project began as an experiment, a creation of the company's co-founder, the late Simon Sharp, who used Hope's extensive component manufacturing capabilities to literally, reconfigure the entire chassis and drivetrain layout of the contemporary mountain bike. Originally conceived as a demonstration project to build better-performing trailbikes for Hope's staffers, the HB.211 was not intended to be mass-produced, but that may change soon. Seven of the 160-millimeter-travel, 27.5-inch-wheel chassis have been produced to date, and both performance and handling have exceeded Hope's expectations. As a result, molds for two sizes (large and X-large) exist, and a medium-size frame is in the works. For Hope fans, that is excellent news. Dare we say, that the HB.211 is headed for serial production in the very near future?
The HB.211 chassis revolves around a beautiful carbon front section which is laid up and molded at Hope's factory. The Horst Link type rear suspension is constructed largely from CNC-machined aluminum, and drives an Ohlins coil-over shock. To reduce the width of the swingarm and increase stiffness, Hope breaks with the Boost-hub tradition, using an offset swingarm (Cannondale does this also) to produce a zero-dish rear wheel with a 130-millimeter-wide hub. There is no provision for a front mech' and its 11-speed Hope-made 10 by 44-tooth cassette spins on a special freehub body. There are reasons for this.
The premise of the HB.211 was to ignore convention where alternative designs could produce lighter, stronger, or better performing parts. As a result, its flush-mount headset, rear hub, cassette, crankset, rear axle, and its rear-wheel construction, are incompatible with off-the-shelf components from other makers. The potential benefits of such heresy is that Hope was freed to optimize key drivetrain components with the frame's design, similar to how high-performance motorcycles are manufactured. Hope then finishes off the HB.211 build with a busload of its own components including its new super-wide Tech 35W aluminum rims. If you want the whole story, check out Pinkbike's First Look of the HB.211
that Mike Levy posted from the Sea Otter Classic this year for an in-depth description of the project.