For many of us, the list of dream mountain bikes that we'll never be able to afford just keeps growing. That said, quite a few of those bikes have a way of looking alike - after all, there are only so many variations on the basic upright bike frame that will stand up to off-road use. At this weekend's Eurobike trade show in Germany, however, a pretty unique-looking full-suspension rig is making an appearance. It's the Look 920, and as is the case with some high-end road bikes, its handlebar stem is integrated into the top tube.
The 920 is the result of a collaboration between France's Look Cycle, and designer Patrick Jouffret, from design house Agency 360.
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Its integrated aluminum stem definitely gives it a look of its own, with one smooth line extending from the seat tube right up to the handlebar. Not only does this contribute to its aesthetics (although that was doubtless part of the motivation behind the design), but it should also help to strengthen and stiffen the front end.
As many riders will know, some accidents can cause the front wheel of a traditional mountain bike to get turned around completely backward, so that the stem is sitting above the top tube. The 920's stem features elastomer stops, so that in the event of such an accident, it won't hit the side of the top tube. Given that the front wheel still won't be able to turn all the way backwards in a crash, however, one does have to wonder if all that sudden redirected kinetic energy might cause something else to give.
One thing that the quirky design doesn't lend itself to is the adjusting of bar height through the use of stem spacers. Instead, several lengths and rises of stem are available to buyers, in order to get the bar where they need it.
Alloy and carbon fiber versions of the bike should reportedly be available in Europe early this month. The alloy model, featuring a riser bar, is said to be priced at EUR3990 (US$5,668). Weighing in at 10 kilograms (22 lbs), the flat-barred carbon model should sell for EUR7370 ($10,469). The frames of both models can also be purchased on their own, for EUR3000 ($4,262) and EUR3500 ($4,972).
According to Look's website, more in the way of technical details should be posted soon. In the meantime, some of the specs are highlighted in the video below.