Race Face adds strength and vertical compliance to its Enduro World Series-winning Turbine R wheelset

The new and refined RF Turbine wheels details
(Image credit: Race Face)

The new Race Face Turbine Wheelset, which bears the same name as the EWS-winning Turbine R Wheelset, has been refined and given an improved front and rear-specific rim, which the company says makes for a stronger and more vertically compliant wheel. 

Race Face adds that the new wheelset is also around $100 less than the previous model, which certainly bucks the current trend in the cycling sector. They also come with a lifetime guarantee policy, giving a free replacement of any rim destroyed while riding, which makes the RF Turbines look even more attractive in the best mountain bike wheels market. We took a look at some of the new features.

Race Face Turbine Wheelset close up with tire fitted

The RF Turbine is a refined version of the previous model (Image credit: Race Face)

Front and Rear specific design

The new Turbine Alloy Wheelset has front and rear-specific 6069 aluminum rims which the brand says addresses the differing loads encountered by each wheel, unlike the previous Race Face Turbine R Wheelset, which used the same alloy rim on both its front and back wheels. 

This 'problem' has previously been looked at by numerous mountain bike wheel manufacturers and it makes sense that a rear wheel would benefit from having a rim design that is tougher and more impact-resistant. Race Face says it has prioritized this on the rear wheel design of the new model. On the front, the rim is lighter and more flexible and Race Face states that the additional compliance in the front wheel should give better overall ride comfort.

Close up of the Race Face Turbine Alloy front and rear-specific 6069 aluminum rims

The new Turbine Alloy wheels have front and rear-specific 6069 aluminum rims (Image credit: Race Face)

A new rim edge design

Race Face has also tweaked the characteristics of the Turbines' rim wall, and although the rim depths vary, the internal rim width remains as before at 30mm. The edge is now wider at 35.3mm and flatter, to increase impact resistance and decrease the chance of pinch-flats. Race Face refers to this as the "Anvil Edge" which it says will lessen the chance of a tire separating when it bottoms out, with the impact's energy dispersed over the now broader surface area.

Race Face has also made the front wheel's depth narrower at 18mm than the rear wheel's 20mm which is to increase comfort. The shallower rim it says should be more vertically supple, helping to lessen the transfer of wheel forces to the rider's hands and arms. According to Race Face, its riders have confirmed that moving to a more compliant wheel gives them the impression that their bike's suspension has greater travel.

The new characteristics of the rims have caused the wheels to weigh about 30g more than the previous model. A 29-inch wheelset's claimed weight is 1,895g, of which 850g is for the front wheel and 1,045g is for the rear. The Race Face Vault hub, with its recognizable over-sized hub shell, serves as the foundation for these wheels. The front and rear wheels each include 28 straight-pull, double-butted Sapim spokes. The front and rear wheels' spoke lengths are the same, and Race Face includes five spares with the purchase of each wheelset.

Close up on the detailing of the RF Turbine wheels

The RF detailing gives these wheels added good looks (Image credit: Race Face)

About the hubs

The Vault hub continues to use an inverted spring-pawl-ratchet arrangement. The mechanism has six pawls, however, due to their offset positioning, only three of them may engage at once. With the timing of those pawls and the ratchet's 60 teeth, the hub provides 120 points of engagement. That's a three degree engagement angle, which is quick but not the fastest on the market.

The Vault hub on the Turbine wheels from Race Face

The Race Face Vault hub, with its recognizable over-sized hub shell (Image credit: Race Face)

The lifetime warranty

What's 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. 
  • 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. 

Rider in the air testing the new Race Face Turbine Wheelset

The lifetime warranty is sure to appeal to riders (Image credit: Race Face)

Pricing and availability

The Race Face Turbine Wheelset is priced at $799 / £TBC / €918 and comes in 29-inch and 27.5-inch sizes with Boost/SuperBoost spacing choice, and with XD, HG, or MicroSpline freehub options. They are exclusively 6-Bolt Racing Face Vault hubs.

Given the Lifetime Warranty that comes with the purchase of this wheelset, it appears to offer outstanding value for money. More information and purchase details can be found at Raceface.com.

Paul Brett
Staff writer

Based in Edinburgh, Paul Brett is a staff writer for BikePerfect.com. He has been an avid cyclist for as long as he can remember, initially catching the mountain biking bug in the 1990s, and raced mountain bikes for over a decade before injury cut short a glittering career. He’s since developed an obsession for gravel riding and recently has dabbled in the dark art of cyclocross. A fan of the idea of bikepacking he has occasionally got involved and has ridden routes like the North Coast 500, Scotland and the Via Francigena (Pilgrim Route), Italy.

Current rides: Marin Alpine Trail 2, Ribble 725, Cube Stereo 160

Height: 175cm