First look: Look 996 full suspension mountain bike

Look's latest foray into the dirt world

Look’s foray into the dirt world with its 986 carbon hardtail was apparently successful enough to warrant a full-suspension cousin.  

The new 996 comprises a monocoque carbon front triangle and an aluminum-and-carbon rear end joined through a pair of short alloy links.  There’s 100mm of travel on tap and claimed frame weight is a competitive 2.5kg (5.5lb) for a small frame with the included RockShox Monarch 4.2 rear shock. 

Look describes the suspension performance as somewhat of a hybrid between VPP and DW-Link but not a direct copy of either (perhaps more to avoid patent disputes than anything else).  Regardless, its self-described anti-squat kinematics supposedly eliminate the need for any shock platform meaning even though the Monarch is so-equipped, riders might not ever use it.  Enduro cartridge bearings all around should keep the rear end fairly supple, too.

We didn’t get a chance to sample the 996 during the official introduction but its beefy front triangle, stout linkages and fully enclosed rear end suggest a solid feel.  Unlike the hardtail, the 996 uses a conventional seatpost in the thinking that full-suspension riders might occasionally have the need to drop their saddle depending on circumstances (we’re not sure if this goes along with the modest 100mm of travel but so be it).  

Geometry is decidedly cross-country oriented: 100mm forks will yield 69.7° and 72.2° head and seat angles, respectively, while an 80mm fork will steepen things up a bit to 70.5° and 73°. 

James Huang

Technical Editor, US
James started as a roadie in 1990 with his high school team but switched to dirt in 1994 and has enjoyed both ever since. Anything that comes through his hands is bound to be taken apart, and those hands still sometimes smell like fork oil even though he retired from shop life in 2007. He prefers manual over automatic, fizzy over still, and the right way over the easy way.
  • Discipline: Mountain, road, cyclocross
  • Preferred Terrain: Up in the Colorado high-country where the singletrack is still single, the dirt is still brown, and the aspens are in full bloom. Also, those perfect stretches of pavement where the road snakes across the mountainside like an artist's paintbrush.
  • Beer of Choice: Mexican Coke
  • Location: Boulder, Colorado, USA

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