Hope Evo 155mm Crankset Review

by 36

Rhys has been spinning these rinky dink Hope Evo 155mm length cranks for quite a while now. Are they rad or just a short(!) lived fad?

  • Brand: Hope Technology
  • Product: Evo 155mm Crankset
  • From: Hope Technology
  • Price: £270 no spider, £300 w/ axle and spider
  • Tested: by Rhys Wainwright for 6 months

Hope’s Evo crankset has been around a while now. The classic Hope appearance of machined aluminium anodized in any colour of the rainbow clearly has vast appeal to mountain bikers. The quality and service offered by Hope are second to none making them a solid investment.

The original design was a little too ‘proprietry’ for some folk and required special tools and a mighty 75nm tightening torque. The Evo version fixed that by changing the spindle interface to a tapered spline and reduced the torque required down to 50nm.

In changing the crank-spindle interface Hope also increased the stiffness of the crankset. A change to the machining profile of the cranks arms themselves also yielded an increase in stiffness here too.

Hope offers pretty much every kind of chainring imaginable, in pretty much every colour too. 28-36 teeth are available in boost, non-boost, oval or round chainrings. They all attach directly to the cranks using a proprietary tool – which is included in the box.

As usual for a Hope product review, I declare the Evo Crankset an engineering masterpiece. They really are stunning. Not a single piece has been skimped upon. All aluminium machined perfection. Just so long as you like machined aluminium, otherwise please look elsewhere.

Hope have always offered a generous range of length for their cranks, from 165mm up to 175mm in 5mm increments. However, after some experimentation and testing they have decided to introduce this 155mm length – declaring it the optimum, if you like (or need) short cranks.

What exactly are the benefits of short cranks?

I’m a big fan of shorter cranks. I’ve been steadily fitting shorter cranks to my road and mountain bikes for years now. They were all on 165mm until these turned up.

“Why?” you ask. Because I’m a modest height at 172cm and short cranks reduce my range of hip angle rotation and ultimately allow my legs to work within their most effective range of motion for more of the pedal stroke.

What I mean by this is that my leg is not over extended at the bottom of the pedal stroke, this is a big no-no from a bike fitting perspective and can give serious knee issues if your saddle is effectively too high. It also means my hamstring becomes unable to control the bottom of the stroke leading the knee to flop open.

Conversely, I don’t want my hip and knee angles too closed at the top of the stroke because my glutes and quads will be pretty much useless until my knee and hip have opened up enough to activate those big power generating muscles effectively.

Short cranks mean I can maintain control through the bottom of the pedal stroke whilst still feeling strong and in control with my opposing leg through the top of the pedal stroke.

All of this means I have a more powerful, more controlled, more efficient pedalling motion. A higher cadence feels natural, which is generally considered to be less fatiguing on the leg muscles.

Enough of the bike fit mumbo jumbo, what about any control advantages?

There’s an obvious advantage here; ground clearance. When pedalling you have an extra 15mm ground clearance over a 170mm crank. Having ridden these on my Hope HB.916 enduro bike for the past 6 months I can fully get on board that my confidence to pedal through rough sections has increased substantially and my pedal strike frequency has reduced.

The higher cadence pedalling motion combined with the extra ground clearance means that climbing technical sections with pedal snagging rocks and roots have become much more achievable.

The old phrase ‘spin to win’ has never been more appropriate.

On the other hand, tall riders may find that the cranks are too short and pedalling could start to feel like riding a child’s bike. Be warned and think carefully about how short cranks might affect your riding.

What’s the catch?

The trade off is torque. The shorter crank arm means less leverage and therefore less torque generated at the cranks.

However, this is only evident when you’re in first gear as gears are an effective auto correct for wheel torque. That is until you’re in first gear, then you’re suffering.

Lucky for us this is easily offset with a smaller chainring! Hope recommend reducing your chainring size by two teeth when going from 170mm to 155mm cranks.

Having ridden these Hope Evo 155mm cranks with a 32t round chainring and a 30t oval chainring, I agree. The 30t is much more manageable. The oval chainring also seems to work really well with the short cranks, smoothing power output to make climbing a breeze.

You can certainly feel the loss of leverage when climbing and it’s certainly something to be aware of before you pull the trigger. It’s a downside but a minor one that is easily offset in my opinion.

More on the riding bit…

There are other benefits that I’ve perceived when descending on these Hope Evo 155mm cranks. My feet are 30mm closer together (vs a 170mm crank-set) in the forward/aft direction which feels more natural and seems to give me less quad/calf burn on long descents.

General stability on the bike feels improved because of this too. I feel like my forwards/aft weight shifts are easier and spread more evenly across both legs.

There are as many ways to skin a cat as there are to get a mountain bike around a corner. I rather enjoy the outside foot down, commit to leaning the bike method on flatter and sometimes bermed turns.

The shorter cranks mean that my outside food has more ground clearance but is also crucially closer to the BB giving a less dramatic unsettling feeling when transitioning the bike from a left turn to a right turn and swapping the outside foot.

Overall

In summary, there are lots of advantages to be had from shorter cranks like these Hope Evo 155mm offerings. They need to be carefully considered in your riding style. More importantly you need to consider your bike fit. I would say shorter riders would benefit from these short cranks in most of the areas I’ve described. Taller riders may actually lose some stability and effectiveness in their pedalling motion.

Very few, if any, other brands are offering a crank length option this short. If you think it could be of benefit to you then I’d say they’re definitely worth a try. I love them.

Review Info

Brand: Hope Technology
Product: Evo 155mm Crankset
From: Hope Technology
Price: £270 no spider, £300 w/ axle and spider
Tested: by Rhys Wainwright for 6 months

  • This topic has 36 replies, 23 voices, and was last updated 1 year ago by tjaard.
Viewing 36 posts - 1 through 36 (of 36 total)
  • Hope Evo 155mm Crankset Review
  • 5lab
    Full Member

    its a bit annoying no-one does cheap cranks in short length, as I’d like to try some out to see how they feel. I didn’t notice any real difference switching from 180mm (road bike) to 165mm on my trail bike, so I suspect I’d be fine.

    How hard is it to drill deore cranks..

    1
    matt_outandabout
    Full Member

    its a bit annoying no-one does cheap cranks in short length

    https://www.spacycles.co.uk/m8b0s109p3752/STRONGLIGHT-Impact-Kid-Cranks-%28pair%29

    5lab
    Full Member

    https://www.spacycles.co.uk/m8b0s109p3752/STRONGLIGHT-Impact-Kid-Cranks-%28pair%29

    interesting option, but 110bcd is pretty limiting for chainring sizes on a 29er and I’m not sure how well kids square tapered cranks will react to 85kg of me doing rowdy riding on them :)

    2
    brakestoomuch
    Full Member

    A well-written, balanced, informative review, that. Nice one.

    matt_outandabout
    Full Member

    Agreed – but as a cheap way of trying for a couple of rides and then sell on to someone else who wants a go…? I think spa have a load of 160mm cranks.

    zornitta
    Free Member

    Not sure this can handle agressive ridding too, but can be an option for urban. I will try it on a trike.

    https://a.aliexpress.com/_mL2nR42

     

    zornitta
    Free Member

    It is harder to find 104/64 to go bellow 30t.

    mick_r
    Full Member

    Nm

    Do you raise the saddle 15mm to give the same bottom dead centre leg extension / angle, or set it somewhere in-between? (I presume you don’t leave it in the “normal” 170mm position as that would maybe feel very cramped up)

    lovewookie
    Full Member

    Do you raise the saddle 15mm to give the same bottom dead centre leg extension / angle, or set it somewhere in-between? (I presume you don’t leave it in the “normal” 170mm position as that would maybe feel very cramped up)

    this, and if the saddle height is up, does the bar need to be raised too (for the same seated position)? meaning that a level footed position out of the saddle will feel higher at the bars?

    zornitta
    Free Member

    Good questions. Will send them to Hope.

    gowerboy
    Full Member

    There are short cranks and there are cranks with the pedal holes drilled closer to the centre.  The latter only partly solves pedal strike as it is often replaced by crank end strike.   I like the fact the the holes on these seem to be right at the ends of the cranks.

    1
    rhyswainwright
    Full Member

    In response to the saddle height question: Yes, you’ll need to raise the saddle by 15mm. Initial saddle height is always set from the bottom of the stroke. Unless you;ve been running cranks that are vastly too long and had the saddle miles too high – not as uncommon as you might think.

    Bar height: I like my bars pretty much slammed but if your seated position is sensitive enough to notice the additional 15mm saddle height then yes, a bar height adjustment might be required. I think this one is less clear cut and more a personal preference. My mountain bike bars are miles higher than my road bike bars and the saddle height is the same on all my bikes.

    2
    mashr
    Full Member

    I would have thought that most riders interested in these cranks would have their bars set for standing, rather than seated, position. That won’t change as the vertical position for your feet hasn’t changed when the pedals are level.

    OTOH you’ve just lost 15mm of saddle clearance, which is a shame u less you also want to throw buying a longer dropper into the mix

    benos
    Full Member

    I’m fascinated about trying these. I’m the same height, and dropping from 175mm to 170mm was brilliant, and 165mm was even more brilliant. But pedalling feels weird going back and forth even between 165mm and 170mm (I have a new bike still with 170mm) so I’ll probably standardise on 165mm to avoid the cost of changing them all.

    I also wish shorter cranks were cheaper and more readiliy available!

    zornitta
    Free Member
    bikesandboots
    Full Member

    Many thanks for responding to the good questions raised.

    Lucky for us this is easily offset with a smaller chainring! Hope recommend reducing your chainring size by two teeth when going from 170mm to 155mm cranks.

    Having ridden these Hope Evo 155mm cranks with a 32t round chainring and a 30t oval chainring, I agree. The 30t is much more manageable. The oval chainring also seems to work really well with the short cranks, smoothing power output to make climbing a breeze.

    Running some numbers out of interest on this calculator, assuming 29er and 51T biggest cog on cassette:

    30T 170mm = 1.28 gain ratio
    28T 155mm = 1.31
    30T 165mm = 1.32
    32T 170mm = 1.37
    30T 155mm = 1.41
    32T 155mm = 1.50

    Turnerfan1
    Free Member

    This is interesting.

    Just built up a Cotic and have been clipping cranks on technical terrain.

    Thinking of going 165 from 175 but a little worried how it would affect my position on the bike.

    Running it fairly slammed and am a tall fella at 6’2″ with 34″ inside leg.

    Thanks,

    Max.

    Northwind
    Full Member

    I’ve 165mm on all but one of my bikes now, I’m a little bit pedal-strikey so it’s definitely worth it for thta, and I can’t say I’ve noticed any ill effects. I had 160mm on a bike a while back and I did feel like my feet were a wee bit close together when flat, it just felt odd but again, no actual bad effects, just odd.

    So I guess I’ll try 155mm once some early adopters have bought them and decided to sell ;)

    benos
    Full Member

    @Turnerfan1 I noticed a big drop in pedal strikes going from 170 to 165 (Bird Aether 9, so quite a low BB).

    I’m 5’8” with a 30” inseam, so if anything 165mm is still too long for me, but 165mm was what I could do cheaply (sale price shimano crankarms on the same chainring).

    You’d have to raise your seat 1cm but I doubt you’d notice that. I only noticed the foot position changes, and I thought they were all +ve: pedal circle, flat, and outside foot down. But maybe that’s just cos of my height.

    Yesterday after reading this, I found some inexpensive Miranda 160mm ISIS cranks in the right Q-factor to replace the 170mm ones on my commuter bike (which are too long and quite uncomfortable now that I’m used to 165mm). I’ll see how those work out.

    Turnerfan1
    Free Member

    Interesting that your pedal strikes were reduced from 170 to 165.
    Wondered if I should try 170 or go straight to 165? This is coming from a 175 crank.

    Local terrain has been ok on the 175 but just more Noticible in Wales and more Rocky terrain.

    kimbers
    Full Member

    great article

    I recently went from 175 to 165 on my enduro bike and there was a definite improvement in ground clearance, less pedal strikes

    I did have to raise the seat a bit and felt a bit tougher on those steep climbs-  id never noticed that going from 175 to 170 on my old bike.

    my legs adapted pretty quickly tho

    chakaping
    Full Member

    I have short legs (28in inside leg) and I’ve put 165mm SLX cranks on all my MTBs.

    I’d be interested to try 155mm, apart from that the 165mm ones have already made my lowest gear (28tx46t – on 11sp and 29in) just that little bit harder. I can still do steep climbs but I don’t have the luxury of twiddling up them.

    So I suppose that’s a word of warning for anyone else who hasn’t got a 50t+ cassette.

    benos
    Full Member

    Interesting that your pedal strikes were reduced from 170 to 165.

    I was really surprised by how much difference 5mm could make :D

    Bruce
    Full Member

    It’s not nm it’s Nm.

    bikesandboots
    Full Member

    I noticed a big drop in pedal strikes going from 170 to 165 (Bird Aether 9, so quite a low BB).

    I’m 5’8” with a 30” inseam, so if anything 165mm is still too long for me

    Are you me? :)

    I was really surprised by how much difference 5mm could make

    I was also skeptical. But what convinced me to try was someone pointed out 5mm could be the difference between striking and scraping, or scraping and clearing something.

    benos
    Full Member

    @bikesandboots do you have hilariously wide hobbit feet as well?

    I fitted my new 160mm Miranda ISIS cranks to my commuter ebike at the weekend. The drop from 170mm is really nice for comfort – both on my knees and the thigh-paunch interference zone (10mm shorter cranks means my saddle’s 10mm higher, so 20m more space).

    It’s also much easier to spin a higher cadence – it was actually faster on the steepest part of my commute on same cog.

    Grinding does seem a bit less effective tho.

    Happy so far. Especially for £57 delivered.

    paton
    Free Member
    stevextc
    Free Member

    5lab

    How hard is it to drill deore cranks..

    If you can keep them perpendicular not too difficult then tapping/steel inserts is a doddle.
    It helps to find the right length to cut though for your desired length… you want to drill through where there is plenty of meat and you need 13mm (9/16) plus some meat below where you drill

    mert
    Free Member

    its a bit annoying no-one does cheap cranks in short length,

    How cheap and how short do you mean? There’s one of the 10 speed SRAM cranksets that you can sometimes find in 160mm for about £100.

    I’ve just got my “new” bike swapped over from 175 to 165. The original cranks were utterly battered, some of the gouges had almost flattened the ends of the cranks off, and some of the climbs near me are unrideable due to the pedal/crank strikes with the longer crank.

    Smooth sailing on 165.

    benos
    Full Member

    The 165 mm Shimano cranks on my mtb used to feel small and very comfortable compared to the 170 mm cranks on my commuter bike. Now after a week commuting on 160 mm cranks they feel huge and quite uncomfortable.

    It’s nuts! I got used to them after a while, but I feel like I need the same length on all my bikes.

    What I have learned is that every time I drop a size, it feels better.

    vicksplace
    Full Member

    Speaking of short cranks, does nyone know if you can use the Shimano Ebike crank arms on a standard manual XT drivechain?

     

     

    1
    mashr
    Full Member

    Nope, as they don’t have an axle attached to the drive side crank

    1
    tjaard
    Full Member

    SRAM makes the SX crankset in 155 mm, so a nice affordable option there.

    For lightweight riders, Trailcraft Cycles, makes a kids crankset, but meant for real mtb use, and with a GXP spindle, so fairly sturdy.

     

    I am 6’5” tall, long inseam and use a 170mm crank on my mtb to reduce pedal strikes. No issues with pedaling that length.

    _charlie_
    Free Member

    Thanks @tjaard that is an awesome recommendation that I had not considered

    SX crank at 155mm is a far more palatable way to try the shorter crank movement that is on trend

    Seb Stott talks about the benefits downhill as well as up, which has me even more intrigued to try them out

    tpbiker
    Free Member

    Can only comment from a road bike perspective but..

    3 of my road bikes have 165 cranks

    1 has 172.5 cranks

    the gravel bike has 170 cranks

    the tt bike has 155 cranks

    I can’t say I’ve noticed any difference at all between them when pedaling.

    tjaard
    Full Member

    Unfortunately they seem to be vaporware. Only place I saw them was an Aussie webshop. I am building a new mtb for my youngest daughter. She is 5’9”, 174 cm, so no need for long cranks, short ones are probably better. Also, it’s a Stumpy Evo in mullet mode, with the low/long rear, so really low to the ground. We race enduro, so pedaling hard without paying attention to timing your strokes is common.

    Canfield bikes is the other option. Not quite as cheap, but on sale currently. I got a pair of those.

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