When we first got the press release for Pearson Cycles‘ new wheelset it passed us by slightly. They are mainly marketed as road wheels. We thought it was worth checking whether they’d be suitable for gravel and ‘cross though, and the team at Pearson not only confirmed that they are, but also said that they are using them as such themselves. Let’s find out a bit more then…
Hoopdriver – Rim and disc options
The Hoopdriver range is a full carbon wheelset and is available in rim or disc options. It’s not often that cantis get a mention on GritCX nowadays, but we know a few folk still running them for ‘cross, or on treasured bikes and it’s good to know that good options are still available.
The Hoopdrivers are a high modulous full carbon rim combination of 38mm front and 50mm rear depths, built on to the highest grade with Sapim CX Ray aero spokes and Novatech precision sealed bearing hubs. Pearson says that these elements join forces as one of the fastest, strongest, multi use wheels in cycling. A big shout, but we aren’t going to argue with the around package; it has all the right ingredients.
The rounded shape of the trailing edge of the rim is designed to mimic the same shape formed by the tyre on the leading edge. Apparently, this reduces the ‘wing’ effect that causes buffeting during cross wind conditions and makes a marked improvement to aerodynamics – Pearson claims that the Hoopdrivers are noticeably quick to accelerate and are remarkably easy to hold at a higher speed.
To slow down on the rim brake version, the braking area on the rim wall is roughened to create extra friction when the calipers are applied to improve stopping speeds. The rims are tubeless ready and measure 23mm outside to outside.
- Rim Front – Unidirectional 24T HM carbon. 38mm depth, 23mm external width, roughened extra friction braking surface. 24 hole drilling. Tubeless ready.
- Rim Rear – Unidirectional 24T HM carbon. 50mm depth, 23mm external width, roughened extra friction braking surface. 24 hole drilling. Tubeless ready.
- Spokes – Sapim CX ray bladed spokes high-tensile, fatigue-resistant 18/8 stainless steel.
- Hubs (rim brake version) = Novatech F482SB-SL A291SB sealed precision bearing hubs. Shimano and Sram 11 speed compatible.
- Hubs (disc brake version) = Novatech D711 D712 sealed precision bearing centre lock disc hubs. Quick release or 12mm through axle options. Shimano and Sram 11 speed compatible.
- Rim tape – PVC high strength oversize tape.
- Finish – Matt black with subtle Pearson decals in matt white
- Brake pads included – Carbon specific pads front and rear
- RRP – £1300 (disc), £1200 (rim)
The wheels have been carefully developed following lengthy research by the Pearson’s product development team, who set out to design an optimum wheelset to cope with everyday conditions and enhance the ride of any road bike which was wheeled through their shop doors.
After much sampling of rim widths, depths and hole counts, they landed on a 24 front radial (cross 3 on disc version) and 24 rear cross 3 spoking pattern, on 38mm and 50mm depth rims accordingly. After testing in multiple weather conditions, road surfaces, elevations and descents, this was the format that performed well across the board. With a rounder rim profile and limiting the depths of the wheels they found that riders were less affected by cross winds and enhanced the speed and agility of the bike.
Hence the Hoopdriver was born, first in its rim brake incarnation, then the centre lock disc format followed shortly afterwards. The name incidentally, is derived not solely from a cycling reference of fitting new ‘hoops’ to your bike, but drew inspiration from the HG Wells novel Wheels of Chance (1895) where a Mr Hoopdriver rides from Putney (neighbouring the Pearson Sheen store in London) to the south coast and the freedom that comes from riding a bike…
“Only those who toil six long days out of the seven, and all the year round, save for one brief glorious fortnight or ten days in the summertime, know the exquisite sensations of the First Holiday Morning. All the dreary, uninteresting routine drops from you suddenly, your chains fall about your feet. . . . There were thrushes in the Richmond Road, and a lark on Putney Heath. The freshness of dew was in the air; dew or the relics of an overnight shower glittered on the leaves and grass. . . . He wheeled his machine up Putney Hill, and his heart sang within him.” – HG Wells, Wheels of Chance.