Seat posts are the first components Hope is developing using composite materials.
Seat posts are the first components Hope is developing using composite materials.
The Blackman & White Genesis automated flatbed cutter.
The Blackman & White Genesis automated flatbed cutter.

The components currently manufactured at Hope's Barnoldswick headquarters in Lancashire are predominantly precision CNC machined from aerospace grade alloys. However, top-range bicycles for competition and leisure are now using composite materials such as carbon fibre.

Blackman & White has many years experience working with composites and was able to provide a cutting machine that was easy to use and had the precision and flexibility that would allow Hope to develop its new range of composite components. It is being used to cut carbon fibre prepreg.

“The new automated cutter not only cuts considerably faster than by hand, but it also allows us to cut intricate shapes with a very high degree of accuracy," reports Hope Technology’s design engineer Mark Reynolds.

"Our Genesis cutter marks each individual ply so our operators know the exact laminate sequence and orientation which is crucial to the lay-up process. Composite materials are expensive, and the software means that patterns can be nested so we make the best use of materials and minimise wastage. It also ensures that every component is identical and will meet our high standards of quality control.”

Seat posts are the first components Hope is developing using composite materials, but as the company gains expertise more intricate components will be available in composites.

Made in the UK

“It was evident from an early stage that a materials cutting machine was required as one of our first purchases for our new composites department," Reynolds adds.

"As a UK manufacturer we pride ourselves in keeping everything in-house giving us complete control over every operation. We are big supporters of British manufacture, so it was refreshing to hear that our Genesis machine was being built right here in the UK.”