Hope Pro II 20mm Front Hub and Notubes ZTR 355 Review

by Brian Mullin on September 2, 2008


Reviewed by Brian Mullin aka Gram and MTBR.com Pastajet
http://www.gramslightbikes.com/
I am in the process of doing a 20mm fork shootout between the new Magura Thor and the Manitou Minute Elite Absolute 140mm forks for these illustrious MTBR.com ProReview pages.
God of thunder and rock and roll
The spell you’re under
Will slowly rob you of your virgin soul
My American Classic and Stan’s Notubes ZTR 355 QR front wheel was not going to work with a 20mm axle so I started to look over the currently available 20mm front hubs on the market. I am a bit of a weight weenie so I started from that viewpoint, scouring the internet for light 20mm front hubs. American Classic makes some of the lightest hubs on the market and they are one of my favorites but unfortunately they do not make a 20mm hub currently. Eurobike 2008 did just report that American Classic has “a big pile of new hubs including 15mm and 20mm bolt thru front hubs”.. I found quite a few obscure brands during my searching, some I hadn’t heard of before and others such as Tune are expensive and hard to come by. “Three thousand miles just to get laid – I really respect that.”
Hope Hub
Lo and behold I came upon the Hope Pro II hubs. I had read good things about them in the internet world but what really caught my attention besides the decent weight was that you could convert them to either a 20mm or 15mm or QR (9mm) axles. Wow, that is a great feature since you could use one front wheel for various bikes and/or forks, especially useful considering the new Fox and Shimano 15mm Betamax standard. This conversion feature makes it a stellar concept that allows the consumer to do all sorts of things with one hub.


The Hope Pro II hubs are machined from billet 2014 T6 aluminum and feature high-quality sealed cartridge bearings and a 6-bolt ISO disc rotor mount. They come in a whole slew of colors, Silver, Black, Red, Blue, Gold, Gunmetal and Green in either 28, 32 or 36 hole drilling’s. Retail price for the 20mm front hub is around $80-90 and any of the additional converters are $20-30. Thanks to Phil at Hope for assisting in the test.

Hope Hub Conversion
Here is the hub body and the 3 conversion pieces, left to right are the 9mm, 15mm and the 20mm.
Switching between the various sizes is pretty easy and only takes a few minutes. Here the conversion to the 9mm on an empty hub body. Just simply insert the converter and give it a good push. The 9mm and 15mm converters fit inside the cartridge bearing while the 20mm snugs up against the bearing.
Here is the conversion to the 15mm on an empty hub body. Just like the 9mm a good push and the converter snugs into the bearing. A small O-ring seals and keeps the 9mm and 15mm converters snug in the hub body.

Here is the 20mm conversion, just drop the 20mm converter onto the cartridge bearings and then use a ballpoint pen to sit a small clasp into a small groove; this locks the converter onto the hub.

“The numbers all go to eleven. Look, right across the board, eleven, eleven, eleven and…”
The 9mm and 15mm are pretty snug after insertion and can sometimes be freed with a good outward tug or else a simple squeeze in the vise on the converter end and a wiggle of the hub body gets them off. “How would you like to have a sexual experience so intense it could conceivably change your political views?”

The removal of the 20mm converter requires a screw driver to pry up the small clasp and it then the converter pops right off. Hope has some great technical videos of their product suite, with very in depth and easy to follow steps for maintenance and repair of their hubs and brakes. “My mind is a raging torrent, flooded with rivulets of thought cascading into a waterfall of creative alternatives.”

Here are some weight readings for the Hope Pro II 20mm front hub, the hub body and the conversion pieces for the weight weenies and all those who rejoice at the all mighty scale altar. How many scales do you own? How precise is your scale? Do you take a scale with you when shopping for bike parts and leave the wife and kids at home? Do you know how much something weighs in grams for small parts but for a full bike and/or frame you use pounds? How weird is that?
Hope Pro II Weights

  • Hope Pro II body- 145.9g
  • 20mm converter – 24.3g
  • 9mm converter – 37.4g
  • 15mm converter – 31.4g
  • Hope Pro II 20mm – 170.2g

ZTR 355 rim
To keep with the weight weenie concept what better rim to go with the Hope Pro II front hub then the Stan’s Notubes ZTR 355 rim. Thanks to Mike at Notubes for helping me out for the test. The ZTR 355 is an incredible rim, it’s light, durable, and strong and the best part is the easy switch to the tubeless tire methodology. There is nothing sweeter than having a tire running tubeless! I wrote a short post on the subject called The tubeless tire world on my blog. There are some benefits to running a tubeless system such as no pinch flats, better control, feel and impact absorption plus the ability to run lower tire pressure. There are some deficits to running this system such as dealing with the messy sealant, some additional installation steps, chance of the tire burping, and that high pressure inflation is usually needed. If you jump a lot, are a hard rider or are a Clydesdale I might suggest Notubes Arch or Flow rims which are still light but are better suited for heavier use. The ZTR 355 is made from 6061-T6 aluminum and built with a welded seam and have a triangular profile for strength. The sidewalls are 2-3mm shorter then most rims and use their proprietary bead socket technology. The shorter sidewalls allow a lighter and stiffer rim and supposedly reduce pinch flats. The ZTR 355 rim retails for $75 and weigh around 355g. The front wheelset weighed in at 735.1g.


The Hope’s were laced up by Notubes in a 3 cross pattern with double butted 2/1.7 spokes on the ZTR 355 rims and the rim was yellow taped so they were ready to go tubeless. I used my usual tough and bombproof Schwalbe Alberts (2.25) on my Ibis Mojo carbon steed. The tires popped on without any fuss. I usually have to go through a couple of steps to get non-tubeless tires to work as tubeless, but the Alberts were already pre-stretched so I had a pretty easy task. You can refer to Notubes detailed mounting and dismounting tire instructions at http://www.notubes.com/ I love it when the tire makes that distinct POP noise when the tire bead snaps into the rim socket. “Mongo only pawn… in game of life.”

My Ibis Mojo test rig.

Testing the wheel
I installed the wheel on my Manitou Minute Elite Absolute fork and went out for a trashing. Oops meant to say I went out for a ride to do a precise, thorough and scientific test and review using both quantitative and qualitative analysis to come up with a subjective outcome. “You’re flunking English. That’s your mother tongue, and stuff.”
The hub slipped nicely into the fork and the 20mm axle slid through the hub without any issues. After bolting down the axle I went out to my favorite trail, the Black Pearl on my home turf of the Mt. Herman trail system in Monument Colorado. After sucking wind on the very steep Cardiac Hill section of the Black Pearl the wheel was performing flawlessly, nary a whisper of noise was coming out of the hub. After I got to the top of the hill I took a quick rest and then pointed her downhill for the real entertainment. The downhill section of the hill has a lot of small rock gardens and slow speed technical moves and the wheel did just fine. I next twirled over to the Stupid trail which is pretty much a singletrack goat trail. It has quite a few rock gardens the worst having lots of head sized rocks which are perfect for testing out the wheel and the fork. The wheel flew through the nasty sections with flying colors on the teeth and bone jarring trail. The 20mm axle made the ZTR 355 seem slightly stiffer and I did not notice the usual flex that I feel with my normal QR setup. This is still a lightweight rim with thin double butted spoke so it minutely flexed in very stressful terrain.

Bottom Line:
The Hope Pro II 20mm front hub has been running like a champ since day one and I have not had any issues with it. With the ability to convert the hub to 15mm or 9mm with a simple and fairly cheap converter is an incredible option. This is a stellar hub and I couldn’t find anything to really quibble about, though on occasion the 9mm or 15mm converter can get a bit stuck and a vise or another tool is needed for extraction. The Stan’s Notubes ZTR 355 rim has performed flawlessly and the 20mm axle really helps stiffens up this lightweight rim, although it still has a hint of flex on nasty terrain . The combination of the Hope Pro II 20mm hub and the ZTR 355 rim is really a great wheel for most anyone but heavy riders and jumpers. The wheel was impeccably built by Notubes and they are a great candidate for a custom wheel build.
Strengths:

  • Hub – Easy conversion between 20mm or 15mm or 9mm axles
  • Hub – Multiple colors
  • Hub and rim – Light weight
  • Hub and rim – Price
  • Rim – Tubeless tire ready

Weaknesses:

  • Hub -The 9mm and 15mm conveters can get stuck and a vise is needed for extraction
  • Rim – Slight flex in the rim
  • Rim – Jumpers, hard downhill riders and Clydesdales need not apply


Hope II Pro Specs

  • Weight: 170g
  • Machined Billet aluminum
  • 2014 T6 aluminum hub body
  • Sealed cartridge bearings
  • 28, 32 or 36 hole
  • Retail: $79.99-89.99
  • Converters (20mm, 15mm, 9mm): $19.99-29.99

ZTR 355 Specs

  • Weight: ~350-380g
  • 6061-T6 aluminum
  • Rim Width: 24.4mm
  • Drilling: 32 hole
  • ERD: 540
  • Braking: Rim Brake / Disc
  • Retail: $75

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

seib November 14, 2008 at 12:29 am

What was the total weight with rim strip, valve and the 2.0/1.7 spokes? Have the ztr rims built with surly hubs for my ss and they are bomber, and have the hope 20mm/mavic 823 for my dh rig and equally happy. The hope/ztr sounds like a great combo for my vp free.

thx,
don

Reply

Brian Mullin - Gram and Pastajet November 14, 2008 at 12:54 am

The Hope Pro II 20mm hub, with the 2.0/1.7 spokes, the NoTubes ZTR355 rim with NoTubes yellow tape and a valve is 735.1g

Reply

Anonymous August 7, 2011 at 4:46 pm

Beware of Hope Pro II rear hubs, the bearings seem to go very quickly, especialy in recent times when the quality of Hope products seems to have diminished. Mine hardly lasted 6 months before becoming rough. Rear hubs genearly take a much bigger beating than front hubs, and the bearings in my front Pro II are still OK.

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