Reviews / Wheels
Purveyors of fine quality British engineering, Hope have been at the forefront of component manufacturing for what seems like forever. Having developed an almost legendary reputation in the bike industry, they represent durability and reliability to the core, alongside an 'if it ain't broke don't fix it' mentality towards product development. For many years now the Pro II hubs have served as the starting point for a reliable set of wheels, with the telltale sound of an angry mechanical wasp removing any need for a bell to warn others of your imminent arrival.
Having used the Pro 2s over the years, and then the EVO version, I did wonder what could be done to improve on these hubs. Better cutting tools, bigger ratchets, a larger hub body and a few bearing tweaks here and there all add up to a new and improved version of a classic. While the hubs are new beasts, the rims are Hope's own Tech Enduro hoops, which feature 23mm internal, 28mmexternal widths and a triple cavity construction.
Hubs and rims are stitched together with 32 stainless double-butted spokes and silver brass nipples into the wheelset we see before us here. Straight pull hubs are available as are all hub spacing options including the much-maligned Boost, and the more classic 135mm QR. Weights come in at 943g for the front and 1059g for the rear and with some tape and valves can be run tubeless. Colour ways on the hubs are numerous; Black, Silver, Blue, Red, Purple or Orange, but the rims are black or, er, black.
Straight up these are a lovely looking set of wheels, the anodised hubs have a great finish, and the build quality feels exceptionally solid, and a quick check of the freehub confirms that the angry buzz is still alive and kicking. Swapping out axle caps is straightforward and satisfying, each adaptor fitting with precision into the hub body. Tubeless set up was no bother with some tape and valves, Schwalbe tyres popping on easily with a track pump. Now the 23mm width may not be at the more progressive end of rim measurements, but it's wide enough to give a good profile to large volume tyres, in this case, 2.35s.
Tested on multiple 150 or 160mm enduro bikes, they've been raced in New Zealand, Scotland, and hammered down our local trails repeatedly, in an effort to give them a severe beating. Hub engagement is as solid and satisfying as the sound it produces, and never skipped a beat during the test. Swapping cassettes after a month showed us some grooves in the freehub body, but not as deep as I have experienced in the past with the Pro 2 body. As far as the hubs go, they are pretty hard to fault. Although I haven't needed to swap any bearings, the process is as easy as ever to tap out the old and press in the new, giving simple serviceability.
The rims, however, did eventually give in to our punishment, and we managed to get some dings into the rear wheel, but these were small and easily straightened out with no further issues. After the first few rides, there was a fair amount of spoke tightening to do to keep things running stiff and true, but this is not totally unexpected for a brand new wheel, but worth remembering that they may not be totally fit and forget. That said, once settled down, there has been no further need to tighten spokes.
With so many futuristic carbon wheelsets out on the market at the moment, it's great to know that you can still get a solid, dependable and cost effective wheelset that can turn it's hand at almost any discipline. The hubs are pretty hard to fault, and the improvements should iron out any niggles that existed with the Pro 2 EVO. The rims could be wider, and perhaps slightly more robust for the demands of the modern enduro rider, but as a package, these wheels are hard to beat.
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By Ewen TurnerEwen Turner is a self-confessed bike geek from Kendal in the Lake District of England. He runs a coaching and guiding business up there and has a plethora of knowledge about bikes with an analytical approach to testing. His passion for bicycles is infectious, and he’s a ripper on the trails who prefers to fit his working life around his time on the bike.
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Dan, Joe and Edgar