Hope’s high-quality, UK-built components have a cult-like following in the MTB world, but does its F20 flat pedal perform well enough to earn this status? Bike Perfect puts in the trail time to find out how they measure up against the best MTB flat pedals – scroll down to read our thoughts.
Design and aesthetics
Manufactured in a small town in Northern England, the Hope F20s use a fully CNC-machined 2014 T6 aluminum body, which is available in six different anodized colors, all of which fit in with Hope’s renowned color palette (the Hope Union TR pedal comes in similar hues). The body itself sees a very slight concave and a serrated surface which presumably has the aim of working with the 10 (per side) forged steel pins to provide traction in all conditions. The pins are removable and Hope even offers a Titanium pin upgrade option for those looking to save crucial grams. Each pedal is also marked with which side of the bike it needs to be installed on; a neat feature that is often overlooked but removes any doubt during installation.
The axle is made of a high-strength Cr-Mo, which is then heat-treated and plated for maximum durability. As with any Hope product there’s an impressive amount of weatherproofing too; each pedal uses a Norglide bush and three cartridge bearings inside a fully sealed chamber; Hope states that this provides long-term durability and smoothness.
At 385g our test pair actually came in a shade lighter than Hope’s stated weight, which is a decent amount below our 400g benchmark.
Before you can hit the trails you’re required to fit the pedal pins yourself. While this may be mildly therapeutic to some, we can’t help but feel this fiddly job takes the shine away from such a premium product. Granted, if you’re purchasing them from a shop they might be kind enough to do it for you, but mail-order buyers will have to put in the effort. This may sound petty, but in a highly competitive category everything requires consideration.
It’d be easier to ignore the lengthy set-up if the F20s delivered class-leading amounts of grip on the trail, but ultimately the traction is average when compared to the competition. Because of the lack of concavity within the CNCed body our flat pedal shoes never conformed to the pedal’s shape to generate grip when rattling through rough terrain or sprinting to reach the next trail crest. To try to improve this we removed the center pins with the aim of extenuating the F20s shape, but this still didn’t deliver the locked-in feel we’re used to from the best flat pedals on the market. The shape of the pins doesn’t help things either, and their blunt, smooth profile means they don’t lock into even the grippiest rubber. This is great if you’re looking for a pedal that makes mid-trail shoe relocation easy, but ultimately it comes at the cost of all-important grip.
Where the Hopes do stand out is with their impressive robustness. After several rock strikes and an especially wet review period our test pair still look remarkably fresh. From past experience – and the F20s exceptional weather sealing – we expect this to continue. It’s worth stressing what the F20s lack in grip is certainly made up for with top-end build quality and best-in-class longevity.
At $180 / £140 the Hope F20 Flat Pedal is pricey, and while the workmanship and choice of material justify the high cost, the physical grip performance isn’t good enough to compete with grippier, cheaper options from other brands. But if bombproof longevity in grim conditions is your number one priority and you can afford the premium price tag, the F20s are a proven investment.
Tech Specs: Hope F20 Flat Pedal
- Price: $180 / £140
- Weight: 385g
- Colors: Black, Silver, Purple, Blue, Orange and Red
- Temperature: 2-11 degrees in dry and wet conditions
- Trail surface and route: Mix of natural and man-made trail, enduro and DH terrain