to drier conditions. It's not exactly a deal breaker – gravel bikes aren't like road bikes where you can get away with a single tyre year-round.
The Hutchinsons will work well over the spring, summer and early autumn, offering decent levels of bite in dusty conditions. For winter, though, you'll be needing something with a bit more tread, which is probably a good time to exploit the Look's 650B capacity.
This version of the 765 Gravel RS will set you back £5,499. Not cheap, but Look is delivering a premium product here – not to mention the lifetime warranty.
Its riding style reminds me of something like the Canyon Grail, a bike that is a bit love/hate across the industry, mostly down to its Hover handlebar. It lacks some versatility for fitting your computer or lights, I'll admit, but when it comes to the ride it's brilliant. A proper gravel racer, just like the Look.
The CF SL 7 eTap model comes with a Rival groupset and deep-section DT Swiss GRC1600 wheels for just £3,399.
Specialized's Crux Expert is also a proper gravel racer and comes with a 1x Rival eTap groupset. It has the same tyre clearances as the Look. It costs £5,800, but does get carbon wheels.
This is a gravel bike for those roadies who want to stray away from the tarmac without dropping the speed. Yes, the price is a touch higher than many mass-produced brands, but when it comes to the ride quality it really can't be faulted. This finish makes it a real looker too.
A gravel bike for those who put speed above all else, though it doesn't sacrifice comfort
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Look 765 Gravel RS Disc
Size tested: Medium, 55cm
About the bike
List the components used to build up the bike.
Seatpost LOOK LS1 CARBON SUPERLIGHT 27.2 mm 350 mm
Saddle LOOK by S MARCO SHORT FIT DYNAMIC open fit
Handlebar LOOK LS2 AL GRAVEL 12°FLARE (XS –S 40 /M – L 42 / XL 44)
Stem LOOK LDS (XS-S : 80 / M 90 / L 100 / XL 110 )
Wheels FULCRUM RAPID RED 500 DB 2WF-R C23 BLACK
Tyres HUTCHINSON TOUAREG 700 x 40 TAN TUBELESS R.
Chain SRAM RIVAL 12
Crankset SRAM RIVAL WIDE 43 x 30 (XS-S 170/M-L 172,5 /XL 175)
Bottom bracket BB 386 / Token Ninja SRAM DUB
Cassette SRAM RIVAL 12 SPEED 10 x 36 XG 1250
Shifters SRAM RIVAL ETAP AXS WIRELESS HYDRAULIC
Derailleurs SRAM RIVAL ETAP AXS WIRELESS
Rotors SRAM CENTERLOCK F: 160 mm R : 140 mm
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, "You will not ride by unnoticed on this 765 Gravel RS Black Chromatic Petrol Full Glossy! Its high modulus carbon frame and fork offer impressive handling while the Chromatic paintwork shifts like a chameleon in the light. Understated and sober by day, with iridescent highlights that come alive in the dark, this is a design guaranteed to take you off the beaten track. A unique bike that features the SRAM Rival AXS wireless groupset for smooth and efficient shifting. The integrated LDS stem and Fulcrum Rapid Red 500 wheels fitted with Hutchinson Touareg 40mm tires provide maximum comfort on long distance rides."
This is a gravel bike that is aimed at the performance end of the market.
Where does this model sit in the range? Tell us briefly about the cheaper options and the more expensive options
This one sits at the top, with a GRX 810 model sitting below at £4,399. Below that is a GRX 600 option for £3,299. Two framesets are available for £2,399.
Frame and fork
Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?
A top quality frame and fork throughout.
Tell us about the materials used in the frame and fork?
As mentioned in the review, Look uses various grades of carbon fibre throughout the frame and fork.
Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?
The 765 has a reasonably slack front end, even for a gravel bike, but still maintains a racy feel to it because of its shorter wheelbase than most.
How was the bike in terms of height and reach? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size?
It's a bit taller at the front and shorter in the top tube compared to a road bike, but this works well off-road.
Riding the bike
Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.
Yes, the comfort levels are good throughout the bike.
Did the bike feel stiff in the right places? Did any part of the bike feel too stiff or too flexible?
There is plenty of stiffness thanks especially to an oversized down tube and bottom bracket area.
How did the bike transfer power? Did it feel efficient?
Efficiency is good thanks to the stiffness of the frame and also the huge spread of gears.
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? Neutral.
Tell us some more about the handling. How did the bike feel overall? Did it do particular things well or badly?
Well balanced. It gives a feeling of control on loose surfaces while still being fun enough to have a laugh.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's comfort? would you recommend any changes?
The saddle offers a good amount of padding without feeling too soft.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's stiffness? would you recommend any changes?
The Rival carbon crankset is plenty stiff enough for out of the saddle efforts.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's efficiency? would you recommend any changes?
The large gear ratio range helps at both ends.
Tell us some more about the drivetrain. Anything you particularly did or didn't like? Any components which didn't work well together?
The ratios work really well on all kinds of terrain and the shifitng is top notch regardless of the conditions.
Wheels and tyres
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?
Decent enough wheels, but a £5k+ bike deserves better.
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?
Good enough for drier conditions but you'll need something with more tread for the winter months.
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 items that do the job well. The shallow drop bar gives plenty of options for off-road riding.
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?
A high volume manufacturer like Canyon offers the Grail as quite a bargain at £3,399 with a similar grouspet, whereas the Specialized Crux comes in a touch more expensive than the Look, albeit with carbon wheels.
Use this box to explain your overall score
An excellent frameset when it comes to balancing stiffness and comfort, although for the money the wheelset is from way down the pecking order.
About the tester
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,
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!