The new Turbine 27.5 wheelset is an all-new direction for Race Face. This wheelset promises to be bomb proof, while not blowing up your bank account.
Unlike the latest trends with all-carbon and beadless wheel systems that are making headlines, the Turbine 27.5s use proven alloys and designs that are based on performance and durability.
Working from the center out, the hubs are designed as a straight pull unit with 28 interlaced 3-cross design spokes front and rear. The best part of the deal is the 284mm spoke length for all of the spokes. To accomplish this, the flange diameters are all different. Of all the readers here on Singletracks, dgaddis, our resident wheel builder, would love the idea of one spoke length. Ordering only 1 box of a hundred rather than three different lengths… gotta love it!
The Turbines feature a set of custom-sealed cartridge bearings front and back for longer life.
The rear wheel comes stock with a 3-pawl 9/10spd alloy cassette body that can be exchanged with an XX1-compatible XD driver (sold separately) for a fast-engaging hub.
The rims are made of 6061 aluminum, welded together for maximum strength, and then carefully drilled with no eyelets. An external dimension of 25mm wide, 21mm internal, and 19.5mm deep makes for a rim that can comfortably hold tires 2.2″-2.4″ with no issues at all.
The wheels come set up with 15x100mm front adapters and 12x142mm rear adapters. Additional adapters can convert the rear to a QR5x135mm or 10x135mm. Curiously, a QR5x100mm is additional (but who runs that any more?) and doesn’t come with the wheels.
I decided to run tubeless. I didn’t get the Race Face tubeless kit, as I already had a set of Stan’s valve stems handy. Surprisingly, the very cool Race Face rim strips work just fine. How awkward is that? Gotta love that bit of humor.
Installing a set of tires with the recommended amount of Stan’s ( 2oz per tire) was a no-brainer, with little effort to pump up the tires. Everything snapped in place right away at about 30psi. I run the tires at 33lbs, so one more pump on the Topeak floor pump is all it took.
Out on the Trail
The 1760g (before valve stems, sealant, and tires) set of Turbines are not the lightest on the market, but in my opinion they did a great job on the trails. I noticed that these wheels had a bit more lateral compliance than a pair that I just reviewed from another brand. I also noticed that under hard cornering and/or traveling through rock gardens that the bike felt a bit softer and less bone jarring. Not to the extent that it felt as if the wheels were twisting about, but they were flexing nonetheless.
That, I guess, is really a personal preference. When I build my own wheels, I tend to run higher spoke tension, which makes for a stiffer wheel. Perhaps later down the line if the wheels need truing I will add more tension to these wheels. But so far, I haven’t had the need to true the Turbines.They are still straight as can be despite the multitude of jumps, bumps, berms, rocks, and logs… you get the idea.
Putting down the power is no issue at all. The 3-pawl rear cassette engages very quickly with little crank movement required. Rolling over features and giving little pedal kicks is not a problem. You’re only limited to your bike’s own pedal clearance issues. Putting down the power on climbs, I didn’t feel any wheel flex whatsoever: these wheels transferred power without a worry.
All told, the Turbines could be a great upgrade for your rig! What sells these for me is the lack of eyelets, the straight pull spokes, and the consistent spoke length for the entire wheelset. The two-year manufacturing defects warranty is another great benefit.
Finally, you’ve also gotta love the fact that there are manufacturers that are willing to pick on themselves a bit and add in some humor when they design their gear!
MSRP, Wheels: $599
MSRP, XD Body: $110
A big thanks to the crew at Race Face for sending down the Turbine wheels for review.