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The Scribe Inception Aero Wide+ 42-D Carbon Wheelset is a great set of wheels at a very impressive price. The wide rims make for excellent aero qualities, and the only real sacrifice you make to more expensive wheelsets using the same rims is in the hub internals and a little additional weight.
Scribe has really broken onto the scene in the past few years with several sets of impressively specced and impressively priced carbon wheels. Stu seemed to fall in love with the £870 Aero Wide+ 50-Ds he tested a couple of years ago, and then again when he tested the £1,190 Élan Wide+ 42-D.
In both Stu was impressed with the rims, specifically the profile created by the 21mm inner and 30mm outer diameters. Luckily, these Scribe wheels here use the same rim as the Élan, which is essentially the 42mm-deep variant of the one found on the 50-Ds.
So in terms of aerodynamics, handling and grip, I found exactly the same as Stu – these are very, very good. At 42mm they're a neat midway point between out-and-out aero wheels at 50mm+ and the lighter, more crosswind-friendly but less speedy options at 35mm or less.
Plus you still get a bit of the wooshing that, let's be honest, is one of the main reasons we love deep rims...
I ran them with 28mm clinchers and 28mm tubeless tyres, with both slotting on without any problems. I managed to fit both by hand and the tubeless tyres sealed quickly and easily, although they didn't seat with hand pumping alone – I had to hit them with an Airshot pressurised bottle.
With rim tape and valves these hit the scales at 1640g; the claimed 1567g presumably doesn't include those bits. Assuming other manufacturers are also leaving tape and valves off the scales, that makes the Scribes just 17g heavier than the similarly-specced Vel 38 RL Carbon Tubeless Disc Wheelset at a claimed 1550g, but 151g more than Hunt's 40 Carbon Aero Discs at 1416g.
The prices are similarly close: the Vels are £749, while the Hunts are £699.99.
Rather than a single leaf spring inside the rear hub, Scribe uses a double coil spring ratchet system. Aside from this change, the freehub remains essentially the same as on the Élan and Aero Wide+ 50-D wheels; the Inceptions have the same anti-bite freehub body available for Shimano, SRAM and Campagnolo, and the same disc locking mechanisms. The difference is simply that the ratchet here has only 36 teeth, compared to the 54 on the others.
In terms of pickup it is still very good, and for 99% of riders the change will have little to no impact. They still pick up quickly: it just takes 10°, instead of the 6.7° of the 54 tooth version.
This hub is also much quieter than Scribe's other offerings, which – given how loud the more expensive ones are – isn't necessarily a bad thing at all. We haven't done any decibel readings, but against other Scribe wheelsets there is a big difference in volume.
With these there's no option to spec Scribe's 'race' bearings – they come with its 'endurance' bearings – and while I had no issue with the front wheel, I did have an odd one with the rear.
At first, the back wheel simply didn't spin very freely, and the freewheel noise was odd – very buzzy and kind of grinding too. I actually spent 10 minutes thinking my discs were rubbing, especially as it didn't seem to be impacting my speed when pedalling.
I took apart the freehub body to see if there was anything misaligned or stuck, but found nothing obvious. Having reassembled it, though, everything worked much better – it now spun easily and the hub sounded much more normal. Given that I did not change a thing, this was an interesting turn of events.
I spoke to Scribe, who said:
"With the rear hub, sometimes it takes several rides for the grease to free up in both the ratchet system and the bearings. Effectively, it becomes more viscous once you have several rides and the difference is quite noticeable. It shouldn't be the preload as the whole system is spaced and we have sealed bearings. The only thing I can think of is that, by taking the system apart, it may have freed some of the grease up a bit."
Whatever the issue, dismantling and reassembling them fixed it. Afterwards they performed perfectly.
The hubs are laced to the rims with Pillar SR1424s. They are bladed to help cut through the air and I had no issues with the truing or any loss of tension. The build is stiff and responsive when cornering or putting the power down.
Odd (and presumably just unfortunate) hub issue aside, I'm impressed by these. They come in at a good price, yet offer some of the benefits of Scribe's higher-end models. The wide design is as good as ever, they are stiff and they pick up quickly too. The Inceptions are a really great set of wheels.
Well priced, well specced and an ideal place to start if you're upgrading to carbon
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Scribe Inception Aero Wide+ 42-D Carbon Wheelset
Size tested: n/a
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 shouts: "GLIDE AT SPEED WITH INCREASED AERODYNAMICS. RESPOND FASTER. CORNER HARDER."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the wheel?
Material Full, Unidirectional Carbon
Type Clincher - Tubeless Ready
Rim Width (external) 30mm
Rim Width (internal) 21mm
Spoke Pattern/Hole Count Front 2x/24H, Rear 2x/24H
Very well made; they stayed true throughout and didn't have any issues with rough roads or being jumped off pavements. The slight issue with the hubs, although fixing the spin speed, did take a couple of points off though.
Initially I wasn't massively impressed given how slow they span up, but after dismantling and reassembling the hub they were very very good.
Nothing of note happened during the review.
Pretty much on par with others in this price category.
Exceptionally good value for a set of rims that appear on £1000+ wheels, and only a few minor tweaks to reduce the price.
Did the wheels stay true? Any issues with spoke tension?
They stayed perfectly true throughout the review despite taking them on some pretty haggard roads and jumping them off pavements.
How easy did you find it to fit tyres?
Easy; I managed to get both clinchers and tubeless on without tyre levers and without even breaking a sweat.
How did the wheel extras (eg skewers and rim tape) perform?
Set up tubeless with Scribe's valves they held air impressively well, and I had no issues with either clinchers either.
Tell us how the wheel performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well – they give confident cornering, fast pickup and (naturally with deep section wheels) maintain speed well.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the wheel
Their width provides so many positives, allowing lower pressures, wider tyres and improved aerodynamics.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the wheel
The initial issues with the rear hub wasn't ideal.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
They're very competitive with those of a similar performance level. Hunt's 4050 Carbon Aero Disc wheelset can be picked up for £699, and offers the leaf spring hub and a claimed weight of 1416g. Vel's 38 RL Carbon Tubeless Discs come in at £749 with a claimed weight of 1,550g, with very similar rims and hubs to boot.
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
This is a great set of deepish profile wheels at an attractive price. They feel stiff, fast and well built.
About the tester
I usually ride: CAAD13 My best bike is: Cannondale Supersix Evo
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed,
George is the host of the road.cc podcast and has been writing for road.cc since 2014. He has reviewed everything from a saddle with a shark fin through to a set of glasses with a HUD and everything in between.
Although, ironically, spending more time writing and talking about cycling than on the bike nowadays, he still manages to do a couple of decent rides every week on his ever changing number of bikes.