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Hope Tandem Hub - old style - no more spares

mark tipping2017-06-02 19:28:17

I still have my parents 1953 custom built tandem which was restored in 1993 when I fitted Hope Tandem hubs to it, the rear hub is 48 Hole drilling, 140mm OLN with Shimano cassette rotor and a screw on for arai drum brake. They were also marketed for mtbs with a propriety disk brake fitting as the ti-glide hub with 32 or 36 drilling at 135mm OLN. The bulb hub and the Big Un hubs shared the same 3 pawl rotor. From the Pro hubs onwards Hope used rotors which weighed about twice as much but didn't keep falling apart.
For quite a few years they were the best European tandem hub available for shimano gearing, but sadly basic design flaw in the rotor or "freehub" resulted in the part cracking under load, not so bad overall as a replacement "assembly" was available for under £50, including new fitted bearings. I had three bikes with these hubs and all the rotors failed in this way, the last hub I have has had 4 rotors bodies fitted, the current one being the last known new rotor, fitted this week.....

As I could not find one for sale ANYWHERE to keep the hub alive I enquired of HOPE who responded with an email from Hannah in Sales, stating these parts were no longer being made, but helpfully telling me of three UK Hope suppliers who would sell me one of the remaining stock. Unfortunately all three are in truth out of stock. (I had the last one from SJS and didnt post this until it had arrived- sorry but you know how it is) THERE ARE NONE LEFT. When you crack the next rotor your hub is junk.

If like me you are sentimentally attached to a 1990's or earlier tandem equipped with a HOPE TANDEM hub and you don't want to shell out £700+ for brazing on a disc mount, cold setting the back end and a respray, plus a new Tandem hub/brake/wheel combo may I suggest you start looking for a replacement 140mm OLN drum brake shimano type hub BEFORE your old Hope one fails again.
I cannot find a single manufacturer making such hubs at present, all have gone to disk fitting and 145 or more OLN.

My old tandem hardly gets used these days but I want to keep it on the road as I started my tandeming 60 years ago on a sidecar attached to the bike. I would be grateful if anyone knows of a currently manufactured drum tandem hub then post the details here, as I predict my new rotor has a life of 5 years at best based on all the failures I have already experienced.

clive2017-06-05 16:07:43

: I cannot find a single manufacturer making such hubs at present, all have
: gone to disk fitting and 145 or more OLN.

My old 140mm DT hub had a very strong ratchet design (star ratchet, if you kept it greased), but sadly the flange wasn't up to it - retired with a crack.

The replacement WI hub works, though I've blown several pawls and one axle. I'd get another one of them if they still made them, but they don't.

Phil wood do Arai fitting hubs still, albeit apparently only in 135 and 145mm. If my hub died now I'd give them a call and brace my wallet.

mark tipping2017-06-05 20:55:06

I have gone the other way, I have campag on both my solo bikes and it lasts so much longer I have gone Campy for the old tandem.
Picked up a NOS campag 48 spoke tandem hub, 140mm OLN threaded for arai, for under £50 on fleabay including postage from Italy, seller has more if anyone is interested, this will be the second one I have bought so can recommend the seller. I picked up campy 8 speed Olympus mtb parts, rear mech, 13-30 cassette (and 34T sprocket)plus front mech for £65 on fleabay. Also fleabayed chorus 8 speed ergos for £60 so a full system achieved for under £175, not too bad to replace the Hope tandem hub which, having hunted out the receipt from PB cost £135 in 1996 just for the hub.
I have worked on three campy tandem hubs for tandem riders locally and apart from new bearings after 25 years or so (press fit) nothing else seems to fail, they are superbly engineered but considerably heavier than the Hope or other manufacturers stuff - perhaps that is why they last so long?

Barry Wilson2017-06-13 14:53:08

Hi Mark.
I have a tandem with Big Uns and its done about 20,000 miles over the years. The 3 pawl free hub gets cleaned and lubed annually, and I did once fit a new set of bearings though whether it truly needed them is debatable. Is this one of the hubs you refer to? I'd be sad to see it fail and I agree it would hit the pocket quite hard.
Best regards

mark tipping2017-06-13 21:40:05

Yes the Big un shares the rotor that is no longer available. Well done if you have managed 20K out of one, I never got them to last over 5K on tandems.
They crack along the rotor body from the machined holes bored for the pawl to locate in. My last one actually fell into three pieces when I removed the sprocket cassette, but I cannot post a photo on here as the TC page will not allow anything but a postage stamp size image.
Fingers crossed for the continued longevity of your hub.

mark tipping2017-06-13 21:55:57

one ex hope rotor

Barry Wilson2017-06-15 10:20:53

Whilst visiting Tandem Rallies I notice quite a few tandems with Big Uns and I'm wondering if we made an appeal in the TCJ for Hope users to come together and create a large order for rotors, whether Hope would make a batch?

mark tipping2017-06-15 22:47:46

You are welcome to try Barry, I had a response from Hope to my original email, enquiring where I might get a rotor body.

response posted below;

Morning Mark,

Thanks for your email.
We have very recently sold out of our remaining stock of HUB505 freehubs and will not be manufacturing any more, they are still available through Hope dealers though.
I have had a quick look online and found a few online distributors offering this part, Bike Tart with free UK delivery:

We are still supporting our older hubs, we do still have stock of spare parts for this freehub for servicing it is just the body itself we are no longer making.

Hope this has helped and that you are back on the road soon.



Hope Technology
Hope Mill
Calf Hall Road,
BB18 5PX

(t) 01282 851400

Paul Buckley2017-06-19 07:00:43

: Whilst visiting Tandem Rallies I notice quite a few tandems with Big Uns and
: I'm wondering if we made an appeal in the TCJ for Hope users to come
: together and create a large order for rotors, whether Hope would make a
: batch?

That is a stated objective of the Club. How many would buy one (and pay a significant deposit) if it was hypothetically possible ? On a related subject I bought the last set of bottom-bracket adaptors from the club shop. Same deal.

mark tipping2017-06-15 23:00:22

I sent the below email to Hannah @ HOPE on 25 May in response to the reply they sent me per my last post, but have not had any reply at all after three weeks.

I will stick to Campagnolo or Hadley products in future, I am afraid HOPE have lost decades of support and goodwill from someone who has consciously supported a UK manufacturer by having bought thousands of pounds of their kit over the years.

You listed three suppliers who you claim have stock of these rotor bodies, sadly bike shops don't stock them, they rely on HOPE supplying them when they need one as I was told by two of the suppliers you claim have them available, Biketart and PSCycles are both out of stock.
I have ordered one from SJS who tell me it is the last they have, the chap there expressed great surprise that HOPE were no longer going to support their customers for this product. I quote the SJS chap directly "THEY ARE NOT USUALLY LIKE THAT"
So there are now none available for anyone else in the UK, perhaps anywhere.

Tandem riders in the UK have been let down very badly by HOPE as this is a unique product sold at great expense into a small market with a well known fault - the tendency of the rotor to fall apart - so stopping supply of these rotors is terrible customer relations.

I understand that stopping supplying parts for brakes when you have such a range and massive development is a sound economic and marketing decision, I have binned and replaced HOPE cable discs, Closed system brakes, Mono ti 6 and mini mono systems on tandems and solos and upgraded to newer models in support of a British manufacturer and supplier who I value.

In the thirty years or so I have been buying your products HOPE had ONE tandem hub prior to release with JD in the last year or two of their new disk only tandem model. My 1953 tandem which my parents bought new was upgraded by myself and re-enamelled in about 1990 and still has the HOPE cable disc brake mount on the front fork from that upgrade. The rear is set to 140mm OLN and set for an Arai drum brake which needs a threaded mount on the left side, and shimano type cassette rotor. As per my last email, in a small sample of 20 or so tandems locally at least four have these hubs, fitted on bespoke UK made tandems each costing several thousands of pounds. Each of the owners now has a hub that is non replaceable as no-one currently makes a hub to that spec. Conversion to a modern hub means having a framebuilder cold set the rear triangle, braze on a modern disk mount, respray of the tandem frame, so your decision means your customers don't just face a 150 quid bill for a modern brakeset, they need a hub and wheelbuild at a cost of about 350, PLUS several hundreds of pounds spent with a framebuilder to get the frame modified. In essence unless your customers want to spend £700 plus on a cherished once in a lifetime purchase 20+ year old tandem fitted with your Tandem hub it is now scrap as soon as the latest rotor fails, which they do at regular intervals, just because the rotor body is no longer being made

I would be very grateful if you could pass this email to someone in the Technical department who understands the implications of what this decision will entail, I suspect both the Sales and Marketing team and the beancounters will be too young to even know about these products, or too unaware of the implications to understand the effects the decision will have.

Your comment that it is "just the rotor" we will not be making displays a complete lack of understanding of the problem. I have attached a photo of my recently failed rotor body - it does not matter how many spares for old hubs you keep, without this part they are all junk.

Mark Tipping