The Scribe Duty-D wheels sum up the term all-rounder. With a high spoke count, heat-treated hardened alloy rims and sealed bearings, you're getting a hugely durable wheelset, while a decent weight and a 31mm depth means you'll see some performance gains too. All for a good price.
Scribe says it's designed the Duty-D wheels to be super strong and super robust, and that is exactly what it's delivered.
With 28 (2x) and 32 (3x) spokes on the front and rear wheels respectively, paired to those relatively deep alloy rims, this is certainly a stiff and durable setup. It's one that allows Scribe to offer a 130kg weight limit – higher than quite a few other brands.
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So, if you are a larger rider, ride on crappy surfaces a lot, or load your bike up for a bit of adventuring then these could well be the wheels for you; especially if you don't want to sacrifice on performance.
Scribe claims a weight of 1,688g, and with tubeless rim tapes fitted ours came in at 1,790g on the road.cc scales. That's not superlight, but it's by no means heavy, and they belie those numbers anyway when you stand on the pedals.
Pulling away from a standing start or accelerating hard, the Duty-Ds don't feel sluggish and – thanks to some very impressive stiffness levels – you don't need to worry about any of your effort being wasted as lateral flex. The 31mm deep rims offer a minimal aero advantage over a standard box rim, but not that you'd really notice in the real world.
The Duty-Ds cruise along smoothly, and I found them to work well on rolling terrain, with the extra mass helping you carry more speed from the downhills into the slight drags and hills.
We were actually sent two pairs of the Duty-D wheels for testing (a second set arrived a few weeks after the first due to a spec change; more about that in a minute) so they've had quite a lengthy review period.
They've seen all kinds of terrain, from smooth A-roads to canal paths and a bit of light gravel work, to see just how versatile they are. The weather has been iffy too, so they've seen plenty of water, muck off the roads and dust when the tracks have been dry.
They haven't missed a beat. Everything is still running smoothly and quietly, and from previous experience of Scribe's wheels I can't see a reason why that'd change any time soon.
The rims are 19mm wide internally (24mm external), which works especially well with 25mm and 28mm tyres, although there is no issue with going wider. I've used 40mm gravel tyres on rims of these dimensions without upsetting tyre profiles too much.
The second set of Duty-Ds arrived with Continental's GP5000 TL tubeless tyres fitted, and they measured up true to their 28mm width.
Fitting and removing tyres wasn't an issue with these rims, with Scribe using a ramped bed to aid fitment, and a beadlock design to stop tyres popping off at low pressures.
Due to the width of a modern freewheel, the dishing of the spokes (the angle from hub to rim) is minimal, which isn't that great from a performance point of view. To combat this Scribe has positioned and drilled the spoke bed section asymmetrically, biased towards the non-drive side. It's the same on the front rim, which is offset towards the non-braking side. It doesn't add a huge amount, but every degree matters.
The difference between the two sets of wheels we had lay in the spokes and nipples. Originally Scribe went for Sapim's CX-Ray which is, as it says on Scribe's website, considered the most aerodynamic spoke on the market. These were paired with Sapim's brass nipples.
However, Scribe discovered from both in-house and independent testing that Pillar's Wing 20 spokes are both more aero and stiffer than the CX-Rays. So the switch has been made to the Wing 20s, along with Pillar's nipples. Personally, I couldn't detect any real difference when riding, but it at least highlights Scribe's attention to detail.
The hubs use Scribe's patented Ratchet Drive technology where, instead of pawls locking into ratcheting teeth, a 54-tooth ratchet ring (in the freehub) engages a 54-tooth plate (threaded into the hub shell) by way of an internal leaf spring. When you coast, the tips of the teeth glide over one another.
Full details can be found here in our First Look piece of Scribe's Aero Wide 50-D wheels. It's a great system with rapid and precise engagement, finished off with a reassuring click as you freewheel – though it's not so loud as to be annoying.
The green anodised freehub body is available in Shimano/SRAM as we see here – including a pair of anti-bite steel strips to protect the splines from damage – plus Campagnolo and SRAM XDR options.
Inside the hubs you'll find Taiwanese TPI stainless steel bearings, which are sealed cartridge units. They run very smoothly indeed, and have done throughout testing, even after some heavy bouts of rain.
I like to see a wheel brand that provides all the accessories and spares you'll need to just get on with riding, and Scribe doesn't disappoint. In the box you'll find tubeless valves, adapters to convert your six-bolt rotors to the Centre Lock fitting used here, a lockring for 15mm axles, and a slim-fit lockring for tight fork clearances. You also get spare spokes and nipples, plus a 10-speed spacer.
> road.cc's Best Cycling Wheels of the Year 2020/21
Scribe also offers free fitting for tyres you add to the basket before checkout, with the Continental GP5000 TLs found here setting you back £110.
The Duty-Ds cost £390, and I don't think that's too bad at all for such a quality set of wheels. The Halo Devaura Disc RD2 wheels have the same rim dimensions as the Duty-D, but a much lower spoke count at 24 front and rear. They are around £570 a pair.
FFWD's F3A DB wheelset is a touch shallower at 27mm and again comes with fewer spokes. Like the Halos they are a very good set of wheels, and tough too, but were £625 when we tested them.
There is some tough competition out there, though. I'm currently testing Alpkit's Sonder Alpha 700C Aero wheelset, which uses a similar rim design and Pillar spokes with a 28F/32R set up. They are a bit heavier at 1,950g, but cheaper at £299.99.
Prime's Barouder Road Disc wheelset again follows a similar theme, and Liam was very impressed. They're a bit lighter and have a few less spokes, and are £249.99.
The Duty-D wheels are very well made and offer exceptional ride quality, plus I can't fault them for stiffness either. If you want a set of wheels with decent performance and aren't bothered about sacrificing weight for durability, I reckon you can't go far wrong with the Duty-Ds. It's a wheelset that gives you plenty of confidence in its ability.
Great build quality and impressive durability, yet they don't scrimp on performance. A great all-round wheelset
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Make and model: Scribe Duty-D wheelset
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, "We designed the Scribe Duty to be a super strong, super robust wheel set with Aerodynamic ability. By using 30mm+ depth rims, combined with Sapim CX-Ray spokes, these wheels are Aero, and fast! You'll notice increased speeds as the wheels cut through the air everywhere you go. As the build features hardened alloy rims, combined with Sapim Brass spokes, the Duty-D are strong, durable and are designed to stand the test of time. (130kg weight limit).
"The Wide 19mm 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."
I think that sums up the Duty-Ds well. It's a tough, do anything road wheel that still allows you to ride with performance in mind.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the wheel?
Hardened, heat treated rim design - light in weight but super tough
Asymmetric design for more even spoke tensions
28 hole Front | 32 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 for 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/SRAM 8/9/10/11 speed 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)
Scribe Patented Ratchet Drive Hub
Bearings are an essential component of wheels and it's important your bearings perform as you want them to. This wheelset comes with sealed, low friction Endurance bearings that are designed to stand the test of time. Ride as much as you want, with confidence your bearings will keep spinning smoothly
High quality Taiwanese TPI stainless steel bearings (doesn't rust or corrode)
Sealed cartridge units with 1x contact seal (outer facing seal interfaces with ball bearings to resist water penetration), and 1x non-contact seal (no interface between ball bearings increases rolling speed)
Precision engineered to produce incredibly high roundness, with low friction surface
Scribe Endurance Bearings
Rate the wheel for quality of construction:
Rate the wheel for performance:
For their weight they roll quickly, and stiffness is excellent.
Rate the wheel for durability:
Rate the wheel for weight
Rate the wheel for value:
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 tyres was no problem at all.
How did the wheel extras (eg skewers and rim tape) perform?
A good selection of accessories and spare parts, which are all very good quality.
Tell us how the wheel performed overall when used for its designed purpose
These wheels will take an absolute kicking, but that doesn't make them slow and ponderous.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the wheel
A solid, yet performance-orientated build.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the wheel
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
There are a couple that come in a bit cheaper, like those mentioned in the review, but Scribe still undercuts some of the big hitters by a substantial margin.
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 key thing I get from the Duty-Ds is just how reassuring their build quality and durability is. They just feel like such a solid set of wheels, but still manage to be quick too. Excellent stuff.
Age: 42 Height: 180cm Weight: 76kg
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,
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