Scope’s new Artech wheels are inspired by fish scales

Dutch brand has taken a new approach to aerodynamics, but there’s far more to the wheels than just an aero package

Clock03:26, Tuesday 19th March 2024
Scope's new wheels have a unique texture

© Scope

Scope's new wheels have a unique texture

Scope has unveiled its new Artech wheelsets, which it says “breaks industry norms with unparalleled performance to offer the best wheelsets on the market”.

If first appearances are anything to go by, this norm-breaking claim certainly stacks up as they’re visually unlike anything we’ve seen before, courtesy of the patent-pending Aeroscale texture that takes inspiration from fish scales. 

Aerodynamic fish scales weren’t the only focus for the wheelset, though, and Scope has taken a rounded approach to performance. This approach has covered off the other key performance factors, most notably weight with the climbing version of the wheelset tipping the scales at under 1kg, while an aero set with 65mm-deep rims is only 1244g.

Scope has released six versions of the wheelsets in total, with an even split between its road and off-road offering, although that number will grow in the future as the Dutch brand says that both a gravel and triathlon range are “coming soon”.

Fish scales are aerodynamic

We first saw the Artech wheels at the Taipei Cycle Show where we speculated that the rim profile resembled fish scales, and that has been confirmed as the inspiration for the rim surface.

Fish scales, it turns out, are incredibly aerodynamic, helping fish to glide through water. Both the shape and arrangement of the scales are key to this aerodynamic equation and Scope set about applying and testing this new-found fish scale knowledge to the aerospace industry.

The result is the patent-pending Aeroscales design that can be found on all of the wheelsets across the range, bringing big aerodynamic advantages with it over a regular smooth rim, according to Scope.

“In case of a smooth rim surface the laminar airflow becomes unstable over time,” Scope explained. “This effect is referred to as the Tollmien–Schlichting wave. The patent pending Aeroscales generate velocity streaks travelling at different speeds over our rim surface. These velocity streaks have a stabilizing effect on the airflow thereby reducing drag.”

This reduction in drag contributes towards a wheelset package that, according to Scope, aerodynamically outperforms its rivals, “resulting in the fastest most side-wind stable wheels on the market”.

Fish scales aren’t solely responsible for this and Scope used Algorithm Enhanced Aerodynamics, developed in collaboration with the Delft University of Technology, to hone in on the ideal rim profiles and depths. The rim depths Scope eventually settled on are 22mm, 45mm and 65mm, with road and all-road options available for each depth.

Complete lightweight package

The ‘lightweight’ tag is bandied around a lot in the cycling world but the Artech wheels are genuinely deserving of the title.

At only 965g, the climbing-focussed Artech 2 sets the lightweight tone, although its very shallow 22mm depths are partly responsible for keeping this weight down. Things become even more impressive as you work your way up through the depths to the Artech 6 wheelset which is home to the deepest 65mm profile, but a very noteworthy claimed weight of only 1244g - that’s a seriously impressive figure for deep-sectioned wheels.

Brands usually achieve a low weight by focussing on the carbon lay-up of the rims and Scope is no different, although it has looked beyond just the rims to ensure that virtually every part of the wheels are as light as possible.

The carbon lay-up for the rims was once again designed with the help of the Delft University of Technology, but the design isn’t just lightweight focussed. Scope says that it's the optimal lay-up for a combination of weight, strength and stiffness. Most weight saving gains in the rims, it says, were made by locally strengthening the specific spoke holes, rather than the entire spoke hole section around the entirety of the wheel.

Elsewhere, the lightweight theme continues, including for the hubs which were designed using a mathematical algorithm, named Topology optimisation. This was used to find the most lightweight design for the hubs possible that didn’t sacrifice strength. This, Scope says, results “in an extremely strong and lightweight hub design”.

Finally, the spokes are created from lightweight UD carbon material which can be forged into the optimal aerodynamic shape without a weight penalty, Scope says.

There are currently six Artech wheelsets available, with a 22mm, 45mm and 65mm version available for both the road and all-road disciplines. All of the wheelsets are available for £3,998/€3,998.

Explore the full range of Artech wheels on Scope’s website.

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