Hope Open 2 disk brake review - Bike Magic

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Hope Open 2 disk brake review

As a first-time buyer of a disk brake I was expecting a lot from my
first disk brake. I was particularly concerned about the cost of getting a disk brake
set up. I had postponed purchasing a disk brake several times as I have a number
of complete wheelsets that cannot take a disk rotor. Therefore, I had to add in the
cost of getting a wheel built with a disk-compatible hub as well as a disk mount.
I had bought v-brakes when Shimano had first brought them out, I decided, then, to
buy the best that I could. I got Avid 2.0 brake levers and Shimano XTR V-brakes.
Still after 2-3 years of constant (ab)use my XTRs had were rattling themselves to
death. Setting the V-brakes up was very difficult since the complete brake assembly
moved both in the vertical and horizontal planes. I found that I could set the brakes
to one position only to find that they dropped under braking to use only half the
braking surface, or alternatively set them in that position but then run the risk
of them ripping the side walls of the tyres.

of my regular riding companions had switched to disks. They either had new frames
that had the disk mounts included, or had used the Hope torsion bar against the rear
brake boss. I had a frame (a Proflex 957) that did not have any disk mounts. But,
I had bought a pair of Marzocchi Z1 BAM Bombers that did have a disk mount on the
fork leg. I replaced the rear V-brake with another V-brake (Shimano XT) and decided
to have a closer look at disks for the front. After reading around and talking to
other people, I decided that I wanted a hydraulic disk. I briefly considered cable
actuated disks – and though it would have reduced the cost by allowing me to use
my current brake levers – I felt that hydraulic required the least maintenance. The
costs of buying the Hayes cable disk was so close to other hydraulic brakes that
there seemed to be little benefit. The Proflex does not have a good rear brake routing
and the brake cable regularly requires replacement. I considered the offerings from
Magura, Hope and Hayes. The Formula disk was rare and I was concerned with spare
parts. Most of the others were about to be released. Most people seem to think that
the Hope or the Hayes disk was the best. I spoke, at length with Roger Musson of
Wheelpro and was advised to wait until after November as it was expected
that Hope would introduce new brakes and reduce their prices due to increasing competition,
notably from Shimano. I looked at the current Hope models and dismissed the 4-pot
calliper, as I did not need such braking power. This left the current Closed 2, and
the new models – the Open 2 and the XC 4. I selected the Open 2 on the basis that
it was the cheapest, the simplest and probably going to be shipped before the XC
4. Roger had also said that he had tried a prototype O2 and found it to have better
power and consistency than the Closed 2. Since I had saved some money on the calliper
I went for the Pro lever arrangement rather than the Sport. I selected a front wheel
comprised of a Mavic F219 rim in black, Hope Sport front hub in black and Roger’s
famous Sapim black spokes and nipples. The Hope Sport hub now has the disk rotor
bolted directly to the hub body that obviates the need for the splines and ring.
I saved some money by choosing the Sport front hub and I could not see much difference
between the Sport hub and the more expensive Hope Ti disk hub.

I picked up my bike from Roger and was encouraged
to let the brake bed in. I went for an initial ride on a short route that I know
well, so that I could get the feel of the brake. I was not disappointed. I was expecting
to lock up the front wheel, as I did when I first got V-brakes fitted. I did not
have the same problems as the Pro lever and O2 calliper has lots of feel. I could
easily control my speed without any risk of locking up the wheel. You know that there
is all the power of the hydraulic brake available if you just pulled slightly further
on the lever. The disk worked brilliantly, I felt that the front end of the bike
was heavier compared to the V-brakes I had been running. However, it was also very
quiet since the V-brakes had been rattling for so long, the quite was very noticeable.
This also means that there was no drag on the disk. The wheel QR was positioned the
other was around so that it had no likelihood of touching the disk rotor. The mounting
of the calliper on to the Z1 fork leg was a very clean installation, and this is
the benefit of having standard disk mounts. When passing through mud and bog the
front did not make a sound unlike the rear rim that made that grinding noise that
has been part of my biking for nearly ten years.

In several other rides I have taken over the Christmas period, I have found that
the brake continues to perform very well. I have not experienced any grabbing of
the calliper on the rotor, but I have noticed some drag occasionally. The pads clear
themselves after a short time. During a long road descent, with plenty of ice around
I decided to keep my speed under control and managed to get the disk to heat up so
that it was visibly turning blue. This was disconcerting but no lasting damage has
been done. I am looking forward to trying the brake on a longer descent and comparing
it with friends who have the Closed 2 caliper. During long descents they have adjusted
their fluid reservoir caps to take up the changes in the fluid behaviour and pad
wear. There should not be any need to do that with an Open system. I am also looking
at trying to get a bracket for the rear swing arm on the Proflex to take a second
O2 caliper. I already have the rear wheel ready for a disk – a Goldtec rear hub,
on Velocity Deep V rim. I am very glad that I made the investment. I continue to
ride throughout the winter and the wear and tear on pads, rims and cables will be
greatly reduced with this hydraulic disk brake. I would wholeheartedly recommend
this set up to anyone considering a disk brake.


– makers of the finest disc brakes
Wheelpro – UK wheelbuilding specialists

Image of disc brake and thumbnail ©Matt Wenham


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