review

Scribe 365 Disc Wheelset

8
£290.00

VERDICT:

8
10
Decent value, toughened, everyday wheelset that can be ridden in the worst of conditions, and copes well with British roads
Weight: 
1,586g

The Scribe 365-D wheelset gives an obvious clue to its intended use in the name – a wheelset to be used year round, and in all conditions. With a competitive weight and price, and quality rims and spokes, these should be on your shortlist.

  • Pros: Tough rims, quality spokes, smooth bearings... a stiff wheelset that can cope with UK conditions
  • Cons: Aluminium freehub body – powerful riders may prefer a steel option

I was excited to test this wheelset, as being an all-weather but fairly heavy rider (currently 92.5 kilos) I get through wheels for a pastime. Most often I snap spokes in either front or rear wheels, the bearings get graunchy, or the splines of soft alloy cassette freehub bodies get dug into and damaged.

> Buy these online here

My riding buddies and my local bike shop are often puzzled how I manage to break so many wheels, so when I saw the Scribes had a 115kg weight limit I was intrigued to see how they would bear up. Note that 115kg is bike weight plus rider weight and any luggage. Scribe recommends regular checks if the rider weighs over 105 kilos.

Both bikes I would be testing the wheels on are currently quick release, but the Scribe wheels came out of the box set up for thru-axle so I had to knock out the thru-axle end caps and fit the quick release ones. This proved a little tricky initially, as they refused to budge being tapped out from inside, so I ended up resorting to pliers to pull them out before swapping over to the supplied quick release adaptors. They were really stuck on.

I also had 6-bolt rotors, so had to use the supplied 6-bolt adaptors. I had to back out the grub screws on these slightly, to allow enough purchase for the disc, then do up the lockring with a cassette lockring tool. Swapping the cassette from my OEM wheels onto the Scribes, it seemed a shame to be fitting the cassette over the really cool bright green cassette body. These bright green cassette body splines are the only standout colour on the wheels, everything else is completely black, apart from the white of the small Scribe sticker.

So, after some initial faffing, I was all set. I can vouch for the quality of all of the various end caps and adaptors that Scribe supplies with the wheels; they're nicely made, and blend in with the rest of the wheelset. Nothing looks like an added-on afterthought.

A first look over the wheels suggested they were really nicely made: the 26mm deep rims seemed surprising substantial, the Sapim spokes were all straight and the wheels spun true. Swapping my 28mm Vittoria Rubino G+ tyres over was no problem, despite moving from 17mm internal to 19mm on the Scribes, and they went on easily. I also tried 32mm Panaracer Gravelking tyres on them as well, again with no issues in fitting at all.

There is the option to set these up tubeless (valves are included). I used them with inner tubes initially, running them at approximately 75psi. However, for completeness of the review I also tried them tubeless, using Stan's No Tubes sealant. I needed to use a good blast of air, or CO2 in my case, to get them to seal. After using a shot from a CO2 cartridge I soon heard the "POP! POP! POP!" as the bead seated itself onto the rim.

Running them tubeless at 50psi, the slight harshness of the tough rim disappears because of the lower pressure.

Performance

My commute involves 20 miles each day of mucky cyclepath and back roads, a few shallow kerbs to negotiate, and the odd pothole. Over the five weeks of testing I managed around 500 miles. I wasn't particularly gentle with these and did hit a few potholes, a few corners cut – ploughing across gravel rather than taking the long way round junctions, and some kerbs negotiated to avoid traffic – but nothing out of the ordinary that I wouldn't do with my previous OEM wheels.

A few times hitting potholes I was sure I must have done some damage, as the Scribes have a pretty stiff ride, but they stayed intact. They've coped well with some absolutely atrocious weather too; I am not ashamed to admit my backside has suffered for this test, and I have been drenched and soaked through several times, but the Scribes have kept on spinning freely. I even managed a few top 10 Strava times (for the year) on them.

Personally, I really like the stiffness of the wheels. At 26mm, they are not particularly deep, but they are certainly stiff, and you will feel more of the road surface if you are upgrading from shallower rims. I guess if you are not used to a stiff feeling wheel it might be something to consider, as shallower rims tend to have a bit more give in them. Lateral stiffness, however, was excellent, and there is no brake pad rub or feeling of flex at all. They just stay put.

Showing up at the weekly Sunday ride, the Scribes invited absolutely no comment from anybody. They are very anonymous wheels, with just the small and easily removable Scribe logo on them. This is just a sticker, so if you wanted to go completely stealth it is no trouble to take off with fingernails, a hairdryer and some WD40. If you are looking for bling wheels to make your bike stand out from the crowd, these are probably not for you.

On 40-ish-mile weekend rides, powering along filthy mucky lanes and getting the bike absolutely covered in mud, the Scribes kept on spinning. At least with the lack of "bling" on the wheels, you feel you can use them for how Scribe has advertised them.

One thing these particular Scribes don't have, which many of the more expensive ones in the Scribe range do, is the Scribe 54-tooth engagement hub. These 365-Ds only have a 3-pawl system, and it is noticeable when starting off on the bike that there's a good few degrees of motion before the pawls engage and power starts being transferred. Bear this in mind when shopping on the Scribe website, as it is one of the only wheelsets that doesn't get the better hub.

After more than a month of testing I removed the cassette to view the wear on the freehub body. Unfortunately, the same has happened to the Scribes as I often find with aluminium freehub bodies. The steel cassette had started to eat into the soft aluminium significantly, making the cassette difficult to remove. This was a real shame as the rest of the construction is so high.

If Scribe could resolve this, by changing the design to steel or offering a steel option, this would be a solution for more powerful riders, and really allow the wheels to live up to their name. As the Scribes are already competitively light, it would barely affect the weight.

Edit: Scribe tells us that it has been working on an anti-bite guard for some time and will have this soon for both its 365s, and its Ratchet Drive hubs. Scribe also says that if any customers have an issue with bite when changing cassettes, it'll replace the freehub body free of charge.     
 

Value

At £290, the Scribes are pretty good value for money. They're a little cheaper than some I felt to be in the same ball park cost-wise and feature-wise, though other factors do come into play.

The Mason X Hunt 4 Season Disc wheels are £329 and have a similar weight, but the Hunts do have an anti-bite guard on the cassette freehub body. This is a steel insert added to the freehub body to lessen the damage caused by powerful riders. The Hunts also include all the valves, thru-axle/quick release and Centerlock/6-bolt adaptors for fitting to a range of bikes. Hunt sells replacement bearings for its wheels very cheaply as well – £5.99 per bearing vs Scribe at £15 for a set of two bearings.

> Buyer's Guide: 20 of the best disc brake road wheelsets

Another alternative – Fulcrum's Racing 5s – are also a similar weight, although they don't come with the 6-bolt brake adaptors of the Scribes and have aluminium nipples as opposed to brass (and therefore would be more prone to oxidisation with winter salt on the roads). Although tubeless compatible, they don't include rim tape or tubeless valves, which would add to the cost of setting them up tubeless. They are £334.99 at RRP.

Shimano's RX31s have an RRP of £279.99 and are still available if you search around. The Shimanos weigh considerably more, but do have a very tough steel freehub body and easily user-serviceable bearings, although they are quick release only so won't appeal to those with thru-axle bikes.

Conclusion

Overall, I'd say the Scribe 365-D is a very good wheelset for all weathers. The wheels are stiff and tough for everyday use, and include a plethora of adaptors and valves to suit most setups, including tubeless. If they had a steel freehub they'd be even better.

Verdict

Decent value, toughened, everyday wheelset that can be ridden in the worst of conditions, and copes well with British roads

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Scribe 365 Disc 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, "Ride 365 days! Toughened rims... Sealed bearings.. Aqua Grease

"Wheels for Purpose

"The Scribe 365 wheels were created because we couldn't find a wheel set you could ride all-year round with confidence. With our design, you can have complete confidence these wheels will stand the test of time and they really do what it says on the tin. By using high fatigue alloy rims, brass nipples (don't corrode), water repellant contact sealed bearings, and upgraded Scribe Aqua grease, you'll be able to ride these wheels across all four seasons.

"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. With Centre lock disc as standard, you can ride with confidence knowing the stopping power is there when it's needed."

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

Highlights from the spec sheet:

Rims

Hardened,and heat treated rim design

Asymmetric design

24 hole Front | 24 hole Rear

Tubeless ready design gives the option to have increased puncture resistance, faster-rolling wheels and improved weight (also works with standard inner tubes)

Precision drilled spoke holes

Ramped rim bed

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

Hubs

Scribe 365 6061 Alloy hubs with J-bend design

High grade Mobile® water repellent grease used

3x pawl system

6x cartridge sealed bearing hub set; 2x in front, 2x in rear, 2x in freehub

Shimano/SRAM 8/9/10/11 speed freehub body fitted (SRAM XDR Driver also available)

Available in all major standards - Front: QR, Bolt thru (12, 15 and 9mm); Rear: QR, Bolt thru (142x12, 135x12 and 135x12).

Bearings

Taiwanese TPI stainless steel bearings

Sealed cartridge units with 1x contact seal (Outer facing seal interfaces with the ball bearings to resist water penetration), and 1x non-contact seal (no interface between ball bearings increases rolling speed)

Aqua grease: repels water and allows bearings to spin smoothly

Rate the wheel for quality of construction:
 
7/10

The rims are a highlight, they feel strong and sturdy, and you can certainly feel the stiffness on the road. Out of the box, the wheels were perfectly straight, and the spokes were at even tension. They continue to be so after 500 miles of riding in all weathers. The supplied extras feel of a high quality, including the adaptors to switch from thru-axles to quick release, and from Centerlock to six-bolt adaptors. Unfortunately the cassette freehub body is aluminium and was eaten into by the cassette during the testing period. A steel cassette freehub body would have matched the toughness of the rest of the wheelset.

Rate the wheel for performance:
 
9/10

It feels like a planted wheelset. Because the rims are fairly wide at 19mm internal diameter, it gives a very slightly more rounded effect to the tyres, allowing assured cornering and descending. No problems at all with 40mph+ descents. On the flat, they roll well; I tried for a few Strava segments on the commute, and was able to do some top five times for the year, out of 700-odd riders. Bear in mind that was in winter, on a steel bike. I feel this was down to the more aerodynamic profile of the rims, and the fast-rolling bearings.

Rate the wheel for durability:
 
8/10

The Sapim spokes and wide rims feel very strong indeed. The wheels didn't give any of the usual pops and pings you often get with some factory wheels as they settle in to regular riding. It feels like they have been stress relieved before dispatch to remove tension. Around 500 miles later, I have experienced no issues with spokes coming loose, and I've hit various nasty potholes and gone off and up kerbs to try to throw them out. A longer term test would enable me to continue to view the wear on the cassette freehub body, and the longevity of the bearings.

Rate the wheel for weight
 
9/10

The Scribe 365-Ds weigh in at 1,586g, which is very competitive in this price bracket for a disc wheelset. Considering they are intended as an all year round, tough wheelset, this is an excellent weight for the price and intended use.

Rate the wheel for value:
 
7/10

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

They stayed true throughout testing. As a 92kg rider, I was surprised at the Scribes' ability to cope with the worst I could throw at them. My commute consists of several kerbs which need to be negotiated, and they were absolutely fine. Hitting potholes they were fine as well. No issues with spoke tension, and they continue to hold up well.

How easy did you find it to fit tyres?

Very easy. I tried 28mm Vittoria Rubino and 32mm Panaracer Gravelking slicks, and both went on with no trouble at all. Running them both with inner tubes (at 75psi for 32mm) and tubeless (at 50psi) was absolutely fine, and fitting was straightforward – you just need a real blast of air to seat the bead onto the rim if going tubeless (I used a half spent CO2 cartridge to seat them).

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

Skewers were not included. Rim tape was okay, and despite seeming quite thin gave no issues during the testing period. It was well sealed for the tubeless test.

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

I am rating this wheelset for its intended use, which I believe to be a tough wheelset that can be ridden in all weathers. I found this generally to be the case. They enabled me to do the usual tempo ride to work, without worrying about spokes snapping or the wheel going out of true.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the wheel

The rims and spokes were a highlight, the rim almost seems overbuilt, and is stiff when putting the power down, with no discernible flex. I liked the quite stealthy black design. They are quite plain looking. At the weekend, no one seemed to notice I was riding them. On the downside, they don't really add any "bling" to the bike, if that is your thing.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the wheel

The aluminium cassette freehub body being eaten into during testing was disappointing, as the rest of the construction is so good. Perhaps Scribe could fix this by offering a steel freehub body as an option.

I had a minor issue (about half an hour faffing) converting them to quick release and 6-bolt adaptors. The instructions were to knock the thru-axle plugs out, but these were firmly stuck in place and I had to resort to pliers to pull them out. I found the flat headed grub screws on the 6-bolt adaptors needed backing out a bit, to allow the disc to sit correctly, before doing up the lockring to keep the disc in place.

The 365-D only features a 3-pawl ratchet design, whereas Scribe's more expensive wheelsets feature a 54-tooth, ratchet design, for almost instant engagement. Again, perhaps this could be an option at point of purchase.

Some people may not like how stiff the rims feel, but I do. As mentioned, running them tubeless will lessen this feeling so they will be more comfortable. Also, some might not like how plain looking they are, not "bling" at all. Personally, I like their understated look.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

The Mason X Hunt 4 Season Discs are £329 and a similar weight, but do have an anti-bite guard on the cassette freehub body.

Fulcrum's Racing 5s are £334.99 at rrp and, again, are a similar weight, but don't come with the adaptors of the Scribes, and have aluminium nipples as opposed to brass.

Shimano's RX31 have an RRP of £279.99 and are still available if you search around. They weigh considerably more but do have a steel freehub body and user-serviceable bearings, though they are quick release only.

Did you enjoy using the wheel? Yes, and I preferred them to the OEM wheels fitted to my bike.

Would you consider buying the wheel? If a steel cassette freehub body was available, they would be on the shortlist.

Would you recommend the wheel to a friend? Maybe; a powerful rider would likely damage the alloy freehub body, a light rider would probably be fine.

Use this box to explain your overall score

The alloy freehub body is a shame, as everything else seemed so strong throughout testing, but I still think they're very good wheels and therefore warrant an 8.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 41  Height: 181cm  Weight: 92 Kilos

I usually ride: GT Grade  My best bike is: Boardman ASR 8.9

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, mountain biking

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