The internal width of the rims remains the same at 30mm, but the profile has changed in order to increase compliance while retaining enough strength to survive everything from Enduro World Cup races to rigorous after-work laps.
• Internal rim width: 30 mm
• Rim material: 6069 aluminum
• 28 spokes, Race Face Vault hubs
• Weight (mixed wheel): 1,847 grams (850 g front / 997 g rear with valves)
• Price: $789
• Lifetime warranty
To achieve that extra compliance (and yes, I realize the term is about to be a tired cliche. I’m currently looking for a proper synonym) the rim height is now 18mm for the front wheel and 20 mm at the rear. This way, the front wheel should have a bit more compliance to ease brake bumps and bulky sections of trail, while the rear retains the stiffness needed for tight corners or casing jumps.
The rims have an asymmetrical cross-section, which moves the spoke nipples into a position that allows for more even spoke tension. Plus, the spoke lengths are all the same, and five spares come with each wheel, just in case.
The final rim feature worth noting is what Race Face calls the “Anvil Edge.” This is a wider rim hook designed to help distribute impact force when a tire is pushed against the rim to minimize the chance of a puncture.
The Turbine rims are laced with straight pull spokes on Race Face’s Vault hubs, which have an oversized hub shell that’s supposed to help with torsional stiffness. Six pawls engage with the 60-tooth drive ring in two groups of three, resulting in 3 degrees of rotation between engagement points. The rear hub uses four 6902 bearings and is available with XD, HG or Microspline freehub bodies.
My set of test wheels weighed in at a reasonable 1847 grams—850 grams for the 29-inch front wheel and 997 grams for the 27.5-inch rear wheel. A complete 29er set is said to weigh 1895 grams.
Over the past few years we’ve seen lifetime warranties become the norm when it comes to carbon wheels, and now it looks like this trend is starting to take hold with aluminum wheels. Aluminum wheels have always been the way to go when it comes to initial value, and now the addition of generous warranties makes them an even more attractive option.
Race Face coverage for Turbine wheels includes collision damage, as long as you ride your bike. Things like rolling over a wheel in a parking lot or entering a drive-in with a bike on your roof rack aren’t covered
• If you crush and destroy a wheel, the warranty applies
• If you dent or flatten your Turbine rim and your tire no longer retains air, the warranty applies
• If you dent or flatten your Turbine rim and your tire still retains air, the warranty does not apply. Keep riding!
• Separation of seams and/or cracks at the spoke hole, warranty applies
• Hub wear, such as bearings or freewheels, is covered by Race Face’s 2-year limited warranty
It’s still early in the testing of these wheels, but the initial tubeless setup was hassle-free, and so far they have a pleasantly neutral feel on the trail. Conditions were on the milder side of the spectrum; it will be interesting to see if that sentiment changes at all as things dry out and break a little harder. The sound from the Vault hubs is nice and quiet, almost like a white noise machine playing in the background, which is my favorite – if I want a loud bike, I’ll use a baseball card and a clothespin.
How do Turbine wheels compare to Reserve alloy wheels, since both are guaranteed for life? On paper, the Reserve wheels weigh 189 grams more and cost $100 less. They also have a DT Swiss 350 hub with 10 degrees of engagement compared to the faster 3 degrees of engagement of the Vault hub. On the trail, the differences are not so clear. I’ll put extra miles on both axles and do a few back-to-back laps so I can have a fuller comparison later this year.
Either way, it’s great to see more aluminum options on the market that fall in what seems to be the middle ground between price and performance.
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