So having got rid of the power meter and making the decision that white bar tape is just too much of a pain in the arse to keep clean, a few changes to the Look had me compelled to ride it. At long last the Look got a Look in. No pun intended, but kind of unavoidable, sorry.
How did it go? Well, I finally got to give my SRAM Red black kit a spin. I finally got to try a longer stem to see how it made the bike feel and handle. And I finally reminded myself of the the braking quality of those Mavic SLR rims after a while off of them whilst the front one was being repaired (thanks BA).
But above all of that, I finally reminded myself how damn good my Baum is.
Don’t get me wrong, the Look is good. Very good. And I’ve got a lot to thank it for – after all if I’d never found a bike with such *ahem* ‘special’ geometry I’d probably still be looking for a bike that fits me properly, and I’d probably have ended up with some kind of nasty ‘sportive special’… oh wait, that’s the very same pigeon hole that road.cc neatly slotted the Look into wasn’t it? Except it’s better than that. Sort of at least.
You see, for a while this evening I couldn’t pinpoint what it was. The gears were as slick as they’ve ever been, the bike felt stiff, comfortable, direct and was tracking nicely with the longer stem just taking the edge off of it’s slightly twitchy handling… and then it struck me – it’s boring. No character, no interest, no sparkle. Dull. It’s ‘just a bike’.
But it serves a purpose, and the fact remains that as a second bike it’s pretty damn good. It’s just that the Baum is so much better.
The Baum is actually based reasonably closely on the Look (something else I should thank the Look for), but the subtleties that made the Baum ‘my bike’ are also what make it feel so right. Out of the saddle the Look feels top-heavy, unstable. The Baum had the bottom bracket lowered and the chainstays lengthened – only a little in each case – to iron things like that out. The Look didn’t feel as sprightly either, which is odd given that it’s carbon and handles a bit more rapidly. It just lacks the spring and ‘zip’ of the Baum. That longer stem I tried on the Look was also just a little bit too long, and so reverting back will speed up the handling again, whereas I know the Baum is right as it is so I don’t need to try things like that.
I’m sure you’re now all expecting me to say something along the lines of: “and so I’m replacing it with…” – but no. What’s the point? The Baum is getting 95% of the use at the moment and there’s no reason for that to change. The Look *is* a great bike, it’s just suffering from the fact that it has to compare to the Baum. Last winter proved that it’s fine running ‘guards, even if they aren’t full, permanent metal ones, and if I were to race the only bike I’d be ‘comfortable’ crashing (if you catch my drift) is the Look. It has it’s place in my armoury, and it’s here to stay. It just might need a bit of dusting off when it does come down off the wall.
So was this the Look’s rebirth? No, clearly not. At least I know it still works though…