All photo's are Copyright of Scott Swalling or the tagged Photographer. (Background photo Scott Swalling Photography).

About Me:

24Hr MTBike racer and general bike rider, climber and mountaineer. Good coffee drinker and cake eater (any cake, seriously, don't leave your cake laying around). Also, I like to try new things that challenge me.

Friday, 19 June 2009

New Wheels = Hope Open Pro's

New wheels are a funny thing to a cyclist, you want them to be light, stiff, fast rolling, agile and you don’t want to compromise any of these traits in your new wheels. If money is no object then you don’t have to.

However, most of us need to find a compromise, weight is something I am willing to compromise as I am not the lightest of riders and I am somewhat aggressive on the bike. So what is important to me in a wheel? They need to be stiff, a stiff agile wheel can climb and descend the most technical terrain giving me confidence.

So with research and questioning of the Cycle Works team complete the new Hope Open Pro III’s where selected for the new wheel set to adorn the less than light weight Ribble, ready for the DLMC this weekend (I’ll write a little on this soon).

Two test rides have been completed on these wheels and in a nutshell they are awesome. A tiny bit lighter the AskiumRace that I had previously, but so much stiffer. The first ascent on the OP’s started slowly, but I really wanted to know just how stiff these wheels were, so I got out of the saddle and did my best the flex the rims and create that unfortunately familiar brake rub the Askiums had provided. Nothing, I dug a little deeper and all that occurred was a quicker acceleration up the climb. Climbing, CHECK!

Settling into the saddle at the top of the climb I was chuffed with the performance so far of the wheels, they rolled quickly on the flat, the trusted Hope bearings inside those wurring hubs inspiring confidence as they do on both my MTBikes.
The rough roads around Surrey provided a test for the ability of the new bike set up to demonstrate the absorption of the bumps. The area you expect a stiff wheel to perform poorly in, but trusted the stiffness removes the twitchiness of a less stiff wheel. The roads felt as rough as normal, but the Ribble felt more settled, but always ready to pounce.

A stiff wheel is meant to be agile right. The OP III’s are no exception here, the acceleration on the ascents suggested they would be quick sprinting wheel, so agility and speed should go hand in hand. As the first descents of the day arrived and the corners racked up, I realised I wasn’t being overly cautious in the corners. The OP’s go where you point them, the small bumps and pot holes whilst felt don’t shake the bike from it’s line. And when riding in a group you don’t always have the chance to avoid the bigger bumps and pot holes, the OP’s are right at home performing that bunny hop at speed. Descending and handling, CHECK!

A couple of test sprints and it is confirmed if I wasn’t so slow and fat, these would be awesome wheels for a sprint, quick enough to out run a hungry cheetah. Sprinting, CHECK!

If you are in the market for a new set of hoops, and prefer stiffness over lightweight and money is restrictive, these are the wheels for you. I have already decided that these will grace the new lighter faster steed, only to be displaced when a ride is extremely hilly, say Mont Vertoux.

If I were to give these wheels marks out of 10, 9/10. A point deducted for being a bit chubby (if they lost weight they wouldn’t be so affordable though) and for not looking quite as cool as those flimsy radial spoke hoops, but they do sound awesome with that familiar Hope wurr.

Thanks Cycleworks, Nick and Steve.

Hope thanks for blurring the line between dirt and tarmac!

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