What to say about the Scope R4A? A fair bit as it happens – there is a lot going on with these wheels from The Netherlands that I think people might like.
Scope may be a relatively unknown wheel brand here in the UK but ADVNTR reviewed the O2 wheelset previously and found them to be exemplary in many ways. The team at Scope are talented both at wheel design but also riding them – many hours are spent prototyping and testing to make them the way they are. You can read all about that on the Scope site.
The R4A is part of a 3 wheel series catering to the All Road/Gravel category. The aforementioned O2 was a mountain bike/XC focussed wheel that just happened to be a fantastic gravel wheel too but Scope decided to do things properly and create specific wheelsets, after all the brand’s mantra is ‘No Excuse’.
The 4 in the name refers to the rim height of 45mm. There is an R3A and R5A sandwiching the R4A and you can guess what the numbers mean for those. A choice of rim height is offered to allow you to select the best wheelset for the majority of your riding and it’s pretty simple to pick the right one however the R4A is designated the ‘Outstanding All-rounder’.
The R4A is the inbetween wheelset for those who have mixed conditions and these were the recommendation for me based in Edinburgh knowing the hilliness of my home riding but also the more northerly areas where I like to venture. If you have more mountainous terrain then the R3A is your best bet and if you are riding mainly on the flat then you should look at the R5A.
The rims are designed to accept gravel tyres measuring 35-57mm and are 700c. I used a 44mm Raddler from WTB for the majority of the time and these have been a super nice functional pairing – you can decide for yourself about the white logos and tan wall vibe going on. Other tyres used were 40c Goodyear Connector and Vittoria Terreno Zero. The rims have an external width of 30mm, internal width measures 23mm, and they are designed for tubeless set up. Worth noting you can spec different decals for an extra €98 – this is a nice touch.
The total set weight is listed as 1,583g – I can’t verify that or rather I won’t verify that as I don’t think it matters a heap and they felt nice and light out of the box. What’s more important to me, given the conditions here, is that they are well made and solid and I’m glad to say that is the case. The overall finish and quality of manufacture is high and there are some really nice hidden features that make them a serious option for those who value longevity and strength.
Scope have no rider weight limit and a lot of that comes down to the Local Reinforcement Technology where there is more carbon material around the spoke hole areas to reinforce the rim. Considering the front rim runs 21 Sapim CX Sprint spokes and the rear 24 of the same flavour this is impressive. At no point during testing since last summer have I been worried about strength or capabilities to handle some mishandling/terrifically bad riding. A good example where I’ve been nervous and flatted with other wheels (yes, while running tubeless) is a trail called Yellow Brick Road which stretches the definition of gravel to the edges. The R4A felt nimble but also confident as the rocks moved around under me and traction was hard to find, it’s a section marked by some short but spicy climbs/descents depending on the direction you are riding and how fast you go to get up the harder climbs. I’ve heard and felt some serious impacts to the rims both under tyre and to the sides of the rims themselves and each time the wheels have shrugged them off – there are some scratches and marks to tell the tale but no damage. Scope provide you a 3 year warranty and life-time crash replacement so if they are confident then I am too. With the wheels you get a 10sp spacer ring, rim tape and valves pre-installed and you should find popping the tyres on super easy and I didn’t need a compressor. They went straight on with thumbs and a floor pump.
The hubs are one area where I want to point out some things that are good and one thing less good. They employ a 36t Diamond Ratchet freehub which is a hardened and direct engagement system and have been reliable and required zero attention regardless of condition. They pick up quick, haven’t skipped a beat and I bet that’s simply down to the quality of components and bearings (SKF – non ceramic. You can order Ceramic if you want). The less good bit depending on your stance is that they are loud – I’m torn on this a little as on one hand it helps people hear you coming down the trail if they didn’t hear the bell but sometimes you want a little peace and quiet on your ride. The way to combat that is to simply keep pedalling so I guess the team at Scope are just helping your performance by building in this ‘feature’ – thanks guys! I spoke to Nieck at Scope who is one of the founders and he suggests that a touch more grease in the mechanism will greatly reduce the volume.
You can specify any freehub body you need from Shimano, Shimano Micro Spline, Campagnolo, Campagnolo N3W and SRAM XD(R). Rotors are a Centrelock fitting and not supplied obviously.
That is most of the key features out of the way so let’s talk about why you’d want 45mm rims and that comes down to aerodynamics. Some people like to go fast efficiently and it’s something I can get behind – being limited on ride time these days means I like to have a bike that is responsive, a pleasure to ride when my legs don’t feel good or i’m carrying a 2 month long cold (Aberfoyle trip i’m thinking of you…). The rim profile has what’s named AEA – Algorithm Enhanced Aerodynamics – an algorithm that calculates the most aerodynamic rim profile to ensure optimum performance. What that equates to is a wheelset that rewards effort, makes you feel fast and is an absolute pleasure to ride.
You may be thinking, ‘hmm it’s pretty windy here’, and you’d be right but having experienced a well designed rim like these I can attest to the fact that even in some severe conditions where trees were deciding to stop being trees anymore and take a lie down, that I never felt like the wheels were going to take me in a different direction to what I intended. I have experienced this in the past and it’s utterly terrifying so if you have had previous bad experiences I think you may be surprised by the R4A.
One thing in particular that I have enjoyed is the overall ride feel of the wheels and the way they make me feel when riding. They are stiff and respond to power input fantastically but are the right type of stiff where you get a heap of comfort thrown in – achieved by high quality engineering of the rim, the spokes, hub stiffness and build quality. They climb strongly and descend so well you keep wanting to go a little bit harder, on the flat they push you along and make you smile. A lot.
They have been used on a steel Fairlight Secan 2.0 and a carbon Chapter2 AO and in both cases enhanced the ride quality noticeably from the Hope wheels I have. These are already fantastic framesets but adding the R4A’s makes them even better – there is a strong case to be made for buying once and buying right and I think the R4A’s fall into this category. While they are €1,398 I’m not sure where you would be able to better these on all levels. They are dependable, well made, strong, look amazing and work super well. I need to give them 10/10 as I can’t realistically give them any less – they are indeed outstanding.
Scope sells through a number of UK dealers or direct on Scope Cycling – worth pointing out that duty and shipping is included. Inquiries to Scope direct via [email protected] or via the Scope Country Manager [email protected]
Scope R4A All Road Wheelset€1,398
Last modified: 23rd February 2022