Along with my recent test of the RaceFace Turbine 2×10 crankset I also got a chance to try the latest RaceFace Turbine 3/4 Riser Bar and Stem on my full suspension 29er. Like the Turbine crankset, the Turbine bars and stem are lightweight enough for XC use but tough enough for AM riding. Here’s what you need to know.
Turbine 3/4 Riser Bar
RaceFace offers the Turbine bars in several configurations from flat to riser. I tested the aluminum 3/4 riser bar which is 725mm wide and weighs 290 grams (claimed weight is 235 grams which is a bit of a discrepancy). This particular model features a 6 upward and 9 rearward sweep with a 0.75 inch rise.
Now, for those looking to swap out stock bars, it’s important to consider the type of riding you prefer and the geometry of your bike before choosing a flat vs. riser bar. Cross-country (XC) bikes typically feature flat bars while more aggressive AM and Trail bikes are often better suited to riser bars with a bit of sweep. Bar width is also important to consider: XC bars will typically be narrower than AM bars (remember, you can always cut your bars shorter).
The Turbine bars feature cut marks on the ends of the bars that not only list the length of each mark (so you know how much width you end up with) but they also list the weight savings at each cut point. Still, I recommend you cut your bars to the width you need rather than based on the amount of weight you’d like to save. I left my bars at full width which got a little hairy on some of the narrower local trails so I may eventually shave a little width off the ends.
I installed the Turbine 3/4 Riser on my Santa Cruz Tallboy 29er for a slightly more aggressive configuration and found a lot to love about this set up. The wider bars definitely gave me more control and the sweep really opened up my riding posture. It took me a couple rounds of adjustment to get the bars in a comfortable position; the initial angle I chose left my wrists sore after a 60 mile ride (note: don’t go out for a long ride before making sure your bars are in the right position).
The great thing about having a riser bar with decent sweep (both upward and rearward) is there are dozens of adjustments you can make to get everything dialed. Once I found the right angle for me it was smooth sailing. This bar is also great since it offers many options for affecting the overall geometry of your ride; keep riding it until you find the sweet spot for you and your bike.
The fit and finish on the Turbine bar is classic RaceFace with multiple colorways (including the gold version I tested). These bars are shot peened for increased strength which gives them a textured finish. Both sides of the bar also feature a small masked logo area with a smooth finish (shown above) highlighting the shot peened effect. MSRP: $66.
The RaceFace Turbine Stem is another work of art with all the beautifully machined lines you’ve come to expect from the brand. I tested a 110mm, zero-rise stem that weighs in at about 145 grams. The Turbine is a high-end stem designed for 31.8mm bars and as you might imagine, it works well with the Turbine bars.
Machined from high-grade aluminum, the Turbine Stem is designed for maximum strength and minimal weight. Looking closely you can see the tiny machine-cut lines around the circumference of the stem and scratching across the lines with your fingernail produces high pitched vibrations. Beautiful.
Perhaps the most remarkable design feature on the Turbine Stem is the interlocking 4-bolt bar clamp. Viewed from the top and sides, the stem and clamp fit together like a jigsaw puzzle for maximum surface contact area and strength. This helps protect your bars but more importantly, it distributes shear forces away from the bolts and onto the body of the stem.
Installation was super smooth and the 110mm length worked great with my XL frame. I experienced zero creaks or cracks over hundreds of miles of riding. A mountain bike stem is the type of part I like to be able to install and forget–the Turbine allowed me to do exactly that. MSRP: $94.
The RaceFace Turbine handlebars and stem are great upgrades for getting your cockpit geometry dialed. With XC-class weights and AM-level strength, these are parts that will last for many years to come.
Thanks to the folks at RaceFace for providing the Turbine bars and stem for review.