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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
|Product:||Pro XCR X2|
|Tested:||by Andi Sykes for 6 weeks|
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