In the consistent hurry of our everyday routine, we rarely get to appreciate little things in life – small, but noteworthy details. I try to constantly remind myself about them, and I believe one of the best ways to incorporate them into your everyday thought is with photography, which can sometimes give you a new perspective. So for this post, I decided to take out my road bike, shoot some photos, and talk about what I like so much about this bike.
The bike featured is a Look KG381i, with its frame handmade in France, a complete Campagnolo Record 10-speed groupset, and a Marchisio wheelset. Introduced in 2002, it is a rather old bicycle by today’s standards. However, if you skip the dirty chainset, and a worn-out saddle, there is much more to this bike than it might seem at first glance.
KG381i was made as an improvement of the previous Look KG281 frame and became the bike of the year in France the same year it was announced. Furthermore, a French rider Laurent Jalabert won his second polka dot jersey – for the best climber at the 2002 Tour de France with the same model.
Aside from the importance of this bike in cycling history, I find the origin of the brand Look rather interesting. Nowadays, Look is known for producing bike pedals for road cycling as well as mountain biking. What is surprising is that their (worlds) first road pedal patent actually comes from Look ski bindings, which was their main product back in the day and is still in production.
Another first for the company was the production of a carbon bike frame, and up till this day, Look is regarded as a pioneer in carbon technology. However, their modern carbon bikes are priced well above the budget for an average consumer, which is also the reason why the brand is less known than major bike brands like Specialized, Trek or Giant.
Another interesting detail is the brands’ logo. If you look closely, you see the company name wrapped in colors of Mondrian, a famous Dutch painter. The origin of the logo comes from the French team La vie Claire, which included a five-time Tour winner Bernard Hinault and a three-time winner Greg LeMond. And you might ask yourself why would a french team wear a design from a Dutch painter?
At the La vie Claire team presentation, cyclists were presented with their new jerseys, which were inspired by All Blacks, a New Zealand rugby team. The design of the jerseys was plain and black, which is unusual in cycling full of flashy colors, and the team didn’t like their new jerseys. At the same time, a student, a young girl, suggested a Mondrian aesthetic and came up with the design for the jersey on her own. Everyone loved the new team colors and the rectangle layout was also suitable for team sponsors, so they kept the new design.
Announcing the first clipless road-bike pedal that year, company Look took the Mondrian colors for their own and incorporates them in their designs ever since (Story of Look Mondrian down below). The company has a long history of innovation, which puts it among the best and most unique in the cycling industry up till this day. And even though my Look bike isn’t the lightest or most aero anymore, it still represents an important piece of cycling heritage.
- Story of Look Mondrian: https://cycling-passion.com/story-mondrian/