Talking about Hope FATBike cranks I realized that many of the things I love have one thing in common: four letters. Beer, Bike and: Hope. The Hope-thing has various reasons, one is that we both started with MTB stuff in 1989 and grew up together ever since. The other is that Hope stuff is built to last – and has always been. And of course because all their parts are made in Barnoldswick, England. No Asian label ware stuff! But no matter what you may think about English cars in the late 80s and 90s – THIS is a true gem of English engineering!
Hier gehts zur Deutschen Version!
What a great day it was when they came up with their Fatsno hubs! And what an even greater one when they launched the all new Hope FATBike Cranks! So no time to waste for us! Get a pair from Hope and install them! This all happened a while ago, indeed, but we took our time for some long term testing to find out whether the gem is truly cutting edge or just sparkling shine. Find out below!
Hope FATBike Cranks – The joy of unboxing
What we call the „Hope Experience“ starts with opening the boxes. Usually you will find the part you desire nicely wrapped in a cardboard box – which comes in typical black and green colour, this is so typical for Hope.
Now, for the FATBike cranks Hope has literally cranked it up. When opening the box your eyes will first discover the drive side crank that resides in a bed of dark grey foam. Removing this layer opens the view on the nicely arranged rest: bolts, washers, tools (!) and of course the other crank plus spindle.
It's all there. But…
What you see is what you get. And in this case it's a lot. Hope provides you with stainless steel chainring bolts, aluminum washers to compensate a missing third (big) chainring on 2×10 applications, a dedicated tightening screw to mount the drive side crank onto the spindle and also a crank removal tool. Also you will find a locking screw with integrated puller cap. Ah, and of course there is a pair of Hope stickers!
What you don't find is a bottom bracket. Hope leaves you the choice between stainless steel or ceramic bearings – in any case you have to order your Hope bottom bracket separately. Also in case your frame requires a Press Fit BB, you will need a truly unique mounting tool to properly mount the bottom bracket shell sleeve. Really. You need it! Don't start without!
All eyes on quality
Hope's mechanical design may not meet everyone's taste. However their build quality has nearly evolved to perfection. Let your fingers strive over the anodized surfaces. Feel the edges. Take a look at the details. It's just nice. Hope combines forging and CNC milling to shape the 7075 aluminum alloy. The lasting surface coating is available in a few different colors whereas the crank arms can be ordered in 165, 170 and 175 mm lenght.
As you can expect from a state-of-the-art crank you can choose between direkt mount chainrings or spider at any time. For all the direct mount fans out there Hope offers a variety of chainrings. Too sad they don't make 64/104 chainrings, yet.
The thing looks as solid and lasting as the London Tower. Undoubtedly Hope FATBike cranks are a fine piece of machinery and are in line with the great heritage: built to last!
Take your time…
…to install them and make sure you have the right tool (can't say it often enough): the Press Fit bottom bracket will be locked with a sleeve that screws into one of the BB shells securing both shells tightly in place. This may seem a bit odd but it provides a great portion of protection against loose bottom bracket otherwise resulting in clicking noises. This is not required on BSA (screw-in) installations.
When installing the cranks make sure you lock them tightly using the provided stainless steel pre-loader screw only which – once everything is neatly in place – has to be replaced by the final locking screw.
These are some more steps than you may be used to and frankly spoken time has to prove the benefits. The complicated mounting procedure may become a boomerang when you try to remove the crank which is equally complicated.
However, there is an issue…
Probably every now and then our analysis on chainlines, Q-factors and the like may suck. If you think it's all rubbish just jump to the next paragraph.
Otherwise: here's the story: like early Race Face FATBike cranks Hope cranks lack the availability of a boost spider for 2×10 applications that moves the chainrings 3mm to the right compared to normal.
They offer two spindle lengths (170 and 190mm) however neither gives you an optimal result. If your bike's rear end is 170mm you need to go with the 170mm spindle. 190mm rear end works with the 190mm spindle, accordingly. Yet in both cases the chainline is bit far out to the right and the Q factor is higher than usually necessary to fit your bike.
The most efficient implementation on 190mm FATBikes – 200mm Q and approx. 72.5mm chainline) will not work with stock application.
However for us a big Q factor is not an option (bad chainline, weaker trail performance, sore knees). Here's the tweak we used on our FatBoy: adding a 1.5mm spacer to the 170mm spindle (located on drive side between crank and bottom bracket) moves the entire crank a bit to the right. This gives enough clearance for the front derailleur to work. Not ideal but it works… You may give it a try!
So, our one wish to Hope: please add a boost spider to your line up!!!
Awesome! As said before there are no Hope chainrings, so we installed Race Face Turbine instead. No doubt shifting works very well with those rings. The cranks are duly stiff showing only a very slight (but somehow noticable) distortion under very hard acceleration. This might (or might not…) become an issue for very heavy riders.
After 6 months of riding the bearings show no sign of wear and the black anodized surfaces are still pitch black. No wear and tear so far. What can we say? This is fire-and-forget stuff – if you love to regularely replace worn parts do NOT buy Hope!
The new Hope FATBike cranks are a great opportunity for all of you who like it uniquely and lasting. Installation requires some extra patience but this should be rewarded by additional strength und durability. the M.S.R.P. in Germany is 299,- Euros including spindle plus you have to buy a spider/chainring, bottom bracket and most likely the mounting tool (Press Fit only). The Street Price is even a bit lower (this is a partner link!) than that. They are not yet a steal but provide outstanding value for your money – and are 100% proudly made in the United Kingdom! Great stuff!
However due to the spindle/spider/Q factor issue we currently can only give a limited advise to buy a pair. We dont't say that because it doesn't work they way it is. We think the available versions being compatible with 170mm und 190mm rear ends are not ideal in both cases. A simple boost spider which adds a few millimeter to the chainline will allow to use the 170mm spindle on a common 190mm rear end providing a good chainline and desireably narrow Q-factor.