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Race Face Aeffect R Wheelset

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2021 Race Face Aeffect R wheel
 Race Face Aeffect R Wheelset  Race Face Aeffect R Wheelset  Race Face Aeffect R Wheelset  Race Face Aeffect R Wheelset  Race Face Aeffect R Wheelset
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$599 and Ready for Abuse - New Race Face Aeffect 30R First Ride

A quality, but affordable, wheelset upgrade with a compliant ride and solid rear hub

Vital Review
$599 and Ready for Abuse - New Race Face Aeffect 30R First Ride

When asked to put the new Aeffect wheels from Race Face through some testing, I was wondering if I was the right person for the job. Even though I’m on the hefty side of things (~200lbs.,) I’ve rarely had issues with wheels. Granted, I have only ridden wheels that I personally built for most of the last 25 years or so, but still- I haven’t broken a spoke in at least 6 years, don’t tend to damage tires, and only dent rims when I tell myself “that rear tire feels a little low, I should probably air up after this run.” Still, as a long time mechanic, hardtail rider, and fan of good equipment that doesn’t cost a fortune, maybe I’m not too far off target.

Race Face Aeffect R Wheelset Highlights

  • Intended Use: Trail/All Mountain/Enduro
  • Sizes: 27.5-inch / 29-inch
  • Rim Material: 6069 alloy, tubeless-ready (tape and valves installed)
  • Internal Rim Width: 30mm
  • Rim Depth: 20mm
  • Rim Offset: 4.5mm
  • Hub Spacing: Front 15x110 Boost / Rear 12x148 Boost, 12x157 Super Boost
  • Number of Spokes (F&R): 28
  • Spokes: Sapim Sprint 2.0/1.7 J-bend black, 3-cross, non-interlaced (5 spares included)
  • Nipples: Sapim double square, secure lock, black/brass
  • Rotor Mount: ISO 6-bolt
  • Cassette Body options (alloy): Micro Spline, XD, HG
  • Hub Bearings: 6902 cartridge
  • Rear Hub Engagement: 10-Degree (36 POI)
  • Weight (29-inch): Front - 925g / Rear – 1075g (2000g for wheelset)
  • MSRP: $599.00 USD / $774.98 CAD (complete wheelset)


With a bit over a month on these wheels, I can start off by saying that I’m impressed. When I picked these up, I was first surprised to see that the spokes are not interlaced. On almost any wheels you see, where the spokes cross, they are laced around each other. On a 3-cross wheel the spokes go over-over-under. Not these. Their path from hub to rim is socially distanced, no contact with anyone else.

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Learning to build wheels in the early '90s, I was always taught that this connection with other spokes created a stiffer, more resilient wheel. That connection allowed the stresses to be shared between two spokes. There isn’t a whole lot of scientific evidence to back that up, but most wheel builders still do it. Starting in the late '90s, a few companies started building wheels with non-interlaced spokes, but they were generally based on straight pull spokes, and usually had some other tech wizardry being promoted. I have always remained skeptical.

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Throughout the test, I rode two different sets of tires. First were Specialized Grid casing tires; Butcher in the front and Eliminator in back, both 2.6-inch. I like a little wider tire on a hardtail, and with a 30mm internal width (and Specialized’s “optimistic” tire widths), these seemed like a good fit. I also rode with Maxxis Minion DHF front and rear later in the test. The wheels were mounted up to my Chromag Rootdown hardtail, and I did my best to not go easy on them.

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Mounting tires isn't all about the rim design, but it's certainly a factor. I was able to mount all four tires I tried throughout the test with a 10-year-old, semi-asthmatic floor pump, without any major drama. The Maxxis DHF 2.5 and 2.6 pair was "trusty" and had been mounted and removed from three different wheelsets over their lives. They mounted up instantaneously, but I've never had issues with those tires on any rim. The Specialized Butcher Grid and Eliminator Grid are a different story. I've had issues mounting those on some other rims, even with a compressor. On the Aeffect wheels, there was just a little coaxing, a little massaging but no soapy water, no cursing.

The first ride on the Aeffect wheels was on some relatively easy, flowing trails. I wanted to see how they would corner at speed. The wheels were stiff enough that I had no trepidation stuffing them into corners, but they didn’t feel harsh, either. The ARC rims on these wheels have a reputation for compliance, and the lacing balanced that out with confidence-inspiring stoutness.

For the next ride, I was running laps on a directional tech trail with a few rock gardens and enough drops that no one really rides a hardtail on it. On the first run, I felt a harsh bottom out when I landed a drop onto a newly placed rock. Pinch flat, my first in a long time. After plugging the cuts and airing it back up, I noticed that there was a broken thread in the casing, which caused the tire to wobble. Well, being cheap, I’m not one to waste fresh knobs, so I kept riding the same tire.

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Most of the rides on the Aeffect wheels have been on Boise foothills trails, decidedly hardtail territory, but I have a loop here that has enough rocks to keep you honest, and high speeds if you’re willing to pedal. I took the same lines that I normally ride on my full suspension in the name of science, and the wheels are still running straight as an arrow.

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When it comes to hub engagement, the Aeffect R wheels with their Trace hubs perform well, particularly for a wheelset at this price point. The new Trace hubs have 10-degree, 36 POI engagement which feel great on the trail. I have been intentionally pedaling hard out of corners after shifting into a smaller cog, which is hard on freehub bodies. No slipping, popping, or scary noises have resulted from this kind of abusive treatment. They spin with minimal drag, aren’t super noisy, and have solid, fast engagement.

Overall, I've been impressed with the Race Face Aeffect wheels during this first month of hardtail testing. While there is quite a bit of competition at this price point, Race Face has created a solid offering with these. Visit www.raceface.com to find your local dealer or to purchase the wheels directly.

Specifications

Product Race Face Aeffect R Wheelset
Riding Type Enduro / All-Mountain, Trail
Wheel Size 27.5" (650b), 29"
Rim Material Aluminum
Rim 6069 alloy, tubeless-ready (tape and valves installed), 20mm dept, 4.5mm offset
Inner Rim Width 30mm
Hole Count 29
Tubeless Compatible Yes
Rear Hub Race Face Trace
Rear Axle 12mm x 148mm (Boost), 12mm x 157mm
Front Hub Race Face Trace
Front Axle 15mm x 110mm (Boost)
Disc Mount Type 6 Bolt
Spokes Sapim Sprint 2.0/1.7 J-bend black, 3-cross, non-interlaced (5 spares included)
Nipples Sapim double square, secure lock, black/brass
Colors Black
Weight
  • 4 lb 6.5 oz (2,000 g)
  • 4 lb 3.7 oz (1,920 g)
  • 2 lb 0.6 oz (925 g)
  • 2 lb 5.9 oz (1,075 g)
Miscellaneous

The 2021 Aeffect R Wheel

The Aeffect R is a mid-priced wheel that punches above its weight for reliability and strength. Rated for trail to enduro-style riding, these wheels feature a tough 6069 alloy rim with a 30mm inner diameter, an offset rim bed for even spoke tension and is rated for high impact strength and reliability.


The All-New Trace Hub

The 2021, Race Face designed Trace hub offers 13 different hub options to cover all current axle configurations (Boost + Super Boost) and cassette body options (Micro Spline/XD/HG). Durable ride-after-ride performance is delivered without comprise with the Trace’s steel axle, sturdy 10-degree engagement, large cartridge bearings and stiff, oversized J-bend spoke flanges. This hub is available as both a part of the Aeffect R and Aeffect R eMTB wheel offerings and as a standalone aftermarket product for you to create your own wheel legends.

Price
  • $599
  • $249.99
  • $349.99
More Info

From Race Face:

"On many mid-range bikes, a common point of failure remains the wheels. Riders are frustrated by lost trail miles while their bike is stuck in the shop for repairs on subpar wheels. With this gap in the wheel market in mind, we set out to create a hub and rim combo that offers category-leading durability and strength, to confidently take on the rigors of trail, all-mountain, and enduro riding. We are proud to introduce the tough on trails, light on price Aeffect R wheels and Trace J-Bend hub."

For more, head to the Race Face website.

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