Words: Mike Blewitt
 
When faced with the option of building a custom wheel set most people have one dilemma to solve – Hope hubs or DT Swiss? King or Industry Nine tend to operate at a much higher price bracket! Hope and DT Swiss both have a lot going for them, although the British hubs tend to come out ahead by riders who ride hard and in foul conditions. The United Kingdom is not known for fair weather the Hope pride themselves on making gear that stands up to proper muck year after year – all with servicing of course.
 
I had a set of carbon rims I was testing built onto a set of Hope Pro 4 Boost hubs, as something to use and abuse on my trail bike. After 6 months of use in varied conditions, there’s nothing bad to report, which makes a product review a little less exciting. If you want to read about catastrophic failures, fast wear or poor fitting parts then don’t read a review on Hope Pro 4 hubs – these are the latest in a long line of reliable, high-performance hubs.

 

The Pro 4 can be best viewed as an update to the Pro 2 EVO, and the Pro 4 shells have greater flange spacing for stronger wheels, and an improved engagement for slightly faster pick up on the rear hub. This is a small change (40 to 44 teeth) but one I noticed the most compared to the last set of Hope Pro 2 EVO hubs I bought 5 years ago. The drive side bearing is also larger, and should deal better with the loads that rear hubs on big bikes with wide axle spacing dish out. The tool free interchange of end caps remains. The bodies are still machined from a single piece of forged aluminium, and the bearings are still stainless steel for long life.
 
On the trail the wheels roll really well, and there hasn’t been a peep from the wheels or hubs. No freehubs falling off if a wheel gets knocked over, no loose endcaps, no cracked drive rings, no premature bearing wear – nothing. It all speaks to the precise methods of manufacturing that Hope pride themselves on.
 
The axle is stiff, and on a trail bike or enduro bike that is where you will really notice the difference. Add in faster take up with the 44-tooth drive ring and your bike will feel more solid under hard pedal strokes out of corners. And I think that’s where the benefit of a Hope Pro 4 hub really shines, for those wanting to ride hard. With taller flanges, stiff axles and large bearing sizes the Pro 4 builds into a great wheel – better than something like a DT Swiss 350 or 240 which might not have the same stiffness. DT Swiss do have models like the 370 or 440 to suit stiffer builds.
 
I did open up the rear hub recently, and the factory grease was looking fine. It was easy to pull it the freehub body off without tools, and I wiped away the stock grease to renew it – just as a matter of habit more than anything. The firm seal is a little harder to get to sit back in – but that’s about my only gripe.

 

With 24, 28, 32 and 36 spoke options, and Boost and non-Boost models and others available (all in 6 bolt) in a variety of colours – the Hope Pro 4 looks set to carry on carrying the flag of reliability for the Barnoldswick company.
 
Given the price of a good hub compared to a cheap one is quite small when compared to having a wheel rebuilt with cheap spokes, I firmly believe that a set of Hope Pro 4 hubs are a good investment in just about any mountain bike wheel. DT Swiss will have an edge on weight for those looking to keep the overall weight down – but for a truly weatherproof hub with a potentially stiffer wheel build – don’t look past the Hope Pro 4 hubs. You can also get quirky with the colours to match your ride.
 
From: bikesportz.com.au      

Hits:
-      Precision built hub with higher flanges than some
-      Smooth rolling
-      Easy servicing
-      Lots of colour, axle and spoke hole options

Misses:
-      Not the lightest
-      Not the fastest engagement out there
-      No centrelock option