Pearson Minegoestoeleven Dura Ace Di2 review

Dave Bradford sets a PB on his test loop riding the aero machine from 1860 founded Pearson

Cycling Weekly Verdict

This bike is good-looking, high-specced and very fast; it absolutely fits the bill as a flagship model. My one hesitation is that, for most of us, a buying decision when you’re spending £6,750 has to be made very carefully, even if it does still represent good value over the competition. The Minegoestoeleven is a very worthy ‘pride and joy’ model or ‘Sunday best’ for sultry, Segment-stealing summer weekends, but I’m not convinced it’s quite as versatile as you would want if it were to be your one and only bike. To use a car analogy, it’s more sunny day convertible than everyday hatchback. When you’re feeling so good that tearing along at 10/10 just isn’t quite enough, this is the bike you’d want to be on; it goes that one setting higher.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Subtle, uncluttered style

  • +

    Aerodynamic - it’s fast

  • +

    Top end Dura Ace Di2 build at lower price than mainstream brands

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Single race focus

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What first strikes you about this bike is its weird name, and a look through the Pearson collection will demonstrate that this is no one-off: every bike from the 1860 founded retailer turned manufacturer has a creative title.

>>> View the bike: Pearson Minegoestoeleven from £4,200

In this case, Minegoestoeleven is of course a portmanteau of “mine goes to 11”, which is a reference to the 1984 mockumentary This is Spinal Tap about a fictional band whose proudest boast is their loudness. At one point in the film, singer Nigel demonstrates a special capability of the band’s amps.  

“You’re on 10 on your guitar. Where can you go from there?... What we do if we need that extra push over the cliff, we go to 11.”

I was two years old when the film was released, so the bike’s name meant nothing to me until I was called upon to google it. If Spinal Tap’s party trick is ‘going to 11’ on loudness, presumably the Minegoestoeleven is promising to do the same on the speed dial. On that, it delivers.

The frame

Pearson is a British brand that predates even Cycling Weekly. The firm has recently left Sutton, moving all operations to its Sheen store in west London, but it’s still family-run, with the fifth generation of Pearsons, brothers William and Guy, at the helm. 

Pearson does not hide the fact that its carbon frames are made using open-moulds sourced from the Far East – rather than being designed in-house like the brand's metal frames. If you’re a carbon connoisseur, you might be hankering after a proprietary frame, but my view is more pragmatic – what matters is how it functions and how it looks, and this method allows Pearson to bring the bikes in at a lower price point.

The Minegoestoeleven’s aero-profiled carbon monocoque frame, with aero seat post to match, integrated bars and discreetly routed cables give it beautifully clean, sleek lines. The mirrored-lettering graphics, blue on black, add to the subtle, classy overall aesthetic. It was very nearly love at first sight.

The current model – the one I tested, in DuraAce Di2 trim – is the second iteration of the Minegoestoeleven. I checked with William Pearson on what had changed: “The update was to the bars – the new version are much more robust and have less flex than the first iteration,” he explained. “We have also just launched a fully integrated two-piece option as used on the Hammerangtongs.”

I can certainly vouch for the stiffness, as I didn’t notice any flex from the bars even while climbing at full pelt. My one very minor complaint is that, because of the wide, flat shape of the bars and stem, fitting a Garmin requires a special mount – with nowhere to attach the elastic bands of my regular round mount. This is the price you pay for optimum aerodynamics; if I wanted to record data, I would have to wear my Garmin wrist watch – needs must when the Devil rides! There are mounts available to suit aero bars, but it's an additional purchase. 

Pearson describes this bike as having “a versatile geometry which will suit aspiring road racer or everyday enthusiast alike.” That’s a very wide spectrum of riders to keep happy. The firm’s method is to start with fit – get the prospective buyer measured, have a chat about any injury history (either in person or online), and work progressively towards the final fit and spec to suit. A boon in this respect is the Minegoestoeleven’s 40mm of steerer spacers, allowing you to raise or slam the stem and bars to suit your preference. “We’re aiming to offer something close to a bespoke bike at an off-the-bike price,” added William Pearson. 

No such fitting luxury for this tester, of course – I was left to get on with it. Assuming this bike would be fast enough without straining my own flexibility, I left the spacers in place, and was glad I did. The size Medium tested - which comes with a stack and reach of 550mm/389mm - seemed to suit my 5ft 11in frame near-perfectly; the reach and overall position felt comfortable after the bare minimum time making basic adjustments. 

Given the clear wind-cheating priorities of this bike, I was half-expecting it to be relatively heavy – but I was wrong. On my scales, it weighed in at just 7kg (quoted as 8.2kg in Ultegra Di2 trim), which compares favorably to the Minegoestoeleven’s main rivals and even beats more expensive aero road bikes. It feels just as rapid when you head into the hills. 

Having said that, climbing would not be a major factor in the speed test I had planned. My regular 23-mile loop on the backlanes of East Sussex is largely flat, rising only 150ft at its highest point. I’d ridden this loop briskly a few times in the past, and the fastest average speed I’d recorded was just over 21mph. On my first serious attempt on the Minegoestoeleven, I was nearly three minutes faster, with an average speed of 22.4mph. What really blew me away was that it had felt almost easy – my average heart rate was 159bpm, which is barely above sweetspot. This was no fitness miracle; it was all about the bike. My mate Big Al, whose segment record I’d smashed, was livid, and promptly dusted off his TT bike in desperation. Several attempts later, he still needs to find a full minute to reclaim the crown. So while the Minegoestoelven is not accompanied by wind tunnel data, I would say this aero frame is faster than the traditional round tubed frame I would typically ride.         

The spec

This bike comes dressed in DuraAce Di2. Similarly specced bikes from mainstream bands can cost as much as £10,000, the nearest value exceptions include the Scott Addict RC pro, £7699, and the Canyon Ultimate CFR, £7,899 with DuraAce (albeit with a power meter).

DuraAce may be due an update in the near future, but the precision and responsiveness of the shifts were utterly flawless. In terms of gearing, the 52-36 chainset and 11-28 at the back felt like an ample spread that wouldn’t have left me wanting even if I’d been taking on much hillier terrain. Since Pearson builts its bikes custom, the gearing could be selected by the customer.

The Selle San Marco Short-Fit saddle is of a quality that befits the rest of the build, and suited me well. The seatpost is secured using an expanding wedge, I found this had a tendency to slip unless held in place, but that's not an uncommon experience with such a solution. Being aero-orientated, the Minegoestoeleven would be forgiven for being at the harsher end of ride quality, but again it surprised – the frame did a remarkably good job of soaking up the lumps and bumps.  

Scrubbing off speed is taken care of by DuraAce 9070 Di2 flat-mount hydraulic brakes, which performed as flawlessly as the gears – never remotely grabby or underpowered, just reassuringly consistent.

The one area where I felt this bike was prioritising aerodynamics a little too much was the deep-section wheelset – own-brand, tubeless-ready Hoopdrivers, 50mm-depth rear and 38mm front. Riding in very blustery early autumn weather, I was occasionally unnerved by the extent to which the front end caught the gusts. Personally I’d happily sacrifice this particular aero gain for less buffeting, and of course customers to Pearson could choice their own wheelset. 

The ride

Crosswinds aside, this bike was always a pleasure to ride. It is astonishingly fast, which brings its own rewards – the way it picks up speed and zips along is nothing short of addictive. Comfort is also good for a bike this racy, with plenty of scope for individual tailoring. 

It doesn’t have the most planted or stable feel, and this liveliness at first made me tentative about tipping in to corners. But once committed to the corner, it feels superbly sure-footed and my doubts were instantly eased. Over time I came to feel that this bike is most contented while cornering, almost as though it’s begging to be flicked through a set of S-bends at every moment. Given its straight-line speed, the combination creates a heady mix that's ready to race. 

>>> View the bike: Pearsons Minegoestoeleven from £4,200

It would be unfair to criticise the Minegoestoeleven for being too racy, as its intentions are clear; I just wonder whether it might be a tad too focused for the “everyday enthusiast” – no machine can really be all things to all riders.

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