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Access all Areas: Inside the Hope Tech Factory

Like an excitable child on a school trip, I headed North to Barnoldswick to visit the Hope Tech factory

Anyone who’s a lover of dirt and trails would have heard of Hope Technology. Their striking colours and intricately machined components are hard to miss, but their sterling reputation is what has carried them to the top of our wish-lists for the past 30 years.

The two founders of the British cycling brand, Ian Weatherill and Simon Sharp set out to design, manufacture and distribute quality components for mountain bikers. Their dedication to the sport, and passion for engineering is what has shaped and moulded Hope to what it is today.

Hope F20 flat pedals 01
Hope F20 flat pedals

Over the years, Hope Tech has grown and evolved with the ever changing industry to maintain a high quality standard, and cater for the needs of riders. Everything you could need for your bike, from brakes to seat-post clamps, to bar ends… Hope has you covered.

Check out our review of Hope’s F20 flat pedals here

Hope’s reputation for quality is second to none when it comes to components. They aren’t the cheapest, they aren’t the strongest, and they aren’t the lightest on the market… so why are they so good?

Always have Hope

Hope tech feature

Admittedly, my prior Hope knowledge was based on word of mouth from fellow mountain bikers. The most common of phrases being: “They’re awesome” – “They’re stuff doesn’t break” – “Great colours”, that and I love my Hope F20 flat pedals.

With nearly 30 years of experience, a highly respected reputation in the industry, I invited myself up to the Hope Tech factory to learn a little more about this iconic British brand.

Over the years, their focus has primarily been for off-road riding, but with many MTBer’s hopping on the skinny wheels for training and quick blasts around, Hope have began to focus a little more attention to road bikes.

Earlier this year, the big news was the release of the carbon seat-post and revised RX callipers for the road bike, with more work being done to improve the road experience. As for us trail blazers, with the exception of the new Pro 4 hubs, the Hope philosophy appears to be simple, “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it”. They are doing such a great job that there’s no need to fiddle and tinker to change things, unless it’s needed.

hope chainrings

Other news includes the sneaky peak release of their carbon frame project, the HB 211. Although it won’t ever go into mass production, and only a limited number will be up for grabs, the beautiful carbon fibre frame just goes to show what Hope can do… for fun.

Arguably one of the coolest things about Hope Tech is that everything is designed, made and assembled right here in the UK. With some circuit board exceptions from Southport, everything Hope creates is in-house at their Barnoldswick HQ.

I was given the grand tour of the factory, and shown every stage of production. From raw material, to the finished product ready for the shops, and it was awesome. If you’re an epic nerd fan like me, and you enjoy shows like “How it’s Made”, then you’d be in your element.

Inside the Brains of Hope

Hope Tech Factory

Who better to be my tour guide than Alan Weatherill. You may have seen Alan at trade shows and events, ready to answer all your Hope related questions, but Alan’s been with Hope Tech for 28 years. In fact, he was the 5th employee to be hired, and hasn’t looked back.

Alan showed me around each department and factory room explaining the process of machining components, and the absolute care taken on every part. Hope uniformed factory floor staff manned their stations, and diligently checked over every single piece that emerged from each machine.

Alan explained that “quality control is paramount for Hope. Every piece gets the once over by a member of staff, and batches are sent for quality control to test.” Stems, bars, pedals and hubs are put under extreme stress to assess breaking points and any defects in the products. The fact Hope takes such extra care with their quality process, having visual and mechanical assessments carried out, is just one reason Hope are where they are today.

hope tech crank arms

A majority of their components are available in 6 brilliantly anodized colours. When you consider that Hope has 5 stems available in different lengths and rises, and then to offer 6 colour choices… That’s a lot of permutations which many brands would avoid producing like the plague. But not Hope, they believe you should not only have the kit you need, but the option of having the kit you want to really personalise your ride.

When it comes to wheel building, Hope are one of the few to both machine and hand true the wheels. A trained member of staff with build the wheel, send it through a machine for an initial true, then it’ll be passed onto another member of staff to hand true for accuracy and precision.

After seeing all the hard working staff, the careful attention to detail and absolute pride taken in every component, it’s hard not to be blown away by Hope’s dedication to the cycling industry.

Without gushing too much about how amazing their factory is, and their staff, I also want to highlight their involvement in cycling outside of HQ. Earlier this year, Hope Tech Women launched which saw dozens of women meeting up, making friends and riding bikes.

Brand manager and avid rider, Rachael Walker is the driving force behind this movement and told me, “Even if we can get one more woman to take up cycling, I’m happy. We’re trying to break down the barriers that would usually prevent women from giving mountain biking a go.”

The staff are all wicked, friendly and seriously committed. I never got the vibe that I was wondering around an office or factory, it felt more like a home with employees considering one another as family.

Above all, Hope Tech cycling components are durable, functional and built with precision. They look pretty awesome as well! Check out the gallery below for the full insider access.

Raw materials ready to be cut and shaped
Just a couple of the massive CNC machines in the Hope Factory
Hubs go in raw, and come out shaped and polished
How a brake begins, to the machined result
Various stages of rotors
Laser cutting sheet metal
Stacks of rotors waiting to be heat treated
Oven robot heat treating rotors and rings
They come out glowing, ready to be pressed
The new HB 211 CF frames... lying around, in a box...
Components are placed on spindles ready to be anodised
The anodising process takes place in a number of chemical baths
oof, my favourite colours
Final touches. Laser engraving the Hope brand

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