Hope XCR Pro X2 Review

Hope XCR Pro X2 Review | How good can 199g brakes really be?

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Fresh new Hope XCR Pro X2 stoppers for XC racers or trail bike riders wanting to save on weight, but do they offer as much power as the competition?

While some brands like to launch new products year on year, Hope tends to build kit and stick with it for a good few years. This is great for customers as we never really have to worry about spares, and it also makes it all the more special when Hope does release something new.

The XCR Pro X2 was released earlier this year and was surrounded by a fanfare of its low-weight, new lever design, carbon blade lever and a whole host of other features to bring the overall weight down to just 199g per end without discs. Like many Hope products, the new XCR Pro X2 is manufactured in-house at Hope’s facilities in the UK. The body of the lever and the caliper are machined from aluminium with any excess material removed to keep the weight down, but the finish retains the typical ‘industrial’ Hope finish.

Hope XCR Pro X2 Review

At the handlebar end, we have a new XCR Pro lever featuring a lightweight minimalist design, carbon blade, and titanium hardware. The lever uses a vertical piston design rather than a horizontal so the lever direction and the piston follow the same path. The carbon lever blade runs on sealed bearings for smooth operation and requires minimal effort which is welcome on long descents. Riders who have used other Hope brakes will notice that the XCR Pro lever doesn’t have adjustment dials for bite point and lever throw, but the lever position is adjustable via a small hex bolt.

Hope has created a hinged split clamp design, similar to that of Shimano’s and means just a single bolt is needed to clamp the lever in place saving a few more precious grams. The clamps are compatible with Hope’s Matchmaker mounts for clean shifter integration too.

Hope XCR Pro X2 Review

Follow the hose all the way to the caliper end and we come across a 2 piston arrangement manufactured from a single block of alloy. You get the same level of high-quality machining here also, with material removed to save weight but not at the expense of durability and performance. The 2 piston design should be familiar to Hope riders, but the new alloy backed pads are a new addition and are again used to save weight.

Rather than the usual rainbow of colours, the Hope Pro X2 is only available in silver with a black hose. We doubt that the anodizing process adds weight to the system and assume the single colour option is to speed up the manufacturing process as Hope appears to be very busy these days.

Setting up the Hope XCR Pro X2

Hope describes the XCR Pro X2 as the “benchmark XC brake” but as I don’t own an XC bike I decided to fit them to my Cotic BFR Max test bike to see how these lightweight stoppers can handle a trail hardtail instead.

For my time with the brakes, I ran a 180mm rear disc and 200mm front disc simply because that’s what I had available. This being a lightweight XC brake I imagine many users would opt for 160mm discs for more weight saving, but with my set up I could see how they handle trail riding. Also worth mentioning is that I used SRAM and TRP discs during my time with the Hope XCR Pro X2.

Hope XCR Pro X2 Review

The brakes come pre-bled with everything attached and installed, but the chances of you getting the perfect length hose out of the box seems very unlikely so each brake also comes with spare washers, olives etc allowing you to shorten the hoses. Fitting to the Cotic was a breeze as the routing is all external and I even managed to trim and reattach each hose without losing any fluid. Still, I ran a bleed to be sure before hitting the trails.

It’s worth noting that the levers cannot be swapped from left to right and that the hose is crimped at the caliper end, another weight saving move, but as long as you do your trimming at the lever end you shouldn’t run into any issues.

Hardly surprisingly the Hope XCR Pro X2 is a beautifully made piece of kit and comes with high-quality hardware. Installation was simple and the brakes have continued to work like new since day one.

Riding the Hope XCR Pro X2

On the trail, I would compare the overall power to be similar to a 2 piston Shimano XT brake set up, only with more modulation. What I mean is that the Shimano brake has a more ‘on’ ‘off’ feel to it in comparison to the Hope, and as long as you’re aware of this the overall stopping power of either brake is similar.

In terms of sheer stopping power, the lightweight Hope has enough grunt to keep you in control on the trail, but it doesn’t match the wheel locking authority of a larger, and heavier 4 piston brake.

The lever action is very smooth, and I didn’t suffer any fatigue on long downhill sections, although I did need to set the lever blade further from the bar to achieve the bite point that I prefer. The carbon lever itself is comfortable and feels as though there might be a very slight amount of flex in it, this adds to the overall feeling of modulation on the trail and is in no way a criticism.

Hope XCR Pro X2 Review

I think personally I would prefer a little more overall power for my daily riding, but as I say I’m not an XC racer, and I feel a lighter rider on a lighter bike would happily get on well with the XCR.

As for reliability, I haven’t had a single issue with the new Hope XCR Pro X2, after that initial bleed (which they honestly didn’t need) I haven’t had to touch the fluid and the pads have so far worn well. The Hope brake is also more consistent on long downhill trails than a Shimano brake. Whereas Shimano brakes often suffer from a wandering bite point issue, the Hopes bite predictably even on long hot, Peak District runs.

Things that we would like to see

  • More colour options. For those looking for more bling, a few colour options would be nice.
  • It would be nice to see a ‘trail’ version of these perhaps with a 4 piston caliper.

Things we loved

  • Excellent quality. You just know that these brakes will continue to work like new for years.
  • Spares availability is excellent for Hope products.
  • Weight. Super lightweight and still pretty powerful.


It’s not often that Hope launches a new product but when they inevitably do, it tends to be a good one, and the new XCR brake is certainly very good. Cross-country riders and racers will love the power and control, not to mention the low-weight and build quality. Even lighter trail riders will get enough power from the XCR if running 180mm discs or larger.

A reliable, well-made and great performing set of brakes with excellent manufacturer support.

Review Info

Brand: Hope
Product: Pro XCR X2
From: Hope Technology
Price: £250
Tested: by Andi Sykes for 6 weeks

Andi is a gadget guru and mountain biker who has lived and ridden bikes in China and Spain before settling down in the Peak District to become Singletrack's social media expert. He is definitely more big travel fun than XC sufferer but his bike collection does include some rare hardtails - He's a collector and curator as well as a rider. Theory and practice in perfect balance with his inner chi, or something. As well as living life based on what he last read in a fortune cookie Andi likes nothing better than riding big travel bikes.

More posts from Andi

Viewing 9 posts - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)
  • Hope XCR Pro X2 Review | How good can 199g brakes really be?
  • steelbike
    Free Member

    Don’t need to read your review ,I have my own , utter crap and they weigh 219g how nice of them to weigh the front only to get the 199g FIGURE BECAUSE THE REAR IS NO WHERE NEAR
    Lot of money for an x2 caliper and quite a flexible poorly engineered carbon brake lever.

    Full Member

    I have not read it either there will probably be some reference to ‘amazing engineering’….which is actually just lots of expensive pointless machining on a product just does not actually function that well.

    Full Member

    10% Power increase over Race Evo lever

    Hope levers have been throwing that ‘10% extra’ for the last several incarnations.
    The pro lever has 10% over the sport lever, the new mono lever has etc etc. We must be up to 70% increase in power from the initial C2 pro to today. 😆

    Full Member

    Have to say I like mine……

    Does what it’s says – it’s a lightweight xc brake. As for the 10% claim, can’t say I’ve notice any difference between the tech3 E4/X2 setup they replaced on my bike – they’re just a little lighter.

    My biggest annoyance – which goes for all hope brakes that use the X2 caliper, is the hose angle on the rear brake isn’t adjustable.

    Lots of money for what they are and I’m sure theres some cycle boom inflation to blame for that. Had to leave the hoses long for the swept bars I sometimes run.

    Free Member

    I’ve not read the comments, but I’m sure they’re full of hatred for a UK company.

    I’m also hoping there’s a ‘Shimano brakes are more powerful than the Hope brakes I used 20 years ago’.

    Come on STW! Bring it on!!!!

    Full Member

    “Super lightweight?” Heavier than a decade-old Formula R1… Which isn’t that big of a deal, except that they’ve made the weight a big deal, while also inevitably machining them specifically so that there’s material left behind that’s not doing anything except making people go “ooooh look, cnc’d!”.

    Free Member

    @Northwind they were really that light?

    ST magazine wanting more colour choices, this is why I rarely read reviews.

    Full Member

    @Al, Yeah, 180g for the standard, bit less for the really pimpy ones, bit more if you wanted the twiddly dials.

    Actually was curious so I looked up my The Ones, they’re 215g with the alu levers, so sub-200g with the carbon. Got a set of those on the dh bike…

    Free Member

    You tested Hope Brakes XC brakes on a trail bike with non-Hope Rotors? Were you a bit busy to do a proper review? These are superb brakes with great feel that work and continue to work race after race (at least that’s what my lad who races them says)

Viewing 9 posts - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)

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