For the second year in a row, Hope’s own Paul Oldham has won the UK’s grueling 3 Peaks Cyclo-Cross. Dubbed the toughest and biggest cross event in the UK, the Yorkshire Dales race is known for featuring three crazy steep climbs followed by some harrowing descents on all manner of loose and treacherous terrain. So to help their team rider with his repeat win Hope Tech developed a new prototype set of secondary hydraulic cross top brake levers that could be used for a bit more comfort and security. Piped inline between his SRAM Red 22 Hydro road levers and the new upgrade 4-pot Hope calipers that got unveiled at Eurobike, it surely was the most powerful and flexible hydraulic disc brake cyclocross setup on the start line. Take a closer look after the jump…
Paul Oldham has the unique distinction of being both an employee of Hope Tech and a member of the Hope Factory Racing team, plus of course now his two consecutive 3 Peaks wins. That means he gets the trick-est cross tech Hope can come up with. He probably has to fight for that though. Second place this year and last was another Hope team rider, Rob Jebb, who has three 3 Peaks wins of his own.
Of course Paul was riding the new RX4 calipers and new rounded rotors that we saw at Eurobike. Those already promise much more powerful braking and improved pad retraction using the original SRAM levers and DOT 5.1 fluid. But it’s those sweet Hydraulic Crosstop levers that we are loving. A short hydro line runs from under the bartape on each lever to a banjo-type connector that attaches to the bottom of the cross top lever. From there a small hydraulic cylinder in the lever pushes fluid into another set of banjos in between the two brake levers mounted to the bar top. Those brake lines then flow to the new calipers directly.
The secondary hydraulic brakes are a closed system that allows the regular function of the SRAM brake/shift levers. Then when the Crosstops are squeezed, they close the connection back to the SRAM levers and push the fluid in the lines to move the calipers.
These prototype Crosstops look to include reach adjust for the levers by way of a Torx bolt, and also appear to have some leverage adjustability via that small brass element on the inside of the lever. We’re not sure if that is a proto only feature as Hope works out the proper push ratio, but much like the calipers that are said to be able to work with both Shimano and SRAM levers, this might do the same thing to adjust lever movement and modulation to suit multiple braking systems.
The inline Hydraulic Crosstop levers combined with the RX4 4-piston calipers to both boost stopping power and deliver some extra confidence and control on the technical descents. Hope says that they worked great in the race, but they still have some work before the Hydraulic Crosstops make it to production. The think their development timing is more on the lines of spring/summer 2017, so look for them hopefully for next year’s cyclocross season.