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Hope's All-New, 198-gram XC Brake - First Look

With the recent resurgence in shorter travel bikes and the appearance of the "downcountry" category, Hope felt it was time to look at improving what they were doing with their X2 and the discontinued "Race" line of brakes. Dropping weight was the main driver here, but also giving the brake a lighter feel. Meet the all-new XCR!

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Hope XCR Highlights

  • Lightweight minimalist design
  • Reduced lever friction for lighter feel
  • Hinged clamp for easy installation
  • Carbon lever blade
  • Reservoir to enable simple bleed process
  • Compatible with current shifter mounts
  • Silver anodizing
  • Weight: 198g (Lever, front brake hose and caliper - verified)
  • MSRP: £250/€315/$320 per brake

Looking over the new brake, the main difference is the new lever. Built around a radial master cylinder, it retains Hope's traditional reservoir design which allows for easy top-down bleeding (albeit a bit messy, this method does produce great bleeds). The lever body is much slimmer than on the current Tech 3 lever, and as just mentioned, the reservoir is oriented radially instead of along the direction of the bar. The lever blade is made from carbon, and only offers reach adjustment (which requires the use of an allen key).

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The lever clamp is now hinged, which makes installation a little bit easier. Existing Hope mounts can be used to attach shifters and dropper post levers for a clean cockpit setup. The caliper itself is the same X2 caliper that was already in the line-up, but Hope made some tweaks around it as well. The crimped hose connector at the caliper end is smaller and thinner, and the pads feature an aluminum backing plate (the hose connector at the lever end retains the classic olive to facilitate shortening the hoses). All told, the complete assembly has dropped about 50 grams per side in total compared to a Tech 3 lever/X2 caliper combo.

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The new XCR goes on sale today, June 1, but initial availability is fairly limited. Hope is actually using spare capacity in their R&D department to produce the XCR brakes, in order not to impact lead times of existing products, so if these look like something you're interested in getting your hands on, you better move quickly. We're lucky enough to have received a set to test, so we'll be bringing you our in-depth impression later this summer. 

More information at www.hopetech.com.

Photos by Johan Hjord

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