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New products are a particularly big deal for UK company Hope Technology.
Despite its massive research and development team, brand new Hope products and updates to its existing lines are relatively few and far between.
“Tech 4s deliver 30% more peak power, while maintaining Hope’s trademark calibration and feel.”
“Hope isn’t the kind of company that brings out a new product every year to stay relevant,” according to Kahill Teirney, Hope’s brand manager for Melbourne-based distributor Bikesportz.
“They will reinvent a product when they’re ready – when they have tech solutions that bring a major improvement.”
Hope’s Tech 4 brake levers, unveiled in January, are a case in point. Superseding the Tech 3 levers that have been in the market for eight years, Tech 4s deliver 30% more peak power, while maintaining Hope’s trademark calibration and feel, and reducing the amount of load on the rider’s braking finger.
“It’s achieved that increased power through subtle changes in ergonomics, to boost the leverage ratio,” Kahill explained.
“The pressure required to pull the lever is reduced just by changing the geometry of the cam that pushes the piston and by reducing spring tension. The Tech 4 levers also introduce bearings, as opposed to bushing, in the lever body design.
“While Hope’s business model focuses exclusively on premium-quality, really well engineered, full CNC billet aluminium products, its peak braking power had been lacking for the past few years.
“Hope could see a lot of competitors were chasing peak brake pressure outputs and it worked closely with its pro riders, its R&D team and its staff to find solutions.
“It led them to small changes that brough big results – in particular, a slight reengineering of the cam to increase leverage.”
As result, each stroke of the lever blade exerts greater pressure through the piston pushing fluid down the line, while maximising the rider’s ability to modulate that pressure.
“Power isn’t everything – feel is everything. Being able to control brake pressure is key, it’s the difference between blowing through a corner or locking up – and that’s an advantage Hope has over some of its competitors,” Kahill added.
One-piece master cylinders and calipers, as well as the option for braided hoses, also help ensure Hope brakes maintain their feel and consistency throughout a ride.
“They reduce the possibility for leaks and ensure the oil only goes where it’s needed.”
Hope’s mechanical refinement of the Tech 4 brake lever also included switching from a clamp and two bolts, to a single bolt and hinge.
“As a result, the Tech 4 is sleeker on the handlebars and has fewer hard edges.
“The master cylinder is also slightly more compact.
“At the same time, the lever blade itself is a little larger to give more surface area and more reach options to accommodate different hand sizes.
“The blade is also a little more straight, to give a more positive grip.”
Hope Technology was established in the late 1980s to manufacture tools and fixtures for the aerospace industry. Its owners, Ian Weatherill and Simon Sharp, started building their own disc brakes when mountain biking was in its infancy and quickly realised they had a marketable product. In 2000, the company transitioned completely into bike part construction and it continues to produce all its products inhouse.
“It has full control of the whole process, right down to manufacturing the washers that seal the hoses against the master cylinder,” Kahill said.
In line with Hope’s focus on minimal product variations/maximum quality, the company offers only three models of brake levers: the Tech 4, its ultra-lightweight XCR for cross country, and its unique Tech 3 Duo, which enables riders to control both front and rear brakes with the same hand. Created particularly for people who only have the use of one hand, the Duo has two independent lever blades feeding into the same master cylinder. However, only one controls the front brake caliper, while the other controls the rear brake.
The Tech 4 levers come with one of three caliper options: the dual-piston X2 for cross country, quad-piston E4 for trail and enduro bikes and V4, with four larger pistons, for downhill and heavy e-bikes.
To coincide with Tech 4’s release, all three caliper options have been upgraded with stainless steel pistons that reduce the need for maintenance and are less susceptible to chipping during brake pad changes and scouring from dirt and mud.
All three options are available in 12 colour variations.
The first shipments of Tech 4 brake kits arrived at the Bikesportz warehouse in May and are retailing per end for $369.95 for the X2 pack, $419 for the E4 and $449 for the V4.
Contact Bikesportz on 1800 808181, Kahill on 0433 991891 or firstname.lastname@example.org for further information about the Tech 4 and other Hope Industry products.