Hope’s Hoop wheel buffet combines their long-lived and versatile hubs with whatever rims you fancy in a top-quality, hand-built format at an excellent price. The result is unbeatable. We normally test the lightweight Hope Hoops options that use Stan’s rims, but this time we've gone for Mavic’s totally bombproof EN521 rim – it’s heavier than the latest trail rims, but then it’s stronger than most downhill rims.
The 21mm internal rims pinch anything fatter than 2.35 a bit narrow, but they’re easy to convert and rarely dent or wobble. Hope also offer lighter, broader Stan’s and DT Swiss rim options at the same price. All their wheels are hand finished to order in their Lancashire factory using top-quality Sapim spokes. The new Pro 2 Evo hub is a significant upgrade for all-mountain uses too. The old rear axle, which had frequent snapping problems when used with cutaway Maxle Lite 12mm axles has been replaced with a larger diameter, thicker walled piece.
You can now change between different axle standards with pull off/ push on end caps rather than a complete axle rebuild as before. You get the stainless steel cartridge bearings of the Pro 3 hub as standard too, with noticeably faster spin from the lower drag seals than before. Make sure you tighten cassettes on firmly though, in order to stop freehub spline damage.
This article was originally published in Mountain Biking UK magazine.