The ‘R’ in the name of this new Race Face wheelset stands for rally, implying this is a set of hoops intended to be ridden hard. I did just that and came away impressed at how much abuse this alloy wheelset could handle.
Race Face offers the Turbine R wheelset in 27.5 and 29in versions for standard and Boost axle spacing.The total weight for our 27.5in Turbine R test wheelset with valve stems and tape installed is 1,720g. This breaks down to 810g for the front and 910g for the rear wheel.
The Turbine R wheelset comes ready for tubeless use out of the box with tape and valves installed. I had no issues setting this wheelset up tubeless with a floor pump using Maxxis DHF tires.
The alloy rims have an internal width of 30mm, which works well with most aggressive trail bike tires in the 2.25 to 2.5in-width range.
The spoke holes are offset 4.5mm to the left of center to better balance spoke tension. This arrangement also allows the Turbine R to use one spoke length for the entire wheelset — a huge plus for trailside repairs and home mechanics as you only need to have a single spoke on hand for the front, rear, drive- and non-drive sides.
Each wheel uses 28 straight pull spokes laced in a three-cross pattern to connect the rims to the company’s new Vault Hubset.
The Vault hubs are oversized. Race Face claims this increase in hubshell diameter results in an increase in torsional and lateral stiffness. The bulbous hub bodies along with the wider flange spacing that accompanies Boost axle spacing creates a wheelset that’s noticeably stiff. On the trail I found this wheelset to be on-par with more expensive carbon options.
If you ride in an area with technical climbs that require frequent power moves, you will appreciate the fast-acting freehub engagement of this wheelset as much as I did.
The Vault freehub uses a 60-tooth drive ring that engages six pawls, which have two teeth per pawl. These pawls are offset from each other so three pawls are engaging at a time. The result is a freehub with a speedy three degrees of engagement.
If this sounds nearly identical to Industry 9’s freehub arrangement, that’s because it’s similar in function, but not design.
The Vault’s internals are opposite that of an Industry 9 hub — the drive ring is part of the driver body, while the pawls are secured behind a labyrinth seal in the hubshell.
Over the course of this test I found this design to have several benefits. Speaking from experience, you’re much less likely to lose a spring or pawl when installing or removing the driver body. The less complex driver body also keeps cost down should you need to buy a spare when switching from SRAM to Shimano, or vice versa.
The Turbine R wheelset checks off all the boxes for a modern high-end alloy wheelset. The rims are sturdy and sufficiently wide, interchangeable end caps and swappable driver bodies help with axle and drivetrain compatibility, and the rapid-engagement of the freehub gives the rider a significant advantage when tackling technical climbs.