Netherlands-based brand Scope's R4c wheels have a quality ride feel backed up by a decent amount of aerodynamic benefit, making them a good all-round road wheelset. The weight is pretty impressive too, and the price isn’t bad when you realise it includes tyres and valves.
- Pros: Great levels of stiffness, smooth running bearings
- Cons: Braking surface isn't as good as some others
The stiffness of this build is one of things that impressed me most. Hard sprinting and climbing efforts that had wheels like the Aera AR55 set touching the brake blocks had no effect on the lateral movement of the R4c pair at all. Cornering hard and heavy braking does little to unsettle them either.
The ride quality is good too. Some deep-section rims, especially those from the budget end of the spectrum, can feel buzzy and harsh over rough road surfaces but there is none of that here. The 45mm-deep, rounded rims are perfectly damped and make for a very pleasurable ride when the tarmac is far from smooth.
On the flat, you start to notice the aerodynamic benefits of a deep-section rim once you get to about 50-60mm in depth, so the Scopes aren't quite as easy to keep rolling above speeds of around 25mph but they really aren't that far off.
On the flipside you've got the added benefit of more versatility as they are less susceptible to strong crosswinds than a deeper wheel and the weight can be kept down, making them a decent climbing wheel.
The SKF bearings in the Scope hubs run smoothly and the freehub engagement at the rear is quick and precise for when you want to hammer away from a standing start.
The front wheel uses 18 spokes laced in a radial pattern while the rear uses 21 set up radial on the non-drive side and two-cross on the other for increased stiffness to resist the forces from the drivetrain.
Using external nipples makes truing easy, not that it was necessary here as the wheels turned up straight and remained so throughout the test period.
The rim itself has an internal width of 19mm and is 26mm across the external brake track. This spreads the tyre slightly wider than its nominal sidewall size: we used these with 25mm Schwalbe Pro Ones (chosen because Scope has received a top-scoring AAA rating from Schwalbe, meaning that the rims and tyres work well together) that measure nearer to 27.5mm, which is worth bearing in mind if you have very tight frame clearances.
On the subject of tyres, Scope says that it has developed the rim bed shape to work perfectly with tubeless tyres and has a chart to show their compatibility with various tyres when it comes to fitment, inflation and so on.
The only thing I wasn't totally blown away by was the braking performance. It's way better than carbon rims of old, but after swapping from the RSP Calavera CC35 wheels straight to the Scopes I did notice a little less bite from the pads in the wet and dry, which continued even after they'd bedded in.
During testing these wheels have done about 500 miles in all weather conditions and they haven't missed a beat. They are still running smooth and true without any annoying little creaks or whatever, and judging by the quality I can't see this changing anytime soon.
Shimano, SRAM and Campagnolo freehub bodies are available as an option at the checkout, plus you can choose whether to have white or black decals on the wheels, all for the same money. Custom decals can be had for a fee, and if you want to upgrade to CeramicSpeed bearings that'll up the standard price to £1,798.
As tested, their price of £1,298 includes quick releases, brake pads, tubeless valves and those Schwalbe tyres already installed, and I'd say that's pretty good for the money, especially when you take their durability into account.
They do face some stiff opposition, though. The excellent Prime BlackEdition 50 wheelset is a similar weight and is priced at £1,099.99, for instance.
Or there is the BORG50C wheelset which is heavier at 1,670g but costs a pretty remarkable £910 including tyres.
So, yes, you can get cheaper, but I still stand by the fact that this is a quality wheelset and though you might be paying that little bit extra you won't be disappointed.
A stiff and relatively lightweight wheelset that offers good all-round performance on the road
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Scope R4c wheels
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?
Scope says, "All Scope wheelsets are developed as a system. The hubs feature a characteristic wide flange distance and as such allow for an equal spoke tension. Combined with our road specific wide full-carbon rims the R4 offers a very high lateral stiffness, to minimize power loss and guarantee predictability and efficiency.
"The rim shape of the R4 is based on the findings of iteratively used computational fluid dynamics and efficiently reduces drag and negative crosswind influences. Tests have shown that the R5 wheelset outperforms the competition from other premium wheel brands while setting a new performance benchmark in its category.
"The tire bed of the R4 is optimized for tubeless tires and offers an internal rim width of 19 mm. The wider rim allows for an increased diameter of the mounted tire. As a result, a 25 mm tire will have a diameter of 26 mm. Additionally, the tire will perfectly sit on the inner sidewalls of the rim.
"The Scope R4c, our rim brake version of the R4 wheelset, has a special braking surface which works best in combination with our Scope brake pads. The brake pads are developed in-house and offer a powerful yet linear braking behavior. Even in rainy conditions or the most challenging descents, you'll be able to effortlessly dose your riding speed."
The Scope R4c wheels are a good all-round package for the majority of road use.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the wheel?
Rim height: 45 mm
External rim width: 26 mm
Internal rim width: 19 mm
Spoke count Rim:
Axle system Rim:
QR 100 mm
QR 130 mm*
Did the wheels stay true? Any issues with spoke tension?
Spoke tension good and remained true throughout testing.
How easy did you find it to fit tyres?
I tried various tyres in both tubeless and tubed configurations with no issues.
How did the wheel extras (eg skewers and rim tape) perform?
All top quality to match the wheels.
Tell us how the wheel performed overall when used for its designed purpose
A great all-round road wheel that works on the flat and the climbs.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the wheel
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the wheel
Braking isn't as good as some others I've ridden.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
We've seen a few wheelsets that come in cheaper but I wouldn't say that the Scopes are overpriced.
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
Scope has built a good all-round race wheelset here and while you can get cheaper and lighter, the R4c's durability adds to the overall value.
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
Stu knocked out his first road.cc review back in 2009 and since then he's chucked the best part of seventy test bikes around the West Country, a couple of them quite literally! With three alloy and two steel bikes in his fleet he's definitely a metal man (that'll be the engineering background) but is slowly warming to that modern carbon fibre stuff along with fat tyres & disc brakes.
It's not all nostalgia though, after spending the last few years in product design Stu keeps banging on about how 3D printing is going to be the next big thing and he's a sucker for a beautiful paint job too.