Do the CNC machines in Barnoldswick, UK ever get to rest? Apparently not – Hope has unleashed a slew of fresh shiny bits for 2016 at Eurobike this week, including the all-new Pro 4 hubset, new direct-mount chainrings, dedicated DH-specific components and, after years of teasing, that lustworthy wide-range cassette. Let the alloy and steel chips fly, indeed.
Meet the new Pro 4
One of the best things about the current Hope Pro 3 hubset is its incredible versatility, being adaptable for nearly any axle and cassette configuration. Hope has expanded on that trait with the new Pro 4, including a slightly longer freehub body dimension that’s now compatible with 11-speed cassettes from Shimano, SRAM, and Campagnolo. To offset the closer spoke flange spacing, Hope has increased the flange diameter for what the company claims is actually a net improvement in wheel stiffness compared with the Pro 3.
Hope says the new Pro 4 hubs are stronger yet even more versatile than before
That increase also creates more room inside for a bigger ratchet ring – which now sports 44 teeth for a reasonably quick eight-degree engagement speed – and a bigger inboard freehub body bearing for improved durability. Despite the bigger dimensions, Hope sales and marketing manager Alan Weatherill says there’s no increase in weight for comparable sizes.
Speaking of sizes, there will be plenty on tap (along with six colors, including a new orange hue). Front hubs can be adapted to work with 9mm quick-release or 12, 15, or 20mm thru-axles while the rears will convert between 10mm quick-release or 10x135mm, 12x135mm, or 12x142mm thru-axle fitments. Wide-format ‘Boost’ variants will be available, too, with dedicated hub shells built with broader spoke flange spacing.
The bigger spoke flange leaves more room for a larger-diameter ratchet ring as well as a larger inboard driver bearing for improved durability
Speaking of Boost, Hope will complete the ensemble with matching direct-mount chainrings that feature 3mm offsets for a proper chainline.
The wide-range cassette is really real this time
After what has felt like years of teasing, Hope is finally officially launching its new wide-range cassettes. Three sizes will be offered: 10-40t in 10-speed and 11-speed spacings; and 10-44t in 11-speed only. Both feature a novel stacked layout with the first seven sprockets machined out of a single chunk of steel (not unlike SRAM’s XX1 and Red 22 X-Dome cassettes) and the rest machined out of aluminum.
Claimed weights range from 250g to 284g depending on size, and Hope says that the ratio jumps have been capped at 20 percent across the spread to minimize big changes in pedaling cadence.
If there’s one downside, however, it’s that anyone wanting to use Hope’s new cassette will also have to have a matching Hope rear hub – along with a proprietary freehub body. Instead of using SRAM’s existing XD driver, Hope’s new cassette uses a Shimano-style freehub body that’s slightly shorter to make room for the 10-tooth sprocket and requisite lockring.
The new cassette is basically two cassettes sandwiched on top of one another
New downhill-specific components
On the plus side, that same seven-cog steel cluster will serve as a dedicated downhill cassette. Hope will offer a matching DH-specific rear hub, too, with a shorter freehub body and wider spoke flange spacing that should yield noticeably stronger and stiffer wheels in comparison to ones built on standard hubs.
Completing Hope’s DH component suite is a new alloy rim, with a generous 28mm in between the bead hooks, a tubeless-ready profile, and a triple-cavity extrusion that the company claims is strong enough for “everyday” downhill runs without falling apart, despite a still-reasonable claimed weight of 600g in a 27.5in diameter.
Hope says the new Tech SD rims are tough enough for everyday DH use
Expanding into carbon
Hope may be best known for its machined components but as it turns out, that skillset also comes in handy for carbon kit. Impressively, Hope is expanding into composites but retaining its proud ‘Made in UK’ tagline, not only laying up carbon plies and baking components in-house but cutting all of its own molds, too.
The new carbon seatpost will come first...
Hope’s first carbon product is an ultralight seatpost with a claimed weight as low as 195g despite having variable wall thicknesses to help improve durability. The one-piece shaft and head is topped with the same single-bolt machined alloy clamp assembly used on the company’s old Eternity post, complete with a finely splined interface for what should hopefully (no pun intended) be a slip-free setup.
And a new carbon riser bar will come later
Save for the new Tech SD rims and wheels (which will be available in October), all of the new components are expected to arrive in shops in January. Prices are to be confirmed.
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