Hope mountain bike wheels are manufactured in Barnoldswick, UK, by a company best known for its high-quality, CNC-machined bits and bobs. However, the brand is quickly becoming a one-stop-shop producing everything from brakes and hubs, to wheels and carbon frames.
For years, Hope’s ‘Tech’ wheels offered rolling stock for everyone from XC whippets to DH chargers, however, in 2019 the British brand started to phase out these stalwart hoops for the new Fortus Wheels.
In keeping with the times, the Fortus wheels serve as a significant update with new rim profiles across the board allowing them to play nice with latest tyres and improve overall performance. The rims also have a new profile claimed to add rigidity without excessive weight.
Read on for a full rundown of Hope's latest range of mountain bike hoops, or skip to the bottom for a run down of the key things to know about Hope mountain bike wheels.
Hope Mountain Bike Wheels
Placed as Hope's XC/light trail wheel, the Fortus 23 features a 23mm internal width, as the name suggests, along with a rim designed to interface with 2.0-2.35in tyres. Made from welded 6061 T6 Aluminium, the rim itself is 17mm deep and available in 27.5in or 29in sizes. Both the front and rear wheels have 32 holes and are strung with Black Sapim Race stainless j-bend spokes, and Hope includes 25mm wide tubeless tape and valves to get you set up quickly.
Spinning around the brand's luxurious Pro 4 hubs, they utilise a four pawl ratchet with 44-tooth engagement, which allots to 8.2 degrees between the engagements. They are available in SRAM and Shimano freehub bodies, though if you're running one of the new Shimano 12-speed groups, you will have to find a MicroSpline freehub which - after some initial hubbub - are now available for the Pro4 hub. It's worth noting that the non-Boost spaced hubs are supplied with thru-axle adaptors, however, if your bike is Boost-spaced you'll need to pick up a set with the Boost specific hub.
Adding three millimetres between the tyre beads, the Fortus 26 serves as the brand's trail and enduro hoops. Compared to many other wheels designed for this riding style, the 26mm internal width is relatively narrow, with similar wheels trending towards 30mm internal width. Hope say they are best paired with 2.25-2.5in tyres; this slightly narrower rim makes for a rounder tyre profile and a more consistent bite through the lean angles.
The Fortus 26 have 32 spokes and spin around the brand’s Pro 4 Hubs available in both Boost and non-Boost versions. Hope is making the Fortus 26 in 26in, 27.5in and 29er sizes, and wheels are claimed to weigh 2040g in the 27.5in build. Everything you need to set up tubeless is included in the box.
Adding another four millimetres between the beads, Hope says the Fortus 30 Pro 4 are ideal for the privateer enduro or DH racer, who is looking for a dependable wheel that offers superior strength and durability. The rims have been tested by Hope's World Cup team and are made of the same 6061 T6 Welded Aluminium, featuring 32 spoke holes. With a 23mm depth, 30mm internal width, and 35mm external width, the wheels are recommended for tyres measuring between 2.4 and 2.8in. For additional strength, the rim uses the brand's three-chamber internal profile.
Available in 26in, 27.5in and 29in versions, the Pro 4 hubs come in standard and Boost options front and rear, with a 150mm Super-Boost version available in the rear. The hub offers the same four pawl system with a 44t ratchet ring, making for 8.2 degrees between engagements. Given these wheels are designed to take a beating, it shouldn't come as a surprise they aren't particularly light, weighing 2305g for the set in the 27.5in variety.
Using the same rim and spoke count as the standard Fortus Pro 4 wheels, Hope makes an eBike-specific version with a Steel, Shimano-compatible freehub to help prevent gouging caused by the additional forces which are put into the drivetrain on an eMTB.
According to Hope, its Fortus 35 Pro 4 wheels are a conventional spoked Enduro-Trail rim with a 35mm internal width designed to improve tyre contact area and traction. As you can probably guess, these rims have a 35mm internal width, and the brand says they are best used with 2.5in-3.0in tyres.
Available in 27.5in and 29er varieties they come out of the box with all the fixings needed to ditch tubes. Spinning on the Pro 4 hubs, by now you'll know that they come in standard and Boost spacing, and the four pawls 44-tooth ratchet system makes for 8.2degrees of engagement.
What you need to know
The MicroSpline controversy
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When Shimano released its 12-speed groupsets, the addition of a 10-tooth cog on the end of the cassette meant a departure from the standard HG freehub body, for the new MicroSpline driver — SRAM achieved the same by way of the XD driver.
While this new freehub body allowed for an additional gear and a claimed resistance to gouging, at launch there was a bit of controversy surrounding hub brands having to request additional permissions to manufacture their own freehubs, compatible with the design.
At first, Hope didn’t make the list, however, as of January 2020, the UK outfit can officially produce compatible components.
Boost and non-Boost
All of Hope's mountain bike wheels use the brand's 32 hole Pro 4 hubs, which are available in Boost or non-Boost varieties. The narrower ‘non’ versions have replaceable end caps that allow them to be swapped between a 135mm QR and 142x12mm thru-axle, while the front wheels are supplied with 10mm and 15mm axle end caps.
More frames and forks are being built around the Boost hub spacing nowadays, but to take full advantage of the broader hub standard, the Boost hubs cannot be converted to non-Boost via endcaps.
Pro 4 hub
Designed and manufactured in the UK, Hope's hubs are purpose-built to withstand even the most British weather. With hearty seals, when you do open up the hub, and find the grease is still perfectly clean, it takes quite a bit of mustard to get them back in place.
The hub shell is made from CNC-machined aluminium which is then anodised, helping them last longer, and allowing Hope to offer them in a range of colours. Hope only makes its hubs for six-bolt disc brakes, so make sure you have the right rotors. Inside is a 44-tooth drive ring and 4-pawls which make for 8.2-degrees of engagement, Hope also utilises a large spoke flange to enable a stiffer wheel build.
Beyond just being able to pick the anodised finish of your hubs, Hope also offers aftermarket decal kits to match. The stock waterslide graphics are stealthy, but if you're looking to add some pop to your bike, Hope has you covered.