Hope’s Pro 2 hubs have proved to be a popular choice for many mountain bikers since they hit the shops late in 2005. CNC-machined hub body and sealed cartridge bearings took care of themselves, meaning more riding and less workshop time. Then Hope decided they could better their best, and so the Pro 2 Evo was born.
The Pro 2 Evo comes with a full set of stainless steel bearings making the hub smoother, free running and longer lasting, so it needs even less maintenance than before. The old 15mm axle has gone and has been replaced by a stronger 17mm version. The rear hub is still as noisy as ever thanks to the 24-tooth steel ratchet, and engagement is almost instant giving you power exactly when you want it. There's a choice of 9mm quick-release or 15/20mm through-axle front hubs.
Stan's Alpine rims are the lightest in their ZTR range. They're designed for cross-country racing, with each rim weighing in at just 330g. What’s more impressive is that our test wheels weighed 1,560g for the supplied 15QR versions. The fact a tubeless rim tape wasn't supplied was disappointing, but the easy application of a 21mm rim tape from Stan's will seal a pair of Alpines and make them ready for tubeless action.
The ZTR Alpines hold a deep section shape, helping to provide strength, but keep themselves narrow, measuring just 23.2mm wall to wall. We ﬁtted a range of tyres to the wheels in various widths. All the tyres used seemed to seat very high which did nothing for conﬁdence. Tyres up to a 2.3in went on with minimal effort, but ﬁtting a 2.4in to the front did demand thumbs of steel.
Out on the trail the wheels feel solid with point-and-shoot accuracy and instant power at the back. With the spokes tightly strung, they feel stiff and responsive and are happy to take you into corners as fast as you can push. You'd imagine a set of hoops at this kind of weight would lack the one thing most trail riders want – strength. Well our wheels had a tough few weeks and were given a beating on some of the UK’s toughest singletrack, as well as being raced in horrendous wet and muddy conditions. They kept their shape against the odds, which leads us to believe that you'll struggle to ﬁnd a lighter, better performing wheelset for under £350.