Those boys and girls at Hope have obviously been busy beavering away because the Dirt post box didn’t just contain one new product of theirs, it contained three!
First up is the ’40T-Rex Ratio Expander Sprocket’, which is basically a relatively cheap way of getting a wide ratio cassette. Why do you want a wide ratio cassette? Duh…so that you can run a single ring up front on your trail bike, yet still have a great spread of gears. Of course SRAM’s XX1 with it’s 10-42t 11-speed cassette is the ultimate solution, but sadly the price for the required full system puts it out of reach for most. On the bright side though, if you’ve got a regular 11-36t 10-speed cassette, one with separate smaller sprockets, then £60 spent on this bit of machined aluminium from Hope will result in an 11-40t cassette, which isn’t too far off that SRAM one, but for a whole lot less money.
Of course you can’t just stick an extra sprocket in, you need to take one out first. You can take out any of the separate ones, but most people seem to be finding that taking the 17t sprocket out works best. Obviously this leaves you with a bigger jump somewhere in your range of gears, but early reports are that it works fine and any compromise in that area is more than made up for by the extended overall range.
We’ve seen similar designs from some other companies, some of which even push the range up to 42t, but that’s really starting to push the capabilities of your rear mech (which was never designed to work with a sprocket that big, or a jump that big), but Hope believe that it’s best to stick to 40t so as not to run into any annoying shifting or setup problems. Basically they don’t think the extra range a 42t offers outweighs the extra hassle. We’re about to test out both sizes to see who’s right, but early indications have already shown that the 42t is a bit fiddly to get working well, so maybe Hope have struck the best balance.
What else do you need to know? Well as you can see from above it’s perhaps even better looking from behind, and if on the first shot you spotted the ‘SRAM only’ marking, then don’t worry, Hope are also making these to fit Shimano cassettes. Other alternatives tend to use just a spacer to account for any difference between the two makes of cassette, but Hope believe that making each one specific results in better shifting. if you’re going to do it, do it properly.
Anyway, like I said, we’re currently in the process of testing this out, and we’ll let you know long term results later, but so far things are very encouraging indeed.
Colours: Silver, Gold and Black
Compatible with the following cassettes: Shimano XT and XTR 11-36 10spd cassettes, SRAM PG1030, PG1050 and PG1070 11-36 cassettes.