As disc road has taken over in the last couple years, a number of carbon road wheels have gone tubeless as well, with rims generally growing in width. Scope’s R4D was an early adopter, and is a perfect example of the versatility of this type of wheel for all manner of modern road & cross riding.
Scope R4D carbon tubeless, disc brake road wheels
We first saw Scope’s relatively affordable tubeless, disc brake carbon road wheels just over a year back. Developed in The Netherlands, but built in Asia from components from a wide range of origins, Scope has delivered on quality and, as far as we’ve experienced, durability. Real world weight of the wheels is a bit higher that we might hope for, but we never really felt that out of the road
Scope classifies the R4D specifically as an all-around road wheel. While to us the edge of what is road & trail can be a bit blurry, Scope is bit more clear. They recently introduced a shallow section and wider O2 carbon wheelsest for gravel and cross-country, ie. for true light off-road riding. With that said, we like the deeper 45mm aerodynamic profile of the R4D for mixed riding, and appreciate some aero gains for long days out mixing asphalt with a bit of dirt road. And for cyclocross, you need that deep section to cut through deep mud & sand, right? Well, in any case, you look cool doing it.
Tech details & Actual weights
The 1400€ R4D wheels use Scope’s own full carbon rim, with its wide, blunt U-shaped profile. Overall depth measured out to around 45.5mm, with a max width of 26.2mm about 1cm below the bead. The puts the R4D in the middle of Scopes offering with a more shallow 30mm R3D and deeper 55mm R5D also available. Inside width measured 19.2mm, and the rims feature a machined bead hook.
The wheels are built with 21 front & 24 rear straight-pull, bladed Sapim CX-Sprint stainless spokes in Scope’s own straight pull alloy hubs. Both front & rear wheels use 2:1 lacing to offset the shallower bracing angles on the disc-side front & driveside rear. They also get a mix of degrees of crossed lacing on the rear, and radial lacing on the non-disc side front wheel.
Scope claims a weight of 1557g for the wheelset. Ours came to us with rim tape already installed, which brought that up to 1705g. An extra 150g or almost 10% more is a pretty big overage, and that tubeless tape probably can only account for 10-25g of that. But we did get a first generation wheelset, and Scope confirms that our rims came out before developing their current local spoke reinforcement which shaves around 40g off of each rim – putting the complete wheelsets very close to the claimed weight.
The hubs do also offer easy swapping back and forth from 12 thru-axles to standard QRs.
The R4D wheels use Scope’s own full carbon rim with a tubeless profile they developed together with Schwalbe’s tubeless road tire team. That’s immediately apparent when mounting up a set of the excellent Pro One tires. The rim well is deep enough to make it easy to get the tires on with little fuss. And then they snap securely into place with a blast of air. (We installed them with Schwalbe’s Tire Booster, their version of the at home pressure tank.)
We’ve ridden a mix of tubeless road and cross wheels. And they can alternately be too tight or worrisomely loose to install some tires, and still have the tires not feel like they seat securely. Scope working directly with Schwalbe has been a solid move. Their road tubeless tires have been excellent, and pair perfectly with these wheels, whether for summery road riding or commuting through the winter months.
As for the rest of setup, since the industry has finally settled down with different standards, we’ve happily just popped on a Shimano 11 speed cassette and 160mm rotors via centerlock or a 6-bolt adapter to ride on Shimano & Campagnolo double drivetrains, as well as a SRAM 1x for cross. The alloy Scope hubs do offer end cap flexibility, so we were easily able to hop back and forth between legacy QR bikes and everything with modern 12mm thru-axles.
We’ve been riding the Scope road wheels since last summer on a mix of road surfaces. I started off riding them paired to 28mm Pro One tires on the cobbled streets and rough asphalt of Prague and the low trafficked roads that surround the city. With the ability to run lower pressures due to their tubeless setup, we typically would have between 50-60psi in these wide road slicks. That lent a supple ride, gripping rough and even wet pavement, and soon led us to leave the hard surfaces from time to time.
Mostly smooth dirt roads were our next target, linking together quiet Bohemian tarmac for long, limitless days in the saddle. This is where the wheels really seem to shine. Disc brakes, a wide tubeless rim that has handled the occasional touch of gravel, and hubs that have done their job quietly & unnoticed.
With similar dimensions to the DT ERC1100 (and about 1000€ cheaper), we were pleasantly surprised with how the R4Ds compared. Thanks in part to high quality SKF steel bearings and then to the rim’s U-shape, the Scope wheels rolled as quickly as pretty much any other disc brake road wheels we’ve ridden. In fact, in a mix of variable windy riding conditions, our lightest test rider felt that they offered the best stability in gusts. The differences are slight at this level where aerodynamics of mid-depth wheels has so drastically improved over the last 5 years or so, and maybe a few extra grams makes these feel more stable. These wheels cut through the wind as well as those recent endurance road DTs, and a bit better than the 1cm deeper Zipp 404 discs we reviewed a year ago.
After the road testing was mostly done, I felt I would be remiss to not give the Scopes a chance for a little cyclocross. Sure these aren’t classified specifically as CX wheels, but we’ve all been racing cross on carbon road wheels for decades. And with a wide tubeless rim, a nice depth, and hubs that seemed up for the challenge, I mounted some new tubeless tires to get dirty.
The wheels paired well with the 33mm Islabikes Greims that we recently reviewed. The wider rim offered a stable base and held firm set up tubeless at more cross-friendly <30psi. Both in dry and sloppy muddy conditions the wheels held up to my mid season training on tubeless tires. That mean hour-long rides bashing around in the woods or on a local CX track with tire pressures around 28-30psi. That low and there were the occasional rim strike. But I have yet to flat, and the rims show no sign of being any worse for the wear.
While I wouldn’t classify these R4D wheels for cyclocross racing specifically (and neither does Scope), the wheelset does seem to blur categorization quite well. And they live up to Scope’s No Excuse tagline. Across three seasons of riding, they have crossed over smoothly for every road surface we’ve encountered. And paired with the grippy and reliable Pro One tubeless tires, we plan to keep racking up those grin-inducing mixed-surface road kilometers.