Look (company)

Look (company)

French manufacturer of high-end ski bindings, bicycle frames, equipment, and apparel.


Established in Nevers, France in 1951, Look was originally a ski equipment manufacturer. The company produces bindings under its own name and others such as Rossignol and Dynastar. The partnership with Rossignol (which later merged with Dynastar) made Look a leading binding manufacturer along with the Marker brand. Look pioneered a new binding, that set it apart from Marker in freestyle. This was branded with the pivot system (FKS for Rossignol). Following a change in ownership, it was replaced in 2008 with the PX series.

In the 1980s Look introduced a clip-less pedal for cycling based on equipment for ski bindings. A spring-loaded latch on the top of the pedal held a cleat that was bolted to the sole of a shoe, a twist of the foot releasing the hold. They are called pédales automatiques (automatic pedals) in French. They were sold from 1984, and in 1985 Bernard Hinault used them to win the Tour de France. They were said to be safer and more comfortable than toe-clips. By 2000 the pedal was in widespread use on road bikes ("racing" bikes), track bikes, and mountain bikes, especially among experienced riders.

In 1986 Greg LeMond won the Tour de France on the first Look carbon frame, the KG 86. It was handmade and combined Kevlar with carbon for increased rigidity. In the early nineties, Look designed the revolutionary KG 196, the company's first monocoque carbon frame made of carbon, Kevlar, ceramic and aluminum. Being years ahead of its time, the KG186/KG196 featured sculpted aerodynamics, exceptional stiffness, an integrated fork and steering tube with limited front suspension, an adjustable stem, and was designed for both road, time-trial and track racing. The frame was extensively used by the ONCE cycling squad in the mid-1990s. The KG 196 has since evolved to become one of the most widely used and venerable series of track bikes of the past two decades, namely the KG 196, KG 296, KG 396, 496, and L96, ridden by numerous national squads to World and Olympic championships. Its key innovative aero features and integrated bayonnet-style fork has been widely imitated by other competitors to this day. The national and/or domestic track cycling teams of France, Russia, China, Japan and intermittently, Canada, Germany and the USA have used LOOK track bicycles to resounding success.

In the 1980s Look had been acquired by the Tapie group, which sponsored the professional La Vie Claire cycling team that included Hinault, Lemond and rising stars, Andy Hampsten and Steve Bauer. Look pioneered bicycle frames from carbon fiber. In 1994, the ski binding division was sold to Skis Rossignol, and the cycle division became Look Cycle. In 1998, Look was sold by Bernard Tapie for 260 million francs.

Dominique Bergin bought the company with Look's management. The name is now Look Cycle International. Laurent Jalabert, a French professional in the 1990s, is a consultant. Since the company's inception and into the 21st century, top-level pro cycling sponsorship included up to three Tour de France teams with frames, including ONCE, Crédit Agricole, CSC, Kelme, and Cofidis. In addition, LOOK pedals have consistently been used by the majority of the teams.




Further reading


Documentaries, videos and podcasts





Leah Stokes
April 27, 2020
Professor (and 2020 Grist 50 Fixer) Leah Stokes breaks down how the U.S. can meet ambitious clean-energy goals in the fastest way possible -- with the help of the humble narwhal. Adapted from Stokes...
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