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Look KG281 Durability(12 posts)

Look KG281 Durabilityakjohn
Apr 2, 2002 7:30 AM

I am going to buy a new road bike in the very near future and am considering the purchase of a Look KG281 built up with Ultegra. I know that Look has a reputation for great bike frames. However, since I plan to keep this bike for several years I want to make sure that the frame is durable. I will not be racing but I do look forward to putting moderate mileage on this bike.
Opinions and/or Look owner experiences are appreciated.
re: Look KG281 DurabilityDave Hickey
Apr 2, 2002 7:50 AM
I had over 5000 miles on my KG281 and it was as stiff as the day I bought it. I have a KG241 that has about 4,500 miles that survived a 25mph crash and the frame is still staight and true. My KG286 has 8,000miles and is still great. My KG86 has 1,000 miles by me and who knows how many miles by the previous owner. I could go on and on................ I don't think you have a problem with the KG281. It is a very durable frame
Thanks Dave...A couple of other questionsakjohn
Apr 2, 2002 8:15 AM
I appreciate your feedback. I have not ridden a Look frame (I live in Alaska). I may have an opportunity to ride one later this month. If not, I will be working with a not-so-local bike shop in the lower 48.
I realize that fit is everything. However, with a Look frame the slack seat tube geometry and longer top tube are different from other bikes I have ridden. Obviously you are an experienced Look rider. Does the Look geometry demand that a rider always ride "stretched out"? Or is it possible to ride in a more relaxed position?


Thanks Dave...A couple of other questionsDave Hickey
Apr 2, 2002 8:24 AM
We've had numerious discussions in the past on this topic. The slack geometry actually gives you a shorter effective top tube length. If you set your bike up with the same knee over pedal position as other bikes, your effective top tube is shorter. JohnG and others have expressed the same opinion. I ride a 50-51cm LOOK and it's the same size as my other more "traditional" frames.
Apr 2, 2002 8:08 PM
My 52cm LOOK has a slightly shorter effective TT length than my 54cm Colnago. Both bikes have IDENTICAL seat tube lengths. The LOOK feels slightly more "sporty" with the shorter TT.

Keep in mind the KG281 is discontinued. You can find some NOS frames but they will become hard to find very shortly.

Great frame but I'm coming to the reluctant conclusion that the frame is just a tad bit harsh feeling. I've got to do a wheel swap as final confirmation but my CT1 is significantly smoother than the KG bike. Same tires and same pressure. The only difference is the wheels which I'll check this weekend. I'm NOT saying the KG is bad bike but I do have to admit that the smoother ride on the CT1 is rather intoxicating. I'll post something about this in a couple of days or so.

BTW: The LOOK frames are stout as all get out.... you won't break it if that's what you're worried about. The only thing I would highly recommend is "fixing" the rear dropouts with some nail polish.

The way I Look at it--you're kinda stuck in a rut.Slipstream
Apr 3, 2002 3:23 PM
Tell me you have rides other than Look; if you don't then tell my you own the company. ;>)
re: Look KG281 DurabilityIan
Apr 3, 2002 4:28 AM
I will also vouch for their bikes. I had a KG281 for about a year. Then I got a KG361 which I've had since October, and my KG381i should be here Thursday.

JohnG, good tip about the dropouts, I'll have to try that.
comment and couple of questions for youJohnG
Apr 3, 2002 6:33 AM
I just built a 381i for my brother and that's one sweet frame!!! Totally over the top technology on that frame. :)

BTW: Can you give me a comparison between the 281 and 361 in terms of road feel and stiffness. I've got a friend who I think the 361 might just be perfect for. ???? Also, the LOOK site shows a slightly different geometry for the 361 vs the 381. It looks like the 361 in say size 52cm has a shorter TT than the equivalent 381 frameset. I wish I could actually measure one to be sure.

comment and couple of questions for youIan
Apr 3, 2002 3:18 PM
The 361 vs. the 281? Tough to compare. I mean that in terms that I could not feel a huge difference. The KG281 felt ever so slightly stiffer, but then how do i know it wasn't in my mind? And the road feel is a little different. Both feel good, and absord a lot of the shock, but there is something just a bit different.

With that said, if you blindfolded me and I rode them both, I would hard pressed to tell which is which.

And yes, the 361 does have slightly shorter top tubes vs. the KG381i. I am riding a 54cm 361, but will be getting a 55cm 381i. Because a 55cm would have a longer top tube anyway and the 381i is longer, I'm gaining somewhere around 20mm.

Thanks for the comparison .............. nmJohnG
Apr 3, 2002 6:06 PM
I'm waiting for the KX!look271
Apr 3, 2002 6:24 PM
Veltec sports still is looking into add campaigns for them; haven't seen them on the Euro sites, either. Anyone seen one? Ridden one?
I'm waiting for the KX!JohnG
Apr 3, 2002 7:54 PM
When I checked the LOOK Euro site it listed the KX as heavier than the KG381 series. Do you think the KX might be more appropriate for sprinters/crits than climbing???