Straight out of Lan­cashire comes one of the most highly-an­tic­i­pated bikes of the year, the Hope HB.160

Mountain Biking UK - - NEWS -

We take a look at the hotlyan­tic­i­pated Hope HB.160 and Sara­cen Ariel LT –

We weren’t sure whether Hope would ever put their trail/en­duro bike project into pro­duc­tion, but thank­fully they have. The re­named HB.160 (it started life as the HB.211) boasts 160mm of pro­gres­sive, well-mea­sured travel, along­side some very in­ter­est­ing fea­tures. Im­pres­sively, nearly ev­ery sin­gle el­e­ment of frame pro­duc­tion is done in-house in Barnoldswick.

The car­bon main­frame is mated to a CNC-ma­chined alu­minium rear end, with a Horst Link sus­pen­sion lay­out and Fox Float X2 shock con­trol­ling how it moves through its travel. In­ter­est­ingly, the chain­stay bridge is bonded in place rather than welded. Hope plan on do­ing the same with the seat­stay bridge on pro­duc­tion bikes, say­ing this set-up has per­formed bet­ter in fa­tigue test­ing. The rear brake cal­liper has a ra­dial mount, which means there’s no need to bolt on a funky-shaped adapter when switch­ing be­tween ro­tor sizes. In­stead, Hope pro­vide small, Lego-like blocks to let you make the jump in sizes more eas­ily.

As they make pretty much the en­tire bike (ex­clud­ing the dampers, tyres and rear mech), Hope fig­ured there was no need to stick with cur­rent stan­dards. In or­der to keep the rear end nice and slim, they’ve gone for 130mm axle spac­ing and de­signed the back end to work with a (stronger) dish­less wheel. The pro­pri­etary hub spins on a chunky 17mm axle and has 25mm lo­ca­tion spac­ers to en­sure de­cent stiff­ness.

In terms of ge­om­e­try, Hope have been open about their in­ten­tions to de­sign a bike that’s lively and ma­noeu­vrable, rather than fo­cus­ing on high-speed sta­bil­ity. As a re­sult, reach on the medium is a rather con­ser­va­tive 416mm. BB drop is a healthy 15mm though, and the 65.5-de­gree head an­gle and 435mm chain­stay length are on par with many top bikes. Newly an­nounced shorter seat tubes will make it eas­ier for rid­ers to size up if they do want a longer reach.

Hope will be mak­ing just 500 frames per year, all to be sold as com­plete bikes. The HB.160 will be avail­able by the time you read this, for £7,500.

It may not be su­per-long, but the HB.160 has lots of pro­gres­sive fea­tures Buy­ers can pick the colour of the pivot hard­ware and var­i­ous Hope parts While the main­frame is car­bon fi­bre, the rear end is CNC’ed alu­minium

Our Rob gave the HB.160 a thrash­ing at its launch in Bri­ançon, in the French Alps. Look out for his first ride report in an up­com­ing is­sue

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