There are a number of big wheel companies doing their own carbon road rim designs and even more small shops building up wheels from essentially open mold carbon rims. But there are few smaller companies that devote the resources and expertise to develop wheels on their own. Scope, based in The Netherlands, is one such company, designing their own rims and hubs from the ground-up for a high performing solution. They are sticking to a small range to keep it simple, but with rim and disc brake options and in several depths they look to be ticking all the right boxes…
Set up four years ago and now in production for more than a year and a half, Scope specializes in the design & development of their own high-end road wheels. They have essentially just three offerings – road wheels in three different rim profiles, all of which are full carbon clinchers and tubeless ready. Then each of the R3, R4 & R5 wheels come in either rim or disc brake variants to suit a broad range of road use.
Both their rims and hubs have been developed in-house by their design engineers, together with specialists at the national Technical Universities of The Netherlands, and tested in-house against major competitors. The result of those partnerships is that their R&D team have developed some good tech and wheels that deliver top-level aerodynamics, braking performance & stiffness, all at a competitively low weight.
Just in their second product year, they have already improved on their carry-over rim brake wheels, with a substantial update to braking performance thanks to a new reinforced braking track where special additives are used to make the surface ‘rougher’ for more linear and powerful braking. The 18/21-spoked rim brake version also uses a resin that lets them handle a constant 260°C/500°F heat build-up, making them suitable for proper mountain descending as well. Aerodynamics, stiffness, and weight have gotten some small upgrades as well as the profile and layups were optimized together with the disc wheel development.
The disc brake wheel does share the same rim profile with the rim brake version, but the carbon lay up is completely unique due to the different structural needs in the two rims. Without the brake track and temperature issues, the disc rims end up a small bit lighter. Overall the disc wheels do add some weight back (<40g) with a few more spokes at 24/24 lacing, and the slightly more bulky centerlock hubs.
The full carbon rim brake tubeless clinchers and full carbon disc brake tubeless clinchers get simply broken down by rim height: R3 at 30mm in depth, R4 at 45mm, and R5 at 55mm, then they add either an C or D for classic rim or disc brake designation.
While durability or performance weren’t ever sacrificed in the fight to slim down, claimed weights are still reasonably low, especially for the disc brake wheels. The climbing R3c claims 1440g, and the R3d just 1477g. The all-rounder R4c wheelset will come in at 1520g or 1557g for the R4d.
Lastly the aero R5c will weigh just 1595g or 1632g as the disc brake R5d version. Anyway you look at it they all sell for the same 1400€ price, no matter which options you select. They all come in three graphics options: white, gray, or gloss black.
Both brake styles share the same 26mm external, 19mm internal rim profile, with a wide blunt-nosed shape. The tubeless performance of the hook bead rim, and its bead shoulders and deep internal well were developed together in close cooperation with Schwalbe. Hubs use a 6-pawl design with 36-tooth engagement and SKF bearings (or a 500€ CeramincSpeed upgrade), and are available for Shimano or Campagnolo cassettes. Disc versions get tool-free interchangeable end caps for compatibility with all current QR and thru-axles standards.
The new wheels will be in stock and can be purchased direct from Scope or through their distributors in about 20 countries in Europe and Asia from the start of January 2017. Current 2015/2016 rim brake models are available in their online shop now.