Scribe Gravel Wide++ Wheelset Review
Scribe Cycling is a relatively new brand from Northern Ireland that’s not shy about describing its range of carbon gravel wheelsets as the “fastest, most responsive off-road drop-bar hoops you’ll ever own.” Sven Garbe spent some time riding Scribe’s Gravel Wide++ carbon wheels to find out if their €1,000 price tag is too good to be true. Find his thoughts after more than 2,000 miles here…
If you haven’t heard of Scribe Cycling before, it’s a fairly new brand from Belfast, Northern Ireland, that was founded in May 2019 by Alan Graham, a former employee of Chain Reaction Cycles and Hunt Wheels. They offer a range of gravel and road bike wheelsets and have a sister company called SILT MTB that handles the mountain bike wheelsets.
Scribe’s gravel lineup consists of alloy and carbon rim wheels, in either 700c or 650b diameter, ranging from 19 to 25 mm internal width. Their rims are made from high filament (12K/18K) Japanese Toray T700/T800 carbon fibre, unidirectional for strength with additional reinforcement at spoke holes. Their wheels are tubeless-ready, clincher type, feature a hookless design, and are built with 28 Sapim CX-Ray J-bend spokes in a 2x lacing pattern. Configuration is possible with either SRAM or Shimano freehub, 12mm, 15mm, or quick-release front axle, and 12mm or quick release rear axle.
All of Scribe’s wheels come with their own hub, a single ratchet drive with 36-tooth engagement. There’s also a 54-tooth retrofittable upgrade in the works now. While it looks quite similar to the system found in DT Swiss hubs, according to Scribe, it’s unique to them and was actually released before DT’s EXP system was introduced to the market. The rotors are mounted via centre lock, and a dynamo hub isn’t available for this wheelset.
Upon purchase, the owner is automatically enrolled in Scribe’s INFINITY programme, a three-year warranty and a lifetime crash replacement. Also, they offer two complete sets of bearings for the wheels during the warranty period, without further costs.
I was given their widest and lightest 700c model for this review, the Gravel Wide++. With an internal width of 25mm and a claimed weight of only 1316 grams, they were my wheelset of choice for my NORDEST Super Albarda.
As bikepackers, we strive to comply with the leave no trace philosophy. But no matter our behaviour on the trails, the consumerist nature of the bike industry—and especially the complexity of recycling carbon parts—should be taken into account as well.
To prevent wheels from going to landfills, Scribe has introduced its Re-Gen programme. It offers riders substantial discounts on a new wheelset, ranging from 10% – 40%, if they trade in their old Scribe carbon hoops. The used wheels will then be refurbished and listed for sale. Concerning wheels that cannot be resold, Scribe claims to work together with composite recycling companies.
First Impressions of the Gravel Wide++
Unboxing these wheels, I was delighted by their minimal, clean look with just two modest white decals. Buyers looking for something more stealthy or fancier can optionally choose black or gold decals. Putting them on my scale, they came in at 1336 grams, slightly higher than their claimed weight, including tape.
I’m a huge fan of centre lock, as it’s much quicker and easier to handle than a six-hole system. This is especially useful when travelling, as I like to take off my rotors for additional protection. However, when on an extended bikepacking trip, we often start and end at different places and take minimal equipment with us, and sourcing centre lock can be a relative pain compared to six-hole, at least for now. This scenario could be solved with an appropriate adapter, though.
Given my focus on bikepacking, I would have preferred straight-pull spokes, as replacing a broken one doesn’t require you to take off the cassette. On the other hand, the wheelset uses a single spoke length, which is bikepacker friendly.
The weight limit of this wheelset is 115kg (253 lbs). This is relatively low, and many other options on the market offer a few more kilograms more of possible payload, so this wheelset might not be the best choice for heavy riders who intend to put a lot of gear on their bikes.
On the trails
As mentioned before, I chose this wheelset for my NORDEST Super Albarda. It’s a super sturdy and capable but rather heavy bike, so I welcomed the extremely minimal weight of the wheels as it helped keep the overall weight of my build low. During my testing period, I ran WTB’s 40mm Byway and 45mm Riddler. Both were easy to install and sat tight. While 25mm of internal rim width is quite wide for a 40mm tire, the combination worked really well. Squaring off the 40mm Byways like that made it easy to engage the side knobs on loose turns, and I think going for wider rims on semi-slick tires isn’t a bad idea. Spinning them up to speed also was noticeable easy. Overall, the light wheels and fast-rolling tires were a really efficient combination.
Due to my preference for rougher roads, I enjoyed my time on the 45mm Riddlers much more, though. They offer safer, faster, and more comfortable riding on technical trails than their narrower cousins. And they were a pretty good fit for these wheels, too. I went for a lot of riding on the rowdier side for a drop-bar bike, and the wheels never let me down. I never had to true the Gravel Wide++ during my testing period, and spoke tension stayed constant.
The hub worked flawlessly, and the 36T ratchet offered quick engagement on challenging climbs. However, the freehub is also the source of my main complaint. It’s astonishingly noisy—the loudest hub I have ever ridden. While I appreciate the effect it has on pedestrians in cycling lanes, I often longed for a more modest, quiet sound once I made it out of the city and into the woods.
This was my first time on lightweight carbon fiber rims. In recent years, I learned the value of investing in high-quality wheelsets. However, I was still a bit skeptical if spending such a big amount of money on carbon components like wheels, that go through a lot of thrashing, is really justified. The impressive performance and reliability of the Gravel Wide++ hoops convinced me otherwise. They required zero maintenance, and apart from some tiny scratches, suffered no warps or damage. Further, Scribe manages to sell them at a highly competitive price. I consider such a set as one of, if not the best, part of your bike for weight saving and actual improvement of ride quality.
- Rim tested Carbon, 23mm depth, 25mm internal width
- Hub Scribe’s single ratchet hub / 28 spoke, straight pull
- Model tested 142 x 12mm rear, 100 x 12mm front
- Tested weight (front) 605 grams (with tape)
- Tested weight (rear) 733 grams (with tape)
- Price €1,000 ($1,166)
- Place of manufacture Built in Taiwan and Belfast
- Manufacturer’s details ScribeCycling.eu
- Impressively affordable
- Modest decals provide clean look
- Very sturdy
- Good ride quality
- Weight limit might be too low for heavy riders
- Loud hub
- Centre lock can be more difficult to source
- Dynamo hub not available
Scribe’s Gravel Wide++ wheelset is a fairly unknown but incredibly capable option for riders looking to reduce their rig’s weight and make it more agile. Due to their rather low weight limit, heavy riders and those with a lot of gear to haul should check their total touring weight before purchasing them. The freewheel is remarkably loud, and while some riders will love that characteristic buzzing sound that announces your presence to any trail user around, those looking for a more tranquil experience in the woods might be a bit annoyed. Those considerations aside, the features packed into the Gravel Wide++ wheels make them an almost perfect choice for gravel bikes—all at an impressive price. In the time I’ve been riding them, they’ve proven absolutely reliable and made for satisfying rides, and their sleek and elegant look is a nice bonus, too.
FILED IN (CATEGORIES & TAGS)
Please keep the conversation civil, constructive, and inclusive, or your comment will be removed.