Hope has been doing chainsets for a while, but they've been relatively simple designs carved from single-billet setups with reasonable stiffness and weight. The RX is their first hollow crank, however, and actually takes tech from their carbon-construction department.
Essentially, they're made from two cold-forged and machined halves, of which the inner section is then machined out further to create a sort of 'coffin', which sits upside down in the pocket of the outer section. Each piece also has tiny spacers and flow channels built into the construction so that when they flow the bonding epoxy in, it penetrates consistently through the whole structure. Then they're cured to harden the epoxy, and machined again for a final smooth finish before being anodised in one of six different colours and then laser etched.
You can then add either a direct mount ring in 38, 40, 42 and 44 tooth sizes or a five-arm spider for conventional single or double rings. These sit on a specific RX dovetail design that's not compatible with other Hope spiderless rings or other direct mount patterns, and is fixed in place with a uniquely tooled lockring. The 30mm axle then slides through a Hope bottom bracket of your choice (or any other 30mm BB) before you bolt the offside crank on with an 8mm Allen wrench and then twist the preload collar round to get everything snug. It all slides and tightens up beautifully to very exacting standards, as you'd hope from a product meticulously machined in Lancashire.
At 567g with the 40T ring fitted, the RX is very competitive in weight compared to other alloy XC/gravel cranks, like Rotor's Kapic, and 100g lighter than Shimano's GRX810 and 200g lighter than the GRX600. You'd have to spend well over £100 to get a significantly lighter carbon crank, too.
While Hope's first cranks were obviously flexy (despite being 100g heavier) and the EVOs were adequately stiff but not amazing, the RXes feel reassuringly rigid when you get your sprint on. They're tested to the same impact and load standards as the MTB cranks, too. so as long as the bonding holds, they should be bombproof.
Hope rings already have a reputation for excellent longevity, which these show no sign of disgracing, and the chain meshes cleanly and securely with the narrow-wide tooth profile. Hope's bearings are definitely worth getting if you don't have a 30mm axle and the Lancashire company also have a well-deserved reputation for above-and-beyond product support, in the rare event that you do have an issue.
Hope has really stepped up their game with the RX, delivering a crank that doesn't just look great, but also undercuts the alloy opposition on weight without sacrificing stiffness under power. Add excellent bearing and ring durability, easy fitting and legendary factory back-up, and these are a proper performance upgrade, not just a prettifying product.
Specifications: Hope RX road/gravel chainset
- Weight: 567g with 40T ring
- Arm lengths: 170, 172.5, 175mm
- Colours: Black, blue, red, silver, purple and orange
- Ring sizes: 38, 40, 42 and 44 tooth
- Price: £330