Made from the same mold as the exclusive 785 D’Huez RS but with less expensive carbon, the Look 785 Huez is a race-ready chassis built with Shimano’s dependable 105 5800 group and RS10 wheels. With lively geometry, a 52/36 crank and an 11-32t cassette, you can have fun going up and down hills. But the bottom line is that it’s overpriced for a 105 bike.
In late 2017, Look rolled out its 785 D’Huez RS, a claimed 730g frame with a 280g fork to match. Dressed in full SRAM Red eTap with Corima Carbon 32mm wheels, the bike weighs a claimed 5.9kg / 13lb.
Aside from lightening the scales, a bike like this, as you would suspect, can also substantially lighten your wallet. So as many brands do, Look created some trickle-down options, using the same mold but with less-expensive carbon and more obtainable parts.
Look offers the 785 Huez in a few builds, but this Shimano 105 package is only available in North America. Built with Shimano RS10 wheels, which add a not-insignificant 1,848g, the bike weighs 8.3kg / 18.3lb. Look claims the 785 Huez frame weighs 990g in size Small, with the fork adding another 350g.
The 785 Huez comes in a few builds, from the Shimano 105 tested here (which isn’t available in the UK), up through Ultegra Di2 and mechanical to Dura-Ace and SRAM eTapBen Delaney / Immediate Media
Adding budget wheels to a climbing bike doesn’t do you any favors in the old power-to-weight equation so critical for going uphill, but there are other aspects of the bike that still shine.
For instance, the overall lateral stiffness of the bike is very good; whether out of the saddle of just mashing hard in the saddle over a steep rise, the bike provides a taut platform to leverage against.
Further, the 11-32t cassette can be a boon for steep climbs. While most bikes sold with Shimano 105 feature compact 50/34 cranks, the 785 Huez opts for a 52/36 sub-compact, which racers will appreciate. Having a sub-compact up front and a wide-range cassette in the back is in many ways the best of both worlds: top-end speed and a steep-climb-friendly low gear.
The 11-32t cassette offers a great range for going both directions on hillsBen Delaney / Immediate Media
The geometry of the machine is fairly straightforward, with a bent towards competition over casual riding. On my Large test bike, for example, the 582mm stack puts it about a 15mm taller than an all-out race bike, such as a Cannondale SuperSix or a Specialized Tarmac, but well below an endurance bike like the Specialized Roubaix, which sits at 611mm for a comparable size. At 395mm of reach, the 785 Huez has effectively the same length top tube as a race bike.
The alloy seatpost and stem are unremarkable, but the alloy handlebar feels a touch old school with its narrow diameter and thin bar tape. More companies are opting for thicker and/or shaped handlebars these days to disperse pressure at the palms, and Look could gain from making the same change.
The chassis is gratifyingly stiff under pedaling load, in and out of the saddleBen Delaney / Immediate Media
Saddles will always be a matter of personal preference, but I found the Selle Italia X3 comfortable, with a neutral shape, a middle level of padding and a small cutout. Along with the yellow housing, the yellow highlights on the saddle tie the bike’s aesthetic together nicely.
All and all, the Look 785 Huez is a good machine, with a sporty frameset, dependable 105 group and a well put together look. The wheels are heavy and inexpensive, but that is fairly standard for a 105-level bike. What isn’t standard is the $2,500 price (sorry, UK and European readers — we just have $ pricing on this one). You can buy a Giant TCR Advanced 2 with 105 for $1,734. Or, for $2,400, you can buy a Specialized Tarmac Elite with Shimano Ultegra.