Look 765 Optimum SRAM Rival eTap AXS long-term review

Unlike its rivals, Look’s 765 Optimum doesn’t rely on squishy suspension or gizmos to deliver its comfort, instead focusing on good ol’ frame flex.

The 765 Optimum is an endurance road bike with clearance for 34mm tyres, with the French brand saying the bike is ideal for long-distance riding in comfort. There are mudguard mounts and the beefy tyre clearance means the bike should be capable on rougher surfaces.

Although the geometry is endurance bike in feel, Look hasn’t forgotten its racing roots. It has a slightly longer reach compared to its competition and there are some neat aero touches.

The 765 Optimum I’ll be testing over the next 12 months costs £4,690 / €4,690 / $5,500 and is specced with a SRAM Rival eTap AXS groupset.

The bike is available in five different models, starting at €3,790 for a Shimano Ultegra R8000 build and topping out at £6,290 / $7,300 / €6,290 for a Shimano Ultegra Di2 R8100 groupset and own-branded carbon wheels.

Look has also released a 765 Optimum+ with an even larger clearance for 42mm tyres and geometry that’s further relaxed.

Look 765 Optimum long-term review update one

Look 765 Optimum in a field

I’ve been testing the Look to its endurance limit.
Oscar Huckle / Our Media

I’ve been getting to know the Look 765 Optimum more intimately since my initial review and have now clocked up just over 1,000 miles on the endurance road bike.

A large chunk of those miles were completed in one ride, the Paddington Express audax, which is 408km (253 miles) long.

After a surprisingly enjoyable overnight 308km audax last November, I’ve been on the hunt for another challenge to put the Look to the endurance test and this even longer audax seemed like the perfect opportunity.

All aboard the Paddington Express

Paddington Express 2023 Audax

I reckon there were around 150 starters.
Oscar Huckle / Our Media

The Paddington Express audax starts in Bristol and heads to London Paddington station through towns and villages north of the M4 motorway. The audax then heads back to Bristol but takes a southerly route.

With 3,400m of total elevation, it’s relatively flat for the imposing distance.

The audax started at 3pm and runs overnight. It’s been designed this way because it’s a qualifying event for Paris-Brest-Paris – a 1,200km ride held every four years where entrants must complete an approved 200, 300, 400 and 600km audax in the preceding months. This format allows prospective riders to test themselves at riding overnight.

Riding overnight didn’t phase me. The 3pm start was actually preferable to the 10:30pm start of my previous audax, which I found difficult to prepare for in terms of sleep.

Look 765 Optimum against a wall

I made some changes to the Look to optimise it for the ride.
Oscar Huckle / Our Media

Overall, the ride generally went much better than expected. I managed to get into a well-coordinated group after 20km and we averaged 17mph for the first 250km.

That average speed swiftly dropped as my legs started to complain at around 330km. Although I began

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Ridley Noah Disc Essential long-term review – Road Bikes – Bikes

The Ridley Noah Essential is framed as a more affordable version of the brand’s Noah Fast aero road bike.

The Noah was originally developed as a sprinter’s bike for the likes of Caleb Ewan. Ridley says it has developed into more of an all-rounder over time, something that has become a road bike trend.

This Noah Disc Essential is part of Ridley’s Essential Series, launched in February 2022. Ridley says the bikes in the series retain the same characteristics as the brand’s pro-worthy road bikes in terms of stiffness and ride quality, but use a more cost-effective carbon fibre.

As a result of this different carbon fibre, Ridley says the frameset of the Noah Disc Essential is 100g heavier than the top-of-the-range Noah Fast – so not a great deal of difference, then.

The bike has the same aerodynamic features as the top-tier version, and as result, it looks pretty similar, minus the different paintwork.

It has the same geometry, too, which balances the bike’s racing history with its all-rounder potential.

The bike is available in sizes XXS to XL, with Ridley offering the same frame across genders, recommending riders opt for a bike fitting or custom build rather than a women’s-specific road bike.

The Noah I have costs £4,729/€5,195 and has many of the features you would expect of a road bike at this price. These include a SRAM Rival eTap AXS groupset, Forza carbon wheels and a one-piece bar and stem.

The Ridley Noah Essential should, on paper, ride like the top Ridley Noah Fast but with a marginally increased weight, which arguably isn’t the most important thing for an aero road bike, anyway.

Ridley Noah Disc Essential update three

A new set of wheels

Fulcrum Speed 42 wheels.

The Fulcrum Speed 42 wheels are the latest update to my long-term test bike.
Stan Portus / Our Media

There has been one significant change to my Ridley Noah Disc Essential since my last update: a new set of wheels.

The wheels were an obvious upgrade. With a depth of 38mm and claimed weight of 1,535g, the stock Forza Levanto DB didn’t really seem to match the go-fast intentions of this bike.

Something a bit deeper and a bit lighter seemed an appropriate fit, bringing the Ridley’s overall weight and aero potential more in line with some of the other best road bikes around the same price point.

Fulcrum’s new Speed 42 wheels struck me as a good fit thanks to their depth, claimed aerodynamic advantages and lower weight.

While the Fulcrum Speed 42 wheels aren’t drastically deeper than the Levanto wheels at – as the name suggests – 42mm, they have an internal rim width that’s wider by 4mm at 23mm.

Fulcrum Speed 42 wheels internal rim width.

The wheels have an internal rim width of 23mm.
Stan Portus / Our Media

The wider internal rim width should improve handling and comfort, thanks to a larger contact patch between the tyre and whatever pot-holed British road I take on.

I’m yet to get them on the scale, but the

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Strattec CEO says long-term view helps in navigating automotive industry rollercoaster

Strattec Security Corp., like most automotive suppliers, has been on quite the rollercoaster since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Glendale-based maker of vehicle keys, locks, latches, lift gate systems and other vehicle access…

Strattec Security Corp., like most automotive suppliers, has been on quite the rollercoaster since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Glendale-based maker of vehicle keys, locks, latches, lift gate systems and other vehicle access products dealt with the complete shutdown of its Mexican operations through the first part of the pandemic followed by a ramp up in demand that made for the company’s best year since it spun off from Briggs & Stratton in the mid-1990s.

More recently, Strattec has dealt with its customers, automotive giants like Ford, GM and Chrysler parent company Stellantis, shutting down plants amid the global shortage of semiconductors.

Frank Krejci, president and chief executive officer of Strattec, said in February he had a customer tell him the chip issue would be resolved by mid-March.

“Maybe it will be March, but it will be 2022 or 2023, not six weeks from when they were telling me,” he said.

Strattec worked with customers as they’ve navigated the shortages by trying to prioritize popular vehicles and the ones they can get all the parts for, Krejci said, noting the thought in the industry was August would be better than July and September would be better than August.

“Instead of continual improvement we fell off a cliff,” he said, adding that at one point in September GM had 10 of its 16 North American plants shut down.

In some cases, Strattec had products ready to ship only to have a customer call to say the plant they were destined for would be closed the next week.

“You go from going 100 mph to a dead stop,” Krejci said.

The result for Strattec is a quarter that shows the impact of the global supply chain issues. Net sales for the quarter were down 20.5%, a more than $25 million drop to $100.3 million. The company barely reported a profit with net income of $101,000, down from more than $8 million at the same point last year.

Krejci, however, wasn’t overly concerned about the quarterly result.

“Right now, if I really wanted to optimize our earnings, I could lay off a bunch of people, especially in Milwaukee, we’re not doing that,” he said.

lnstead, Krejci is taking a long-term view and he’s encouraged by several things in the market. For starters, automotive dealers have around 20 days of inventory on their lots, down sharply from a more typical level of 77 days. That means there will be plenty of demand from customers for restocking, Krejci said.

Things have also been going better in October, he said, with fewer shutdowns and a gradual ramp up in demand. Strattec also had a number of new business wins in recent years that are now

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