Well I talked to the folks at Hope yesterday about my little dilemma with the front hub. Surprisingly, they had never heard of what happened either. At least the sales guy hadn't. He put me in touch with the tech guy and, according to him, this is a common problem on all hubs. He says the thread lock that comes on the rotor bolts can make it quite difficult to remove them. I have removed plenty of rotors and have never had this problem. Part of me was hoping that I might get a hub out of the deal but I'm not mad with Hope at all. I like these hubs. I do NOT think this is normal. I'm not sure what caused the issue but I have an idea. I did not use the stock SRAM Torx bolts on the rotor because I don't like Torx bolts. I replaced them with allen head bolts. In this picture you can see some discoloration and rust. My guess is that the grade or material of the bolt was not what it should have been. I'm over it now. I love these hubs. Unlike my WTB hubs, these have not left me stranded. I have never replaced the bearings or freehub and they are obnoxiously loud which lets the mountain lions, bears and hikers know I'm coming long before I get there. I will be using the Torx bolts from now on.
Yesterday I also spoke with Mr. Curiak who originally built these wheels for me back in 2009 (he was also alarmed after I told him what happened). Then I realized I had better try to replace the rear rotor before I told him to only build me a front. I had the bolts soaking for 24 hours in penetrant oil. The heads on these stripped as well. Then I used the Dremel again and cut a slot for a straight blade screw driver.
I also decided to use a bit of heat to persuade things. Even with all of this, it took an amazing amount of force to break the bolts loose. After they were out I chased the threads with a tap and cleaned everything up and then installed the new rotors and re-adjusted the brakes. The back one is fine (although the pads are still being bedded in) but the fronts are useless because the rotor just doesn't sit right with only 5 bolts in it.
My wife is so cool. She knows I have been giving serious thought to an ITT on the Kokopelli Trail in several months so she is buying me a wheel. I'm kinda bummed because I was hoping the next wheels I bought would be from Industry 9 but it will have to wait a bit. Thanks for supporting my riding H.