It was very evident whilst unboxing the Hope Carbon Bars that a lot of care and attention to detail has been put into the manufacturing and finishing process. The seam line right through the bar was nearly perfect, which is not often the case for other manufacturers. Very detailed, high-quality markings made setup a breeze. And the spotless gloss carbon finish gives a very premium feel.
I’ve been running these bars on my Evil Wreckoning [link to bike check] for some months now. The first step for me was to cut them down to a more manageable width of 770mm. At my height and build, I don’t particularly need the 800mm out the box width like some others will. My initial set up has remained unchanged throughout the review term, with the 0° mark on the clamp diameter set in line with the top of my stem. I found this put the bars in a comfortable position for my hands, and closely matched what I’m used to in terms of set up.
In the past I’ve tended to always ride a higher rise bar of 30mm or higher, so the slightly lower down 20mm rise was new for me. Although it took a bit of getting used to, it’s fair to say the lower hand position allowed me to get more of my weight over the front of the bike and find that extra little bit of traction on the front wheel. The flip side was on the steepest portions of trail, where I felt to be “pulled” down the hill a little more, reducing confidence a touch.
Hope revised this 35mm variant based on feedback from riders claiming the 31.8mm model was too stiff. I haven’t ridden the 31.8mm version of Hope’s bars, so it’s impossible for me to claim if one is stiffer than the other, however It would be fair to say this 35mm variant certainly tends to lean towards stiffness over compliance. That’s not to say they are an overly stiff handlebar, but on longer days and descents I do begin to feel marginally more rattled than usual. They certainly don’t offer quite the same balance as some other handlebars on the market currently do, like the more comfortable OneUp Carbon bars. The flip side is unwavering precision and a solid feeling that makes them feel great when pushing ultra hard in the bikepark.
I haven’t had any issues with the strength of the bar throughout testing, as you would hope. The one thing worth noting in terms of durability was I did find the clear coat on the bar quite susceptible to scratching and dulling through use. It’s not a concern for performance or safety, but they felt to lose their beautiful gloss before others would. Their price point is in line with other premium carbon bars on the market and the finish quality backs this up. So while they’re not exceptional value, they’re not ludicrious either, especially when you consider they’re made in the UK.
The Wolf’s Last Word
In summary, Hope’s latest carbon fiber offering in the controls department offers a premium handlebar package with a high quality finish which is a joy to own and look at. The bars themselves run on the slightly stiffer side and might not be the comfiest bar for some riders, however they perform amply most of if not all the time. In the future I would love to see some higher rise options from Hope on these, and perhaps a slightly tougher clear coat.