Pearson Hanzo S3X £799.99

Classic three-speed fixie

BikeRadar score 3.5/5

Pearson are celebrating 150 years in the cycle business with a range of interesting own-brand machines, including this customised Hanzo. Based on their £549.99 singlespeed model, the extra £250 gets you the new Sturmey Archer S3X three-speed fixed rear hub.

This comes with a matching sealed cartridge high-flange front hub, and both are handbuilt into Ambrosio rims with DT Competition spokes in a classic and reliable three-cross pattern. A finely sculpted Sturmey Archer bar-end shifter finishes the upgrade.

Pearson keep it real by pairing the cleanly TIG-welded double-butted chromoly frame with an elegant and increasingly rare steel fork, featuring a 1-1/8in threadless steerer and svelte unicrown configuration. Purity of design is continued with slotted rear brake cable guides and a single riveted gear cable stop near the end of the chainstay. Cabling is handled by O-ring-held guides, which are easily removed if you’re planning to revert to singlespeed at a later date.

A longish wheelbase with no pedal overlap ensures stability but the slightly oversized steel tubing imparts the ride with a pleasant springiness that sparks the Hanzo into life. Mixing it up on our daily training and commuting combi run, the Hanzo, like its Samurai namesake, proved to be a useful ally when engaging in close-quarter combat.

Morning stop-start traffic and hilly terrain were made considerably easier by the unique hub, which allows you to shift into the 58in first gear while stationary. The second, at 70in, is ideal for cruising between loft parties without breaking a sweat, while the 92in third gear allows for easy double-decker drafting and fast downhills.

However, shifting is a bit like crashing through your car’s gearbox when you’ve broken a clutch cable: time your revs with your wheel revolutions and shove it into gear… the resulting crash-clunk comes kicking back through the drivetrain.

An accompanying fortune cookie might say, ‘Follow the way of the fixie, Grasshopper: your patience shall be rewarded with heightened skill and pleasure.’ The comfortable cockpit is decked out with a 4ZA alloy bar and stem and a well padded saddle, while decent front and rear brakes keep it legal and safe.

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