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Scribe's Élan Wide+ 42-D Carbon Spoke wheels are proper all-rounders that bring a bit of aero assistance to a beautiful balance of stiffness and lack of weight. At sub-1,400g these things fly, whether your bike is pointing up or down hill, but the key thing for me – apart from the great price – is that durability for such a light set of wheels doesn't look to have been compromised.
Scribe says the Élans were designed to offer the pinnacle in performance, and while there are some great wheelsets out there, as a package these are very impressive.
So, what have we got?
They are based around a 42mm-deep unidirectional (UD) Toray T700/T800 carbon fibre rim with a U-shaped profile. This has an external width of 30mm, 21mm internal, which means the wheels work well with wider road tyres without sacrificing compatibility with thinner 25mm rubber.
The rims are drilled with 21 holes on the front and 24 on the rear to accept lightweight UD carbon fibre spokes, and use a ramped bed design to aid the fitment of both tubeless and clincher tyres. I used both 25mm and 28mm tyres, one pair tubeless and one tubed, and found both easy to fit and remove.
Those carbon spokes join the rims to the aluminium alloy hubs, which are available to suit all axle styles, quick release and thru-axle, and are compatible with Center Lock disc rotors, although a six-bolt adaptor is available.
There are two bearing options, a choice of Endurance as standard, which can cope with a mixture of weather, or Race, which roll faster but don't have the durability for a lot of wet riding.
Freehub-wise, all road groups are catered for which is good to see, so whether you are using Shimano (HG & HG+) or SRAM (PG) 8 to 12-speed cassettes, Campagnolo or SRAM XDR, you'll be able to use a set of Élans on your bike.
Tubeless rim tape is included, as are the tubeless valves.
What this all means out on the road is that you are never left wanting. Acceleration is phenomenal, whether from a standing start or when rolling. A kick on the pedals and these Élans just surge forward, and their lack of weight means they are barely affected by rolling terrain. Hit a little rise, give a little dig on the cranks, and you are up and over it.
Scribe's patented Ratchet Drive hub has an instantaneous engagement which gives no slack whatsoever. If you like a subtle sound to your freewheeling activities, though, you might not be a fan as it's a little on the buzzy side.
As wheels shed weight, they can also start to shed lateral stiffness. I'm not the lightest rider around and can put out a decent amount of power so flex can be an issue, but I had no problems here. Even out-of-the-saddle efforts, really cranking the bike over form side to side, couldn't get the rims bending to a degree that is noticeable.
On the flat I did notice a little aero nudge. It's not as pronounced as a set of wheels with rims over 50mm deep, where you feel the benefits really start to take effect at just over 20mph, but it's enough to give you a bit of a boost on the straight sections, downhill, and to take full advantage of a tailwind.
One thing dropping the grams does bring, though, is a lower rider/bike/luggage weight limit than most, just 105kg. That may or may not be a major factor for you.
If you're spending over a grand on a set of wheels, you want to know they'll last, that you won't have to worry too much about hitting a pothole or rough section of road and damaging your investment.
Happily, I can put your worries at ease. I took these rattling through broken tarmac at speed, even bunny hopping over deep holes and hammering down a local hardpack byway that's more used to seeing mountain bikes and horses. None of which had any impact on them; they were true out of the box and that's how they've remained.
Scribe backs this up with a three-year warranty against material or workmanship defects, and will also provide replacement bearings for any of its carbon wheels during that warranty period.
If your carbon wheels are damaged in a crash, Scribe also offers a lifetime crash replacement policy for the original owner. Should the worst happen, Scribe will either pay for your local mechanic to carry out the work, or repair them itself with the postage being the only costs you are eligible for.
I was very impressed overall. While I'm hardly going to be putting them on my gravel bike, if they were mine I wouldn't be panicking if I found myself riding on a road that Rod Stewart would feel compelled to dust off his shovel for.
The wheels also feel like they'll spin forever on the bearings, whizzing around with no resistance at all. Even after plenty of winter riding there haven't been any issues here.
And what is also impressive is that Scribe can deliver all of this for £1,190. Okay, not cheap, but still a bargain compared with some: we tested the 35mm-deep version of the DT Swiss ERC 1400 Dicut wheelset, but a 45mm rim is also available. They are light at below 1,500g and they also come with a ratchet style freehub, DT Swiss's 240. They don't have carbon spokes, though, if that's a deal breaker, and they cost £1,869.98.
Hunt offers some decent rivals, such as its 44 UD Carbon Spoke wheels. They are roughly the same weight as the Scribes and a few quid more at £1,199.
Black Inc's Forty Five is a good set of multi-purpose road wheels according to Liam. They are a bit heavier at 1,580g, though – and they cost a cool £2,200.
Overall, there is very little to find fault with here. Scribe has used top notch components to create a performance package that delivers right across the board without any compromises.
Quick on the climbs and the flat, superlight wheels that excel regardless of what you ask of them
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 Élan Wide+ 42-D wheelset
Size tested: 700C, 42mm 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 Élan Wide+ 42 was designed to offer the pinnacle in performance. Utilising high strength, super lightweight carbon spokes (2.6g each), our engineers have been able to create a wheelset that is incredibly lightweight, and incredibly responsive.
Due to the unique spoke design, our carbon spokes have significantly higher strength-to-weight ratio when compared to stainless steel spokes. The increased strength allows us to build more tension into the wheels for improved performance, but due to the mechanical properties of carbon spokes, road buzz is also reduced.
With 42mm rims on either end, the Élan's offer unparalleled level of performance when compared to rivals. These wheels will climb hard, cruise at speed, and allow you to get up to speed fast when the power goes on. 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!
Weighing only 1,370g the Aero Wide+ 42s are exceptionally lightweight and pound-for-pound, feature amongst the best wheels out there. Partnered with lightning fast Ratchet Drive hubs, these wheels respond FAST, offering unrivalled levels of performance.
The Wide 21mm 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."
A lightweight wheelset that doesn't sacrifice stiffness.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the wheel?
Wide+ Toroidal Disc specific design.
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])
Optimised TG (Glass Transition) resin used to produce a super lightweight, responsive, low void carbon for increased performance
Wide 21mm internal (30mm outer)
21 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 with Hook offers incredibly secure tyre binding, even at lower pressures
Patented Ratchet Drive hub system Exclusive to Scribe
Single Ratchet disc, and leaf spring offers incredible durability as there's only one moving part
Heat treated stainless steel drive ring
Centre-lock disc standard (6-bolt adapter available)
Fully CNC'd rounded design with 4-D precision drilled spoke holes
Shimano (HG & HG+) /SRAM (PG) 8/9/10/11/12 speed compatible Anti-bite freehub body fitted - Campagnolo and XDR also available
Available in all major standards - Front: QR, Bolt thru (12mm and 15mm); Rear: QR, Bolt thru (142x12)
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
High strength, super lightweight UD carbon spokes (2.6g each)
Straight-pull for increased torsional strength
21 hole front/24 hole rear
For nipples, we use Pillar Patented TG Lock square head so the nipples are locked into place
Front: Disc side 1x, Drive side Radial
Rear: Disc side 1x, Drive side 2x
For such a light set of wheels, their stiffness is very good.
Did the wheels stay true? Any issues with spoke tension?
No issues with durability or spoke tension throughout the test period.
How easy did you find it to fit tyres?
No issues fitting tyres of 25mm and 28mm, both tubeless and tubed, and relatively straightforward.
How did the wheel extras (eg skewers and rim tape) perform?
The wheels came with rim tape fitted and it worked well when setting the wheels up tubeless.
Tell us how the wheel performed overall when used for its designed purpose
This is a lightweight set of wheels that really stand out under acceleration or when climbing. The rim depth gives a bit of an aero advantage too.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the wheel
Great stiffness considering the light weight.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the wheel
A buzzy freehub might not to be to everyone's taste.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
They are on a par with the similarly specced Hunt wheels mentioned in the review, but you can end up spending a lot more for the same sort of spec from the big name brands like the DT Swiss I also mention.
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
Excellent all-rounders. Great stiffness, no weight penalty, and bearings that run as smooth as smooth. They're pretty good value too, for what you're getting.
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!