Scribe has delivered a double whammy with its new Race wheelset. Not only are they light enough to compete with similar depth carbon fibre wheels, they'll cost you at least half the price. And to achieve the numbers on the scale, Scribe hasn't sacrificed on strength or stiffness either.
- Pros: Impressive weight and build quality; a lot of wheels for the money
- Cons: Not much, as long as you don't mind a pretty loud freehub
If you're searching for lightweight wheels as a general upgrade for riding or even racing, carbon fibre rims are typically the go-to option. But the Scribe Race wheels show that you can have pretty much all of the performance and stiffness of carbon in alloy guise without the price tag.
For your £360 you're getting a set of wheels that weigh just 1,492g (without rim tape), and under hard acceleration or sprinting up short, sharp climbs the Scribes don't flex at all, so brake rub isn't an issue. Scribe has achieved this performance by using a hardened, heat-treated alloy for the rim design.
The rims themselves are 26mm deep with an internal width of 19mm, which gives an external measurement across the brake tracks of 24mm. This size works well with the 25mm and 28mm tyres I used them with, leaving a smooth transition between tyre and rim.
The Race wheels are tubeless ready and also have a ramped rim bed to aid the fitting of tubeless tyres. It helps the tyres slide up into the rim bead to hook onto the wheel. The design also has a 'bead lock' which stops the tyre separating from the rim when being ridden at low pressures.
For the spokes Scribe has used Sapim's CX-Rays – 20 on the front wheel and 24 on the rear.
The CX-Rays are tough spokes, used by a lot of wheelbuilders. On the thousands I've miles I've ridden them on various wheels, I've never had any issues.
This build has proved itself to be tough and robust. I don't go out of my way to wreck wheels but I'll certainly put them through much more abuse than if they were my own.
I whacked a fair few potholes during testing and even tried them out on a bit of gravel with no problems at all other than them going a tiny bit out of true. It wasn't by loads, though – I didn't need to adjust the brakes or anything.
The rear hub is exclusive to Scribe and uses a ratchet drive system rather than the more usual pawl system.
You can find full details here in our First Look piece, but basically it uses a 54-tooth ratchet ring in the freehub which engages a 54-tooth plate threaded into the hub shell thanks to an internal leaf spring.
There is just 6.6 degrees between tooth locations so drive is instant, and just how instant is clear when you are moving from a standing start after track standing at the lights.
When freewheeling, the hub has quite a buzz to it which will certainly get you noticed if you are trying to take it easy on someone's wheel.
Ride quality is also excellent: plenty of stiffness without any harshness making it through. You can control comfort levels with tyre pressure, but on a like-for-like basis with other similar wheels I have in my shed they are a pleasure to ride.
The bearings run smoothly and spin effortlessly when you have the wheels in your hands. Scribe offers the build with two options: endurance bearings and race bearings. The endurance option is the default and is what we have here. They come with better sealing so ideal for all-weather use.
If the wheels are going to be kept for sunny days only then you can go for the race bearings, which are non-contact for quicker and smoother spinning according to Scribe. There is no cost for the upgrade.
Adding all of this up, the Scribes offer very good value for money.
A similar design from Miche, its Neon Black on Black wheelset, weighs in at 1,598g and costs £534.99. We had a few issues with those, too, straight out of the box.
The Scribes sit neatly in the middle. The Pacentis cost £350 with a weight of 1,414g, and the JRAs are £414.80 with an upgrade to CX-Ray spokes and weigh 1,460g.
Both are excellent wheelsets, and it shows how good the Scribes are to be able to list them as direct competition.
If you want a performance set of do-it-all wheels, the Scribes are excellent and well worth considering. They offer plenty of stiffness, durability and performance at a cracking price. The only thing you might be sacrificing over a deeper carbon fibre offering is the aero advantage.
Strong enough to train on, light enough to race on
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Scribe Race wheelset
Size tested: 700C
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 Race wheels were design to be just that: Race-ready! Our lightweight design places them amongst carbon alternatives and by using hardened alloys, these hoops are robust. The Race's are an excellent, performance alloy wheel set for those chasing a lightweight edge. An excellent upgrade for those not interested in carbon.
"The Race Alloys are exceptionally lightweight and pound-for-pound, feature amongst the best performance alloy 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."
Scribe has delivered a very good wheelset at a great price.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the wheel?
Scribe lists these features:
Material Hardened, Super-Lightweight Alloy
Clincher Tubeless Ready
Rim Width (external) 24mm
Rim Width (internal) 19mm
Spoke Pattern / Hole Count Front (1:1 - Radial) 20H, Rear (2:1 - Radial, 2x) 24H
Hardened, heat treated rim design - super lightweight and responsive
20 hole Front | 24 hole Rear
Tubeless ready design gives you the option to have increased puncture resistance, faster-rolling wheels and improved weight (works with standard tube also)
4-D precision drilled spoke holes - directs spokes exactly to hub anchor point
Ramped rim bed for easy tyre fitment
Bead lock design for secure tyre binding, even at lower pressures
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 (SRAM XDR Driver also available
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 Race wheels 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
20 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
Great stiffness levels mean these wheels perform very well indeed.
Did the wheels stay true? Any issues with spoke tension?
They went a little out of true, but less than a millimetre so not really an issue and that took some abuse to cause it.
How easy did you find it to fit tyres?
No issues at all with fitting tyres, either with a tube or tubeless.
How did the wheel extras (eg skewers and rim tape) perform?
The included rim tape worked spot on with a tubeless setup and the skewers did their job without issue. You also get a pair of tubeless valves and spare spokes included in the box.
Tell us how the wheel performed overall when used for its designed purpose
They cover pretty much every aspect of road riding.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the wheel
The balance of weight versus stiffness.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the wheel
Nothing really stands out.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Cheaper than a lot of the big brands like the Miche wheels I mention in the review, and pricing is very competitive against some of the other excellent wheels from the likes of JRA and Pacenti.
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
An excellent all-round package of a set of wheels that are just as at home on your training bike as they are on your race bike.
About the tester
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!