Hope HB.916

Hope HB.916 first ride review: The Perfect Bike?

by 106

Hubba hubba Hope. The Hope HB.916 is one of the nicest looking bikes we’ve seen for quite some time. But does the 160/170mm enduro bike live up to its aesthetic promise?

  • Brand: Hope
  • Product: HB.916
  • Price: Complete bikes from £6995.00, framesets inc. shock, headset & BB from £3,595, Complete minus drivetrain from £3,595
  • From: Hope Tech
  • Review by: Benji for a week
Hope HB.916

Three things I loved

  • Perfect geometry
  • Rides light
  • That weave

Three things I’d change

  • Not a fan of DMR Deathgrips
  • Cheaper is always nice
  • Um.
Non-driveside pic FTW

The HB.916 is very much not a new HB.160 (their previous enduro bike). Everything about it is different. Well apart from what it’s made from (carbon) and where it’s made (Barnoldswick, Lancashire). Actually, the rear travel is the same (160mm) so maybe I’m exaggerating the HB.916’s newness for journalistic effect. Surely not.

The Hope HB.916 is like a complete new project. High pivot with idler and all. Well, high-ish pivot. The idler is not that far above the chainring, certainly compared to other ostensibly similar designs from Deviate, Commencal, GT, Norco et al.

HB = Head Badge?

The looks

I don’t often like to spend time writing about the manufacturing of a bicycle. I usually just prefer to jump straight into how it rides. But clearly, with the made-in-UK weave-tastic CNC-fest Hope HB.916, how the bike is made a big part of the whole thing.

Essentially, it is stunningly well put together. Nothing on this bike is lightly fudged or bodged or sticking plastered. It looks amazing. Crisp yet smooth. It feels like the very definition of precision engineering. It’s so well constructed that it makes you look at the price tag, look back over the bike, and go “yeah, fair enough really”.

Not very high pivot idler

I like to think I’m not that bothered about bike aesthetics. And I don’t think I am when it matters. It’s not that the HB.916 is a ‘pretty’ or ‘cool looking’ bike (although it is very definitely both), it’s that it exudes something well thought about, well designed and well put together. No compromises have been made.

The front triangle is one piece carbon fibre and like all the carbon parts on the bike, proudly displays its weave top layer. Often, carbon with a visible weave looks hideously naff and a bit nineties. Somehow the weave finish on the HB.916 looks great.

Brilliant new brakes

The whole bike is not carbon. CNC’d aluminium is used for the rocker linkage and also on the stays where the pivot hardware resides which allows Hope “to keep pivot bearings fitted into aluminium and spaced as wide as possible to increase bearing life”. Which is nice. Again, kudos to the Crayon Crew at Hope who somehow managed to merge the use of carbon and aluminium without the finished product looking disjointed or with the common ‘wish this was carbon too’ feeling to the aesthetic.

Other stuff: internal cable routing, bespoke rubber frame protection, ‘Butty Box’ downtube storage, water bottle bosses. The headtube also accepts an angle-adjust headset if you want to tweak the head angle a degree. Oh and there’s a neatly done flipchip in the seat stay if you want to run the bike as mullet/MX. Hope have also quietly ditched their proprietary 130mm back end. The HB.916 is regular Boost 148.

New Hope stem

The high pivot idler

First of all, I’m fairly certain the overriding feature of the way this bike rides is the Öhlins parts. It’s always the dampers that have the biggest effect on how a bike rides, regardless of how many pivots it has and where they’re placed etc.

This is not to say the design of a bike’s back end is irrelevant. It does have an effect. It just may not be the most important part of the package. Or a part that can’t be overcome or improved/worsened by what you do with the dampers.

Öhlins front damper

As you are possibly already aware of (and bored with hearing), a high pivot with idler design is meant to offer a rearward axle path without minimal effect on/from chain forces. Rearward axle paths are theoretically desirable as they take impacts in a betterer way that more vertical/forward axle paths. In essence, the rear wheel moves in similar plain to the fork; backwards and upwards. Like a backwards slash, if bike is viewed from the driveside … \

The idler is there to stop (or reduce) the effect of the chain pulling the cranks backwards under suspension compression.

It’s the little things…

The HB.916 is not the highest of high pivot designs. Its axle path is not *that* rearward and it stops being rearward completely in the latter half of the stroke. Nor is the leverage curve as progressive as other modern enduro bikes. It ‘only’ has around 26% progression. Which makes it fine for air or coil shocks (the latter can actually work just fine with designs that have much less progression).

One thing that’s easy to miss is that the bike is not a Horst Link (like the HB.160). It’s an axle-concentric layout. Think Dae Weagle’s Split Pivot or Trek’s ABP. What effect does this have? I’m going to say “not a lot” but if you forced me to come out with an opinion upon pain of death I’d say axle-concentric designs seems to bob a bit less. I can’t say I’ve ever felt any difference to braking or ‘anti-rise’ stuff. Sorry. Maybe it’s just me.

Axle-concentric

The more important stuff

Important stuff. By which I mean geometry, dampers and brakes.

Let’s deal with the last first. The brakes are Hope’s new Tech 4 levers paired with the V4 calliper, running on new-material pads. And they are completely brilliant. Very probably the best brakes ever made in fact. No really. It’s pretty annoying that we’ve just published our disc brake group test recently.

The dampers (journo speak for fork and rear shock) are both from Öhlins and I ended up running them completely open. It did take me a little while to get them to come to life, as it were. Basically, they felt really harsh (almost stiction-y but not) until I reached a very healthy amount of sag, circa 20% fork, 33% shock. I’m sure faster/better riders than me may like them run less sagged but I think it’s worth saying that a lot of mortals should experiment with running significantly softer pressures than they usually do on other brands’ dampers.

Alloy rocker and hardware

How did it ride?

Can you feel the idler? More specifically, can you feel the idler doing bad or good stuff? Well, I could tell when I’d forgotten to oil the chain. I don’t think the pulley drag is any worse than that from the rear mech, it’s more that the idler tinkling noise is easier to hear because of where it is in relation to yourself. Hey, treat it as a lubrication reminder! Once the chain was lubed, the idler never made its presence unduly felt.

The overriding quality of the ride of the Hope HB.916 was one of balance, comfort and responsiveness.

It was a real hovercraft at slower speeds and climbs. Just a really nice place to be. The steep seat angle and decent reach work really well when seated and making progress. The bike really took a lot of body tensing out the whole activity of going uphill.

Öhlins rear damper

Whilst the bike, and indeed the wheelset, is not appreciably lighter than similar travel bikes that I’m used to riding of late, the HB.916 rode incredibly light. I realise this is a real pseud-y journo thing to come out with. Nevertheless, it is true. The bike just feels like it wastes fewer of your precious watts. And even when you’re freewheeling, the bike feels impressively sprightly and chuckable. It is very much not a plough.

How much of this sprightliness is due to the rear suspension design or the use of carbon fibre is up for debate. My 2p: it’s the Öhlins and the geometry.

I would definitely testify to the fact that the Hope HB.916 is a noticeably calm and quiet bike. That sort of stuff is unarguably a result of the rear suspension and the frame construction. Getting back on another bike after being on the HB.916 feels and sounds like you’re breaking bits of it as you descend down stuff.

The HB.916 does not feel like a delicate piece of engineering that needs servicing and rebuilding by a dedicated tinkerer every few weeks. It feels like a reassuring marvel of modern mountain biking that can totally rip any terrain you care to take it to.

‘Butty Box’

Overall first impressions

It makes climbs feel easier. It skips along singletrack. It can ride down anything you point it at.

We had to give our HB.916 test bike back for Hope to take to Tweedlove. I want it back now please. I NEED to find a chink in its weave-tastic armour. Otherwise, it may well be The Perfect Bike.

Specification

  • Frame // Hope Tech Carbon, 160mm
  • Shock // Ohlins TT Air TM
  • Fork // Ohlins RFX38 Air, 170mm
  • Wheels // Hope Fortus 30SC rims & Hope Pro 4 hubs
  • Front Tyre // Maxxis Assegai 29×2.5in WT EXO+ TR
  • Rear Tyre // Maxxis Minion DHR II 29×2.4in WT EXO+ TR
  • Chainset // Hope
  • Shifter // SRAM GX Eagle
  • Rear Mech // SRAM GX Eagle
  • Cassette // SRAM GX Eagle
  • Brakes // Hope Tech 4 V4, 180/180mm rotors
  • Stem // Hope Gravity 35mm
  • Bars // Hope Carbon, 800mm, 35mm
  • Grips // DMR Deathgrip
  • Seatpost // OneUp Dropper Post V2 210mm
  • BB // Hope
  • Size Tested // H3
  • Sizes Available // H1, H2, H3, H4
  • Weight // 15.9kg

Geometry of our size H3 test bike

  • Head angle // 64°
  • Effective seat angle // 77.9°
  • Seat tube length // 440mm
  • Head tube length // 120mm
  • Chainstay // 440mm
  • Wheelbase // 1,286mm
  • Effective top tube // 629mm
  • BB height // 342mm
  • Reach // 487mm
Coming in your inbox once a week

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive Singletrack editorial wisdom directly in your inbox.

Each newsletter is headed up by an exclusive editorial from our team and includes stories and news you don’t want to miss.

We hand pick these deals and refresh them every week.
Singletrack may earn a small commission from any purchases you make

While you’re here…

Review Info

Brand: Hope
Product: HB.916
From: Hope Tech
Price: from £6,995
Tested: by Benji for 1 week
Thanks for popping by - why not stay a while?IT'S FREE

Sign up as a Singletrack Member and you can leave comments on stories, use the classified ads, and post in our forums, do quizzes and more.

Join us, join in, it’s free, and fun.


  • This topic has 106 replies, 40 voices, and was last updated 4 days ago by Jay.
Viewing 26 posts - 81 through 106 (of 106 total)
  • Hope HB.916 first ride review: The Perfect Bike?
  • jordan
    Full Member

    chrismac

    Granted some of the in house components may be a little on the heavy

    This is my point. If their components are on the weighty side then it’s not unreasonable to assume the same engineering team with the same philosophy have made the frame on the weighty side


    @chrismac
    good point but, when I collected my HB130 I was asking Doddy how much abuse it could take as it was being marketed as an all day trail bike. He said not to worry as it had been deliberately over built and as if to prove that those same bikes have also gone on to prove themselves to be very worthy enduro bikes (not in my hands btw).
    The thing is though, my HB130 which is fitted out with pretty much the same build kit as this new bike also weighs in at 15.9kg on my scales. This suggests to me that although the frame looks burlier compared to the 130, they haven’t felt the need to over build this one.

    jordan
    Full Member

    Ben Haworth

    @vinnyeh
    In a word: yes. It’s something to tinker with if/when we get the bike back in. I’d like to have got to the point where things were ‘too open’ and then dial back from there (mainly for reassurance). Stay tuned basically

    I also run mine with everything fully open for general trail riding comfort and that is after having J-tech give them a lighter tune. I would go as far as getting the LSC even lighter tuned next time it’s in for a service. It’s not like there isn’t plenty of adjustment range to tighten them up when needed.

    dirkpitt74
    Full Member

    I think the problem is light & durable aren’t easily achieved together unless you throw squillions at a project – which then means it cost the customer more.
    There has to be a trade off somewhere – and the fact that most carbon frames are now only a couple of hundred grams lighter than the alloy equivalent goes more toward the durability.
    The old engineering adage of Light, durable & ‘cheap’* – pick any 2 but not all 3…… (* in relative terms….)

    a11y
    Full Member

    I would go as far as getting the LSC even lighter tuned next time it’s in for a service.

    I’ll be looking into similar for my charger 2.1rct3 dampered Yari when it’s due a service. I run both LSC and HSC fully open and a Shockwiz I used (admittedly briefly) was telling me I needed less damping.

    There has to be a trade off somewhere – and the fact that most carbon frames are now only a couple of hundred grams lighter than the alloy equivalent goes more toward the durability.

    I’ve noticed that too: only 450g difference between my previous carbon frame (Intense Carbine SL, 3.1kg) and my current alloy one (Geometron G15, 3.55kg). I expected a bigger difference, especially as Geometrons look as robust as brick shithouses.

    chrismac
    Full Member

    There has to be a trade off somewhere – and the fact that most carbon frames are now only a couple of hundred grams lighter than the alloy equivalent goes more toward the durability.

    To me it suggests they aren’t engineered aswell as they could be. Assuming the carbon and alloy ones are both expected to pass the same durability test then the carbon bike is overbuilt and unnecessarily heavy. Either that or the alloy ones aren’t as strong. It can’t be both.

    Tom Howard
    Full Member

    What are bike manufacturers not doing that they could be? ‘Just make them lighterer!’ isn’t really helpful.

    dirkpitt74
    Full Member

    I think bike manufacturers are learning more about the properties of carbon and how the different weaves and layups influence the characteristics of the frame – compliance, stiffness etc.
    This is probably adding to weight as they can engineer a durable frame with the characteristics they desire.
    Also let’s face it – we’re not all Sam Hill or Richie Rude who can hammer the crap out of a frame over a couple of weekends and then get a shiny new one to hammer again.
    The frames have to be built with the ‘masses/all the gear no idea’ riders in mind

    Radioman
    Full Member

    Very nice bike . My only concern would be with the idler design and whether that brings extra wear or maintenance issues. Wish I could afford one!

    stevedoc
    Free Member

    Ive just spent way to much time reading this thread and looking at geometry number on the website, plus the idea of a demo and the need for the extra £500 paint job. But at £1100 saving the Claymore could win.. edited as the shock is extra … the 916 now becomes the front runner

    chrismac
    Full Member

    What are bike manufacturers not doing that they could be? ‘Just make them lighterer!’ isn’t really helpful.

    Im not an engineer. If I was I would be working on making them lighter rather than posting on here. Scott seem to know how to make frames lighter that I’m sure are as durable as anyone else’s

    think bike manufacturers are learning more about the properties of carbon and how the different weaves and layups influence the characteristics of the frame – compliance, stiffness etc.

    I would expect them to hire people who know this rather than use customers as their test team. I want to buy a bike designed by those who know what they are doing, not learning as they go

    dangeourbrain
    Full Member

    Scott seem to know how to make frames lighter that I’m sure are as durable as anyone else’s

    In terms of mountain bikes Scott always come up light on paper, can’t say I’ve been convinced when I’ve picked them up but the calibration on my lifting isn’t very good. Their road bikes do feel like they should be chained down in case they float away on a draft though.

    IIRC giant’s high end alloy frames are often lighter than the carbon equivalent in theirs and many others ranges.

    I want to buy a bike designed by those who know what they are doing, not learning as they go

    It’s not like it’s a work experience kid running the process and discovering it didn’t cure at that temperature. These are cutting edge research labs and the like improving things as they go.

    Tom Howard
    Full Member

    Im not an engineer. If I was I would be working on making them lighter rather than posting on here.

    Lolz.

    ampthill
    Full Member

    The engineering of aluminium verses carbon would be an interesting article

    My hunch would be that engineering a frame for the expected forces in use carbon would be lots lighter. My hunch is that you start adding carbon to cope with the forces that arise from crashes and impacts the weight advantage starts to decrease

    dangeourbrain
    Full Member

    My hunch would be that

    By the time you put in a load of bearings and axles, make linkages that don’t crumble or flex, put in BB inserts, headset cups and 1kg of coil shock there’s surprisingly little weight to shave off the actual frame construction.

    jordan
    Full Member

    Regarding carbon engineering. Hope have close connections (ie the hope founders used to work there) with Rolls Royce in Barnoldswick. When they decided to make frames they got the RR aerospace carbon engineers in to show them how to do it. I don’t think there is any guess work or trial and error going on here.

    Tom Howard
    Full Member

    Scott seem to know how to make frames lighter that I’m sure are as durable as anyone else’s

    Top of the range Ransom is still over 30lbs, just. And £8500. The next one down is £6k and 32lbs.

    Frame weight is 6lbs. Can’t find details on the 916, but given its burly build kit giving a total of 35lbs I wouldn’t imagine there’s a huge (noticeable out in the trail) difference in frame weight.

    Something something system weight something 2-5% something.

    RedThunder
    Free Member

    Very nice. Do they do an eeb version 🙂

    Sharkattack
    Full Member

    Scott seem to know how to make frames lighter that I’m sure are as durable as anyone else’s

    I used to work for Scott and I wouldn’t give them the sweat from my balls if they were dying of dehydration.

    b33k34
    Full Member

    But I am bothered about whether I get up it at all, and on a gbadgery techie climb at my limit 2kg is a huge amount and would frequently be the difference between success and walking.

    I’ve was amazed at the stuff I’ve cleared uphill on my Nukeproof Mega 290. 29″ Wheels, properly sorted geometry that means theres loads of rear wheel grip without the front lifting (but not so long that you can’t change direction or lift the front when you need to). I’d say it’s pretty damn rare that the weight of the bike is what makes you dab on a tech climb.

    And an extra few kg on a bike isn’t pleasant but it doesn’t stop you putting it on your back for a hike-a-bike. I shouldered my Orbea Rise up the Fairfield Horseshoe last week.

    thegeneralist
    Full Member

    I’ve was amazed at the stuff I’ve cleared uphill on my Nukeproof Mega 290. 29″ Wheels

    Mm agreed. The two big bikes that I’ve had (Enduro and Occam) were far better up short climbs than any of my old light bikes, but after a few 10s of metres the additional weight kicks in and it ain’t happening.

    I shouldered my Orbea Rise up the Fairfield Horseshoe last week.

    On the actual Horseshoe? How much of it were you able to ride? We did Grisedale Tarn – summit- western descent to Rydal and looking at the eastern ridge ascent nearly made me go and buy an Orbea Rise just for that 1 ride. It looked perfect for an eeb.

    …but from what you’re saying perhaps not. Was the HaB shortish bits?
    Did the eeb make the difference on the amazing looking ascents?
    Clockwise or anti?

    richt2000
    Free Member

    Everyone moaning about weight – this is a £7k build… which sounds a lot these days but that would only get you an entry level carbon Santa cruz, spech or trek these days.

    If you chuck £10k rrp at a build you’d easily get this down to 32lb with carbon wheels, carbon bits everywhere etc.

    I’ve ridden a 33lb build of this and it feels anything but heavy picking up or on the trail.

    Jay
    Full Member

    I wouldn’t buy one – largely because I couldn’t ride a a non eMTB now to do it justice, but also because it is very fugly.

    teethgrinder
    Full Member

    fugly

    Ebikes aren’t exactly known for their aesthetics

    thegeneralist
    Full Member

    If you chuck £10k rrp at a build you’d easily get this down to 32lb with carbon wheels, carbon bits everywhere etc.

    I’m really not clear what your point is here 🙂
    That if you spend a frankly insane five figure sum you can get a not quite so heavy version?

    Wow, that’s just amaze… no it’s not really anything.

    It’s means nothing. Ten grand is an insane amount of money.
    I mean for ten grand you could chuck the frame in the bin and still get it down to 13kg.

    Have we really got to the stage where the fact that 10 grand buys you a not so very heavy version of a bike is seen as amazeballs?

    Tom Howard
    Full Member

    Can you point me to an off the shelf 13kg 170mm 29er enduro bike, for any price?

    Closest I can find is a 13.5kg 160mm travel one (with flex pivots) for €9500, a Last Tarvo.

    Jay
    Full Member

    Ebikes aren’t exactly known for their aesthetics

    Agreed. It is better than not riding at all though.

Viewing 26 posts - 81 through 106 (of 106 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.