The new Scribe Aero Wide+ 50-D Carbon Disc wheelset offers pretty much everything you could require from a fast road wheelset: impressive aerodynamics, low weight, lots of stiffness and plenty of durability, all while coming in way under the £1,000 mark.
I tested the Aero Wide 50-D wheelset about a year ago and was very impressed, but things don't stand still for long, especially in the world of aerodynamics. The Wide 50-Ds are still available, but if you really want to go Wider then this Wide+ option increases the internal rim width by 2mm to 21mm, and the external by 4mm up to 30mm.
It's not just about being able to run wider tyres, it's about making the most of narrower tyres like a 25mm, still a very popular size when it comes to racing and riding fast generally.
The thinking behind it is based on the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics' (NACA) theory on aerofoils, which has been accepted by other experts in aerodynamics.
Scribe has a blog post on its site going into all of the details, but basically the widest point of an aerofoil should be about 33% back from the leading edge to allow smooth airflow. The leading edge is the tyre, and with many rims even a 25mm tyre is often the widest point. Here, by going so wide with the external rim width, the tyre is actually narrower than the Scribe rim, which gives that smoother air flow.
It looks weird to see the rim poking out each side of the tyre when you are riding, but the results are impressive. Both Hunt and Specialized have wheels in their ranges that do similar, and I've seen a noticeable differences in how much less effort you need to put in to keep the bike in the 20-25mph speed range.
Alongside the aerodynamics you are also getting plenty of stiffness, so climbing and acceleration also benefit.
At 1,463g (803g rear, 660g front) including tubeless rim tape which comes factory fitted, they're so light that it makes me wonder where sacrifices have been made to achieve that. It's certainly not durability: I fitted a set of 42mm gravel tyres to them and with about 100 miles of tough gravel sections under the Scribes they are still as true and creak-free as they were when I received them.
Scribe backs up its wheels with a three-year warranty against material or workmanship defects should you have any issues. Plus, if you are unfortunate enough to damage them while riding, there is a lifetime crash replacement scheme on all carbon models for the original purchaser.
Fitting tyres is simple, with both road and the gravel tyres popping on easily without the need for any tyre levers or anything.
As I mentioned, they arrive with tubeless tape fitted, and in the box you'll find valves, spare spokes, spare nipples, six-bolt rotor adaptors, a lockring for 15mm axles, a slim-fit lockring for forks with a tight clearance and a 10-speed spacer.
At the checkout you can also select to have tubeless tyres and sealant fitted by Scribe free of charge.
When it comes to the actual build, you are getting a 50mm-deep rim made from Toray T700 and T800 grade carbon fibre, which is laid up uni-directional. Scribe also adds reinforcement around the spoke holes too.
The shape of the rim's bed and internal walls means that tyres 'lock' into place once inflated and can be run at low pressures without worrying about them becoming unseated. I had no issues with them on the gravel.
I've ridden a fair few sets of Scribe's wheels now and I'm a fan of its Ratchet Drive hub system which uses a single ratchet disc and leaf spring, which it says increases durability over a pawl system as it only has one moving part. Engagement is fast as well.
Full details of the hub tech can be found here in our First Look.
The Shimano/SRAM freehub body comes with an anti-bite section – two steel sections that stop the cassette from biting into the splines under load.
Campagnolo and SRAM XDR options are also available.
Inside the hubs you can have a choice of Endurance or Race bearings, which are pretty self-explanatory. Just pick the ones that suit your riding intentions.
The Wide+ 50-D wheels use Sapim CX-Ray spokes, which is a common choice. There are 21 on the front wheel, laced in a 1x pattern on the disc side and radially on the drive side, while the rear gets 24 spokes, 1x disc side, 2x drive side.
With its direct-to-customer sales model Scribe can keep the prices down, and these wheels will set you back just £870 which is very impressive for a wheelset this light and stiff.
It's £20 more than the FFWD Tyro wheelset, which has rims almost as wide at 27mm externally and is tough enough for a bit of gravel stuff too, but the Tyro is 300g heavier.
Hunt has gone even wider with its 48 Limitless Aero Disc wheelset at 35mm externally across the rim. I'm currently testing them, and they are very, very fast indeed – the review will be up soon. They are heavier than the Scribes at 1,618g, although in most road situations aero trumps weight anyway, but they cost £1,289.
Overall, the Aero Wide+ 50-D wheelset brings a noticeable difference to aerodynamics over many narrower carbon fibre wheels, and, more importantly, at the speeds you are likely to find yourself riding in the real world. The fact that this has been achieved while keeping the weight and price down but the stiffness up, is great news.
Stiff, lightweight, durable race wheels whose extra rim width makes them impressively fast
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Scribe Aero Wide+ 50-D Wheelset
Size tested: 700C, 50mm deep
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 Wide+ 50s were designed to offer unparalleled level of performance when compared to rivals. These wheels are the go-to option for those looking for speed; they are deep enough to give you that boost when pressing on hard on the flats, light enough that they won't hold back on the hills and wide enough to allow you to corner hard, but with confidence! The Toroidal Wide+ profile gives you the option to have increased Aero benefits by simply changing tyres! Check out our 'Naturally NACA' blog to learn more. "
I think the Wide+ wheels focus on one area specifically (speed) without detriment to others; a clever balance.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the wheel?
There is loads of in-depth detail on the Scribe website, but these are the key points:
Depth 50mm Front / 50mm Rear
Material Full, Unidirectional Carbon
Clincher - Tubeless Ready
Rim Width (external) 30mm
Rim Width (internal) 21mm
Spoke Pattern / Hole Count Front 2:1 / 21H, Rear 2:1 / 24H
Did the wheels stay true? Any issues with spoke tension?
The wheels stayed true throughout testing.
How easy did you find it to fit tyres?
Fitting all sorts and widths of tyres was done quickly and easily.
How did the wheel extras (eg skewers and rim tape) perform?
A large collection of accessories and spares which all perform well, and save you money in the long run.
Tell us how the wheel performed overall when used for its designed purpose
They are designed to cut through the wind and that is exactly what they achieve, without sacrificing climbing or acceleration.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the wheel
Aerodynamics that work in the real world.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the wheel
I couldn't really fault them.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
For the performance they are offering, the Scribes are well priced although there are others hot on their heels like the FFWD Tyros. They compete well on price but can't quite match the weight.
Other brands are offering similar weights and prices like JRA, but without the extra wide rim for aerodynamics.
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
The Scribe Aero Wide+ 50-D wheelset really doesn't seem to have any weaknesses. I think they're exceptional: it's a lot of wheel for not a lot of money.
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!