, established in Nevers
in 1951, was originally a ski
equipment manufacturer. The company produced bindings both under its own name and under other brands such as Rossignol
. The partnership with Rossignol (which later merged with Dynastar) made LOOK one of the leading binding manufacturers in the world along with Marker
brand. However, look pioneered bindings a new type of binding, that set themselves apart from Marker
especially in the freestyle scene. This new binding was branded with the pivot sytem (FKS for Rossignol). However, this binding was replaced in 2008 with the px series. In the 1980s LOOK pioneered the use of "clipless pedals
" for cycling
applications, based on the equipment originally developed for ski bindings
. A spring-loaded device on the top of the pedal is used to hold a "cleat" which is bolted to the soles of a cycling shoe, requiring the user to twist their foot to force the device to release the hold. This is an improvement to the prior method which is to use clips to bind the foot onto the pedal. The invention was touted as a safety improvement as it made it easier for a cyclist to release their feet from the pedals. The pedals are called "pédales automatiques" (automatic pedals) in French.
This design was released to the market in 1984, and in 1985 Bernard Hinault used a bicycle fitted with the pedals during his victory in the Tour de France. He credited the pedals for preventing further injuries in a crash that he suffered in the middle of the race. Today the same pedal concept is in widespread use in road cycling, track cycling, and mountain biking.
In the 1980s LOOK was acquired by the Tapie group, which also sponsored the La Vie Claire professional cycling team, which had Bernard Hinault and Greg LeMond on its roster. LOOK started producing bicycle frames made from carbon fibre, and is considered a pioneer in this area. In 1994, the ski binding division was sold to Skis Rossignol, and the cycle division was spun off as an independent company, Look Cycle S.A. In 1998, Dominique Bergin purchased the company in partnership with LOOK management. The name of the company is now LOOK CYCLE INTERNATIONAL S.A., and is identified closely with Laurent Jalabert, a French professional cyclist who rode LOOK frames to many victories in the 1990s and is currently a consultant for LOOK.