Pearsons has been a feature of South West London for more than 160 years. The Pearson family still runs things today and the Off Grid is the latest bike from brothers Will and Guy, but it’s Pearson’s very first carbon gravel bike.
It follows in the wheel tracks of Pearson’s Irons in the Fire steel gravel bike and its All Mod Cons all-roader, and is available in three different groupsets and a choice of three wheelsets, in builds from £2,900 to £5,000.
Two colour options – matt orange and matt deep blue, and matt olive and matt black – make for eight possible Off Grid combinations.
Pearson Off Grid frame
Pearson says the Off Grid is its most versatile adventure bike to date, and the frame has all the fixtures required for gravel riding, carrying bottles and bags and proper eyelets for fitting front and rear mudguards – this is a British-designed bike, after all. The seatstays even have a proper brake bridge.
Its rear rack mounts mean you could take the Off Grid for a bit of bikepacking when you want a break from belting it along at breakneck speeds on or off-road.
Pearson has maximised the Off Grid’s versatility by dropping the driveside chainstay. This allows the frame to accommodate 700c tyres up to 42mm wide and 650b tyres up to 55mm for more compliance and comfort over really rough surfaces.
Pearson Off Grid geometry
Pearson’s geometry is pretty aggressive for a gravel bike, perhaps demonstrating the influence of the competitive cyclo-crosser Guy Pearson. With a steep 73-degree seat angle and 72-degree head angle, there’s none of that slack mountain bike-influenced front-end geometry on display here.
Looking at the geometry figures it’s easy to see why this bike appeals to me. My XL test bike has a 609mm stack height and 383mm reach, which would be spot-on numbers for a fast endurance road bike.
The 50mm fork offset, 72-degree head angle and 38mm tyres combine for a 62mm trail figure, which again is a number embedded in endurance road bike design.
|Seat angle (degrees)||74.5||74||73||73||73|
|Head angle (degrees)||70.5||71||71.5||72||72|
|Seat tube (cm)||49||52||54||56||58|
|Top tube (cm)||52||53.5||55||56.5||58|
|Head tube (cm)||12||14||15||17||19|
Pearson Off Grid kit
The Off Grid I tested came with drivetrain and brakes from Shimano’s gravel-specific GRX in its top-level – Ultegra-grade – 800 series. I opted for the 1x setup pairing a 40t chainring with a wide-ranging 11-42 rear cassette.
The clutch-equipped rear derailleur and 800 series STI shifters worked well together for accurate gear changes and there was, not surprisingly, nothing to fault with Shimano’s hydraulic braking.
If you do think a single-ring setup is too limiting, the Off Grid is compatible with a double chainset, though Pearson doesn’t offer an off-the-peg 2x build just yet.
The wheels are Pearson’s own carbon Hoopdriver Bump and Grinds and I was very impressed. The 28mm-deep carbon rims have a 21mm internal width and they’re paired with Novatec’s sealed cartridge bearing hubs, using 24 Sapim CX-Ray spokes at each end.
The wheels feel tight and stiff – just like the Off Grid chassis – and at 1,410g they’re light for a set of tough carbon gravel wheels.
Their low weight helps with the Off Grid’s speed on the road and also helps to make the bike an excellent climber, keeping the overall weight down to 9.28kg, which is very decent for a gravel bike in this size.
The Off Grid’s tyres are from Chinese company Arisun, not a brand I’ve come across before – and that doesn’t happen very often (Note, the photoshoot bike came with upgraded tyres from Vittoria over the bike I tested.)
Its 38c tubeless-specific Gravel Plus tyres come up closer to 41mm. Their V-shaped studded tread works very well on tarmac and on hard-packed gravel, and they feel compliant enough.
I was very pleased to see Pearson shipped these tyres tubeless and already filled with sealant but the tyres’ rather stiff sidewalls gave me issues when it came to getting the right pressure.
They were more than happy at around 40psi for my 90kg weight but when I lowered them to around 33psi, for a particularly rocky gravel section, they unseated themselves and ‘burped’ out most of their sealant.
This left me furiously hand-pumping the rear tyre by the side of the trail, and with a nagging worry for the rest of the ride about not having enough sealant to fix a puncture.
This is a fine road handlebar and the shape of the drops is excellent, but it feels both rather stiff and a little too narrow. A bar with a bit of flare at the drops would have been more appealing and better suited to the demands of off-road riding.
Pearson Off Grid ride impressions
Pearson’s Off Grid feels very much like an extremely sporty endurance bike. The frame is taut and stiff in all the right places and the response to high-power efforts is instant – it’s a bike that’s easy to ride rapidly.
The riding position is pitch-perfect too, striking the ideal balance between rapid and relaxed.
But with Pearson’s reputation for customer service these are tweaks you could make on ordering, and using its online bike-fitting service you should end up with a bike tailored to your requirements, which is something many of the big-name bike brands just can’t match.
And not forgetting Muc-Off, for its help keeping the bikes washed and lubed throughout testing.
Road Bike of the Year 2021 contenders
Thirty-two of the best bikes ridden and rated…
- ARC8 Escapee
- Basso Venta 105 Disc
- BMC Roadmachine TWO
- BMC Teammachine SLR TWO
- Boardman ADV 8.9
- Boardman ADV 9.0
- Boardman SLR 8.9 105
- Boardman SLR 9.4 AXS (winner)
- Cannondale SuperSix EVO
- Cannondale Topstone Lefty 1
- Cervélo Caledonia-5
- Cinelli King Zydeco
- Genesis CDA 30
- Giant Contend AR 3
- Giant TCR Advanced Pro 1
- Giant TCR Advanced SL 0 Disc
- Lapierre Xelius SL 5.0
- Orbea Avant H60-D
- Orbea Orca M20
- Pearson Off Grid
- Planet X London Road SRAM Apex 1 Disc
- Ribble CGR Ti Pro
- Ribble Endurance 725 Base
- Ribble Endurance Ti Disc
- Rondo HVRT CF1
- Sensa Giulia GF
- Specialized Roubaix Sport
- Specialized S-Works Aethos
- Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7
- Trek Domane AL 5
- Van Rysel EDR AF
- Vitus Zenium Tiagra
|Price||AUD $8300.00EUR €5000.00GBP £4000.00USD $4900.00|
|Available sizes||XS, S, M, L, XL|
|Cassette||Shimano GRX800, 11-42|
|Cranks||Shimano GRX800, 40t|
|Front derailleur||Shimano GRX800|
|Handlebar||Deda Zero alloy|
|Rear derailleur||Shimano GRX800|
|Saddle||Fizik Terra Argo|
|Stem||Pearson To The Bar alloy|
|Tyres||Arisun Gravel Plus 38c C2 TLR|
|Wheels||Pearson Hoopdriver Bump and Grind carbon|