About a year ago I was looking for a descent pair of aero wheels for my triathlon adventures. There are loads of aero wheels out there but I already had my eye on a specific wheel set. The ZIPP 808 clincher set. Because pretty much every triathlete forum was reviewing these as the best triathlon wheels. But as I am a little bit OCD in my researching, I did not make a decision over night.
Because i'm pretty specific about my gear, I wanted a wheel that was both aero and relatively lightweight. And most of all well engineered. Not like the old aero wheels which were like a sail in a crosswind. One of my best friends then advised me to take a look at the Scope R5c wheelset. I first saw these wheels on a trade fair. And I could remember the guy at the stand telling me about special breaking surface and 1300watts of breaking power. At the time, I had no idea what this all meant.
I started comparing facts and stories, and after a little while I decided not to go voor the ZIPP 808's. Mainly because of my own weight and the fact that I would be riding this set in a windy environment most of the time. I know the ZIPP 808's have great crosswind capability but nevertheless it's an 82mm rim. Rim shape and profile aside, you're gonna notice that in a crosswind.
So why didn't I go for the 404's then? Well, that's a good question, and that brings me to my last point. Aesthetics. Because of so many similarities between the wheels you sometimes need an extra valid criteria. And Aesthetics are important. It's not something you can put your finger on, it's a personal opinion. And I like the look op the SCOPE's more than the ZIPP's. The ZIPP's are not really black colored. In the sun they can appear rather brownish. The SCOPE's are full on carbon black.
I know the color is not gonna make me go any faster, but me feeling amazing about my bike's look will. That's just a fact. People suddenly ride faster when they have new cycling gear. It's in someway an extra motivator.
After deciding to buy my SCOPE R5c wheelset I had to put my order in. Luckily my friend runs a bike store, and he made a call and everything was set.
A couple of days later there was a box with my name on it at the store. Opening a box with something cycling related is exiting itself, but when the wheels come out. Wow. Speechless.
The packaging itself deserve a compliment as well. I know it doesn't mean much, but the way the wheels are packed has a sort of Apple kind of way. The attention to detail, to something a simple as packaging, really shows what the creators at SCOPE think like. And that is something that shows through all of their designs. Obviously on the rims design. But small things, like the special brake pads & the rim tape, everything is well thought of and well engineered. This is exactly why I choose the SCOPE R5c.
I can go on and on about quality, but rarely companies can create the quality for every product they make. SCOPE simply does. I bought the special wheel bag. At € 59,- it's a descent amount of money, but the quality and protection of the bag is incredible.
The rims have a wide U shape. This provides better crosswind capability.
The eye for detail really shows in all places. Look at this quick release. They just weigh in at 65 grams for the set.
To prevail the valve from making an annoying vibrating noise, I used a little peace of electrical tape. Does the trick.
After my "angel sent from heaven" moment, I took the wheels home and started preparing them for the first ride. Fitting the tires, put on my cassette, put on the special brake pads and away I go.
In the first kilometers you notice the difference. These wheels pick up speed so easily and it's easy to maintain that speed.
Beside the way they look on the bike, because that freaking awesome, but the way they feel. Just amazing. I did my usual mid week ride. Approximately 60 kilometers. And I was a full 4 minutes faster compared to the week before. I'm not saying this is just because of the wheels, it's also because of the feeling, but they do contribute to that faster time. Another great point to make is that the wheels corner great. They inspire confidence. And that makes you a faster rider.
A couple of days later we were on our way to our holiday in Spain. I decided to take just these wheels, because I wanted to test them on the long descents. The wheels should be fine. Like I mention before, SCOPE wheels can handle up to 1300watts of breaking power without having heat related problems. After my extensive testing in Spain, and later that year in the Ardennes, I can only say, that I've had no breaking issues whatsoever. Also, they brake relatively well in the rain. It's never going to be the same as a alloy rim, but it's still very good.
In heavy crosswinds the wheels behave very good. Off course you feel the deep section 55mm rims, but when the wind is at a certain angle in the wind, you can feel the benefits of the design. It feels like they're pushing you forward.
Honestly, after 12 months of usage, which sometimes in brutal conditions, the wheels still feel as new. The wheels are still as true as when they arrived. The freehub body and all of the wheel bearings still run smoothly. There are some scratches on the wheels, and you can see the brake surface is used, but other than that, no problems or services.
The only thing I've changed in 12 months are 2 sets of brake pads front & rear. Costs: € 24,95 for 4 peaces.
Maybe the only mention of anything out of the ordinary, if you're really looking for it. The freehub body sometimes makes a clicking noise after holding the legs still for a while. You can barely hear it.
Yes, and some! The wheels were everything I wanted them to be, and more. I'm really surprised by the amount of fun they add to my ride.
Because of my experience with other carbon rims, I was a bit skeptic about the braking performance, but I can only say that they never let me down. To add to that, since a couple of months I really got to know the guys behind SCOPE cycling, and they are not the average company creators. They're hard working cycling enthusiasts with passion, a clear vision and lots of perseverance. And I really believe in their vision.
As of may 2016, all SCOPE wheels will have the option of adding CeramicSpeed bearings. These bearings reduce rolling resistance and improve the bearing lifetime like no other bearings on the market.
If you want a fast, lightweight, strong & reliable wheelset. The SCOPE R5c can do the job. I would say, if you're a climber and most of you're riding is uphill, maybe take a look at the R3c. But for everything else this is an allround wheel.
To visit the SCOPE cycling website and learn more about the designs and product, click on the logo below.