Hope Technology Crankset and Retainer Ring Review

Hope Technology is a company known for their no B.S., made in the UK, machined components. Probably like many of you, my first set of “nice” hubs were from Hope. Those Pro 2 hubs struck a solid balance of weight, durability, and cost. After several years I detonated the rear hub during a particularly expensive trip to Moab, but the front hub is still in use today, almost 10 years later.

CNC'd goodness from Hope
CNC’d goodness from Hope

Hope’s crankset, fittingly named “Crankset,” was long in the making and highly anticipated. I’ve spent the past six months riding on these CNC’d beauties, and I’m here to report what I found out.

Specs

The crank arms are available in three lengths: 165, 170, and 175mm. They are made from 7075 aluminum and are forged, and then machined to trim off excess material. Hope uses a massive 30mm diameter axle, and the cranks can run a variety of chainring options. Riders can choose from direct mount rings, a 104 BCD single ring, or a 64/104 BCD double ring setup. In typical Hope fashion, there are several anodized color options to choose from.

DSC_1446

These cranks were going on a classic-looking hardtail, so I opted for a silver set, with 175mm-long crank arms, a 32T 104 BCD chainring, and Hope’s threaded bottom bracket. The whole package, including the BB, came in around 750g. That’s impressively light for an aluminum crank.

Installation

The packaging of the cranks is swanky, with all the little parts nestled in die-cut foam. When compared to a crank from Shimano or SRAM, you’ll find more little bits with Hope’s offering. That translates into a more involved mounting process. Hope includes the tool you’ll need for installing/removing the chainring spider in the box, but if you use one of their threaded bottom brackets, be sure to order the tool for that. The cups are oversized, and a standard BB tool won’t work.

After 400+ miles and zero maintenance, the BB bearings are still buttery smooth
After 400+ miles and zero maintenance, the BB bearings are still buttery smooth

While mounting is more involved, it’s not that difficult. The instructions Hope provides are detailed and clear. Before getting started, I read through them a couple of times, just to familiarize myself with the process. Once I got the wrenches out, it was smooth going. If you’re used to working on your own stuff, read the instructions, and take your time–you shouldn’t have any problems mounting these up. If you skew towards ham-fistedness or lack patience, you’re better off having your local shop put them on for you.

Hope Crank Collage
A look at the splined interface and the attachment for the spider. (Note: I had swapped the chainring to a 30T for bikepacking use when these photos were taken, Hope’s ring was used for the duration of the test)

On the Trail

I’ve put over 400 miles on these cranks in a variety of conditions, and they’ve been excellent. They feel as stiff as any other quality crankset I’ve used from the bigger brands–aluminum or carbon. The arms show barely any signs of wear–just a few nicks on the ends where I’ve bashed them into rocks, but that’s to be expected. There is some wear around the heel area, but it mostly looks dingy. A couple minutes with some steel wool cleaned it right up.

Doing what cranks do
Doing what cranks do

At the very end of the test I did notice a clicking noise coming from the cranks, and when I checked, there was a bit of play. After I snugged up the preload collar, the play went away and the noise stopped. That’s literally the only maintenance I’ve had to perform on these cranks since I put them on. The bottom bracket still spins smoothly, even after riding in summer rainstorms here in Georgia and not receiving any special attention.

Hope’s take on narrow-wide chainrings, which they call the Retainer Ring, has been just as maintenance-free as the rest of the crankset. The 32T ring that I received weighed around 42g. Hope also offers them in 30T, 34T, and 36T sizes in three colors: black, silver, or gold. I did not drop a chain over the course of the test, and the lack of wear shown on the teeth is impressive. While I tested a 4-bolt version of Hope’s chainring, they do make spiderless rings for their cranks in even tooth counts from 26T-36T.

Final Thoughts

If you’re after a high-quality crankset but the offerings from the major players don’t stoke your spokes, check out Hope. While they are expensive at around $600 retail for the whole setup, that’s on par with a set of XX1 or XTR cranks. Here’s the price breakdown:

  • $350 arms
  • $50 spider
  • $75 chainring
  • $134 bottom bracket

You get what you pay for, though, and in this case what you get is an awesome product: a functional, durable, beautiful, and unique crankset that can follow you from bike to bike for years to come.

Thanks to Hope for providing the cranks for review! 

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