After two years and 300 HB.160s sold, there are some new things coming from Barnoldswick. The Hope HB.130 keeps the sleek design and technical innovations that made the HB.160 such a unique bike but comes with 130 mm travel, 29” wheels and completely updated geometry.
Hope’s mantra “If we can make it in-house, we will make it in-house” holds true for the new HB.130. The carefully constructed carbon main frame, the exquisitely machined rear end and basically all components except for the tires, drivetrain and suspension come directly from the Hope factory in Barnoldswick, England. If you get your kicks from anodised, machined titillation you should be quite happy here. As the name suggests, the HB.130 offers 130 mm travel at the rear, is fitted with a 140 mm fork and rolls on 29” wheels. The bike comes in just one high-end spec that cost € 7,500 and weighs 13.1 kg. If you have your own particular wishes on spec and finishing kit, the HB.130 will also be available as a frameset for € 4,700. That obviously sounds like a lot of money, but the package you get is much more than just a frame and a shock. More on that in a second. Let’s start with the most exciting part.
Hope HB.130 geometry – a modern 29er Trail bike
Developing the HB.160 in a manufacturable and production-ready bike turned out to be quite a challenge and cost a lot of time, which is why its geometry ended up being dated when it was released. The new HB.130 profited from the manufacturing experience Hope gained, allowing full attention to be placed on updating the geometry. The wheel size, travel and Trail bike intentions set the brief for the design. Continuous development over two years and three prototypes resulted in this, the fourth iteration and the production version of the HB.130. The numbers speak for themselves and on paper, the bike is a modern Trail bike with a reach of 470 mm, a head angle of 66° and a seat tube angle of 75.7° (all for a size L). The angles and bottom bracket height can be adjusted with a flip chip which actually makes a noticeable difference in handling and broadens the range of riding the HB.130 can do. We’ll look at this in more detail in our first ride impressions. The Hope HB.130 will initially be available only in sizes M, L and XL, though if there’s enough demand, a size S may also be added.
Hope has learnt from the mistakes of the HB.160 – the geometry of the HB.130 is bang up to date.
About the suspension
The rear end of the Hope HB.130 uses the same Horst link design featured on the HB.160 as Hope was happy with how it performed and behaved there. With the custom-tuned metric shock (210×50), the kinematics are similar to the HB.160 in the high setting and gain some additional progression in the low setting.
A detailed look at the Hope HB.130’s special features
The HB.130’s monocoque carbon frame has the same, sleek carbon finish as the HB.160, with just two layers of clear coat to fix the logos in place. The rear end is a labour of love that is machined from aluminium and has no visible weld seams. Unlike the HB.160, all the connections are slotted and glued together. That doesn’t only look better but allows Hope to use a non-weldable aluminium alloy that is stronger and more durable. In addition, it spares having to do the time-consuming alignment of the frame necessary to correct for slight warping during welding.
The manufacturing quality and finishing is absolutely top class.
Instead of the radial brake mount that required special brake callipers, the rear brake now uses the normal Postmount standard for maximum compatibility. The bottom bracket area has also been updated and now uses a threaded BB – though in Hope’s own proprietary 46 mm format. However, it does offer the option to fit any of the current crank axle standards on the bike and Hope offers bearings to suit each one. The other welcome new feature is the space for a large bottle in the frame.
The HB.130 keeps the special 130 mm rear dropouts and 17 mm thru-axle. That reduces “wasted” space on the brake side while maintaining effectively the same flange spacing as on a Boost hub. Theoretically, the biggest advantage of this system is that the spoke angles on each side are equal, resulting in a stiffer and more durable rear wheel. However, it does also limit you to using only the special Hope hubs as no other manufacturer builds hubs around this format.
Spec, availability and service
Like the HB.160, the Hope HB.130 will only be available in a single base build, though with various upgrade options. For € 7,500 you get FOX Factory suspension with a 36 GRIP2 fork and DPX2 shock. The suspension can be changed to Öhlins kit consisting of a RXF 36 EVO fork and a TTX air shock, free of charge. The bike comes fitted with a SRAM X01 Eagle groupset, though the cranks can be upgraded to Hope’s own offering for an extra € 360. Further upgrade options include the Santa Cruz Reserve 30 carbon rims and a SRAM Eagle AXS groupset.
High-end build or dream custom bike – the Hope HB.130 is also available as a frameset.
You also have the option to specify options such as your stem, crank or dropper length, rim width, rotor size of the Tech 3 E4 brakes and the colour of the large array of anodised Hope parts for free. You can choose from seven colours, though Team Green is only available for selected parts.
Hope HB.130 complete build
Fork FOX 36 Factory GRIP2 140 mm
Schock FOX DPX2 Factory 3 Pos. 130 mm
Brakes Hope Tech 3 E4 160/180/200 mm
Drivetrain SRAM X01 Eagle
Seatpost FOX Transfer, 125/150 mm
Stem Hope AM, 35/50
Handlebar Hope Carbon 780 mm
Wheelset Hope PRO4 hubs, Hope FORTUS 26 rims (different rim widths available) 29″
Tires MAXXIS Minion DHF/MAXXIS Minion DHR 2.5WT/2.3″
Price € 7,500
Hope Evo cranks: € 360
SRAM Eagle AXS: tbd
Öhlins RXF 36 Evo fork + TTX shock: no extra cost
Santa Cruz Reserve 30 carbon-rims: 1.695 € (complete build), 2.200 € (aftermarket)
Sticker kit (8 colours available): 38 €
The HB.130 is also available as a frameset. Because of its proprietary standards, the frame-only package includes the frame, shock and headset along with a bottom bracket and hubs as well.
Hope HB.130 Frameset
Shock FOX DPX2 Factory 3 Pos. 130 mm
Bottom bracket Hope HB
Headset Hope HB
Saddle clamp Hope
Hubs Hope PRO4 HB Edition
Price € 4,700
The HB.130 will be available from the middle/end of September but can be ordered immediately. The delivery time for the standard spec is anticipated at 3–4 weeks as due to its involved production, it’s not feasible to make more than 5–6 frames per week. Hope is justifiably proud of its high-quality manufacturing and offers a lifetime guarantee – of the 300 existing HB.160s, not one has come back for warranty. If you want, you can also pick up your bike in Barnoldswick and get a factory tour thrown in as well.
Hope HB.130 first ride impressions
As mentioned before, the HB.130 is endowed with modern geometry that makes you feel at ease as soon as you get on. The reach is comfortable, the seat tube angle neither too steep nor too slack and the bottom bracket is relatively low, letting you feel completely at one with the bike. With the flip chip in the high position you can surmount basically any climb without the front wheel lifting – the only limit will be your fitness or lack of low enough gearing. Even with the slightly slacker seat angle in the low setting, the bike still ascends without any problems and keep the front wheel planted. However, we would advice moving your saddle forwards to stay in complete control. The Horst link suspension has a tendency to bob when the shock is in open mode and it’s definitely helpful to use the climb switch for long uphill sections.
Steep uphills, technical trails, high-speed flow – the HB.130 is versatile and won’t let you miss out on any fun.
On the way downhill, the rear end reveals just how capable it is, particularly when in the low setting. The HB.130 sticks to the ground, swallowing bumps effectively with good progression at the end of the suspension stroke, while being able to deal with big hits too. The handling can be described as intuitive, quick and precise without feeling nervous at high speeds. The FOX 36 GRIP2 fork suits the character of the bike very well. In the high setting, the handling is similar, though the front end reacts even more sensitively, requiring a little more concentration. Given that the bike seems to climb just as willingly in both settings, the low option should be perfect for everyone except the most hardcore XC racers or long-distance riders.
The Hope HB.130 is pretty much exactly the bike that the HB.160 should have been. A versatile and modern bike that scores points with its downhill performance, but will be just as happy with you spending long days in the saddle. At € 7,500 it’s not cheap but arguably offers acceptable value for money when you consider the manufacturing quality, manual labour and above all the excellent service and support that’s behind it. As a customisable English piece of crafted technology, this is basically a must-have for Hope fans and definitely an interesting option for anyone looking for something a bit different.
- excellent geometry
- incredibly high-end finishing
- comprehensive customisation options
- rear end tends to bob when pedalling uphill
For more information visit: hopetechhb.com
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Words: Photos: Roo Fowler/Hope, Andreas Maschke