Hope HB160 - Test by Rob Webb Primera Sports
So I didn’t get that long riding this bike, but it didn’t take too long to get dialled into my style of riding. Firstly, on paper the geometry seems a bit out dated in comparison to modern standards, but don’t let that put you off. It’s a playful bike, it’s a little shorter than some of its rivals but this makes it stand out for me. The Boys at HOPE wanted to design a bike their way and what they wanted to ride and I can see why.
On the trails, rather then just being able to “point and shoot” down a track, the 160 makes you feel, dare I say it “Part of the ride” you can’t just turn the bars and turn the cranks its requires you to put a little more into it.
What I did find the most fun was the agility of the bike. I decided to chuck it into my “loam Track”. This is a random section of dug in corners, built by constant riding, with no tools being used to make them. I kept popping out of them and then hopping back in to see if it could handle the tight bends and harsh braking bumps and I was overwhelmed with what happened. The 160 didn’t buck, bite or try to have me off over the bars at any point. Though it would have given Bill something to laugh about if it did I guess.
Jumping the 160 was fun. Because of the shorter reach, it felt a little more like what I’m used to, being able to take my hands off or whip it round pretty much from the word go.
So, the big one, what you’re paying the price tag for. Hope’s view on this bike is that rather then following the industry standards, they have started from scratch and made their own. They are not trying to create a new standard for everyone to use, the spec they use is only for the bike that they made. Being engineers, they created a frame that could have a better chain line then any thing else by dropping the rear end width and offsetting it. They also use a brake mount for the rear that comes from a motocross bike, so no need for all these washers and setting up times have halved.
The Carbon layup they use is amazing. It’s hard to put it into words so I would check out the hope website and watch the video on how its made. Their moulds are so good there is no need for sanding down and painting so the strength is never affected.
And let’s not forget the rest of the spec, using all their own top end components that you get to pick the colour for and top level Fox suspension.
You also get to have the exclusive card with not many of these bikes being made every year.
Again I would love to get more time on this bike but first thoughts are if you are after a bike that will give you more feedback on the trails and something you can trust every time you ride it. It is super fun and can be flicked in to any thing you want to ride. Yes there are cheaper bikes out there that would do the same but nothing stands close to the finishing details, build quality and labour hours that are put into every bike to make them feel as they should day after day.