First Look: Hope's New XCR Brake Sneaks Under 200g

Jun 1, 2021
by Seb Stott  

Hope Technology has released details of a new XC brake, the XCR. It's a two-piston brake designed for cross-country, downcountry and trail riding. While Hope's existing Tech 3 X2 brake weighs from 249g per end (claimed), the XCR is said to weigh 199g for the lever, hose and caliper, or 182g without fluid, which is how some claimed weights are measured, apparently. The XCR uses a "special edition version" of their one-piece, CNC machined X2 caliper, while the lever is brand new.
Hope XCR brake Details

• 199g claimed weight (excluding rotor)
• New radial lever
• "Special edition" X2 caliper
• Carbon lever blade, hinged clamp
• £250 / €315 / $320 per brake
hopetech.com


While Hope's Tech 3 lever uses a standard orientation with the master cylinder parallel to the bar, the XCR lever is a radial design, where the master cylinder is perpendicular to the bar. This helps save weight and frees up real estate on the handlebar, which might be handy for fitting dropper remotes and lockout levers around the brake. It's compatible with SRAM and Shimano direct shifter mounts too. A carbon lever blade helps save more weight while the bar clamp uses a single-bolt with a hinge for easier installation and yet more weight savings. The special edition caliper, meanwhile, features aluminum backing plates in the pads and a low-profile hose connector.

Hope claim new bushings in the lever reduce friction, resulting in a lighter lever feel. There's no bite point adjustability, though, and the reach adjust isn't tool-free. The new lever uses Hope's open reservoir design, so bleeding is a case of pumping DOT oil through the brake while topping up the oil at the lever.


They're available from 1st of June in silver anodizing only. They will cost £250 / €315 / $320 per brake. Hope is using their R&D facility to manufacture these brakes in order to keep their main manufacturing hardware going at full capacity. That means availability of the XCR will be limited.


122 Comments

  • 194 1
 I would 100% run them without fluid to save 17g, thanks for the tip Pinkbike
  • 35 1
 Same reason I have removed the granny gear from my XTR 12 speed
  • 43 0
 I think that brakeless riding is the new thing. I mean, chainless is great, but not practical for XC racing. Brakeless, on the other hand, lets you save lots of grams and makes you faster both uphill and downhill!
  • 8 0
 Try use them without pads and hose to save weight...
  • 34 0
 I run hydrogen in gas form instead of braking fluid. Briefly tried helium to avoid the occasional brake-explosions but it just wasn't worth the extra weight.
  • 10 2
 I Hope it works!
  • 25 0
 When I weight myself, it's without fluid. So I'm around 30lbs.
  • 3 0
 @Nygaard: helium goes in the tyres, make sure to have carbon rims though in case of any rim vs rock spark problems
  • 3 0
 @noapathy: I assume it will modulate and attempt to slow you down
  • 6 0
 @toad321: you're thinking of hydrogen
  • 1 0
 Air brakes...gonna need a Z designation for that over here on your license.
  • 39 0
 But if it doesn't come in orange, blue or purple anodising, is it really Hope?
  • 14 0
 Also green at a 100% markup, used only
  • 35 7
 The location for the banjo? It's almost as if your engineers 1) don't understand why the banjo fitting exists, and 2) expect there are no bikes running chainstay-mounted calipers any longer. Somebody should've been smacked in the back of the head before this design left SolidWorks.
  • 3 0
 This!!
  • 1 0
 Yes, and on the lever, the possibility to orient the cable could be nice as well, for instance if you want to run them close to the bars because of a race plate or something. Basically some freedom is better than none, but maybe it makes the design more complicated or the weight heavier. Also Hope should update their bolts, these two in the tank cap make it look a bit old. I know it's stupid but on Trickstuff Direttissima they look more integrated, and it makes an overall more refined look. Or maybe just make them black.
  • 16 1
 Do brake manufacturers publish any objective numbers so people can determine whether the trade off in weight is worth the stopping power differential between XC and DH spec brakes? Really hard to tell from articles like this whether it's worth running on a trail bike, for example...
  • 12 0
 Indeed, master cylinder and piston diameter wouldn't hurt!
  • 24 57
flag NicolaZesty314 (Jun 1, 2021 at 0:47) (Below Threshold)
 it's pretty easy, want braking power? don't get hopes
  • 17 4
 @NicolaZesty314: I disagree, they provide solid breaking at a solid price point. They may not be to your taste but you couldn’t say the were no good
  • 6 0
 I used hopes for a long time and the feel was great but to get max power the rider had to pull really really hard! Unlike Shimano, assuming they are working right, tons of power with minimal pressure. That cam really works wonders.
  • 6 6
 Something tells me if you're going to spend $600 on a new set of brakes, you're going to be proactive by reaching out to the manufacturer for those details instead of relying on PB articles for all your information.
  • 14 2
 It's simple. Less power is never worth the grams saved.
  • 7 3
 I wish reviewers would use "master cylinder" instead of "lever" unless they're actually referring to just the lever itself...
  • 6 1
 @Muckal: By that logic, 60kg XC-racers should all be running GustavM with 250mm rotors, no exceptions.
  • 1 1
 No but someone on the internet will tell you and even without this data you WILL treat it as gospel
  • 5 2
 @scott-townes: And ask them what? “Do these brakes work?” If they give you a number, what are you going to compare it to?

He’s right. It’s silly that there’s no standard published measure of stopping power for brakes. Literally the only thing we know is 2 or 4 pot. This is the core purpose of the product! Imagine if they sold drivetrains without specifying gear ratios and all we heard was subjective comments on how hard it felt to climb hills.
  • 4 0
 @Blackhat:
You obviously didn't do a lot of research/reading on that topic...
Check that out
brakes.ddzyne.nl
  • 4 0
 @Happymtbfr: That's a cool tool. Thanks for sharing. I know how my next hour of "work" is going to be spent.

Doesn't change my point though. The industry should be publishing and discussing these numbers well before they talk about the weight. Not published on some obscure website that you have to "do a lot of research/reading on that topic" to find.
  • 1 0
 @Ttimer: i was making a point that might have exceptions, obviously. I'm pretty sure any serious xc racer knows what he's doing, but I don't think average Joe should compromise stopping power for 20-50g of weight savings. That said, me, 83kg dry weight, ride T3X2s on the hardtail because I got them for cheap, am confident in my skills and I am not afraid to put in a bit more finger work. Also, I got the terrain to suit, which is not the Alps, obviously.
  • 1 0
 @Muckal: my tech 3 x 4 weighs 205g if i put alloy backed pads in just sayin
  • 1 0
 @Happymtbfr: leverage just put longer levers on everything ….. surely will improve leverage
  • 1 0
 @Blackhat: we could have a stop fattie distance scale from 150kg down to 100kg anyone else is surely stoppable
  • 2 0
 @Compositepro: yes sure, until the lever hits the bar! ;-)
  • 2 0
 @Compositepro: someone on a german forum put the Hope duo lever on a Tech3 V4 and was quite impressed with the outcome. No wonder though.
  • 3 0
 There's a 40 page thread on ridemonkey covering everything you ever wanted to know, and many things you hadn't thought of. Plus it starts with a spreadsheet.
  • 2 0
 @Velocipedestrian: oh my god. frankenbrake? Halfway through the first post, and if the rest of the thread is half as good I won’t be back on Pinkbike for a week.
  • 1 0
 @Blackhat: i might not sleep tonight...
  • 2 0
 @Blackhat: at that point wheel manufacturers should publish moments of inertia numbers for there wheels.
But then people would realize that hub weight are not important at all
  • 1 0
 @Bloodshot0: I'd be in support of publishing inertia figures for wheels, but it's not really the same as stopping power for brakes. The core purpose of wheels is to roll without major frictional losses. And basically every decent quality wheel does that to +/- 1 W. Moment of inertia and weight are secondary performance factors.

The core purpose of brakes is to stop you fast, and brakes vary widely in that respect. Yet somehow they just tell us the weight.

Now back to not reading pinkbike...
  • 1 0
 @Blackhat: i totally agree on the brake part espacialy the weight is just a joke. 50 grams more is just the same and pretty much the worst spot to save weight exept for xc. brakes like the g2 shouldnt exist at all.

but with wheels the moment of inertia is more important for bike feeling too. 50 grams lighter rims will feel a lot better than 100g lighter hubs.
  • 1 0
 @Bloodshot0: many people do not understand this, and that a a heavier wheel can accelerate faster - location on the weight matters. GRS Engineering has a really good demonstrate tool/rig for this - if you haven't seen it, it's on Instagram.
  • 1 0
 @privateer-wheels: exactly my point, weight for wheel can be misleading.
  • 1 0
 @privateer-wheels: engineers kind of do understand accelerating a flywheel and your correct it takes more to stop something with a bigger mass (tis why we design the fixtures for testing brakes with variable mass flywheels) the reality of it is that total system mass and traction will also affect how effective a brake is
  • 1 0
 @Bloodshot0: Exactly. Those chasing grams will often times miss out on great hub features that may actually give them more efficiency because a hub might be marginally heavier than the next, when in reality that few grams at the wheels center makes little to not difference. Of course then you have someone pipe up about unsprung weight, yadda yadda.
  • 9 1
 Hope R&D things thoroughly rather than having 10 new and crappy things a year. This is why their kit lasts forever and spare parts are always available.
My Hope V2s are still going 10+ years on and my other bikes have been through numerous Avid/Sram/Hayes Brakes. Hope kit isn't the lightest but it also doesn't need stripped and cleaned every other ride. Hope - ride on,
  • 3 0
 That's why I have Hope on my 'posh' bike, they just work. I've just had my rear E4 back from Hope after a service after 6 years of absolute abuse and it's better than new. Only cost £60 with new pads, absolute bargain compared to my other bikes with Shimano that don't seem to last much past 2 years without leaks making them useless. One bike has a set of deore brakes where every part (lever and calipers) are from a different series but all under 4 years old, the E4's are still a current model and perform well in group tests.

Will probably go Hope on the other bikes too if I can afford it next time the Shimano brakes leak!
  • 3 0
 @DaMilkyBarKid: You can send Hope brakes back to them for a service? Never knew that. Did they change the pistons do you know?
  • 2 0
 @dglobulator: fully rebuilt AFAIK, everything looks brand new (apart from the alloy bits, obviously!).
  • 12 3
 I hope we see more braking news for gravity riders soon
  • 3 0
 Braking News is always welcome. It doesn't even need to be about brakes.
  • 4 0
 I loved my old saints but for a few seasons i have tech 3 e4 (now only part i moved onto my spur from old bike). They are plenty powerful and they work always the same even after my half ass bleeding. The other day i shortened hose and lost a lot of fluid. Guess what, they worked same. And feeling of lever is totally different it feels lile you have iphone in hand vs some cheap chinese phone (even tough im not Apple guy)
  • 23 19
 I wish they would finally ditch the DOT fluid. That is the only reason I no longer run their brakes.
  • 8 2
 What's up with dot fluid then.
  • 25 5
 I wish the opposite. Mineral sucks, no standartization whatsoever, low availability, higher cost, just yet another choice to go wrong or right.. thats one of the reasons i dont run shimano.. dot is dot.. same goes into my sram, same goes into my hope
  • 16 2
 @hhaaiirryy: it ruined the varnish on my old dining table. Top tip, bleed your brakes outdoors.
  • 24 1
 @hhaaiirryy: in Germany hate for DOT is a must for any serious mountainbiker.
  • 11 3
 @GZMS: "dot is dot" I think you are quite misinformed here. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brake_fluid

Anyway, as a hobby mechanic I like to have snacks and lick my fingers when I bleed brakes. Dot tastes funny.
  • 10 1
 @GZMS: buy a big can of Shimano mineral oil and have a lifetime worth for $25. Don't see the problem.
  • 2 0
 @Muckal: but you all drive porsches
  • 3 0
 @Compositepro: yes we do. Maybe that's why Germans mostly suck at any two wheeled sport, with the one exception i can think being Roczen right now.
  • 2 2
 @mo-T: “dot is dot” means “5.1 is 5.1”, i think that was obvious what i meant..
  • 2 0
 @Mac1987: i did buy a big can of shimano oil, but i also have another bike with sram brakes, and a third bike for which i was thinking of buying a set of maguras... but decided not to do so partly because yet another fluid and bleed kit to worry about, so bought hopes.. mineral oil is less of a problem if you are in one ecosystem , e.g. shimano only (and even then people are saying shimano oil is not the best for shimano brakes bcs of bite point issues).. but i dont like being locked into an ecosystem by manufacturers unless there is a clear advantage.. be it shimano, or apple, or some other company..
  • 2 0
 Mineral oil is king!
  • 1 0
 @GZMS: exactly. You can buy DOT all over the place. Sram has no stock? Check maxima. They have no stock? just buy whatever your local garage has. DOT IS DOT
  • 4 0
 Please sell the brake in individual parts, and each under 150euros, thanks to Brexit, everything over, will pay duties
  • 6 2
 Welcome to the Brexit Making UK made goods more expensive since 2021
  • 3 1
 @Kimbers: made everything more expensive but yay! blue passports
  • 1 0
 @Kimbers: it's hurting me more than you think! I would shop alot in UK (ebay and sites), but now... I really need to be careful!

Just thinking that most of my Moto buying came from UK, and now need to sort out alternatives...... man.......

So close... and so far away! Frown
  • 3 0
 @nojzilla: LOL! Have a lot of relatives and friends in UK. It seems The Wall (the one that felt in 89) was lifted in the Channel!
  • 4 0
 @gonpalco: I just sold a pair of Hope rotors to a guy in Norway. I had to add £10 to the price to make up for the £12 International postage, that would've been the same as UK postage before the brexshit disaster. I felt so bad but he was cool
  • 2 0
 @nojzilla: yeah but we have our own fish now
  • 2 0
 @jaame: Just a shame we could'nt sell em to our biggest fish customers...........
the EU :'D
that worked out well
  • 8 7
 I dont get all the stuff about Hope and bad brake power. I have Tech3 E4 with braided hoses and they stop like my old, trusty Avid Codes. btw, DOT forever. Mineral oil is shit which overheats, especialy in Saints and ZEEs, where I was unable to even push the brake lever.
  • 14 1
 Hope makes different brakes. Some are designed to be power over weight, others are designed the other way around. And then there is modulation, which is a personal preference. I have used Hope nor Avid but understand both have their fans. Just use whatever you like, both should help you stop the bike if needed. But there is more to a brake than merely stopping the bike.

As for DOT vs mineral oil, I think there is more overheating a brake than just the brake fluid. I think the Shimano mineral oil has a fairly high boiling point. But if water enters the system, it will pool in the caliper so when that starts to boil, you get a vapor lock and lose brake function. So it may not actually be the mineral oil overheating, but the water underneath. DOT fluid deteriorates more gradually as it absorbs the water throughout the entire system. Which will lead to a less sudden loss of brake function. However, I don't get how people stare blindly at the boiling point number as that merely goes for the fluid inside the sealed container. Unless you're able to purge the oil straight through the system without exposing it to ambient air, it will already start absorbing air. Not only inside your brake, but also inside the (now no longer sealed) container of fluid which you'll use for your next bleed. Which is only an issue if you find this lower boiling point to be an issue. But in these discussions I don't think it makes sense to point at the higher boiling point of DOT vs mineral (in general). Heck, it are these DOT fluids with the higher boiling points (from sealed container) which deteriorate quickest.

Back to Shimano brakes, one other issue seems to be that people are being instructed to overfill them (which even goes for Greg Minnaar, who got online assistance when bleeding his brakes, www.pinkbike.com/news/video-marshy-attempts-to-teach-greg-minnaar-how-to-bleed-brakes.html). They'll just end up with less capacity to expand and will overheat sooner. Obviously whether someone overheats a brake depends on terrain and length of descends, but also on rider weight and skill. I trust Greg doesn't continuously drag his brakes.

As for mineral oil, these are non standardized so it is hard to make a generic comment about them all. I mentioned Shimano oil boiling point is quite high, Magura oil boiling point is quite low instead. 120degC if I recall correctly. Which isn't that much of an issue apparently as it isn't quite like I hear more Magura-overheating-complaints than I hear them from Shimano. In a way it may even be safer as if both brands (Shimano and Magura) have designed their brakes to perform when properly bled with their own mineral oil (so for them to stay below their boiling points when used as foreseen), the lower boiling point of the water will drop Shimano performance more than it does to Magura. Obviously there are other brands running their own mineral oil (Tektro/TRP, Formula, is the Bionol used by Trickstuff mineral oil too?) and I haven't heard any particular complaints about these overheating.

So yeah, there are so many aspects that lead to overheating a brake. If your experience is limited to Shimano brakes, this doesn't necessarily say anything about mineral oil in general.
  • 3 0
 @vinay: yup. the mineral fluid does not absorb water and many of the fluids you can buy go to higher boiling point than Dot fluid. Trick stuff goes to nearly 400 degrees c so does finish line.
  • 1 0
 Trickstuff / Danico Bionol is plant based.
  • 2 0
 If you think mineral is shit you’ve never ridden TRP stuff.
  • 1 0
 @Mr-Gilsch: Well yeah, but there is so much you can make from different parts of different plants. Either way, they claim it is compatible with Magura and Shimano brakes so I consider it more a mineral oil than something like DOT. Boiling point is high indeed but as I mentioned, that is only helpful as long as there is no water in the system (which will always make its way into all those hydraulic brakes). I think that's what DOT-fans like, they can gradually feel brake performance degrade as the DOT absorbs the water whereas a brake designed for a brake fluid that boils beyond 200degC will suddenly fail in demanding situations when there happens to be water in the system you didn't noticed in the mellow conditions. That's why I don't mind using oil with a low boiling point but which the (Magura) brakes have been designed around. If it is designed to not boil the fluid with the 120degC boiling point, it likely also won't boil the water once it enters the system.

So yeah, the super high boiling point oil is nice if you think you might heat up your brakes that high. But then if you do, you need to stay on top of your maintenance to be confident that that condition of your oil is still good (DOT) or that there is no water at all in the caliper (mineral).
  • 4 0
 Tech 3 Carbon lever please!!! I would buy in a heartbeat for my E4s and V4s!
  • 2 0
 182g without fluid and brake pads! Weight weenie's dream of going faster! You can save yourself some money if you don't even have any brakes installed at all and lose that 182g! Woohoo!
  • 1 0
 This replaces their older Stealth Race Evo (X2 caliper + lighter levers assembly + titanium bolts) which are on one of my XC bikes. Here are the actual weights for those who are curious:

Hope x2 Evo Race
Front: 215g + 25g (titanium rotor bolts)
Rear: 225g + 25g (titanium rotor bolts)
Hope 160mm floating rotor: 91.5g

Hope also has version of their E4 (4 pot caliper) with the lighter Evo Race levers.
  • 13 14
 Unpopular opinion: I never really liked Hope brakes that much. They look the part, fully serviceable and last a lifetime, but they never feel the same after that first service.
This could be just me, but I never had that experience with Shimano, Sram or even Magura.
  • 20 1
 I think that says more about who did the service. The only issues I've come across with hope brakes is occasionally sticky pistons, and a good service sorts them out.
  • 49 10
 To be fair, the "first service" on Shimano brakes is replacing them with something that has consistent bite point
  • 6 0
 I never used to like hope brakes in the 2000's but having tried a pair of the new E4's I was v impressed. Ended up getting a set this year and the open bath makes them far easier to bleed for a really solid (and reliable) feel than sram/shimano
  • 4 0
 @ROOTminus1: the sticky piston is real for sure. Thankfully the piston is under $15 and easy to replace!
  • 7 1
 @lloydyb: It is a shame more and more brakes now no longer have a removable reservoir cap and use a bleed port instead. I personally also prefer to remove the reservoir cap when bleeding the brake. I think it makes it easier to make sure that all air has been removed from the reservoir. Which is just the reservoir indeed (you can't look deeper into the system obviously) but I like the visual feedback. But ehrm... other than the C2 (which was a closed system), you could already remove the reservoir cap of the '00s Hope brakes, couldn't you?

In general I think it gives some peace of mind knowing that even though the product is expensive, you won't be ditching it because you broke some silly part and can't get hold of spares. This would be the opposite with the big OEM brands (cheaper to buy but harder to get hold of small parts to repair them).
  • 5 1
 Agree. Whenever I've tried Hope brakes I've always been disappointed with their performance. People I used to know who had them said they howled a lot as well.
  • 1 2
 @MattP76: Agreed. Tried Tech 3 E4 and X2, not very overwhelmed with their performance. Changed the E4 to an MT7 and X2 became a trusty 'ol XT. Never looked back since.
  • 2 0
 @MattP76: howling is usually an alignment issue. Old hope brakes were heavy for the relative performance and I'd say shimanos were better (back then), but the new generation of Hopes are far better than shimano/sram even with factory pads. Throw in some trickstuff or uberbike pads and they are hard to fault
  • 5 2
 Even less brake power than an E4? You’ll never be able to stop!
  • 3 0
 Nicely done Hope. These are cnc beauties.
  • 3 3
 Formula Cura are 30ish grams heavier, cost less than 200€ for a SET, have the same level of modulation and with proper rotors are capable even for DH. Also are fully serviceable and run on oil. Hello?
  • 4 1
 Less brake, more money!
  • 1 0
 I question if “available 1st of June” is an accurate assessment...what else in the article is incorrect???
  • 1 0
 I'm a Hope fan boi but, I'll never understand why they changed the banjo angle?
  • 1 0
 Would be interested to see how the performance of these would compare to the Formula R1R brakes
  • 1 0
 Get the Trickstuff look without: paying through the nose, waiting >1 year, the performance. That said they look great.
  • 1 0
 EXCUSE me pinkbike, I run my brakes leverless. Instead, i blow through the tube to stop
  • 1 0
 Hope just need to revamp the V2 caliper. Trying to find stock of the trial zone is a nightmare outside Covid times.
  • 1 0
 I wonder if SR Suntour will take offense that they are naming there new brakes with the same syllables as Suntours forks?
  • 1 4
 "Hope is using their R&D facility to manufacture these brakes in order to keep their main manufacturing hardware going at full capacity. That means availability of the XCR will be limited"

LOL. I think we knew these would be rare as hens teeth...didn't need to give a reason guys!
  • 2 2
 Could just maintain proper inventory in existing models and hardware instead but wtf do I know
  • 1 0
 That caliper hose angle is going to be a pain on a lot of bikes.
  • 1 0
 So it’s mega light …..now then rotors don’t we need those too
  • 1 1
 But do they slow you down? or do you have to jam them into your spokes for that?
  • 1 0
 How much weight do I save if I remove the bleeder nipple cap?
  • 1 1
 Mummy looks exactly like an old Formula B4 SL
  • 1 1
 Geez, my V4's were weak, good luck with these........
  • 1 0
 Looks like XTR 970
  • 5 8
 When I saw the headline I was Hoping the price didn't brake the bank, might have to bite the bullet and order a set, all this new kit means I'm bleeding cash.
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