RaceFace Turbine R Wheelset
R is for Rally
Words & Photos by Nic Hall
Now that Race Face and Easton are under the same roof, they put their engineering minds together to collaborate on a new wheelset that balances stiffness, ease of servicing, weight, and cost. Race Face seems to have fit all of that into a subtle package that performs incredibly well. With an MSRP of $1,120, you get a stealthy set of 30mm of internal width rims tied to some of the largest flange hubs available. The wheels are available in both 29 and 27.5, but we threw the smaller set on two different bikes during testing with the easy swap of end caps to accommodate a host of different spacing options. The swappable end caps are a big advantage in today’s market where it seems a new standard seems to come out monthly.
The Vault hub is the first Race Face branded hub and they wanted to create a hub that stood up to the Race Face reputation. They take current design to the extreme with a huge flange spacing of 72mm, almost double of the standard 40mm. This shortens the spoke length leading to increased rotational and torsional stiffness. Offset spoke drilling and direct pull spokes round out the package for a unique wheel set offering some serious performance. The hub bearings are pushed way out to the edge of the hub body to decrease twisting load and increase service intervals. All bearings are the same size as well, which means one less thing to worry about when it is time for a rebuild. A 60-tooth drive ring with six pawls gives almost instantaneous three degree engagement. Race Face put in the time to attend to the small details, like their low friction, high quality seals to keep the internals clean and tight.
Stiffness and durability are forefront goals of the Turbine R rim as the 4.5mm spoke bed offset means almost zero dish in the wheels and helps equalize spoke tension. Speaking of spokes, Race Face throws five spares in the box (all the same length) to ease replacement woes if you do happen to break one. A 30mm width allows 2.3-2.5” tires to be mounted up with ease and creates a very nice tire profile. As far as the aesthetics are concerned, the wheels have a nice finish and the gloss black decals on the matte black rims couldn’t look better in my opinion.
Our Turbine R wheels spent time on two different bikes, both of which saw the roughest trails we could find. Even though the wheelset is marketed at the trail/enduro sector, we may have thrown them on our DH bike for a few runs. This offered the unique testing situation of airing into jagged rock gardens and trying to rip the tires off in berms. Even after the best thrashing this hack could come up with, the wheels are in perfect condition.
Mounting up a variety of different tires posed zero problems with a hand pump. The stems and rim tape spec’d with the wheels all performed flawlessly. A small amount of sealant kept them aired up without issue and I did not burb them once, even when running tires in the mid 20 psi range. At that low of a pressure, I did hear a few rocks ping the rim, but never had a sidewall cut the tire or damage in the rim.
After coming off a set of Enve M90s, these wheels felt similarly stiff but still compliant enough to let your wheel track. Predictable and settled are how I would describe the ride, never rail-roading off a root or rock due to an overly stiff or harsh build. The freehub noise is a nice blend of high engagement zip without sounding like an overly loud buzz saw.