We’ve tested the Hammer and Tongs for a few weeks now. It’s a machine that proved popular among sections of our small test group, and easy to live with.
The ride, like the bold graphics, divided opinion. Some testers really liked the solid feel; others thought it a little characterless, and complained of feeling isolated from the road. The common thread among the riders who liked the feel of the Pearson was weight: heavier test pilots enjoyed it more than lighter riders.
The rear triangle is the locus of ‘feel’ on many frames. On the Hammer and Tongs, the robust, semi-triangulated seatstays not only bring an air of visual strength to the chassis, noted in the ‘first look‘, but we suspect they hold the key to its ride quality. Lighter riders, the sub 70kg crew, felt that the bike wasn’t telling them anything – that the frame rumbled over the surface, absorbing imperfections in the road surface, not all together a bad thing. Heavier test pilots, however, found that the back of the bike absorbed vibration from the tarmac, while praising the frame as lively and sprightly.
Pearson have been bold with the setup of this intriguing bike. A tall front end, noted again in the ‘first look’ article, enabled us to achieve a very comfortable upright position on the tops, and with the spacers out and the stem reversed to negative rise, still able to get a fairly racy position on the drops. The tall front end does make for a more compact feel in the top tube, but adding extra length onto the stem or changing the geometry of the bike would take away some of it’s character. The Hammer and Tongs handles swiftly enough, the front end tracking well and remaining composed on rough surfaces, even mid corner at speed. Uphill is more of a steady affair, with gradual progression rather than flighty acceleration the order of the day.
Our test model is essentially the Shimano Ultegra 6700 model sold for £2,500, but with Shimano RS30 hoops rather than the Mavic Ksyrium Elites advertised on the website. The Mavics will certainly spin up a little faster than the tough but weightier Shimano offerings. The £2,500 price bracket is a crowded area, and there are fine offerings from the big names; Trek will sell you a Domane 4.5 which comes with almost a full Ultegra groupset as well as Bontrager’s new tubeless ready Race wheels. Specialized will equip you with the Roubaix Comp, with a smattering of parts from Shimano’s105 and Ultegra ranges (note – they may use a Tiagra chain). So Pearson are playing with some of the big hitters, and doing a very individual job while in the game; a stance worthy of respect, we’d say.