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Scribe Aero Wide+ 50-D wheelset review

16 Nov 2020
Verdict:

Lightweight carbon wheel upgrade to boost comfort, speed and confidence

Cyclist Rating: 
For 
Ease of set-up • Satisfyingly svelte • Rapid on rolling roads • Confident in crosswinds • Not prohibitively expensive • Tubeless-compatible
Against 
Dated decals don’t appeal

Setting up the Scribe Aero Wide+ 50-D wheelset represents somewhat of a first in my long list of technical assignments, in that its fitment was exacted with neither a knuckle skinned nor harsh word spoken.

The Scribe centrelock hubs accept Shimano Ultegra 140mm rotors (currently £39 each at wiggle.co.uk) with a simple slide on to the spline and torquing of the lockring to the recommended 40Nm.

Buy now from Scribe for £870

Any concerns about the clearance of tubeless Continental GP5000 TL tyres – £90 a set when ordering directly from Scribe, the brand will even fit them and fill with tubeless sealant for free – were unfounded when sliding the wheels into the 12mm thru-axle fitments of the 2019 Giant TCR Advanced Pro 0 used as the testbed.

 

Valuable losses

In the infancy of the aero boom, a set of deep-section wheels would typically have set you back anything up to the cost of a fully built Ultegra-equipped road bike, so the £870 asking price of the Scribe Aero Wide+ 50-D wheelset is enough to make anyone who’s keen to increase their speed, comfort and overall riding efficiency take notice.

Clichés exist for a reason, so it rings true that the reduction of rotational mass is the single-most effective performance upgrade you can make to your bike.

Less mass to turn, more speed for equivalent effort: simple. The combined weight of the deeper section Scribe wheels is a negligible 4g more than the 42mm carbon wheels we’ve replaced, but they have the beating of not only the standard alloy fare of most off-the-shelf bikes but also comparable carbon wheels.

 

Tunnel vision

Scribe has done the maths. The company’s research into airflow has led to the adoption of a 50mm rim depth with elliptical profile (ie, it doesn’t end in a point, instead employing a more rounded truncation of the rim).

Buy now from Scribe for £870

Although best used with a 25c tyre where, Scribe’s research suggests, the bigger gains are to be had, due to the width of the rim being greater than that of the tyre profile, the set of wheels tested here is fitted with 28c tyres, which measure up at 30mm (identical to the external rim width) when inflated to 85psi.

While this results in no discernible extra drag, it certainly improves comfort, handling confidence and shock absorption, all of which are massive side-effects of swapping the Giant SLR1 Disc 42mm section with 25c Giant Gavia AC 0 combo out in favour of the Scribe with Continental set-up.

 

Speed trials

Scribe fits all its wheels with what it calls ‘endurance bearings’ (there’s a ‘race bearings’ upgrade available at the point of ordering) – sealed stainless steel units designed as much for longevity and all-year use as for performance.

When the speed gets north of, say 30kmh, and certainly when it’s nudging 40kmh, the silky running of these hubs combines with Scribe’s aero learnings to propel you at serious speed with little comparatively effort.

 

Seasonal differences

Testing a deep-section wheelset in the midst of autumn gives ample opportunity to gauge its response to the bête noire of year-round riders: crosswinds. Compared to the Giant wheelset, the Scribe Aero Wide+ 50-D wheels offered noticeably more confidence on wind-whipped rides, whether cross-tail, cross-head or ‘force 10 in the ribs’ gusts to the flanks.

Allied to the comfort bonus from the supple, tubeless set-up of the 28c Continental GP5000 TL tyres, these wheels offer as much of an enjoyment upgrade as they do a performance boost.

Progress on familiar routes (with the unexpected bonus of multiple PRs) is rapid but unhurried; there’s simply less stress, and yet better results – higher average speeds for equivalent pedalling input.

 

Details matter

Scribe has catered for all eventualities with the standard package of the Aero Wide+ 50-D wheelset, with the delivery box including (in addition to the wheels) a brace of six-bolt rotor adapters, end caps for 12mm and 15mm front axles, spare valves, spoke nipples and a 10-speed spacer.

The company’s patented twin-plate anti-bite ratchet-drive, while noisier than most when freewheeling, should offer longevity in the face of cassette bite.

Should you consider this wheelset as an upgrade from alloy? Absolutely. They’re not going to break the bank, they’re rapid, confidence-inspiring, comfortable and even better than many other deep-section carbon wheelsets, for less money.

The only thing that’s not to like (from where I’m sitting) is the dated font used for the company logo. But that’s not what I’d call a deal-breaker…

All reviews are fully independent and no payments have been made by companies featured in reviews

Price: 
£870

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