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Verdict: 
Durable, light and stiff – these wheels deliver all three without breaking the bank
Weight: 
1,401g

In developing the Aero Wide 38 wheels, Scribe has shown that while the disc brake continues to grow in popularity there is still plenty to be done for those of us who prefer rim brakes to stop our bikes. Weighing just 1,401g without sacrificing stiffness, these wheels are fast, hugely versatile and they come in at an impressive price.

  • Pros: Super-lightweight; stiff; rapid pick-up from the freehub
  • Cons: Ratchet hub might be a bit noisy for some when freewheeling

Back in the summer I tested the Scribe Aero Wide 50-D wheelset. Those were slightly deeper and designed for disc brakes compared to what we have here, but the same ethos applies: quality components that build a stiff, durable wheelset without costing a fortune.

> Buy these online here

Taking them out of the box, the first thing you notice is the weight – or lack of it – which can often give a little bit of trepidation before fitting them to the bike.

I'm not your typical whippet-thin racer and I can put out a lot of power in quick bursts for short, sharp hills or sprinting for lights, that kind of thing, and if a wheel designer has focused on weight rather than lateral stiffness, I'm going to notice it.

When riding the Aera AR55 wheels I could get them touching the brake pads even when they were backed off by millimetres, but thankfully hitting the same climbs on the Scribes hasn't seen a single issue even with pads sitting a millimetre away from the rim.

Acceleration is epic, and when you are riding in unfamiliar places and don't know what is around the corner, finding yourself at the foot of a hill isn't an issue as just a quick dig on the pedals or climb out of the saddle will see the wheels maintain pace much easier than a heavier set.

What also helps forward motion is the hub design which is exclusive to Scribe.

Scribe Aero Wide 38 wheels - rear hub 2.jpg

Rather than using a freehub with pawls to lock in the drive, Scribe uses a 54-tooth engagement ring which locates to an opposing 54-tooth plate in the hub shell. You can find full details and photos on our First Look piece.

The distance between each tooth of engagement is just 6.6 degrees, which is basically instantaneous in the real world, plus all 54 teeth are engaged, spreading the load. With very few moving parts it's simple to service too.

However, if you like to sit on someone else's wheel without them knowing, you won't be able to stop pedalling as the freehub makes a bit of noise when not engaged. Thankfully it isn't as buzzy as that found on the 150-point pawl engagement of the RSP Calavera Carbon CC35 wheels which I described as sounding like a bluebottle trapped in a jam jar!

While we're on the freehub, it's worth noting that its anodised finish looks great and it's a shame to have to hide it, but it is also strong too. After plenty of hard rides there is little in the way of scoring from the cassette biting in.

It is available in Shimano/SRAM as standard, but Campagnolo and XDR options are also available.

The hubs are CNC'd aluminium with the rear drive side getting an increased diameter flange for strength. As for spoke count, we are looking at 20 for the front and 24 for the rear.

Scribe Aero Wide 38 wheels - front hub.jpg

When it comes to bearings you can have a choice for no additional charge. The Wide Aero 38s come as standard with the Endurance TPI stainless steel bearings in sealed cartridge bearings. I've ridden these loads in variable weather conditions, and although the test period is relatively short compared to real life ownership, there have been no issues.

For an upgrade you can go for the Race option which uses Japanese EZO stainless steel bearings in a sealed cartridge with non-contact seals; it increases their rolling speed but the trade-off is that they are less resistant to water ingress, so a good choice if you only use your best bike on dry days.

Attaching hub to rim are Sapim CX-Ray aero spokes, a setup we see a lot here on high-performance lightweight wheels. These are fitted to alloy Sapim double square head nipples.

Straight out of the box the spoke tension was spot on and didn't need the slightest of fettles throughout testing.

Carbon rims

The rims themselves are created from a mix of Toray T700 and T800 uni-directional carbon fibre for strength, and with a 26mm external width (19mm internal) they work nicely with 25mm and 28mm tyres, creating a well-rounded tyre profile. With most dual pivot callipers you are going to be limited to 28mm max anyway, unless you are running a cyclo-cross bike with cantilevers.

Scribe Aero Wide 38 wheels - rim 2.jpg

The rims are tubeless compatible and come with tubeless tape fitted, plus you also get some valves in the box. They have a ramped rim bed for easy tyre fitment, which works, and a ridge that sits below the bead called Bead Lock design which holds the tyre in place even at low pressures.

Scribe Aero Wide 38 wheels - rim bed.jpg

Braking

Braking is often the Achilles heel of carbon rims, but the Scribes are great in the dry and good enough in the wet. The Glass Transition resin used on the braking track is said to resist heat under heavy braking and I certainly found them easy to modulate and not grabby like some when the heat builds up.

Scribe Aero Wide 38 wheels - rim.jpg

The great thing about not owning the test wheels is that you can treat them with a little less consideration than if you had laid out your own cash. I didn't actually seek out potholes to smash them through but I gave them a hard life on the local back roads, taking the rough sections flat out, and I had no issues with durability whatsoever. They are still as true as the day they came out of their box.

It's not unusual to see a 100kg weight limit on a set of wheels like these, and that includes bike and rider, so it may be restrictive to some riders.

> Buyer's Guide: 37 of the best road bike wheelsets

Value-wise, you can't knock the fact that they are just £870 when you look at what you are getting. There is plenty of competition out there, most notably from the likes of Hunt, which can deliver something like its the Aero Wide Carbon in 36mm depth for £849.

Those RSPs I mentioned earlier are a bit heavier and only cost £809, but I had issues with their durability and setup straight out of the box.

Other quality wheels such as the Miche Supertype 440s are similar in weight and design but will set you back £1,549, and there are plenty of others like that if you scan our wheel review section.

Conclusion

Overall, I think Scribe has delivered an excellent package. It hasn't focused on one specific trait like lightness or stiffness, but has sensibly managed to design a solid package that all works together thanks to quality components.

Verdict

Durable, light and stiff – these wheels deliver all three without breaking the bank

If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website

road.cc test report

Make and model: Scribe Aero Wide 38 wheels

Size tested: 700 x 38

Tell us what the wheel is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

Scribe says, "The Scribe Aero 38s were designed to be the ultimate fast accelerating/ super-lightweight option for those chasing aero benefits on the flats, and a fast responding wheel set on the hills. With 38mm hoops on either end, these wheels are an excellent all-rounder."

A fast set of wheels for racing or just riding.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the wheel?

From Scribe:

Hitting the scales at only 1,375g, the Aero 38s are exceptionally lightweight and pound-for-pound, feature amongst the best deep section wheels out there. Partnered with lightning fast Scribe Five4 hubs (54-tooth / 6.6 degree engagement), these wheels respond FAST, offering unrivalled levels of performance.

The Wide 19mm internal profile gives you the option to fit wide tyres for increased stability when cornering, and increased speed due to improved rolling resistance - especially when ran as tubeless. By using a Super High TG Resin for the Aero 38s, you will be able to brake hard (especially on descents) as the braking track can withstand up to 240 degree Celsius! Partnered with our own braking compound, you'll be able to ride with confidence knowing you can scrub speed when needed.

Tech Spec (summary)

Depth 38mm Front / 38mm Rear

Material Full, Unidirectional Carbon

Rim Type

Clincher - Tubeless Ready

Rim Width (external) 26mm

Rim Width (internal) 19mm

Spoke Pattern / Hole Count Front (radial) 20H, Rear (2:1) 24H

Rims

High filament (12K/18K) Japanese Toray T700 / T800 carbon fibre. Unidirectional for strength with additional reinforcement at spoke holes. (spoke tested to 280 kgf [single spoke load])

Scribe Carbon T:Tech used to strengthen rim walls, and rim bed - offering incredible long-term strength, even under high pressure

High TG (Glass Transition) resin produces a lightweight, low void carbon which increases stiffness, and resistance to heat on braking track (great for hard braking on descents)

Wide 19mm internal profile produces a great tyre profile for improved grip and stability

26mm outer rim width provides ample clearance for brake manufacturers

4-D precision drilled spoke holes - directs spokes exactly to hub anchor point

Tubeless ready design will offer increased puncture resistance, faster-rolling wheels and improved weight (works with standard tube also)

Tubeless tape fitted

Ramped rim bed for easy tyre fitment

Bead lock design for secure tyre binding, even at lower pressure

Hubs

Unique, high-speed Ratchet Drive system Exclusive to Scribe. Check out our latest hub blog

54-tooth engagement ring with super-fast drive rate (6.6 degree)

Heat treated stainless steel drive ring

Enlarged drive-side flange for increased torsional strength

Fully CNC'd rounded design with 4-D precision drilled spoke holes

Shimano/SRAM 8/9/10/11 speed freehub body fitted - Campagnolo and XDR also available

*Scribe Five4 hub: 54-tooth Ratchet drive hub Exclusive to Scribe. With 6.6 degree engagement, our hubs respond fast, and as there's only one moving part, the freehub system is incredibly durable and easily serviceable.

Bearings

You choose! Bearings are an essential component of wheels and it's important your bearings perform as you want them to. All of our wheels come with a fast Endurance bearing as standard but we also offer a Race bearing for those racing, or riding in drier weather. If you would prefer Race bearings, please tell us in the notes section when purchasing and your wheels will arrive with this standard. *there is no additional charge for bearing swop

Endurance bearings: these bearings are fast, and designed to stand the test of time so you can ride as much as you want, with confidence your bearings will keep spinning smoothly

Race bearings: incredibly fast, sealed, non-contact bearings. Spin up effortlessly and allow you to glide at speed. *not recommended for long periods of wet riding

Spokes and Nipples

The Scribe Aero 38s use the Sapim CX-Ray as it's considered to be the most aerodynamic spoke on the market. At 4.25g each, and almost as light as Titanium, we can build you a super-lightweight wheel set that allows you to get up to speed faster

The unique drawing, and specifically pressed process produces fast, bladed Aero spoke (2.0mm - 0.9/2.2mm - 2.0mm)

By using fatigue-resistant 18/8 stainless steel, CX-Ray spokes have exceptionally high durability properties and will stand the test of time.

Straight-pull for increased torsional strength

21 hole front / 24 hole rear

Read more about Sapim spokes - Sapim.de

For nipples, we use Alloy Sapim double square head

Quick Release (QR)

Super-light alloy QR

Alloy pivoted cam plate for smooth action, but with strong locking bind

Stainless steel springs for anti-rust (weather) protection

Additional items in the box

Tubeless valves

Scribe Brake pads x4

Spare spokes x4

Spare nipples x4

 

Weight limit: The upper combined weight limit (bike weight + rider weight + luggage) for these wheels is 100kgs. If a rider is in excess of 90kgs, we recommend regular wheel checks from an experienced bike mechanic. If you are pushing the boundaries of the weight limit, please contact to discuss options.

Rate the wheel for quality of construction:
 
9/10

Excellent component choice and well put together.

Rate the wheel for performance:
 
9/10

No issues with lateral stiffness whatsoever.

Rate the wheel for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the wheel for weight
 
9/10
Rate the wheel for value:
 
8/10

For what you are getting the price is very impressive. There is some very good competition from the likes of Hunt and other small brands, but against some of the more established manufacturers out there they offer very good value for money.

Did the wheels stay true? Any issues with spoke tension?

Spoke tension was spot on out of the box and it remained that way.

How easy did you find it to fit tyres?

No issues with either 25mm or 28mm tyres.

How did the wheel extras (eg skewers and rim tape) perform?

The supplied tape, valves and quick releases all worked well and so did the Scribe pads although there are new prototype pads being tested at the moment which are even better; I know because I tested both.

Tell us how the wheel performed overall when used for its designed purpose

As a set of race wheels you really can't go wrong.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the wheel

Plenty of stiffness.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the wheel

Lack of weight.

Did you enjoy using the wheel? Yes

Would you consider buying the wheel? Yes

Would you recommend the wheel to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

A solid well-built, well-thought-out package that puts many other brands to shame when it comes to value.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 40  Height: 180cm  Weight: 76kg

I usually ride: This month's test bike  My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed

With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!

6 comments

Avatar
Freddy56 [435 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes

Im 91 kgs this morning and have been on a set of Campagnolo Zondas for the last 4 years after killing a set of Zip 404 with my power...or big arse.

In my head 100kg limit isnt OK for a 90 kg me who likes the 53 ring.

Any big lads out there try these?

Avatar
djbwilts [27 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes

Dreadful logo/font!!

Avatar
Scribe Cycling [14 posts] 1 month ago
3 likes
Freddy56 wrote:

Im 91 kgs this morning and have been on a set of Campagnolo Zondas for the last 4 years after killing a set of Zip 404 with my power...or big arse.

In my head 100kg limit isnt OK for a 90 kg me who likes the 53 ring.

Any big lads out there try these?

Hi Freddy56,

Thanks for leaving a comment. We're not aware of anyone pushing the upper limits on the 38s just yet, but if I do become aware of any, I'll steer them here to provide feedback :-). 

I'm sure you've had a look at the specification but we use additional reinforcement at the spoke holes to prevent pull through and have tested to 280kfg+ (per hole) for all carbon models. In addition to this, we use Sapim CX Ray spokes which in their words; "still receives one of the best results in fatigue testing of any spoke". However, pretty sure the 404s have used CX Rays for some time also... Did you get nipples popping on the 404s? [probably best not to respond here but if you want, you can get me directly on team [at] scribecycling.com]. Just curious :-).

I hope this helps Freddy56.

Alan.  

Avatar
Scribe Cycling [14 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes
djbwilts wrote:

Dreadful logo/font!!

Hi djbwilts,

Thank you for leaving a comment.

Graphics is SUCH an incredibly difficult area to get right but I really appreciate your feedback :-). Our objective with the range was, (i) to create a pound-for-pound range that challenges brands much larger than us on performance/ weight without the price tag, and (ii) maintain a relatively minimalistic look without hiding the brand name/ logo.  

We've literally been through dozens of graphic designs; doing exactly what others do, multiple logos on the wheel in black/ white/ grey, in various positions, trialled different textures, messed around with the font (many times), before finally hanging our hat on current aesthetics. Again, it's incredibly difficult to get right (for everyone) but it's great to hear your view and I will certainly give it some thought now that you have raised it.

We're constantly in pursuit of continuous improvement djbwilts and I'd love to hear your further thoughts on which brands have the best logos/ fonts. If you want, you can get me on the chat button on our website, or via team [at] scribecycling.com.  

Alan.  

Avatar
djbwilts [27 posts] 1 month ago
1 like
Scribe Cycling wrote:
djbwilts wrote:

Dreadful logo/font!!

Hi djbwilts,

Thank you for leaving a comment.

Graphics is SUCH an incredibly difficult area to get right but I really appreciate your feedback :-). ..

 

Agreed! It's very subjective and perhaps I should've added an "imo" in there. I'm just not a fan of the fake calligraphy/handwriting style.

 

 

Avatar
Scribe Cycling [14 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes
djbwilts wrote:
Scribe Cycling wrote:
djbwilts wrote:

Dreadful logo/font!!

Hi djbwilts,

Thank you for leaving a comment.

Graphics is SUCH an incredibly difficult area to get right but I really appreciate your feedback :-). ..

 

Agreed! It's very subjective and perhaps I should've added an "imo" in there. I'm just not a fan of the fake calligraphy/handwriting style.

 

 

No problem djbwilts and again, it's really great to hear your opinion as we take them all on board! :-). 

Ironically, our logo inadvertently became a hand written style/ type font as our primary brand goal was to create a name that connected with riders story/ adventure/ journey; hence, to 'Scribe' the next chapter(s). From here, the name morphed into the logo over weeks (and weeks) of designs and as you can imagine, naturally got steered towards a hand-written style font. Perhaps more of a consequence of the name, rather than a deliberate approach to be deliberatley hand written... There's actually lots more science/ reasoning behind the Scribe name/ logo but I'll stop here :-).   

Again, we really appreciate the feedback - thank you.

Have a great day - Alan.