“CNC machined in Barnoldswick, England” boasts the blurb for Hope’s XC stem, and it doesn’t hide its manufacturing provenance. Highly-visible machining marks in the nooks and crannies leave no doubt that plenty of swarf was created in its manufacture.
The somewhat industrial looks won’t be to everyone’s taste, and the same can be said of the laser-etched graphics. A choice of six colours is wider than usual, though. The size range of four lengths in two rises each isn’t huge but covers the most popular bases and includes a potentially useful 50mm size. This is also one of the few stems still available for 25.4mm bars.
Hope have resisted the temptation to machine out every last bit of material, keeping full coverage for the faceplate and steerer clamp. We like the ‘blind’ threaded holes for the faceplate bolts, giving a clean look from behind. Performance is as good as you’d expect and, while towards the upper end of the price range, the £70 pricetag is reasonable considering the work that goes into it. At 162g it's not the lightest option.
This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine.