Hope Tech | Direct Mount Crown & Stem Review

May 17, 2010
by Alasdair MacLennan  
Fresh from the milling machines down at Hope we recently had these two beautifully machined direct mount stem options drop through the letterbox here at Pinkbike towers. Having been able to try them out and put them to the test we thought it time to tell you what we think.

Read on for more details:

Since the industry wide adoption of the Boxxer pattern direct stem mounting, the number of compatible stems available on the market has skyrocketed with seemingly every company getting in on the act. There are always going to be arguments as to whether direct mount stems are a good thing or not : the forces that would normally rotate a traditional stem around the steerer in a crash have to be distributed somewhere and the obvious answer is that they are transmitted through the bike, potentially damaging other components. However, direct mount stems are both lighter and neater than their steerer mounted counterparts and, as an additional benefit, they aren’t going to allow your bars to run squint. Also, if you’re a racer, you can get straight back up after a crash and not worry about straightening out your bars.


Now, no stranger to making neat and tidy stems, Hope have plenty of experience and knowledge with which to furnish their new direct mount offerings. Gone is the tongue and groove system first seen on the prototypes as it was felt the bolted faceplate represented a better option for a production component. In its place is a traditional four bolt setup, resplendent with a full custom made titanium hardware kit to keep the weight as low as possible. Tipping the scales at a reasonable 168g (including mounting hardware) it may not be the very lightest direct mount stem on the market but it still beats a lot of the alternatives and has the added advantage of being a true zero rise where the bar sits on exactly the same plane as the top of the crown. All the bolts on the face plate of our stem even came with Ti-Prep installed to prevent them welding themselves to the aluminium which is a neat touch - although you will need to remember to do the same to the separately bagged crown mounting bolts.


To mount the bar you first clamp the top of the front plate hard against the stem body and then use the lower two bolts to actually tighten down against the bar. This is similar in idea to the previous tongue and groove system as it helps ensure even clamping pressure on the bars, which is especially important when you’re running carbon or thin walled bars. This is a two piece assembly too which should, in theory, prove stiffer than the three and four piece offerings. Whether this is actually actually noticeable on the bike is another point entirely. Certainly on last generation Boxxers it won’t be due to their inherent flex although maybe slightly more noticeable on the newer Boxxers and Fox 40’s. However, even then, it’s such a slight difference that it really can be considered negligible for all but the heaviest and hardest riders. All in this is a very neat bit of kit which comes nicely finished and is a veritable bargain compared to some of the offerings available right now from other manufacturers. That it also comes with the full complement of titanium hardware and in the usual myriad of Hope colours just sweetens the deal.

£80
168g inc all Ti hardware


The crown here also really impressed us, the gold anodizing only serving to highlight the jewelery like aspect of the machining work. Integrating the direct mount stem into a Fox 40 or current generation Boxxer compatible CNC machined crown is one way to ensure that the front end of your bike is as stiff, light, and low as possible by eliminating any bolted joints or excess material. Combined with Hope’s usual neat, tidy and detailed finish this really is a lovely piece of kit on first inspection. And once you’re done with that and finally bolt it onto the bike you notice several other key features we think worthy of a mention. First it all slides together neatly whilst also doing up nice and tight to hold things solidly in place. Here again we find a full titanium bolt kit and for the steerer pinch bolt a neat little trick has been to slightly angle the bolt into the crown so that you can easily spin the bolt up without knocking Allen keys against the stanchions and crown. Granted it’s not a frequent issue once everything’s assembled but it’s a neat answer nonetheless.


But the biggest advantage of all with this is bar height. Where a bolt on direct mount stem will only really ever get your bars as low as the top of the crown, this integrated model actually places your bars at the same height as the bottom of your crown giving you as much as another half inch of drop in the case of the Fox version shown here. Conversely, if you feel your bars are at the optimum height already you can use this feature to drop the forks through the crowns further and slacken the head angle off for faster tracks without increasing your front end height from a standard setup.


Also sat alongside the crown when you open the box are a couple of colour matched 5mm headset spacers and a similarly matched Head Doctor with one important difference over what you would normally be able to buy. Gone is the sometimes fragile aluminium bolt normally found and in its place is a custom made Titanium one to go along with the rest of the bolts found on the crown. Whilst nominally heavier than the standard item, this should solve any issues some people have with occasionally damaging the aluminium when overly exuberant with an Allen key!


When it’s all put together on the bike the crown really does look superb, giving you a low, light and stiff front end. And as with the standalone stem this is available in all the usual colours to match it to your bike. It really does offer something different over the established options with its ultra low rise and neatly integrated design merged with Hope’s usual attention to detail and quality of finish.

£145
308g inc all Ti hardware

Whilst Hope at this point say they have no plans to introduce a 32mm Boxxer integrated crown option or likewise anything which will bolt onto Marzocchi’s 888, with enough interest they may well choose to do so in the future - so if you really do want this, start pestering your local dealer!

www.hopetech.com


103 Comments

  • + 13
 nice read, thats interesting to know they make a 2010 boxxer integrated stem/crown...
  • + 38
 that 'made in UK' label makes me feel proud.
  • + 5
 looks like gold..cost like such probably aswell..but damm i would rather have this kind of gold
  • + 0
 That made in UK label absolutely should make you proud. Nice hustle on David Cameron by the way. I was worried about Clegg.
  • + 2
 the 40 crown, one word.....CRISP !!
  • + 2
 why does the 4th picture down say 2009 and all the other say 2010?
  • + 6
 cause they were available in 2009 maybe he made the pics on new years eve.. Razz
now come on hope make us a custom lower crown with Ti steerer tube Big Grin
  • + 2
 lol lets go all the way, come on hope make us a suspension fork Big Grin
  • + 1
 lol well let's keep it to brakes shall we.. Wink
  • + 1
 a lower crown would be actually amazingly pimp.
  • + 1
 yeah top and bottom will never match unless you buy a black crown., and with a Ti tube .. it will be awesome..
  • + 1
 is the length 50mm for all the integrated crown and stems?
  • + 13
 that is orgasmic.
  • + 10
 I'm surprised it took this long for a decent integrated stem/crown to reach the market... Hope nailed it
  • + 9
 this truly looks like a kings top crown being gold and all Razz
  • + 8
 Midas is rolling over in his grave right now.
  • + 4
 it's a masterpiece. I could buy a DC fork for my AM bike just to have that piece of art in front of me. I love these CNC machining marks: shows that it's a top quality product because of manufacturing method, but you also save some money and don't pay for polishing! Sweet!
  • - 10
flag elod88 (May 17, 2010 at 3:28) (Below Threshold)
 youd dont save money, its just marketing bullshit, and its not good that they left the surfaces the cnc marks,those are tension gathering points and cracks more easyle, i wonder they have engeris or just marketing and sales men when they desinged this
  • + 10
 so where's your company? I need a sub 120g 70mm AM/FR stem Smile
  • + 6
 this is hope we're talking about here. if you'd met any of them you'd know that they're sound guys, not capable of any of that marketing bullshit that you speak of. everything that they manufacture is FEA'd to the extreme and to say that the CNC marks hinder the performance is sacrilege. how dare you. my nations pride is at stake here. protect it i must.
  • + 0
 its just my logical opinion, i dont want to hurt you're guys feelings Big Grin in my opinion were just talking about a piece of cncd ALU,usualy i dont care so much about the brand,i'm not saying that this stem is so worse or ugly but is to much marketing bulshit about this, and its all about getting your money. bloody stubborn English xD
  • + 1
 lol good comeback
  • + 4
 Man I totaly don't see this marketing b*shit you talk about, neither in this article nor or their website. Have you been there? No text just technical data, sizes weights, no talk about durability, special manufacturing. Even Thomson talks more while both companies don't need any marketing. I think everyone who's into biking for some time knows that they are on the short list of top bike component makers.

I find Hope one of the most modest companies out there. If you think that's just b*shit i don't know how do you react on Truvativ, FSA, Deity, NS bikes who are able to write tons of marketing rattle about a stupid headset topcap: 3d forging, unparalelled rigidity, bad ass components etc.

Sure we have different esthetic likes and dislikes, but your argument of too much marketing is just irrelevant.
  • + 2
 daanng you hit the nail on the head there
  • + 1
 maybe i was uninformed about Hope (dont realy look at their webpageBig Grin ) but probably the shop assistants do the commercing job when they sellBig Grin i know its one of the top brands,i am a dirt rider i am used with NS Bikes(just bought quark stem xD), truvativ (broke a lot 3d forged pieces from them xD) Big Grin and used with their marketing bullshitBig Grin i concluded hope is the same, maybe they dont need so much commercial, older brand or more loyal consumers. accessories of acceptable quality are more expensive then they should be, because a lot of riders belive the marketing rattle and pay happily.
  • + 1
 yes, you see... Hope does their stuff in UK, NS Bikes on Taiwan. Manufacturing costs are uncomparable and still latest NS hubs are nearly as expensive as HOPE. Actualy the front hub is more expensive than HOPE... Sorry, but I will never believe NS bikes does stuff as good as Hope. This company gets so expensive lately. I adore their frames, but components... well I will wait feew more years, cuz I had their hubs and I was far from beeing satisfied.
  • + 1
 yes NS is well over rated, i bought dartmoor (kdrive) rear hub instead of NS, even is unknown in Hungary, i know that NS makes his stuff in taiwan, i didnt know that HOPE manufacters in UK, i alwas fave the stufs made in Europe instead of tawain, the materials used there , even the painting differs with every shipment :/ so the quality to. the first(2007) NS coaster ss rear hub was a total mess, the new coaster(3 bearings ) hold about a year.
  • + 1
 Dartmoor is a good stuff! I like that company. Much better prices than NS and personaly I believe the quality is the same. I have nothing against that quality, I just don't like when it costs as much as the top companies Smile
  • + 7
 Does anyone know what fox has to say about using after market clamps. Could it void warranty?
  • + 3
 Axle, Good job again fella, as well as the old man, his pictures are soemthing else. Well done to the guys at Hope, everyone else needs to up their game now!
  • + 6
 DA BOMB!!!
  • + 15
 No its Hope
  • + 4
 let's HOPE nothing POINTs that this stem has something to do with DaBomb which is not DIETY, it's heavy in fact and deserves SPANKing on NORTH SHORE.
  • - 2
 Haha nice one waki Wink
  • + 5
 so awesome... can we expect to see more colors in the future?
  • + 9
 These are just the examples which they sent to me for the purposes of this test, Hope have a whole array of other colours available. If you look on their website it should show you the options.
  • + 9
 oh, I should have checked that out. thanks!
  • + 1
 having trouble finding anything on different colors on the website, really hope they have a blue to match my blue pro II's! that crown/direct mount stem is so beautiful.
  • - 1
 they do. go on crc
  • + 4
 or you just go into your lbs that deals with hope these have been available for months now this is old news, you guys should be interested in hope looking into shifting components now guys.
  • + 2
 hey jay doesnt it really p*ss you off everytime you here or read, "go on crc" when you see the amount of effect a proper independent lbs goes to to keep their head above the water?!?! either way this is very old news now both stems have been available since christmas . . .
  • + 0
 chain is big due to the prices they have.. check your lbs and then crc.. unless he is family.. you will buy @ chain i think..
  • + 3
 alot of crc stuff is all at rrp, if you get sent wrong size your screwed or if your unsure your screwed if you buy the wrong thing regard having to send stuff back, nowhere to help fit the parts or advise you on what you need, lbs will always help the regular custom aswell, SUPPORT THE LBS Smile
  • + 4
 it looks super badass! fully integrated is cool
  • + 0
 Looks fantastic on the bike. However just to note I have had 2 of these now, both have been defective. 1st one had incorrect harware fitted resulting in the stem failing at the steerer bolt. 2nd was not machined square and it was impossible to get it to line up straight. Not really a fault with the product as such, more a quality control problem. Possibly just a bad batch and my luck that I got 2 replaced on warrenty.
  • + 1
 these top crowns and direct mount stem been out for a while i know couple people who run them there pretty light and the finishing is next to none i run the new hope dh stem nice
  • + 4
 I just wish Marzocchi would use the Boxxer mounting pattern.
  • + 1
 I wish Fox, Marzocchi and Rock Shox would get together and "standardize" the hole pattern!
  • + 4
 Well, Fox, RockShox and Manitou already have. It's just Marzocchi.
  • + 1
 Exactly smike. I actually think Marzocchi's set up is stronger since it wraps around the steerer. Were not gonna see Marz changing it any time soon probably.
  • + 1
 To be honest, I think they're both equally strong. However, Marzocchi's is just kind of a pain because aren't the bolts underneath the crown? It would be in Marzocchi's best interest to use the boxxer pattern because it severely limits the number of stem options available to their users, especially if everyone else has already made the switch.
  • + 1
 I agree. If you want a shorter stem, you have to look to other companys and they're way limited in supply compared to the Boxxer style stems. Currently, I don't have my new bike built so I don't know if I'll want a shorter stem than 53mm. Ian of Chromag still has a stock of his Eighty-Eight stem that I might get. They're a touch shorter, but not any lighter.

As far as strength? I've always been skeptical of Boxxer/Fox crowns being able to hold the steerer tight with only one bolt and a pretty thin amount of material there. Since the crown and stem of a 888 clamps the steerer, it just seems more solid. That's probably why they're being stubborn in following industry standards...
  • + 0
 the marzocchi direct mounts suck i hope they change it crashed and sheared both mounting bolts in a crash lol i have the crown and the stem to prove it. moved on to 2010 boxxer
  • + 3
 That DM is worthless. 168g and has ti bolts? Point one all the way.
  • + 1
 HOPE = HYPE
PO1NT for someone whos serious.
  • + 1
 Guys, a stem is a stem, you have to look hard to find a bad one these days, so to say Hope are hype and point1 is the way forward is lame. Why is Point1 Better??? grow up
  • - 1
 Lighter and I'd put money on stronger as well, for about the same price. That pretty much says better to me.
  • + 2
 Been running the boxxer crown/stem for a month now! It's an awesome piece of kit.

www.pinkbike.com/photo/4954293
  • + 1
 very impressive. gonna to buy new fox 40 at the end of the season, and such stem with crown is the "plus" to the reason
  • + 2
 that is effing SICK man i def would buy it
  • + 1
 Anyone know how it will effect me if I use the hope stem/crown on my boxxer if Im switching from the boxxer tall crown
  • + 1
 Unless you are using a Blackspire or Straitline stem where the zero rise actually refers to the centre of your bar rather than the bottom of your bar you will find that the effective position of your bar is as much as 2 cm lower. Most 'zero' rise stems inc direct mount stems are actually measuring relative to the bottom of the bar (in relation ot the top of the crown) and hence impart a slight positive rise (perhaps 5-10 degrees on a 42mm or 50mm stem).

For example I am running a Truvativ 42mm/ 0 rise with a Boobar (20mm rise). With no spacers above the crown the centre of my handle bar is still effectively 21 mm above the crown. No sure on the trig to determine what degree rise that is - perhaps 30 degree. As I have said most stems create this effect.

Example 42-47mm stem (like most direct mounts out there) equals 30 deg rise - www.blackspire.com/qs/product/83/5954/445825/0/0

There idea of true zero degree (ie bar centre equals top of crown) - www.blackspire.com/qs/product/83/5954/445829/0/0

Staitline's zero rise version is: www.straitlinecomponents.com/Products/ULTRA_Series_Stems_%2850mm%29.aspx
but even it has soem effective rise (look at side on shot - bottom of bar will still be at same height as top of crown).

The Hope Crown brings the centre of the bar down in line with the top of the crown, ensures that the bar clears the fork stanchions and also means one has four less bolts to check.

Just got mine in gunmetal today and it looks pimp BTW. I cannot wait to get it installed on my bike!

To the other dudes who are diss'ing the finish - what Hope do not know about CNC on mountain bike parts is probably not worth knowing or going to cost you five times as much.
  • + 0
 I bought the Direct Mount Crown for my BoXXer but i needed the Long one for 2mm!!!!, so now i ordered the Stem LOL, (Crap) Why hope didn't make a Long Direct mount Crown???
  • + 2
 I've been running the crown/stem on my Makulu, so far so good!
  • + 2
 the gold one loooks amazing ill have one of them plz
  • + 1
 awesome! i just installed the fox 40 integrated version on my bike. such a good setup
  • + 1
 I want one for my 888!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • + 2
 that gold DM just makes me want dual crowns.
  • + 1
 What about Marzocchi? I'm beginning to think just about every aftermarket manufacturer has forgotten about us.....
  • + 1
 Can you get these in the states? Everytime I've ordered from chainreaction my parcel sits at customs for like two weeks.
  • + 1
 I am sure that you can get them in the USA:
www.monkamoo.com/Product%20Pages/hopeintegratedstem.html
These guys seems to have the full range and a decent price. I bet you can get them for US$160 from CRC and have them in 6-10 days with minimal tax.

Your call - but they are super light, very sexy and totally rock as a way to really get the bar low so your weight is over your front wheel.
  • - 2
 in my opinion,
i dont like the idea of shiny parts on my bike coz it distract you when your bombarding a dh trail.

btw the stem/integrated upper crown looks nice for a show bike.
  • + 1
 wow...those are some detailed photos
  • + 1
 can someone send me the link for where to get the 40 stem
  • + 1
 COOL, no sharp edges unlike the others. I feel much safer already!
  • + 1
 wonder would it fit on a super monster
  • + 1
 yo i love the gold one ummmmmmmmmmmm i want it
  • + 1
 Do they make any off this stuff for 888
  • + 2
 Nope...

"Whilst Hope at this point say they have no plans to introduce a 32mm Boxxer integrated crown option or likewise anything which will bolt onto Marzocchi’s 888, with enough interest they may well choose to do so in the future - so if you really do want this, start pestering your local dealer!"

That's sexy and I've got Zocchis. I'll start emailing some guys...
  • + 1
 great desingBig Grin I like itWink )
  • + 0
 driving the stem/crown in black on my session since 3 months. just beautiful
  • + 1
 like really r u kidding??????
  • + 1
 I have a mounted blue and are beautiful
  • + 1
 I have a the direct mount Gunesmoke and run awesome !!!!!
  • + 2
 awesome colours...
  • + 1
 I love my Hope crown and brakes!

www.pinkbike.com/photo/5003727
  • + 1
 my poor, poor manitous. They never get anything shiny. Frown
  • - 1
 thats because they suuuuuuuuuuuckkkkkkkk
  • + 1
 well no, they dont.
  • + 1
 ok fine: they're great and whole-heartedly deserve shiny bits from hope :?
  • + 1
 indeed.
  • + 0
 SO SWEET i see them time ago tho
  • + 1
 Nice..Me wont Smile
  • + 1
 Sweet ! Pimp
  • + 1
 PORN!!!
  • + 1
 Hope = Amazing products
  • + 1
 NICE ....
  • - 2
 LOVE HOPE but the burgtec stem is much much nicer..
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