Hope Carbon Handlebars 35mm: Premium Look and Balanced Stiffness [Review]

Handlebars are often the first thing to go private label so brands can save money on a build. Look at many of the more affordable build options in a model’s line and they’ll have a no-nonsense set of aluminum bars with a plain finish with the bike brand’s name on it. 

This cuts out the middle man and bars are one of the components that don’t tend to make a dramatic difference in ride feel.

Thus, there is often room for handlebars to be one of a rider’s first upgrades. 

UK brand hope, known for their brakes, hubs, and finely machined aluminum components, has a new set of carbon bars, properly named ‘carbon handlebars 35mm’ and they offer a commanding ride position and a refined appearance. 

The Hope 35mm carbon handlebars are recommended for trail and all-mountain use with an 800mm width, 20mm rise, 5° of upsweep, 7° of backsweep, and a weight of 225g. There’s also a 31.8mm clamp diameter version with the same measurements and Hope says that the 35mm bars are now more compliant than the previous 31.8mm version.

Performance

I set the Hope 35mm carbon bars up on a Privateer 161 enduro bike and have spent some good time descending with them. Installation was easy, made even easier thanks to the printed side-to-side measurements that help properly align the bars and controls.  Hope advises to set the bars to the middle of the grid where it aligns with the center of the stem and then they can be rotated forward or back to the rider’s preference. 

After trimming them down 5mm on each side, I installed my remotes and tightened the stem down to spec, based off the stem’s recommendations. Hope says the bars shouldn’t be trimmed shorter 760mm wide.

At the zero mark, the bars set the rider up in a position that’s primed for the attack mode. The amount of up and backsweep are moderate and should fit most people well for the all-mountain/trail category. 

Hope says they revised the bars because the previous versions felt too stiff, according to riders. The newest version feels compliant, but is still quite stiff. I wouldn’t say they are too stiff, but after long descents, it’s evident they are carbon handlebars. Previously, I’d had a set of 31.8mm aluminum bars installed. 

Long rides have been where I usually need to shake my hands out with the Hope bars, and where I’ve thought of them as still a bit stiff. On shorter rides, maybe an hour or two, I haven’t noticed them so much. 

The Hope bars have a very nice finish to them with an intricate carbon weave that draws attention. They have certainly added a little bit of pizazz to my bike. 

Closing thoughts

The Hope 35mm carbon handlebars are a nice upgrade for people who want a high quality set of bars under their mitts. The specs are moderate and the bars balance compliance and stiffness well. 

  • Price: $205
  • Available at Amazon.

Party laps

  • Printed markings make setup easy
  • Dialed angles for trail riding
  • Good looking finish

Pros and cons of the Hope 35mm carbon handlebars

Dirt naps

  • A little stiff for longer rides
  • Pricey