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Hand-built in Lancashire, these wheels are cracking value – if you can keep them taut. The hubs use stainless steel bearings and labyrinth seals for legendary reliability and can be configured for every current axle standard, but they’re heavy and the loud, average engagement freehub is a love/hate rider divider.

Hope offer chunky Mavic 719 UST 29er rims or these sub-400g Crests for easy acceleration and direction change. They support up to 2.3in tyres, but getting tyres onto the broad, shallow rim section can be a test of your profanity vocabulary.

You need to buy the sealed rim strips and valves separately, but sealing is easy once you’ve wrestled the tyres into place.

The complete wheels are a massive bargain. However, despite 32 Sapim Sprint spokes hand-laced into block flanges on the SP hubs, our sample pair isn’t the first set of rather soft and baggy Hope Hoops we’ve had recently.

The rims are in the flexy cross-country rather than tough trail camp; even once we’d retightened the wheels they slurred rather than sliced in cornering and tracking terms. Their softness also undermined power response, confirming they’re best suited to lighter, less powerful riders.

article was originally published in What
Mountain Bike
magazine, available on Apple
and Zinio.

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