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by James Huang
September 6, 2019
Photography by James Huang
British company Hope is best known for its diverse range of CNC-machined (and very colorful) aluminum mountain bike components, but the brand is steadily making inroads into the drop-bar world as well. New for 2020 is a lovely new RX hollow aluminum crankset for gravel and road riding that makes a strong case against switching to carbon fiber for your next drivetrain upgrade.
Hope’s mastery of machining is on full display here. Each crankset half is milled separately from a solid chunk of aluminum, and then nested together. The machining pattern cleverly incorporates built-in spacers and flow channels that guarantee an even layer of epoxy throughout the entire circumference of each arm, and the two halves are also machined in a way such that there’s a remarkable amount of surface contact for an ultra-reliable bond.
Each arm half is still a hefty chunk of aluminum before being bonded together.
Once the glue is cured, each arm then undergoes another machining process to produce the final shape, and then they’re sent off to be anodized in one of six colors: black, silver, blue, red, orange, or purple.
Joining the two arms is a 30mm-diameter machined aluminum spindle that Hope claims will work with nearly every frame fitment on the market (with Trek’s BB90 being one notable exception), and even the threaded bearing preload collar is made of machined aluminum as well.
The chainring spider attaches using Hope’s existing spline pattern, and is held is place with a lockring.
Hope will offer the RX with either a five-arm 110mm BCD chainring spider or a direct-mount single-chainring for 1x setups; both attach to the driveside arm with the same spline pattern used on other Hope cranksets.
Arms will be available in 170mm, 172.5mm, or 175mm lengths, and claimed weight for a pair of arms with the five-arm spider is 510g.
Hope estimates that the RX will become available some time in October, and retail price is £300; pricing for other markets is to be confirmed.
Each arm is made from two pieces of machined aluminum, which are then bonded together and machined yet again. Shimano also uses a bonded two-piece construction these days, but Hope’s design features far more bond area, which bodes well for long-term reliability.
Once the glue has cured, the assembly is machined to achieve the finished shape.
It’s hard to see here, but machined directly into the female half of each crankarm is a small lip that goes around nearly the entire circumference of the bond area. Glue is injected through ports at one end of the arm, and they flow through carefully sized voids until the excess glue exits through similar ports at the other end.
The threaded aluminum bearing preload collar is machined in-house as well.
If you really want to go deep into matching anodized bits for your road or gravel bike, also consider that Hope makes aftermarket four-piston machined aluminum hydraulic disc brake calipers for use with Shimano or SRAM levers, too.
According to Hope, the RX4 calipers not only produce more stopping power than the stock two-piston calipers offered by either of the big “S” brands, but they also supposedly offer more piston retraction for reduced rotor rub.
Hope’s RX4 four-piston road disc brake calipers don’t just look pretty; they supposedly generate more stopping power and are less likely to rub, too.
We have yet to bring any of Hope’s drop-bar products in for review, but perhaps that time has come.