Pearson is the world’s oldest bike shop, having been in existence for 150 years. The Pearson family still run things and their latest bike, from respected and experienced road and cyclo-cross racer Guy Pearson, is the striking-looking and oddly monikered HammerAndTongs.
We love the new Pearson graphics. These manage to combine being bang up to date with incorporating the original shop sign script: simple, bold and resulting in a bike that stands out.
But it’s not just its looks that keep the HammerAndTongs a step apart from the crowd – its geometry is also very different. The arched top tube, with an effective length of around 57cm, leads into a 195mm head tube. But that high front end and the straight-legged fork give you an impression of a much shorter bike when you’re riding on the hoods.
That fork keeps the handling swift, a surprise for a bike that we would expect to react more slowly and less snappily to little nudges on the bar. Thankfully, that just wasn’t the case, and when you get into a more attacking position on the drops of the semi-anatomic standard bar it all starts to make sense.
The standard drop means you get down lower and the long head tube gives plenty of stiffness to the front end. Start to hammer on the pedals – as the name implores – and the Pearson feels planted yet impressively chuckable, its ‘different’ geometry feeling not unlike that of Specialized’s Venge. Not a bad thing at all…
When you’re not going hammer and tongs but sitting up and riding on the hoods, the bike feels much more sedate. It’s very rare that we experience a bike with quite such a split personality, and we quite like it overall. But get into a long climb while grinding away on the hoods or tops and we still felt we’d prefer a bit more length in the top tube. A longer stem could address this, but we certainly wouldn’t want to compromise the swiftness it gets elsewhere.
In all, then, there are bikes out there with a better position for climbing, but not many for getting down on the drops and pushing it to the limit downhill. We’ve adapted to the on-the-hoods position and admire Pearson’s courageous design, setting it apart in a very crowded marketplace.