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Hope crafts custom prototype Hydraulic Crosstop levers for 3 Peaks winner Paul Oldham

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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…

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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.

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all images courtesy of Hope Tech

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.

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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.

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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.

HopeTech.com

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Birdman
Birdman
6 years ago

Take my money!!!

I always wondered how this would work with a open system. Hope we see a tech breakdown soon.

Dan
Dan
6 years ago
Reply to  Birdman

Both levers use the reservoir in the main lever. Should work great!

Birdman
Birdman
6 years ago
Reply to  Dan

Yeah, it looks awesome! To me, this is THE MOST EXCITING announcement of the announcement season. More exciting than any new carbon whatever, dropper whatever. This is the product that I actually have been waiting for.

TAKE MY MONEY!

Roborbob
Roborbob
6 years ago

It is cool and might make sense for long distance riding and gravel to offer braking while in the tops. But for cyclocross racing, one really never needs to be on the tops. It should be all hoods and drops for the hour and under crowd.

andy f
andy f
6 years ago
Reply to  Roborbob

The 3 peaks is not an ordinary cross race… the winner’s time this year was just under 3 hours. There are sections where riding on the tops can definitely be useful.

Allan
Allan
6 years ago

I like how they didn’t even bother to clean it off before bringing it in for these shots. Cross is dirty, the bikes should not look pristine!

Ryan Brown
Ryan Brown
6 years ago

I really hope (no pun) that they do this with Shimano

Ryan S.
Ryan S.
6 years ago

If I rode drop bar bikes (and toying with a monterscross build), I would have a system like this for certain.

Fred
Fred
6 years ago

So if he was able to run a flat bar he’d have even more control on the descents…ah cyclocross aka trying to mountainbike on a roadbike…

Carlos
Carlos
6 years ago
Reply to  Fred
Alex
Alex
6 years ago
Reply to  Fred

The race has been running since 1961. It’s ridden on cyclocross bikes as that is in the spirit of the race. And although at one point mountain bikes were allowed, the times were no faster.

It would be a pretty horrific and boring thing to do on mountain bike anyway with the amount of vertical hike a bike anyway.

And in general, cyclocross racing is nothing like mountain biking.

Darren
Darren
6 years ago

This is what I am hoping for, I went to the TRP mech/Hyrdo to keep my top levers. I agree for CX do not need, I find it is when I do my Monster CX, where I end up on Single track that having those top helps, Jumping off a small Bridge/drop, and tight and twisty Trees.

Dan Doran
Dan Doran
6 years ago

I wonder why SRAM/Shimano don’t just supply an (optional) cable-pull port on the main hydraulic levers. The crosstop levers could just pull a short, low friction cable under the bar tape that activates the primary cylinder without moving the primary lever. Seems simpler and lighter than having another set of cylinders and doesn’t introduce any new bleed or leakage points.

Dan Doran
Dan Doran
6 years ago
Reply to  Dan Doran

That said the combo of crosstop levers plus a second set of electronic shift buttons up top would give full control from most any bar position with little weight penalty. Sweet for when you’re just plain tired.

Johnwaynebobbet
Johnwaynebobbet
6 years ago

“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.”

No they don’t on both counts.

They look as the Race levers are. They have no leverage adjustability, the brass part just has 4 holes, one of which has some delrin pushed into to stop the reach adjustment screw rattling in or out. Reach adjustment is set by screwing the master cylinder screw in or out.

Timothy Guarente
Timothy Guarente
6 years ago

I started thinking about these when hydraulic road discs showed up. I’m surprised they took this long.

Bill
Bill
6 years ago

So, basically, this just pushes fluid into the system from the middle, more or less. How will that play with levers? These are designed mostly as one way devices, wouldn’t the path of least resistance sometimes be pushing fluid back up into the reservoir instead of actuating the pistons?

Dylan
Dylan
6 years ago
Reply to  Bill

Wouldn’t re-reading the article be quicker than posting a comment?

Sark
Sark
6 years ago

Hope!
Please make this system available to normal paying customers!
WANT!

stephen
stephen
6 years ago

Shimano-compatible version too please! 🙂

dave
dave
6 years ago

WANT this. Wonder how long the dead stroke is, however. Presumably the bypass port would need to be relatively large, so you have to move the piston further I’d imagine.

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