Carbon might be the default choice for a high-end sportive machine, but bikes like the new Pearson Just Killing Time show that titanium can still cut it.
Pearson’s new frame is made from triple-butted 3Al/2.5v titanium. It’s pitched at the sporty end of the sportive spectrum, so there are no mounts for 'guards or a rack. The largest of four sizes, XL bikes get a 22cm head tube and a 58cm effective top tube for a relatively upright riding position (our test bike was one of the last pre-production frames, built to XL sizing except for a slightly shorter top tube). But the 72.5-degree head angle and short 41cm chainstays suggest a lively and direct feel.
That’s just what the bike delivers out on the road, mixing a back-friendly riding position with apex-hitting precision. Forget any preconceptions about titanium offering a smooth ride at the expense of a woolly feel when really getting a move on; it would take more powerful legs than ours to bully any meaningful flex from the frame, and the stiff fork and tapered steerer mean the Just Killing Time goes Just Where You Point It when hammering downhill.
The trade-off for this lively feel is a firmer ride than with some titanium frames; think comfortable rather than plush. Our test bike was specced with a 31.6mm alloy seatpost and 23mm tyres. Pearson Cycles tells us a carbon post and 25mm rubber (the widest that will fit) will be the default build on customer bikes, which should improve bump absorption without dulling the bike’s speed.
And it is quick. Despite weighing just over 8kg, which is hardly featherweight for a bike costing this much, the Pearson climbs well and hammers along on the flat. The Reynolds Assault SLG carbon clincher wheelset is a real asset when you’re riding hard. The 41mm rim is deep enough for a worthwhile aero benefit but also handles crosswinds well. You can knock a chunk off the price if you go for Mavic Open Pro wheels on Hope hubs instead, but if the budget will stretch the Reynolds are worth it.
Shimano Ultegra 11-speed provides excellent, unobtrusive braking and shifting, but if you’d rather have a different groupset, or change any other aspect of the build for that matter, Pearson Cycles is happy to build the bike to your requirements. And if none of the stock sizes fit then custom frame geometry is also available.