Hope's latest handmade-in-Lancashire carbon enduro bike is this one-off HB-916. Aiming for a late Spring 2022 launch, it’s a significantly different successor to the HB-160 that’s currently being tested on the EWS race circuit.
Stick your head in Bespoked, the UK handbuilt bike show, and the stunning craftsmanship and glitzy paint jobs immediately point to how much passion has gone into creations of all shapes and sizes. And, if you’ve not inhaled the obvious pride bursting from often still-warm welds and fresh paint fumes from the rush to ready for showtime, a quick chat with any maker will bring you to your senses.
We begin our showcase series of the best of Bespoked with some of Barnoldswick’s best mountain bike high-pivoting carbon goodness…
Hope’s new HB-916 high-pivot enduro bike
The most obvious visual difference is an ‘on-trend’ high pivot and associated chain idler mounted into the seat tube, but a multitude of harder-to-spot changes lurk all over. One of Hope’s bike engineers, Sam Gibbs, explained how the 916 is designed ground-up to be the best enduro race bike the brand can make, which, first off, means much more progressive geometry than the do-it-all shape of the HB-160. Longer reach numbers are paired with a 64-degree head angle that’s pretty slack to begin with and can also flip via an adjustable custom headset for a one-degree slacker set up.
Sam describes the suspension design as a ‘semi-high-pivot’ that gives ‘a reasonable amount of rear axle movement, but still maintains a lively character’. The shock (Öhlins here) is (now) mounted horizontally in front of a refined and much steeper seat tower, suspended between the downtube and a freshly machined rocker link. The 916 is designed to work with either a coil or air shock as it has a ‘fairly linear progression’, and there’s also a neat flip chip at the lower shock mount to run a 27.5in rear wheel mullet set up without affecting the geometry.
The 916 suspension design has switched from the Horst Link chainstay pivot on all Hope full suspension bikes to date to a Split Pivot-style concentric rear axle set up. And, in case you haven’t been paying attention, Hope has also reluctantly ditched its unique/narrower 130mm rear axle set up for a more common ‘industry standard’ Boost 148 after issues with acceptance and marketing.
Rear stays on this prototype are a mix of carbon (chainstays) and aluminium (seatstays), but the finished machine will rock a full carbon rear triangle – married to the one-piece front triangle with linkage and hardware also made in house at Hope’s Lancashire factory. The finish and attention to detail throughout the Hope HB-916 is fantastic and with a likely weight of around 14.5to 15kg, we can’t wait to get our hands on one to test.