The Hope Union Trail pedals are an insider tip at ENDURO’s editorial office. They rely on an in-house clipless system, offer countless adjustment options, and are available in many anodised colours, as you’d expect from Hope. Do they have what it takes to prevail against the other five clipless pedals in our group test?
Unboxing the Hope Union Trail pedals, you’ll be greeted by two equally beautiful and robust looking UK-made components. You’ve got a choice between two included cleats: 4° of float with a 12° release angle, or 5° of float with a 13° release angle. No matter which of the two you choose, you must first determine the depth of your cleat box with the supplied template to know which of the two plastic spacers to install under the cleats. As you can see, Hope prioritise the interaction between your shoes and the pedals. Nice! The pedals weigh 434 g and have four pins on each side. The height of the pins can be adjusted via washers, and you can also remove them completely if you prefer. Since they screw in from below, they can also be easily removed and replaced once damaged. The clipless mechanisms of the € 185 pedals are spring-loaded on both sides and the spring preload can be adjusted via a small screw. Hope rely on the same clipless mechanism for their cross-country and downhill pedals.
The Hope Union Trail pedals on the trail
Clicking into the Hope pedals is simple and intuitive: you can clearly feel when you’re clicked into the pedals. They feel very similar to Shimano pedals at first, but thanks to the dual-sided spring you can click in toes or heel first, and the whole process feels less on/off with the Union Trails. As such, you can easily click back in while riding. When you’re clicked in, the float allows you to move your feet freely, but they don’t feel as loose as the Crankbrothers pedals. The Hope pedals provide defined feedback when clicking in, and the amount of resistance you feel depends on how hard you’ve set the spring preload. With the right spacers under the cleats, the machined aluminium cages provide plenty of support, and you can adjust the level of grip by screwing the pins in or out to make them shorter or longer. That way your footing remains secure on the Union Trail pedals whether you’re clicked in or not. However, the difference between the two included cleats is minimal with only one degree, which is hardly noticeable on the trail. The self-cleaning is okay due to the open design, but, like Shimano pedals, the cleats can pack up with dirt and debris, which makes it difficult to click in. Both the cleats and the brackets are made of stainless steel and together with the same bearings and seals as on their flat pedals, the Union Trail pedals showed no signs of wear and tear during our tests.
The Hope Union Trail pedals don’t just look great, they deliver on the trail! In addition to numerous customisation options, they provide a secure footing on the pedal cages. The difference between the two cleat options isn’t huge and their self-cleaning isn’t the best either. But the feeling of the clipless mechanism on the Union Trail pedals is phenomenal. They strike the perfect balance between a defined level of feedback and freedom of movement, making them the deserved Best in Test!
- defined yet free feeling clipless mechanism
- excellent footing on the pedal cages
- lots of customisation options
- minimal difference between the two cleats
- not the best self-cleaning
You can find out more about at hopetech.com
Click here for an overview: The best pedals for mountain bikers
all pedals in Review: Acros Clipless Pedal | Crankbrothers Mallet E LS | Hope Union | HT T2 | Shimano XT PD-M8120 | TIME SPECIALE 12 | Chromag Dagga | Crankbrothers Stamp 7 | Hope F22 | Look Trail Fusion | Nukeproof Horizon Pro Sam Hill | OneUp Composite Pedal | Race Face Atlas | Sixpack Kamikaze RA | SQ Lab 50X | Tatze Link Composite |
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Words: Simon Kohler Photos: Jan Richter