The Hope Union Clip Pedal range is a long-awaited addition to the brand's lineup and we've had the TC model in for testing. While only compatible with Hope's own cleats, the pedal offers loads of pin adjustment, easy engagement, and a solid feel when clipped in. With all of that in mind, along with impressive build quality, it's a tough pedal not to like.
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Hope’s Union pedal range features three pedals, the RC, TC, and the GC. Here, we’ve got the TC on test, and it’s designed to be the large platformed trail pedal.
Its stainless steel clip mechanism resembles some of Shimano’s offerings, but it’s very different in reality. Both jaws, as it were, are sprung, and they’re wider apart, meshing with a fatter cleat. Speaking of those cleats, Hope throws two sets into the box, one with 4° of float and the other with 5°. Respectively, those cleats offer 12° and 13° of release angle, and both allow 2mm of lateral float. In practice, the difference between the two is barely noticeable. Still, the inclusion is awesome nonetheless as, effectively, Hope has bunged in a spare pair of cleats all within the asking price.
Going back to the mechanism, that’s housed upon a fully CNC machined body that rotates around a heat-treated Cr-Mo axle. Then, it’s kitted with three cartridge bearings and an IGUS bushing. Hope says that the whole pedal is fully serviceable and re-buildable.
The body has space for up to eight pins, four on either side. These pins are accessible from the top and bottom, so if you clout the pedals and properly mangle a pin, it can be accessed from either side. Included are a tonne of spacers to enhance grip, and there are four spares in the box.
Along with all of that, there’s a collection of cleat shims and a cut-out cleat channel depth indicator. The idea behind this is to gauge the depth of your shoe’s cleat channel to determine whether you need to pop a shim behind the cleat. This is mega handy and eliminates all trial and error, reducing potential faff time when out on the bike.
Thanks to those wider jaws, clipping into the Hope Union Clip TC is super easy. I’ve spent far less time scrambling over the top of a pedal after a dodgy foot-out corner to clip back in than I have with others. That’s also because the Union TC’s mechanism works in a rather different way to the usual SPD pedal. In fact, it’s similar to how Nukeproof’s Horizon pedals work, where you just stamp downwards on the pedal, and you’re in, rather than approach the pedal toe-end first.
When confident re-entry into the pedal isn’t on the cards, the grip has been surprisingly useable when I’ve not been clipped in. That’s likely down to installing the pins with a spacer underneath, presenting them proudly to the rubber of my shoe.
Placing the pins so far from the body has stiffened the float range, but this is something that I got on with rather well. It’s definitely handy to have that non-clipped-in grip too.
What I found to be really impressive is how solid the Union TC feels when clipped in. It feels incredibly secure as there’s not much in the way of rattle.
I have found the bearings to be rather stiff, however. They marginally loosen up over time, but they don’t spin as freely as you find on other pedals. This leads to a greater chance of uneven wear on either mechanism, as it’s much more likely you’ll be clipping into one particular side because it’s not spinning. Although, after a good few months of riding them, clear signs of one mechanism wearing quicker are minimal, but they’re definitely there.
There's no hiding that £150 is quite the sum for a pair of pedals but compared to the similar competition, the price isn't so bad, especially when you consider the Union TC's excellent build quality. For example, Crankbrothers' Mallet E pedals will set you back £165 (£150 at time of review), and the Hopes are only £10 pricier than Shimano's XTR Trail pedals.
HT's T1 Clipless Pedal costs £110, but our tester found that the cage didn't offer much support and that it took a while to get used to disengage from the mechanism. However, he reckons that they're light and easy to clip into. There's also Nukeproof's Horizon CS pedal to throw another in the mix. That one also costs £110 (£100 at the time of review).
£150 is a reasonable chunk of cash for a set of pedals, but the Hope Union TC marries a stellar build quality with excellent on-trail performance. It's a pedal that feels great underfoot, is easy to clip into and out of, and looks great. The fact that it's only compatible with Hope cleats is forgivable, too, thanks to the range of bits and pieces included in that asking price. Just be prepared for a touch of uneven wear.