With a tagline like ‘Alien in the Mist‘ we weren’t entirely sure what to expect of the latest creation from Pearson Bikes. Custom built in New Zealand by carbon frame builder Graeme Pearson, the Z1-Eleven is surely a radical approach to getting aero, and as such is not going to show up at any UCI races anytime soon. But if you are looking for a bike to tackle a triathlon, and want to eek out every aerodynamic advantage possible, then maybe there is something to be said for dropping the seattube and seatstays for a beam bike…
The Z1-Eleven is definitely eye-catching, with its dramatically shaped carbon frame. Omitting the seattube and seatstays is said to drastically reduce drag on the frame and allow the rear wheel to cut through the wind with less turbulence. To make up for taking out a good bit of the structural integrity of the diamond frame, Pearson makes up for it with a design with oversized vertically deep tube shapes. That said, besides dropping tubes, the bike also remains incredibly thin side to side. While the downtube flares to meet the widely set bottom bracket bearings and the chainstays flow straight back to the rear wheel, the toptube goes the other way, transitioning from the 1 1/8″ (28.6mm) top of the headset to the adjustable seat post, which is just 8mm wide!
The Z1-Eleven is fully custom, so there is a lot of room for individuality, and as such can be made in both very large sizes like the XL at left, or down for smaller riders too. The bike comes out of two basic iterations, though: the standard aero frame set at left, and the radically aero version with integrated nosecone, hydration setup, and stem+handlebar. The integrated solution is all about tying the bike together, with the fork, bar, and nosecone smoothly transitioning into the shaped frame.
In either case Pearson builds the typical Z1-Eleven with a seattube stub that lets the bike run a traditional double chainring setup, either mechanical or electronic. But of course Di2 single ring setups are also possible (see the complete bike below) and now that SRAM 1x road drivetrains are a thing, especially for races against the clock, you can also have them build you a bike without the accommodation for a front derailleur for an even more slippery aero setup.
Pearson crafts the Z1-Eleven one at a time for clients worldwide, having been building beam bikes for over 25 years. That gives them freedom to customize the bikes to suit the needs of riders of any size, fit, or racing style, whether it is a frameset-only or down to dialing in a specific aerobar fit and shape. Pearson also does other custom carbon designs, as well as fabrication for other industries. They are even set up to do carbon frame and component repairs too.