There are three versions available depending on platform size, the RC, TC (tested here), and GC, which stand for Race, Trail, and Gravity.
Hope Technology TC Union details and specifications
Hope’s TC Union pedals are competitive in terms of weight at 450g per pair. For reference, all three variants of Hope’s new pedals have a starting weight within 16g of each other.
The TCs are built around a Cr-Mo axle (a titanium one will also be available), using three sealed bearings and a Norglide bushing to keep them spinning freely.
Of course, being Hope, the pedals’ bodies, which are available in six anodized colours, are CNC’d from aluminium billet. They feature four removable pins per side for additional grip when riding clipped out.
The clip mechanism is spring-loaded at the front and back. It’s made from stainless steel, so shouldn’t corrode or lose its looks throughout the life of the pedal.
Hope has forgone using SPD-compatible cleats and used its own proprietary system. It supplies two sets of cleats with either four degrees of float and a 12-degree release angle, or five degrees of float and a 13-degree release angle.
The pedals use a spring tensioning system, very similar to a Shimano SPD mechanism, which uses a 3mm allen key to wind on or off entry and release tension to your personal preference.
Hope Technology TC Union performance
If you like the feel of Shimano SPDs, you’ll feel right at home clipped into the Hope TC Unions.
I like my clips to have a reasonable amount of tension, so as not to easily clip out accidentally, but not be too tight, meaning that if I need to dab a foot or use a leg for balance I’m not hindered. I set the spring tension to about halfway through its adjustable range.
I settled on the four-degree cleat. I never felt this limited the float I feel comfortable with, so less twisting (12 degrees) to release made sense to me.
That said, on the trail I didn’t find a noticeable difference between the four-degree and five-degree cleat’s release feel. So, for riders who have two pairs of shoes, you can comfortably mount a set of cleats to each and not worry about experiencing huge differences.
Once engaged, the float gives the pedals a little wiggle room so you don’t feel locked in place. There’s a positive response from the springs when twisting to release, though, so I never clipped out by mistake.
The cleats are ejected with a positive push once you unclip due to the dual spring mechanism. I never had to ‘twist a bit further’ or ‘wiggle my shoe’ to get free from the pedal. The cleat release was excellent.
On the flip side, when set up for my preferred release tension, about halfway on the pedals’ tension guide, clipping in was more difficult than with standard SPD-compatible pedals or Crankbrothers’ Egg Beater system.
I found the TC Unions needed more force to engage. For the trail riding these are aimed at, this isn’t an issue. But for gravity-focused riders, it’s maybe not ideal.
I noticed I had to take a fraction longer to concentrate on clipping back in. This wasn’t an issue in most situations, but on difficult, technical trails where my concentration could have been used better elsewhere, it wasn’t perfect.
The platform was large enough for riding on when clipped out and gave a reassuring amount of support. But the mechanism sits proud of the pedal body, and I found no benefit from having the pins installed versus them being removed, because they didn’t contact the sole of my shoes.
With the cleats being larger than with Shimano SPDs, and filling the cleat recess on the bottom of the shoes more, mud clearance could potentially be an issue there. But it’s not something I found to be a problem during testing.
How does the Hope TC Union compare to the Nukeproof Horizon CS?
Both of these pedals are very similar in size and weight, so how do they stack up against one another?
For a start, the Nukeproof is cheaper (£40 at the time of writing, at full retail price). The Nukeproof Horizon is also compatible with Shimano SPD cleats, while Hope uses its own system.
Once clipped in, both pedals feel very similar, with the same four degrees of float, and offer the same amount of support when riding clipped out.
Where these differ is how they feel to clip in and unclip. Clipping in, they require more force to engage. Clipping out, when you reach the end of the float with the Hope pedals you can feel the tension build in the spring as you twist the cleat.
Once the mechanism releases, it pops the cleat out with a push you don’t get from the Nukeproof, where you just keep applying twisting force to release them.
Hope Technology TC Union Clip pedals bottom line
The Hope TC Union pedal is a solid performer with an excellent release feel. Clipping in with a similar release tension to other pedals feels harder, but once engaged they seem very familiar.
A wide range of colours and serviceability makes them attractive, even if the price is quite high.