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