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Vision SC wheel range - ridden and reviewed

Vision's SC wheel range is an affordable performance option that doesn't skimp when it comes to speed and weight. We tested all four options back-to-back to bring you the definitive verdict

Vision SC wheel range
(Image: © Aaron Borrill)

Our Verdict

An affordable wheel option that aims to bring speed and performance to a broader audience

For

  • Two affordable price points
  • Lightweight
  • Available in both rim- and disc-brake configuration
  • Tubeless compatible
  • Aerodynamic properties
  • 19mm internal rim width for improved traction and low pressures

Against

  • Rim graphics could be bolder

Vision SC55 RB vs SC55 DB

(Image credit: Aaron Borrill)

As far as road bike wheels go, Vision is one of the oldest manufacturers in the world - the company is also one of the leading proponents of carbon wheel technology with a lineage that dates back to the '90s.

Its current wheel portfolio is extensive, brimming with alloy and carbon options to sate all schools of thought, traditionalists included. In fact, despite the global move towards disc-brake actuation, Vision still offers a comprehensive range of rim-brake wheel options in a variety of material choices and rim profiles.

The brand's latest range is called SC or Service Course - a carbon only option that is available in both rim- and disc-brake guises as well as two rim depths, 40 and 55mm. Starting at $999/£969 for the SC 40 and peaking at $1,099/£1,059 for the range-topping SC 55 version, Vision is aiming to dominate the lower rungs of the carbon clincher market. 

We tested the entire four-model lineup across the rolling topography, mixed road surfaces and windy expanses of the UK's Surrey Hills and came away impressed by what they offer in terms of all-round performance and value.

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Vision SC 55 wheels

Vision's new SC range caters for both the rim- and disc-brake enthusiast (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)
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Vision SC 55 wheels

The new carbon 'camouflage' brake track offers impressive stopping performance (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)
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Vision SC 55 wheels

Another look at the beautiful weave effect of the new brake track (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)
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Vision SC 55 wheels

Wheels feature lightweight spokes laced in a 16/21 front/rear configuration (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)
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Vision SC 55 wheels

They are compatible with both Shimano 10/11-speed and SRAM 12-speed XDR systems (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)
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Vision SC55 RB

The Vision SC 55 rim-brake wheels, fitted to this writer's Cannondale SuperSix Evo (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)

  Vision SC 55 rim brake wheelset

The SC 55s are the range's top-tier offering and feature a contemporary 19mm internal width (25mm external) - an attribute that aids in running wider tyres and lower pressures. Developed in the wind tunnel with real-world feedback from professional riders, the SC 55 wheelset has aerodynamics at its heart and have been built around the tubeless concept.

I ran these wheels using inner tubes at first and then later as a tubeless setup. Both formats impressed me but the added compliance and tailorable nature of tubeless tyres meant I favoured the latter. Switching from 25mm Veloflex 'open tubular' rubber to 28mm Hutchinson Fusion 5 tubeless tyres unlocked the hidden character of the wheels - the result of which allows you to trust the front end more confidently and unlock extra speed through the corners.

The same goes for braking. It's commonplace to feather the stoppers more in a flowing downhill situation when using rim brakes as they just don't perform as well as their disc-brake counterparts. That said, the new carbon 'camouflage' brake track of the SC 55 wheels offer first-class stopping performance that is modular in feel and feedback. According to Vision, it has achieved this by using a new weave pattern on brake track by only strengthening the necessary areas to keep weight to a minimum. This unique pattern also looks intriguing and adds a premium, if not intriguing, aesthetic to the wheels.

Out on the road, the SC 55s perform well and are naturally very quick in a straight line, maintaining speed effectively when traversing rolling topography. At this rim profile, crosswinds will always pose an issue at times but it's more the sudden gusts funnelling out of side roads that you need to guard against.

  • RRP: $1,099 / £1,059.95 / €1,169
  • Weight: 1,671g (actual)
  • Depth: 55mm
  • Internal width: 19mm
  • External width: 25mm
  • Spoke count: 16/21 front/rear
  • Tyre format: Clincher, tubeless
  • Brake: Rim
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Vision SC55 DB

At 1,710g, the Vision SC 55 disc-brake wheels are marginally heavier but offer pretty much the same aerodynamic qualities as their DB siblings (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)
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Vision SC55 DB

The SC range comes tubeless-ready but still requires some DIY work to get them prepped and ready for action (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)
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Vision SC55 DB

The rear hubs comprise a three-pawl system with 30 points of engagement (an engagement angle of 12-degrees) (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)
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Vision SC55 DB

The disc-brake-equipped SC wheels feature a 24/24 front/rear spoke pattern (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)
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Vision SC55 DB

The 19mm internal rim width is not the widest around but can accommodate rubber as wide as 32mm - we went as wide as 28mm (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)
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Vision SC55 DB

Another look at the tyre width and frame clearance (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)
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Vision SC55 DB

Owing to the 55mm rim depth, 80mm valves will be needed when it comes to converting the wheels to tubeless (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)

  Vision SC 55 disc brake wheelset

The SC 55 disc brake wheelset is very much like the rim-brake version sans the decorative brake track. At 1,710g (actual) they're marginally heavier but offer pretty much the same aerodynamic qualities, performance levels and internal/external rim specifications. With the constant influx of disc-brake-equipped test bikes passing through my doors, I've used these wheels extensively over the past three months, regardless of the axle standard. The hubs can be converted to accommodate a host of axles by using screw-on end cap adaptors. 

I also experimented with various tyre brands, sizes and pressures. Of the sampled tyres - Vittoria, Schwalbe, Maxxis, Bontrager and Hutchinson - the latter (Fusion 5 28C) seemed to provide the happy medium as far as installation, durability and performance went. As mentioned previously, the SC range comes tubeless-ready but still requires some DIY work to get them prepped and ready for action. I used Muc-Off's Ultimate Tubeless Setup Kit - everything is included in this package and the entire process can take as little as five minutes per wheel. Just ensure you've got 80mm valves as you need to compensate for the 55mm profile.

The SC 55 disc-brake wheels feature a 24/24 front/rear spoke pattern using direct-pull aero-bladed spokes as opposed to the 16/21 pattern of their rim-brake sibling. Save for the hubs, the rim shape and carbon-fibre layup is identical to the brand's more superior Metron line of wheels and they perform just as well. While we've already established the SC 55 is better suited to flat and rolling terrain, they're not too bad when it comes to the hills either. Sure, they aren't the lightest options around but the weight penalty is worth the extra speed you gain on the flats. 

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Muc-Off Tubeless Kit

The Muc-Off Ultimate Tubeless Kit contains everything needed to get a tubeless-ready wheelset set up (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)
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Muc-Off 80mm tubeless valves

A closer look at the 80mm iridescent valves (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)

  • RRP: $1,099 / £1,059.95 / €1,169
  • Weight: 1,710g (actual)
  • Depth: 55mm
  • Internal width: 19mm
  • External width: 25mm
  • Spoke count: 24/24 front/rear
  • Tyre format: Clincher, tubeless
  • Brake: Disc
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Vision SC40 DB

With a 40mm rim profile, the SC 40s more of an all-rounder than a genuine lightweight wheel (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)
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Vision SC40 RB

Another look at the carbon-fibre camouflage effect of the brake track (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)
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Vision SC40 RB

End caps screw out without much effort (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)
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Vision SC40 RB

At 15mm, the brake track takes up a large portion of the rim profile's real estate (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)
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Vision SC40 RB

The wheels employ six sealed cartridge bearings - two at the front and four at the rear (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)
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Vision SC40 RB

The aero-bladed spokes use ABS self-locking nipples for reliable performance (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)
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Vision brake pads and skewers

A few extras are included in the box: a set of brake pads and two quick-release skewers (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)

  Vision SC 40 rim brake wheelset

Weighing in at 1,400g (actual) for a set, the Vision SC 40 rim-brake wheels are made for those who enjoy overcoming gravity but, with a 40mm rim profile, they're more of an all-rounder than a genuine lightweight wheel. Like the SC 55 RB version, the SC 40s also employ that kaleidoscopic, 'camouflage' brake track to maximum effect. In fact, at 15mm the brake track takes up a large portion of the rim profile's real estate.

A few extras are included in the box: a set of brake pads and two quick-release skewers. Vision recommends setting the pads up so that they are positioned in a toe-in layout with 3mm clearance to ensure optimal stopping performance. Fitting the pads in this fashion also helps thwart any noises caused when the brake track heats up under friction - my first few rides delivered a couple of squeals but were quickly resolved using this technique.

Performance-wise, the SC 40s are a quality option and provide a pretty decent mix of aerodynamics and climbing efficiency. In fact, depending on the terrain, they might very well be the faster option of the two rim depths in the range. Like the SC 55 RB, they are spoked with 16 aero blades at the front and 21 at the rear which is fashioned in a 2:1 lacing pattern. The wheels, on the whole, are generally well behaved and track predictably through corners - even when the wind blows from the side.

If there's one area, however, that could do with some sprucing up it would have to be the decal graphics. While we appreciate the rim profile is somewhat limiting when it comes to design, a bolder, punchier motif would bolster the overall aesthetic.

  • RRP: $999 / £969.95 / €1,069
  • Weight: 1,400g (actual)
  • Depth: 40mm
  • Internal width: 19mm
  • External width: 25.5mm
  • Spoke count: 16/21 front/rear
  • Tyre format: Clincher, tubeless
  • Brake: Rim
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Vision SC40 DB

The 40mm rim depth means they're not as easily influenced by gusts and crosswinds (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)
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Vision SC40 DB

TLR = tubeless ready, DB = disc brake, SC = service course (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)
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Vision SC40 DB

LIke the SC 55 DB wheels, the SC 40s are also laced in a 24/24 front/rear configuration (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)
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Vision SC40 DB

The hubs can be converted to accommodate a host of axles by using screw-on end cap adaptors (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)

  Vision SC 40 disc brake wheelset

Bar the 190g weight penalty and lack of brake track the Vision SC 40 disc brake wheelset is largely the same as its rim-brake counterpart. That said, weighing in at fraction below 1,600g, the SC 40 DBs are anything but podgy. The one thing that stood out (across both SC 40 wheel formats) is the rim profile's propensity to deal with windy conditions. The shallower rim depth means they're not as easily influenced by gusts which adds a sense of predictability and trust to the riding experience - particularly at the front end which is generally more affected by wind.

As has become the norm for contemporary road wheels, every model in the SC lineup has a 19mm internal rim width, which can accommodate a host of contemporary tyre widths. While I did experiment with 25C tyres, the ride quality and performance levels were not quite up to the standards of the 28C equivalent.

Out on the road, the SC 40 DB wheels accelerate with alacrity thanks to the added stiffness of the 24/24 front/rear lacing configuration. The rear hubs are identical across the range and are compatible with both Shimano 10/11-speed and SRAM 12-speed XDR systems. Comprising a three-pawl system with 30 points of engagement (an engagement angle of 12-degrees) pickup is naturally crisp allowing you to get on the power instantly. Their relatively low weight make them ideal for areas where hills dominate the topography while the 40mm profiling ensures a certain degree of aerodynamic proficiency - they feel pretty fast and generally carry momentum fairly well. Again, unlocking the true potential of these wheels comes in the way of finding a tyre pressure that best suits your riding style.

  • RRP: $999 / £969.95 / €1,069
  • Weight: 1,590g (actual)
  • Depth: 40mm
  • Internal width: 19mm
  • External width: 25.5mm
  • Spoke count: 24/24 front/rear
  • Tyre format: Clincher, tubeless
  • Brake: Disc

Verdict

The performance road bike wheel market has become flooded with so many options that it's easy to make the wrong decision. For many, however, making a purchase on a new wheelset is as much an investment as it is an upgrade and price is always going to be a deciding factor here. With two distinct options for both the rim-brake purist and disc-brake adopter the Vision SC range not only features technology passed down from the brand's Metron range but also comes in at a price point that belies its talents. 

Which is the better of the two wheelsets - the SC 55 or SC 40? I reckon it's more a question of which bike you ride and what topography your local route takes in. For me, the SC 55 ticks all the right boxes based purely on the rolling terrain that makes up the Surrey Hills where I spend a lot of my time training. Regardless of the brake setup, the SC 55s provide a granular experience that is rich in performance and speed and compliant enough to deal with road imperfections.

That said, the SC 40s are equally up to the task. I consider them the best option if you're sticking to a strict budget and require a wheelset that can punch well above its weight. Coming in at under the $1,000/£1,000 threshold they deliver just as much speed as the SC 55s and play nicely in the wind.