We've been meaning to visit the Hope Factory for quite a while & finally we managed to make it happen. We were especially keen to see how the Hope HB160 frame were made but it was also an opportunity to see how the parts we've been ordering for over 20 years were produced.
The entrance lobby to the factory was worth the visit alone with a history of mountain biking effectively on display & it was at least 10 minutes before we managed to drag ourselves away to meet Doddy, our guide for the day. I have purposely avoided posting photos as some things need to be experienced in person!
First up was the machining area where numerous machines work 24hrs a day producing hubs, stems, brakes anything that can machined from a block of aluminium. It was very mesmerising watching the 'robots' do their thing & slightly spooky as thoughts of 'Terminator' came to mind.
From a block of metal a stem is born
Hope hubs pre final machining
Laser cutting of discs
Laser etching the branding
Once the parts have been made they then go through number of quality checks before finally being passed through to the anodising area. This part of the process is finely controlled by skilled operators as it's quite tricky to get conformity of colour. This is why green hubs/stems etc are not sold to the public as for some reason green is hard to get the same results every time.
The elusive green.
The next part of the factory took us through to the carbon manufacturing area. The beauty about Hope is they can manufacture so many parts that go into making up the HB160 & the carbon mold was no exception. From one huge slab of aluminium & a week of machining 24hrs a day the HB160 & HB130 mold is made.
Once the mold is ready the carbon is then layed up in the mold using predominantly a unidirectional process which gives maximum amount of strength in the direction the force is applied ie. seatube, forces go down.
The frames after coming out of the mold.
The now complete frames then go through a number of other processes which involves buffing them down ready for lacquering, which appeared to be quite a labour intensive process.
Carbon bars also produced by Hope
And at the end a beautiful Hope HB160 complete bike is born...A truly exceptional example of British quality & engineering at it's best.
Hope offer a factory tour to any buyer of a Hope HB160 or HB130 where you can view the factory & collect your bike at the same time. If you wish to demo a bike please give us a call to arrange.
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