Hope’s latest race-focussed cross-country bike brakes pair a modified X2 two-piston calliper with an all-new XCR Pro lever, featuring a carbon fibre blade and radial body.
Bleeding is a fairly easy process with Hope’s own kit, which uses a gravity-fed procedure – having cut the hoses to length and routed them through our test frame, we achieved a good bleed on the first try.
The lever’s hinged clamp is compatible with Hope’s Tech 3 mounts, so both Shimano and SRAM shifters can be attached to it, instead of taking up additional bar space. However, with the left-hand brake lever in the most comfortable position for us, we found that our SRAM AXS shifter (the original, rather than the updated shape) was a little further from our hand than we’d have liked – a small ergonomic niggle.
The lever blade has reach adjustment via an easily accessible Allen bolt, but doesn’t feature bite-point adjustment (in line with other high-end XC brakes).
At the business end, the hose enters the one-piece, CNC-machined calliper via an adjustable banjo. While the range of movement isn’t massive, it did aid us in getting a clean hose run through the rear triangle.
The pads have a lightweight aluminium backing pad and are held in place with a paper-clip-like threaded pin. Overall build quality is great.
The XCR Pro X2s have good levels of power, with 180/160mm rotors – certainly enough for a lightweight bike used for XC and marathon-type riding.
They have a classic Hope feel, with less bite than Shimano’s stoppers and less build-up than SRAM’s.
Power increases linearly as you pull the lever – there’s no sudden increase towards the end of the stroke. Effectively, this means they’re easy to modulate, and power control is good.
All-out stopping force is a bit lacking compared to the XTR brakes, but comparable to the SRAM Level brakes that were also on test.
There’s no knurling on the carbon lever blade to improve grip in the wet, but it feels good under your finger. With a touch of flex and a less powerful return spring than Hope’s Tech 3 lever, it shouldn’t contribute to arm pump.
In the wet, we noticed a bit of squeal and some warbling under heavy braking, but neither affects the stopping performance of the brakes.