We’ve tested a couple of wheelsets from Scribe over the years at Cyclingnews and have always come away impressed with the quality and value for money they offer. From high-profile aero wheels to rim-brake race hoops, the Northern Ireland-based wheelbuilder has options for all types of rider, including those who enjoy taking gravity head-on.
That’s where Scribe’s latest offering comes in – the Elan Wide + 32-D Carbon Spoke wheels. With all-carbon construction, the focus is as much about all-out performance as it is weight reduction. The result is Scribe’s answer to the best lightweight wheels segment, and the Elans have all the markings of a winner. We have tested them on our usual route taking aerodynamics, cross-winds and climbing efficiency. Read on for our final verdict.
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Design and aesthetics
In terms of the design, the rim profiling is toroidal in shape, which is proven to aerodynamics by recapturing airflow and resisting cross-wind buffeting. There’s nothing fancy going on here but the wheels follow the traditional black-on-mold, eschewing the modern gloss-varnish coating we’ve seen on some of the new segment offerings.
That said, it’s a tidy package – if a little stealthy featuring a proven recipe that works and complements most bike color schemes. The Scribe wordmark logo and Elan moniker are prominently positioned on the rim architecture: two Scribe logos are set at each end and Elan name and logo follow a similar approach. Naturally, carbon fiber is a big theme here and also incorporates 45 individual aero-optimized spokes built from carbon, too.
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Specifications and build
The wheels are built from ultra-high-filament, unidirectional Japanese Toray T700 / T800 carbon fiber, and laced together using carbon-fiber spokes. Each spoke weighs just 2.6g, which has allowed Scribe’s engineers to create an appreciably light and stiff wheelset. The spoke blueprint is unique in that it has much higher strength-to-weight ratio than regular stainless steel spokes. Looking at the data, steel spokes have a break rate of 350kgf, whereas the carbon spokes have a break rate of 450kgf. This has allowed for greater tension to be achieved but also to nullify road buzz and improve overall wheel compliance, too.
The overall result is a total weight system of just 1,312g for the set, which puts it in line with the segment’s best. Each wheel also benefits from the company trademark CNC-machined hubs. The rear hub in particular is the Scribe Aero Wide + 60D wheels – a single-disc ratchet drive system. Not only does it instantly make super-fast engagement and response, it’s loud and rather obnoxious when freewheeling, stepping up a couple of notches in pitch when you back pedal. It’s a very addictive and entertaining cacophony.
Like some of the more premium options in Scribe’s portfolio, the Elans can accommodate widths ranging from 25- to 50mm, this comes down to the 21mm internal (30mm external) wide widths but I’ll cover this in detail a little later. The setup is compatible with both Shimano 11/12-speed and SRAM systems (Campagnolo and XDR also available) and complies with all major axle standards – front: QR, thru-axle (12mm and 15mm); rear: QR, thru-axle (142×12).
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Performance and handling
While Scribe recommends 25mm tires for the best all-round experience, I fitted them with Hutchinson Fusion 5 28C rubber. This tyre arrangement – while slightly heavier than others – has proven to be a good combination of protection, rolling efficiency and compliance. Owing to the 21mm internal rim width, tires can look a lot wider than what is shown on the sidewall but the upshot is a better contact patch and better handling performance. The bulbous turret shape also adds an extra layer of protection for the rim itself.
As far as tubeless compatibility goes, the Scribe Elans come pre-installed with tubeless rim tape, and valves are included in the packaging. Tire setup is a painless exercise and the hooked rim profile adds some assurance to the equation. While this gives you the option of running both inner-tube-type and tubeless tires, I always recommend going for the latter as the means of unlocking the true potential of the wheelset. As a result, I fitted the Elans with my go-to tire of choice – 28mm Hutchinson Fusion 5 Performance.
While heavier than most tires, the hefty Hutchinsons were offset by the low 1,314g weight of the wheelsystem. Having tested the Elans on a number of different terrain types – ranging from fast and flat rides to lumpier courses in the Surrey Hills region – speed and response kept playing out the recurring theme. The wheels are incredibly stiff but not bone-jarringly so. The carbon-fiber spoke configuration – laced in a 2: 1 front (21H) and rear (24H) pattern – really helps in this regard, adding some suppleness over more corrugated road surfaces.
Having tested the wheels on both the Cannondale Supersix Evo Disc and Bianchi Specialissima, the wheels played nicely with the climbing characteristics of each bike. From the instant response of the Five4 ratchet hub to the feel of all-carbon construction, the Scribe Elan Wide + 32-D Carbon Spoke wheels make no bones about what they are designed for – speed, but more importantly, overcoming gravity.
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At £ 1,190 / $ 1,600 / € 1,400, it’s hard to ignore the value of the Scribe Elan Wide + 32-D Carbon Spoke wheels. Looking at its rivals – options such as the recently launched Fulcrum Speed 25, Roval Alpinist and Deda Elementi RS4DB – the Scribes are right up there in terms of weight and outright performance.
But like I’ve mentioned before, please write more about brand perceptions and trust more than anything else. And while they are lacking the brand cachet of its more established rivals – for now – you can get it wrong by choosing these wheels for any matter.
They’re resilient, light, fast and flashy, and come with a tasty lifetime crash replacement and three-year ‘new year, new bearings’ warranty. The Scribe Elans are ideal for anyone looking to unlock some extra nippiness and response from their ride.
|Ride Quality||Smooth, responsive and full of feel. The carbon construction together with matching carbon spokes has created a feedback-rich ride quality that is difficult to trump||9/10|
|Stiffness||The 32mm rim depth and spoke tension (break rate of 450kgf) is class-leading. At the same time, the carbon spokes have also added some plumbing to the wheelsystem||10/10|
|Aesthetics||In terms of the new glossy-varnish trend, the Elans are not too flashy and, while this will appeal to some, the introduction of some color would do wonders for the visual package||7/10|
|Tubeless Compatibility||The wheels come pre-taped with valves and don’t take long to set up||10/10|
|Hubs||Power transfer is instant thanks to Scribe’s Five4 rear hub design. They’re incredibly loud but that’s become a trademark feature of Scribe||10/10|
|Value for money||At £ 1,190 / $ 1,600 / € 1,400, you’ll be hard-pressed to find something else appealing for the money. The only blocker in terms of success at the moment is garnering new customers who will do wonders to increase the brand awareness||9/10|
- Temperature: 12 to 24-degrees Celsius
- Terrain: A- and B-roads
- Mileage: 325km
Tech Specs: Scribe Elan Wide + 32-D wheels
- RRP: £ 1,190 / $ 1,600 / € 1,400
- Weight: 1,312g
- Depth: 32mm
- Internal width: 21mm
- External width: 30mm
- Spoke count: 21/24 front / rear, carbon
- Tire format: Clincher, tubeless
- Brake: Disc