Inside Hope Technology: Following The Manufacturing Process

Feb 2, 2017 at 7:40
by Ross Bell  



Driving down narrow streets lined by stone houses I feel like my satnav is leading me astray. This is far from a conventional location to find one of the world's leading component manufacturers, but then again Hope Technology isn’t your conventional company.

Founded from humble moto-trials beginnings in 1989 by the late Simon Sharp and Ian Wetherhill, Hope has expanded into the 120-strong team it is today. Hope’s growth stems from their introduction of new products, which are mostly driven out of personal riding requirements rather than being market led. The thirst for more space led them to their new Barnoldswick premises in 2011, where all their component machining and new carbon layups take place.

To put Hope’s success in perspective, the company started with a meager 400 square feet of factory space yet now occupies a mammoth 100,000 square-foot facility. In other words, there are plenty of intriguing processes, machines, and components to look at when taking a stroll along the factory floor...

Hope Tech
Tucked away in a corner of the Lancashire countryside, Hope Tech have been in their Barnoldswick premises since 2011.

Hope Tech
At the top of the factory is where the first stage of any new component takes place. Initial sketches and ideas are taken into the computer before being 3D printed to help visualize the product and give the machining department something to work from.
Hope Tech
That is, if they can resist the urge to session the pump track, which the office looks out on to!

Hope Tech
Various pre-production prototypes in different stages clutter the designers' desks. There's no better way of making refinements to products than having hands on experience as you're doing it.
Hope Tech
Before the production can take place, the engineers need to program the machines with a focus on efficiency, trying to do as much machining as possible in one operation.

Hope Tech
Once the prototypes have been made, they are subjected to intense testing, on and off the bike. This rig can be programmed to the data collected from real-world descents.

Hope Tech
Hope Tech

Hope Tech
Once happy with the component, production can begin. The raw 2014 aluminium alloy and is cut into bars or billets before being fixed into the CNC machines.

Hope Tech
The machines run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week...
Hope Tech
...soon to be hubs!

Hope Tech
The cutting fluid helps cool the metal and lubricates, which also helps improve the life of the working edge.

Hope Tech
Hope Tech

Hope Tech
The machine holds three brakes at a time, taking an hour and 15 minutes to complete the first operation before another 15 minutes on the second operation. This adds up to a total of 30,000 brakes a year.

Hope Tech
The life of a hub pawl; made from steel, the pawls are sliced into shape by a wire-cutting machine.
Hope Tech
Hope's rotors are laser cut and heat treated.

Hope Tech
After the machining is complete, the components are then taken to a 'metal finishing' process.
Hope Tech
This consists of deburring or polishing, depending on the part.

Hope Tech
Up next is the anodizing where Hope have created their popular and almost iconic range of colourways.

Hope Tech
Hope Tech

Hope Tech
Every product is anodized, even the silver components. This is not only done for aesthetics, but to provide a layer of protection from the elements.

Hope Tech
Each bath of colour differs in temperature and submersion time to achieve the desired finish.
Hope Tech
A lot of variables can affect the finish meaning it's a difficult process to match colours.

Hope Tech
Laser etching is the final stop before the component is boxed up and on its way to the shops.
Hope Tech
The process burns off the anodizing, but leaves an oxidized coat, meaning the surface won't be susceptible to corrosion.

Hope Tech
Lacing a wheel takes somewhere in the region of the 80-second mark!
Hope Tech
They are then tensioned within a certain tolerance range by machine, before being finished off in the truing stand by hand.

Hope Tech
Each component is assembled by hand.
Hope Tech
30,000 brakes manufactured a year means a heck of a lot of brakes need a first-time bleed!

Hope Tech
Seeing each stage of production, from the raw material to the shop-ready component, is the only way for a visitor to get a sense of the time, effort, and ingenuity that goes into all the components we have on our bikes.

Hope Tech
Over the last few years, Hope have also expanded into carbon with seatposts, handlebars and the much talked about HB.211 that is soon to come into production.

Hope Tech
Being able to CNC their own molds in-house gives Hope a massive advantage over other manufacturers.
Hope Tech
It takes 24 strips of carbon and around 20 minutes to layup their seatpost.

Hope Tech
After being laid into the mold, the carbon is heated internally by air pressure before being rubbed down and lacquered, all in house.

Hope Tech
Coming soon...


MENTIONS: @hopetech




112 Comments

  • 79 25
 If they made one quiet rear hub I'd own it. I love everything about Hope. I just like a quiet bike.
That said I'm rather exited about the HB.211, what are used testicles worth these days?
  • 120 10
 But how are walkers supposed to hear you?
  • 20 79
flag Reidwyllie (Feb 7, 2017 at 0:36) (Below Threshold)
 @fatduke: they don't they don't need to hear you, if your fast they will hear your tyres which is more than enough
  • 21 80
flag ratedgg13 (Feb 7, 2017 at 0:42) (Below Threshold)
 Use a bit more of a lighter grease next time you do a hub rebuild. I have a friend with I9 hubs which are almost silent as a result of this process. Conversely, increase the noise with a thicker, heavier grease.
  • 15 2
 @ratedgg13: thats allways a good thing, but I run an oynx hub and they are completely silent, they hare heavier than a dt, but when it's only 100grams difference on dh bike it doesn't matter
  • 7 2
 @Reidwyllie: agreed, I'd love some onyx. And especially when that 100g is at the centre of the wheel as opposed to out on the rim where the rotating weight matters, I think it's a great tradeoff. That plus instant engagement... Mmmm
  • 7 0
 @Reidwyllie: I don't think you've met walker's in the lake District, bells are too high pitched to work.
  • 1 0
 You only need one or so I'm told, save one for the DH model.
  • 16 1
 I love the noisy hubs but if it bothers you just use a little more grease in the hubs to quieten it down
  • 12 9
 I don't think Hope even cares to have the business of prima donnas. They want real riders that will really put the products to use.
  • 16 0
 @fatduke: When I first read what you said, I thought you meant walkers from the walking dead. I still hope that's what you meant.
  • 1 0
 I would like a quiet hub but I would be risking crashing into someone or running over an animal. I think my hub have helped preventing that so far.
  • 3 0
 I love noise from my hope hubs too
  • 2 1
 @fatduke: www.mtbbell.com/about.html

I've heard it called "Timberbell", but it's really "Timber MTB Bells". I don't own one, but when you asked the question I had to know... And now we know!

@ChazzMichaelMichaels: I too like quiet hubs. I've been told by seasoned riders that if I don't want to hear my hub that I should look for a 30 to 60 POE hub. IIRC, the higher torque springs used on high POE hubs are part of what give the hub the louder sound. I have a friend that bought the MTB270 rear hub from BHS. It has 6 pawls and 54POE, yet is barely heard. I rode is bike around the street and there is a stark difference in the feel of engagement from my shitty M756A rear hub.
  • 2 0
 @scotty1212: if it makes you happy you can read it that way although I don't think you want those kind of walkers hearing you any way.
  • 1 0
 Rebuild Hope hub, add some anti-noise piece of anything on the pawls. Should be fun!
Love this hub sound. Even people going to the forest to collect some mushrooms remember it and just get outta way (heard it's banned in the UK, true?)
  • 6 2
 A loud hub is just indication of wasted energy slowing you down.
  • 4 2
 A loud hub also tells me that I'm not pedalling, and therefore could be going faster Razz
  • 2 0
 @XCMark: I have a timber bell. It is LOUD. so loud i had to put some electrical tape on about half of the inside of the bell to bring it down to an acceptable level. With that fix, though, I love it. Being able to turn it on and off is really nice
  • 1 0
 @xeren: My understanding from their website is that if you put the switch in the center position it is quieter. Though I don't know of this first hand.
  • 1 0
 @XCMark: yeah, that was the first thing I tried, no luck. It's kinda on or off as far as loudness goes. It might jingle a little less, but it's still early piercing
  • 2 0
 @Garpur44: T-H-A-N-K-Y-O-U-!...This makes perfect sense and actually does work to reduce the noise on their hubs.
  • 1 0
 @EastCoastDHer: lol, no worries
  • 38 2
 Proper British engineering.
  • 14 4
 Make Britain great aga... um... whatever, you know what I mean Big Grin
  • 11 1
 Hope is an amazing company. I really appreciate companies that have so many manufacturing processes under roof. It's shortens the product development cycle by months. Smile

If I lived in the UK, I would want to work at Hope
  • 4 1
 That one episode of IT Crowd with the fire extinguisher...
  • 1 2
 I bought 3 Hope products and paid 800 Euros. 2 of them failed in next 3 months.
  • 22 0
 Been using Hope M4's on two of my bikes for around 5 years - so simple to maintain sometimes I bleed the brakes just because Im bored. Most I've replaced on them is the oil and brakes pads. Quality stuff.
  • 6 7
 Had to rebuild my rear V4 brakes after about 10,000Km, it cost me almost the same amount as buying a new rear V4 brake. After the rebuild, the pistons on one side would move out, while the other side wouldn't. Bleeding didn't fix the problem either. Ended up buying a new V4 rear brake. Just FYI, if anyone needs to rebuild their hope brakes, unless you can find all the parts cheap, it may be a better choice to buy complete new brakes and save time and money.
  • 22 0
 It's funny as a HOPE owner for years hearing about everyone else's complaints about the various brakes out there: not enough power, fading on descents, no feel, constant bleeding, difficult to change pads, on & on..

Then there's HOPE brakes, the strongest yet most subtle action that never fades and never needs bleeding. And when you do bleed it is the easiest thing to do on your whole bike, no special tools or taking them off to do. I will never even consider another brake manufacturer as long as they exist.
  • 12 1
 @skidrumr: Thanks for the complements! As the head US Brake Technician I really appreciate comments like this. Could not be more happy to work for such a great company.
  • 5 0
 I have some Hope Mini brakes for about 14 years... they have been trickled down to the commuter bike now but they still work and look great... never done anything to them apart from pads and bleed.
  • 2 0
 @abzillah: Next time send them to Casino Bicycles in Hemet CA. I think the guy's name is Matt. He used to work at the old service center in Texas. He does a great job.
  • 4 0
 @abzillah: If they last 10,000 km, I'm willing to give them to a homeless after that. If you buy the most expensive set of Hope brakes currently available ($460 on CRC), they'll cost you 4.6 cents per km ridden. That's probably less than what you eat/drink while riding.
  • 1 0
 @Extremmist: Yeah, 4.6 cents is cheap; I only change the rear brake, so it's likely cheaper than that. The front brake is perfectly fine, just changed the pads. So far I have put about 3,000km on the new rear brake.
I just wish the parts to rebuild the brakes were less expensive; half the price of a new brake would be reasonable, but currently it's only $10 cheaper than buying new brakes.

@SethStar, Thanks, I'll check Casino Bicycles out. I have driven through Hemet a few time on my way to Idylwild.
  • 1 0
 @yuroshek: Hope is basically "set it and forget it". As long as you maintain their products (like you're supposed to) everything works like a gem. Absolutely love their brakes. They work, they are quality and they are simple to maintain. You get what you pay for and Hope has never disappointed.
  • 17 3
 I hope you're listening, Hope: enough with the "Team" green - you'd have a lot of happy new customers if you made that colour an option for the general public. Brakes in particular.
  • 38 0
 But then it would just be "boring green colour that nobody likes". Isn't it just the exclusivity that people really want? Hope are already wanted for colour matching crimes, I call for further restrictions on coloured products. People can't be trusted.
  • 5 1
 @ThomDawson: Well in that case surely they should pull the ano purple? Just flor clarity: when I meant green, I meant that anodised emerald green, not the amoebic dysentry green that they use for their logo.
  • 2 1
 @DokonjoDaikon: Well I was just kidding, my views on coloured products are in line with my views on everything - pro choice. But I would also rather companies aimed to sell product based on function rather than how bright they are and flashy they are. The 'team green' is Hopes way of taking it to the next level, people want what they can't have. This got a bit serious all of a sudden, somebody bust out some puns quick.
  • 19 2
 @ThomDawson: The cost of the Hope Team Green stuff would brake the bank. Orange you glad they have plenty of other colour options though, this article really blue my mind.
  • 4 0
 As far as I remember, the main reason for not offering the green option is that it usually doesn't last as long as the other colours. And as much as a sponsored rider may not care, a customer would be pretty mad if after a year the green has become a faded green ... May be wrong though..
  • 1 0
 I managed to get myself the ltd edition purple top caps for the V2 evos on mine plus matching purple bore caps and adjusters. The top caps were a batch mistake by hope and they had a very small run of them. The green is cool looking but as suggested below it doesn't seem to last as long as the other colours. On the other hand though Hope products are incredibly good quality, i ran the same set of pro II hubs for 5 years and didn't have to touch them, except to upgrade to stainless steel freehub for more noise, same with my old brakes, 7 years and still going strong, few bleeds, internals never replaced and still stop on a 6 pence
  • 5 1
 @mretard: do they have 6 pence coins in Scotland?
  • 1 0
 The pewter color is pretty nice. For the most part though I have had a hard time ordering anything that's not black from my local bike shops.
  • 1 0
 @tigerteeuwen: I liked that gunsmoke colour too but it got the sack a year too soon. I've gone silver for my pro 4s
  • 2 0
 @mikeyspaff: haha I'm from Yorkshire but live up here Wink

I had gunsmoke hubs, now got black, really want purple ones though
  • 1 0
 @jaame: same thing for me.....gone with silver now and happy with it. I also found the gunsmoke looked too 'blue' at times, and really wished that Hope had managed to do a proper gunmetal like Chris King do.
  • 14 0
 Kudos to Hope for being one of the last true in-house companies that hasn't sold out to Chinese/Taiwan manufacturing.
  • 1 0
 That to me is amazing in this day and age! ! !
  • 2 0
 Most people don't have the money for UK or American made kit. I wish I did, but Hope, Chris King, Yeti, Intense etc all have one thing in common $$$.
  • 3 0
 @tom666: hope is actually pretty reasonable. About the same price as saint. Much cheaper than Chris king or industry nine. Hubs I mean. Their brakes are expensive which is why I always use shimano.
  • 1 0
 Damn right...I love the fact the AM stem I bought a few weeks ago started life in east Lancs, headed about 30 miles south-west to Merlin Cycles' warehouse in Preston, and then about another 30 miles south-east to Manchester via my post office ! It's sustainable manufacturing/retail.
  • 1 0
 @jaame: Buying cheap brakes is like buying cheap toilet paper, you can do it but when things get messy you may be sorry.
  • 14 2
 Really cool !! Thanks for letting us inside the factory ! I love the sound of my hope hubs so noisey !
  • 8 1
 Is there any company in the industry with more goodwill from customers? You'd have to screw up a lot to lose my custom, but I would like a higher engagement, more quiet MTB hub please. That said, I have 4 of them so it can't be putting me off that much.
  • 7 0
 I feel like every year there's a new article "Inside Hope Technology"....And they keep getting better!

Keep up the good stuff PB (and hope!)
  • 7 0
 Keep making noisy stuff...
  • 4 0
 Had a tour of the Hope factory last year and it was incredible - highly recommended and reinforces my belief that you pay for quality with their products. UK made... on Japanese machines.
  • 3 0
 Hope brakes and hubs are the dogs wotsits. I had a set of original M4/E4's that were pushing 20 by the time I replaced them with the new E4 (although the 20 year olds made it into my hardtail). The reason they're well made is because the guys who work there actually ride bikes and develop the products with riders. Yeah the colour thing is great but I'd still by their produce if it only came in baby sick yellow.
  • 4 1
 Please, design a less progressive and more aggressive DH brake ! The V4 has good power, but a bit too progressive for heavy riders like me ... Wink
  • 1 0
 Love me some Hope tech stuff! Use em every day hubs and brakes. In all kinds of slop and every temp from 99+ Fahrenheit to 3 degrees Fahrenheit. No performance difference. Take all kinds of abuse and just keep on keepin on!! The best quality out there for sure. And I love the loud buzzy hub! Gimme more!! Great colors too.
  • 1 0
 I love all the hope bling I have on my bikes, looks good, functional and bombproof. It would be nice seeing as they're are able to machine their own moulds in house if they passed the savings on to their loyal customer base but I imagine I'll be putting their components on to my other brand ali frames for some time.
  • 1 0
 When I was working as a mechanic a pair of 10 year old Hope brakes came in for a bleed and new pads. Sourced the pads, bled the brakes and they worked better than a brand new pair of Shimanos. I got some tech 3 E4s after that and have been riding them ever since. Really impressive stuff.
  • 9 5
 Good stuff. I hope brexit will not affect Hope sales.
  • 12 14
 It won't, just look at their prices over the last months. Even better: Brexit cut down the cost of labour a little bit. Can't wait for the next Brexit in main-land Europe.
  • 11 2
 @Euskafreez: Brexit has not happened yet.

Hope's products are currently available in mainland Europe at the same prices as on the UK. With import taxes, that would not be the case anymore.
  • 3 8
flag Euskafreez (Feb 7, 2017 at 11:58) (Below Threshold)
 @FuzzyL: Update your software lad

The currency in the UK ain't €uro. It's the good old British pound, hence is why they have an advantage at the moment with their labor force. Raw materials may cost them more but Brexit is not as terrible of a thing as some think it is.
  • 7 1
 @Euskafreez: you might be faced with import taxes, if the sh*tshow goes t*ts up, but also may still have a price hike when sterling goes deeper in the sh*tter, as they'd have to raise them due to the import costs of the aluminium, as well as more than likely increased labour costs.
  • 3 0
 Come to Wales on a riding holiday, take advantage of the weak pound, buy your hope and renthal bits to take home with you. Win/win.
  • 1 0
 @jaame: yep...the Welsh didn't need any of that EU redevelopment/rejuvenation funding did they - they'll be fine just relying on tourism and a few decades of Tory rule !

Great to think that the UK population will be the only ones NOT to benefit from Brexit- how fu***d up is that ?

Oh well, at least we've got a good relationship with Trump.
  • 2 0
 @Diabolicus: let's wait and see shall we? I am open to the possibility of something good coming out of it. No one knows what's going to happen do they?
  • 3 0
 I'd love to work there, just love the attention to detail of their components. I'd even sweep the floor!
  • 2 0
 Now that is some sexy engineering! Love the raw to finished timeline. Whenever I get around to building my dream set of wheels, hope hubs will be top of the list.
  • 2 0
 I like these in depth tours. It Truly allows you to understand the amount of resources involved. Justifying even further in my mind the cost of Hope products.
  • 1 0
 its funny how we complain about price but than you see the manufacturing process and realize how much work it takes to just make one, seems pretty reasonable in most cases when it comes to cost.
  • 5 1
 Piece of art
  • 5 2
 I masturbated furiously all the way through that. Thanks.
  • 2 0
 "Wheels are laced in about 80 seconds!" I finally laced my first wheel in 8 days!
  • 3 1
 Keep up the good work Hope, if you want a brake for life, get Hope!
  • 3 1
 The trailer to end all trailers. Coming soon... ... .... dun dun duuuun!!!
  • 3 1
 The Chive has nothing on this! All bodily fluids gone!
  • 2 0
 Did I read that right. 80 seconds to lace the wheel? Faaaaak
  • 3 1
 I feel like Pinkbike does a Hope factory tour every few months.
  • 2 1
 Brace yourself. The puns are coming..
  • 2 1
 These guys deserve better computers Wink
  • 1 0
 Where is the photo of the thingy that makes my hub so noisy and awesome?
  • 1 0
 great photos. Hope should be proud
  • 1 0
 I hope there are some puns to come.
  • 1 0
 hope This is really the top
  • 2 0
 CNC porn.
  • 1 0
 WOW!!
  • 1 0
 double post
  • 1 0
 How I can work there?
  • 1 0
 I loves me Hopes.
  • 1 1
 pornog
  • 6 8
 Id buy another rear hub if they were quiet.
  • 5 0
 pull the freehub out, pack the pawls with grease. job done.
  • 1 0
 @whitebullit: I tried that myself and it work way better than expected. It never slipped a pawl either. Then I decided to go the other way and cleaned it all out and used the lightest lube I could to allow it to sound as loud as possible.
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