Hope Tech 3 X2
As an evolution of the good old Hope Mini brake, the X2 was designed to take all the performance of that well known stopper and shave off a few more grams.
It’s one of the lightest brakes I’ve tested in recent times and it looks like Hope could have achieved that balance of power and weight without compromising general performance.
The Tech 3 lever is excellent, its bite point and reach easily adjusted via large glove-friendly dials that could be wound in even on the move.
Those more familiar with the feel of other brakes can easily tweak the Tech 3 X2 outside of the workshop to get a more familiar and instant feel. I loved the adjustments on offer and spent a fair amount of time honing their feel out on the trail.
Added to this was the industrial look of the Tech 3s; before you even tug it in anger they look like they could stop a 747 dead on the runway. You could opt for the lighter Race lever if you wanted to shave off a few more grams, but this is done using titanium hardware and there’s a reduction in the adjustability of the lever.
Given the choice, I would always opt for the superb Tech 3s thanks to their adjustability, but it’s down to personal preference and your weight requirements at the end of the day.
Fitting and adjusting the one-piece caliper is a breeze, too. There’s a banjo bolt for neat cable routing and the top entry pads make maintenance simple.
The good old open reservoir bleeding method of the X2 and Tech 3 combination was a familiar and simple process (where you push oil up from the caliper with a syringe into the lever’s reservoir to purge the brakes of air), if a little more old-fashioned feeling than SRAM’s Bleeding Edge system.
Simple works, though, so I’m not knocking it one bit.
On the trail, I felt the power was perfectly adequate for the vast majority of users and, although they lacked the initial grab of other comparable setups, there was plenty of stopping force and nice modulation available to quickly ramp braking up to optimum levels for the trail conditions
As with other Hope brakes, full power required a firm squeeze, which could result in arm pump on sustained and steep descents, but you shouldn’t really find yourself in that ‘panic’ max braking force situation very often, so I didn’t view that as a significant negative.
The main problem for these brakes is how close the price is to the E4. For an extra £20 and 14g more weight you could have a punchy four-pot power upgrade.
The only downside would be doubling the number of pistons to go wrong, but spare parts and ease of maintenance – or factory servicing with Hope – are second to none.
In fact, that is a huge reason to consider Hope. Pop into any Hope dealer and you can source every nut and bolt, every seal and piston for pretty much every brake it has ever made.
If you are a decent home mechanic, this not only makes buying a Hope setup far more of a long-term investment, but it means that trips abroad or to remote parts of the country can be done with confidence as long as you’ve got a small bag of cheap but essential spares that will keep you rolling.
How we tested
We bolted 10 sets of brakes to our test bikes, with a 200mm rotor up front and 180mm at the rear, and scraped our way down descents, checking for power, feel, fade, modulation and reliability.
Other brakes on test included: