Hand-made in Cuneo, Italy, by CBT specifically for Pearson Cycles, the full carbon Cartouche certainly turned heads when it first arrived in the CW office.
This classic looking fixed is stiff. In fact I?d even go so far as to say it?s very stiff, both under acceleration and at the head tube. This stiffness was reassuring through turns and under acceleration certainly appreciated; the Cartouche bike just whips around the streets. The stiffness doesn?t make for the most compliant ride but it?s not so uncomfortable that you can?t ride it all day.
Down to the finer points of the frame, the reflective graphics are love or hate and the geometry is well suited to road usage. The frame is well finished and has some nice touches, especially at the seatstays. The dropouts are a little clumpy and the chrome finish of the stainless steel looks a tad cheap and out of place on this frame. Most people will use this bike year round and the Cartouche acknowledges this with mudguard and rack mounts, which are a nice touch.
In terms of componentry there?s not much to talk about with a fixed bike, but Pearson has done an excellent job of colour coding the Cartouche. Everything was of a good quality and the Shimano brakes (with Cane Creek levers) worked without fault ? not that the rear was used much! The only moans were the tapered cranks and bottom bracket, being a little too old-school for this modern interpretation; and the wheels, although matching the bike, are on the heavy side, but these can all be changed as Pearson can build the bike to suit.
The Cartouche is a lot of money for a singlespeed bike and goes against the trend that a fixie should be a cheap build, but I can?t deny that I had fun on this bike and that it?s up to the task in hand. It?s the price, a result of being hand-made in Italy in limited numbers for Pearson, that ultimately lowers the final mark.
Distributor Pearson Cycles, www.pearson-cycles.co.uk, 020 8642 2095
Frame Hand-made full carbon 3K weave with aluminium dropouts
Fork Full carbon
Size range 50-62cm in 2cm increments
Groupset FSA chainset
Wheels Halo Aerorage
Bars FSA Wing Pro Compact White
Stem FSA 0S-115 White
Seatpost FSA SL-250 White
Saddle Fizik Arione
Size tested 56cm
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