Pearson HammerandTongs road bike review

A ride that perfectly blends pace and plushness

Pearson HammerandTongs
(Image credit: Phil Sowels/Cycling Weekly)
Cycling Weekly Verdict

This could be simultaneously the fastest and smoothest endurance bike I’ve ever ridden. The ride quality of the stiff, aero frame paired with the big 32mm tubeless GP5000s is just mouthwatering. At £5,650 its value for money is on a par with similar bikes from the big brands, though as a smaller company Pearson will never be able to undercut the likes of Giant. However, if you don’t want to follow the herd and are looking for something a bit different with a local name on the down tube that has a supreme ride, I can absolutely recommend the Pearson.

For
  • +

    Lovely ride quality

  • +

    Balanced geometry

  • +

    Clearance for big tyres

  • +

    Aero efficiency

Against
  • -

    Relatively high price

The Pearson HammerandTongs is the newest, aero-ised version of the London brand's endurance bike. It's named after the way it ought to be ridden but is also intended literally as a nod to the tools used by Pearson’s founder, Tom Pearson, who was a blacksmith by trade when he founded the business in 1860 making Pearson’s officially the world’s oldest bike shop. The current owners, Guy and Will Pearson, are the fifth generation of the family.

Pearson HammerandTongs: frame

This bike was made in a carbon factory in China rather than a forge in Sutton, but the Pearsons have done quite a bit to shape it even though they haven’t actually built it themselves.

They told me their supplier - the same one that makes the Pearson MineGoesToEleven race bike -  didn’t have a suitable endurance bike so they were more or less given free rein to design one. They say it’s still open mould because other brands will be able to buy it from the supplier from here on.

The Pearsons are not at that level of the ‘big boys’ - Specialized, Trek, Giant etc - which is where you need to be if you want to own the whole process including the mould, but that doesn’t matter because this bike matches any I’ve ridden in the past year from those brands. It’s fair to say the Pearsons are punching miles above their weight with the HammerandTongs.

Image 1 of 6

Pearson HammerandTongs

(Image credit: Phil Sowels/Cycling Weekly)
Image 1 of 6

Pearson HammerandTongs

(Image credit: Phil Sowels/Cycling Weekly)

The HammerandTongs is a little higher at the front end than a road race bike (stack reach 557/381mm for the size M) but the rest of the geometry is absolutely designed for fast riding: the wheelbase of the size M measures just 976mm making it feel super responsive with its short front-centre, 406mm chainstays, seat-tube cutout and 74deg seat tube angle.

It comes with that big tyre clearance that most modern disc-brake road bikes have, including the pure race bikes. The Pearsons say there’s clearance for 32mm and our test bike was actually fitted with tubeless 32mm Continental Grand Prix 5000 TLs to prove it - and there was still room for even bigger rubber.

Pearson HammerandTongs: components

This is the top spec that Pearson offers with Ultegra Di2 and Pearson’s own Hoopdriver Tooth & Nail carbon wheels, which are clearly ‘influenced’ by the sawtooth design Zipp uses for the 454 and 353 NSWs.

Pearson HammerandTongs

(Image credit: Phil Sowels/Cycling Weekly)

For comparison the Pearson wheels have a rim depth of 50mm, an internal rim width of 18.5mm, ceramic bearings, a weight of 1,650g and a price of £1,400 if bought separately. Meanwhile the Zipp 454 NSWs have a rim depth of 58mm, internal rim width of 23mm, a weight of 1,358g and a price of £3,200.

Pearson HammerandTongs

(Image credit: Phil Sowels/Cycling Weekly)

Internal routing at the front is becoming normal on bikes at this level, love it or hate it, but it’s true that with Di2 and hydraulic disc brakes you don’t need to change the cables, and once you’ve got your fit you’ll surely leave bar height and stem length alone anyway.

I got on really well with the shape of the Pearson aero carbon bar - super comfortable in all hand positions and a narrow 38cm c-t-c felt really fast.

Pearson HammerandTongs

(Image credit: Phil Sowels/Cycling Weekly)

Another frequent bugbear is the proprietary seatpost. The HammerandTongs has one of those, bladed and secured with the usual wedge in the top tube. However, it was easy to adjust and didn’t slip.

And final potential bugbear incoming: it has a press-fit bottom bracket - which I should point out was completely silent throughout the test period, like the entire bike.

The ride

Before I rode the HammerandTongs I secretly didn’t believe in big tyres and put it all down as hype. I thought 25s were easily enough for the road and any more just added extra weight and slowed you down - but the moment I got on this bike I understood what all the fuss was about. The 32mm tubeless GP5000s paired with the stiff, aero, carbon frame gave it a delicious ride quality.

The HammerandTongs didn’t just feel fast - it was fast. I averaged 21.6mph around my 25-mile test loop on New Year’s Eve, exactly the same average that I clocked on the new Pinarello Dogma F on a warm evening in June earlier this year.

Pearson HammerandTongs

(Image credit: Simon Smythe)

The wind was blowing at 15mph for the ride on the Pearson - almost twice the strength of the wind for the Pinarello - and although the aero tubing of the Pearson clearly cut through the air very efficiently, I found the Hoopdriver wheels a bit of a handful in crosswinds. The sawtooth profile is designed for stability in crosswinds but I found that translated into a slightly unsettling feeling of the front wheel catching a gust of wind and holding onto it like a sail - as it is clearly designed to do - instead of letting go. 

However, you could alternatively spec the HammerandTongs with the Pearson Hoopdriver Cut & Thrust wheels, which have a traditional carbon deep-section rim profile and are likely to behave more traditionally (and are lighter and £100 cheaper too).

Having said that, the overall performance in the wind was seriously impressive - as was this bike’s performance everywhere I took it. I loved the blend of speed and comfort - it’s not easy to get it exactly right and you do need to use high-quality tyres like the Conti GP5000s, but I would say Pearson has hit the sweetspot right in the middle.

My 25-mile test loop south of Reigate has a bit of everything including a short, steep hill and a couple of swooping high-speed bends on the way down. There are some horribly pot-holed lanes and some smooth main roads. 

The big tubeless tyres bounced off the jagged edges of the potholes with impunity and whistled along the dragstrips in between.

There wasn’t a single type of road that the Pearson didn’t excel at. The New Year’s Eve ride was the fastest but on my final outing on it in mid January with a chilly wind from the north I still averaged 20.7mph, a good 1mph faster than I would normally expect for the time of year and fitness level.

Pearson HammerandTongs: value

The Pearson HammerandTongs would have fitted nicely into our £5K race bike grouptest in 2021 (even though it’s not officially a race bike, Pearson has its MineGoesToEleven for that). All those bikes had similar Ultegra Di2-based specs. Would it have beaten the Giant TCR Advanced Pro 0 to the win? Based on ride quality it would have been a close run thing, but at £5,650 the Pearson can’t quite match the £4,999 of the Giant, which also has carbon deep-section wheels and is a bit lighter too.

Conclusion

The ride quality of the stiff, aero frame paired with the big 32mm tubeless Conti GP5000s is just mouthwatering. In fact, it's almost surprising that Pearson has a separate race bike in its range.

At £5,650 The Pearson HammerandTongs offers similar value for money to similar bikes from the big brands, though as a smaller brand Pearson will never be able to undercut the likes of Giant, the biggest brand of all.

However, if you don’t want to follow the herd and are looking for something a bit different with a local name on the down tube that has a supreme ride, I can absolutely recommend the Pearson.

See the Pearson HammerandTongs at Pearson's website

Pearson HammerandTongs
FrameHigh modulus carbon
ForkAll carbon, tapered steerer
GroupsetShimano Ultegra Di2
WheelsPearson Hoopdriver Tooth & Nail
TyresContinental Grand Prix 5000 TL 32mm
BarPearson carbon integrated
StemPearson carbon integrated
SeatpostPearson carbon aero
SaddlePro Turnix
Weight8.2kg

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Simon Smythe is Cycling Weekly's senior tech writer and has been in various roles at CW since 2003. His first job was as a sub editor on the magazine following an MA in online journalism (yes, it was just after the dot-com bubble burst).


In his cycling career Simon has mostly focused on time trialling with a national medal, a few open wins and his club's 30-mile record in his palmares. These days he spends a bit more time testing road bikes, or on a tandem doing the school run with his younger son.


What's in the stable? There's a Colnago Master Olympic, a Hotta TT700, an ex-Castorama lo-pro that was ridden in the 1993 Tour de France, a Pinarello Montello, an Independent Fabrication Club Racer, a Shorter fixed winter bike and a renovated Roberts with a modern Campag groupset.


And the vital statistics:


Age: 53
Height: 178cm

Weight: 69kg