Replacing the EWS-winning Turbine R Wheelset is the similarly-named Race Face Turbine Wheelset, with refined front- and rear-specific rims that are both stronger and more vertically compliant than the predecessor. Maintaining a 30mm internal width and asymmetric rim bed, the Turbine rims get wider externally to improve impact resistance and reduce pinch-flat risk.
We are told the Race Face Turbine Wheelset is the brand’s most durable and compliant alloy wheelset to date… and, in a cycling industry trend-bucking move, it is actually $100 USD cheaper than the wheelset it replaces. Even more appealing is the lifetime warranty policy, which includes free replacement of any rim that is damaged during riding.
Race Face Turbine MTB Wheels
While the outgoing Race Face Turbine R Wheelset ran the very same alloy rim on its front and rear wheels, the new Turbine Alloy Wheelset released today gets front- and rear-specific 6069 aluminum rims in recognition of the different loads experienced by each. Arguably, they both experience the very same load but, personally, I give a lot more consideration to where my front wheel is going than I do my rear. I feel confident I am not alone in this.
Many a mountain bike wheel manufacturer has catered to this issue before now – Crankbrothers being one such brand that springs to mind. With the greater quantity of abuse it is subjected to, it makes sense that a rear wheel would benefit from having a rim design that prioritized impact resistance. Race Face share this take on the matter, also acknowledging that extra compliance in the front wheel, where the rider feels bumps more acutely, is more beneficial for overall ride comfort.
The Race Face Turbine Wheelset considers all of this, offering a stronger, more impact-resistant rim in the rear, and a lighter, more compliant rim on the front. While the internal rim width is consistent at 30mm, the rim depths differ.
As compared to the Turbine R, the rims of the latest Turbine Wheelset are wider externally at 35.3mm. It is the shape of the rim’s edge that is important here, as this region is the culprit during pinch-flat events where the tire bottoms out between the rim and a rock or root.
Race Face are calling it the “Anvil Edge” which is their fancy way of saying that the rim wall’s edge is now wider and flatter. Hypothetically, that should reduce the risk of your tire splitting when it bottoms out, as the energy of the impact is dissipated over a larger surface area. Interestingly, Industry Nine’s new EN300 Wheelset also released today takes this concept even further with an external rim width of 37.4mm.
In consideration of comfort, Race Face made the rim of the front wheel shallower at 18mm, as compared to the 20mm depth of the rear rim. Theoretically, the shallower rim would be the more vertically compliant of the two, helping to reduce transmission of wheel forces to the rider’s hands and arms. Race Face say their riders have attested that switching to a more compliant wheel makes it feel like they are running longer travel suspension on their bike.
I used the word “hypothetically” earlier, which was perhaps the wrong word to use. Race Face say they put this new wheelset through the following battery of tests, all of which took place at the Fox Factory Labs in Scotts Valley, in order to prove to themselves the superiority of the new rims:
- Large Impact
- Sharp Edge Impact
- Bump Rolling Wheel Fatigue
- Chain Driven Rolling Wheel Fatigue
- Drive Mechanism High Torque Fatigue
- Braking Fatigue
- Tire Over Pressure Fit
- Brake Rotor Security
- ISO Bike Testing Requirements
- Excessive Ride Testing in varied climates/regions
- Environmental Testing
The rims’ new features have led to a wheelset that is around 30g heavier than the predecessor. Claimed weight for a 29″ wheelset is 1,895g – 850g for the front wheel and 1,045g for the rear. These wheels are built around the Race Face Vault hubset with its hallmark over-sized hub shell, with 28 straight-pull double-butted Sapim spokes for both the front and rear. Spoke lengths are equal between the front and rear wheels, and Race Face provide 5 spares with the sale of each wheelset.
There is nothing new to discuss in terms of the hubs; the Vault still uses an inverted spring-pawl-ratchet system. There are 6 pawls inside the mechanism, only 3 of which engage at any one time thanks to their offset positioning. The ratchet has a 60 teeth so, with the timing of those pawls, the hub offers up 120 Points of Engagement. That’s a 3° engagement angle which is pretty fast, but not industry-leading.
The Race Face Turbine Alloy Wheelset comes with a Lifetime Warranty
Sure to be of huge appeal to riders is the lifetime warranty on the Race Face Turbine Alloy Wheelset. It is not simply covering manufacturing defects (though those are covered) – it also covers any damage done to the wheels during riding. Here are the specifics of what Race Face will and will not cover:
- If you crash and destroy a wheel, the warranty applies
- If you dent or flat spot your Turbine rim and your tire no longer holds air, the warranty applies
- If you dent or flat spot your Turbine rim and your tire still holds air, the warranty does not apply. Keep riding!
- Seam separation and/or cracks at the spoke hole, the warranty applies
- Hub wear such as bearings or freewheels are covered by our 2-year Limited Warranty (Vault hubs have class leading bearing sealing for years of hard use)
- All non-bearing hub issues (including crash damage), the warranty applies
- Crashes are only covered while riding your bike. If your friend reverses over your back wheel with their truck, the warranty does not apply.
- Improper installation or repairs are not covered
Pricing & Availability
Thew Race Face Turbine Wheelset retails at $799 USD / $999 CAD / 918,00 €, available in both 29″ and 27.5″ with Boost and SuperBoost spacing options to choose from with XD, HG or MicroSpline freehub. The Race Face Vault hubs they are built around are 6-Bolt only.
Given the Lifetime Warranty this wheelset is sold with, it seems to present an excellent value proposition, on a par with the new Reserve 30 Alloy Wheels released back in February. It’s still worth pointing out here that the latter are still the more affordable at $699 USD; they are marginally heavier and they have slower-to-engage DT Swiss hubs than the Race Face offering, but they do come with a set of Reserve Fillmore Valves.