Race Face Turbine Wheelset

Vital Rating:
Stronger, More Compliant, and…Cheaper? New Race Face Turbine Wheel
Great features, performance, and value packed in at a competitive price point.
Vital Review

Wheels are such a critical part of the bike that we are always excited when a new model drops. We’re also jaded enough to treat the marketing messages that typically accompany these releases with a pinch of salt, but the brochure for the new Race Face Turbine Wheel had enough meat on the bones to properly whet our appetite – especially once we realized that Race Face had actually dropped the price of the new wheelset compared to its predecessor, the Turbine R. Keep reading to learn more!

Race Face Turbine Wheel Highlights

  • All-new alloy rim design with improved impact strength and external beadhook for added tire protection
  • 29” or 27.5” options
  • Unique, optimized front and rear rim profiles
  • Offset nipple beds for improved spoke tension balance
  • 28-hole straight pull Vault hubs with double-butted Sapim spokes and double square locking alloy nipples
  • 5 spare spokes included with each wheel
  • Available in Boost and Superboost hub spacings
  • 29” and 27.5” options
  • Microspline, XD, and 11-spd cassette body options
  • 6-bolt rotor mounting
  • Weight: 1895g pair -850g front, 1045g rear (29")
  • MSRP: $799 USD / $999 CAD / 918,00 € (VAT Included)

Initial Impressions

Race Face had some specific goals for the new wheelset as they set about the design process. That all-important compliance but of course also good durability and a solid long-term ownership experience were high on the list of priorities, which led to a few specific features being implemented. To provide a tuned ride feel for the front and rear wheel respectively, two different rim shapes were developed, with the front featuring a slightly lower profile to promote better compliance and grip, while the rear was left a bit taller for extra strength. Both the front and the rear rim are 30mm wide internally. To provide for better spoke tension balance and equal spoke length on either side of each wheel, Race Face went with an offset spoke bed. The wheels are finished off with a set of large decals that give them a distinctive look without being obnoxiously overbearing.


A key topic addressed with the new wheelset is pinch flat protection. By making the rim bead wider and flatter you can avoid turning the bead into a sharp edge, ready to cut through your sidewall should you hit a rock or root hard enough. Race Face calls their version of this by now relatively established design concept the “Anvil Edge”, owing to its distinctive shape.


For the hubs, Race Face went with their tried and true Vaults, laced to the new rims with double-butted Sapim spokes. These hubs feature an oversized center section, which Race Face leverages to house larger bearings and to maximize the spacing between them. The freehub provides for a snappy three degrees of engagement, thanks to an offset 6-pawl system that engages a 60-tooth drive ring three pawls at a time. Each pawl features two teeth to ensure a strong, solid interface with the drive ring. A bespoke external labyrinth seal aims to keep dirt and moisture out while minimizing drag.


When it came time to price up the new wheels, Race Face bucked the current trends by offering the new wheelset at a lower price than its direct predecessor, the Turbine R. To provide the buyer with a little extra peace of mind, the new Turbines are covered under Race Face’s Lifetime Warranty which applies to all product failures related to riding, inclusive of crashes. This is of course nothing new in the current wheel market, but it is still fairly rare for an alloy wheelset. In case you’re not quite clear on what they mean with “crash related”, here is how Race Face put it:

  • If you crash and destroy a wheel, the warranty applies 
  • If you dent or flat spot your Turbine rim and your tire no longer holds air, the warranty applies 
  • If you dent or flat spot your Turbine rim and your tire still holds air, the warranty does not apply. Keep riding!
  • Seam separation and/or cracks at the spoke hole, the warranty applies
  • Hub wear such as bearings or freewheels are covered by our 2-year Limited Warranty (Vault hubs have class leading bearing sealing for years of hard use)
  • All non-bearing hub issues (including crash damage), the warranty applies
  • Crashes are only covered while riding your bike. If your friend reverses over your back wheel with their truck, the warranty does not apply
  • Improper installation or repairs are not covered
  • If the Lifetime Warranty is not applicable, we can likely get you set up with a discounted replacement. Contact us and we’ll see what we can do.

On The Trail

The Turbines are tubeless ready out of the box, properly finished off with quality rim tape and tubeless valves already installed. That extra little touch: the tubeless valves have a small asymmetrical spacer installed between the rim and the lockring, ensuring even contact with the asymmetrical rim surface. We paired up our review wheelset with a set of Specialized tires, then mounted it all up on our short travel trail bike for initial testing. Installation was uneventful, and we were able to get the tires seated with just a floor pump. The Turbines have a sleek finish that should complement pretty much any build quite nicely – we definitely appreciate the way they paired up with this build.


On the trail, we immediately recognized the ever present buzz of the Vault hubs, as well as their snappy engagement. Over the course of a handful of rides, we’ve been able to confirm that the wheelset ticks the boxes that Race Face were aiming for: they are both lively and comfortable, offering a solid feel without any noticeable harshness. Whether plowing through a rock section or on the gas through a turn, the Turbines hold a line and go where you tell them to go.

Turbine Riding.jpg?VersionId=GlAN5h9r2SQzYZBWaBHgIbO3
Turbine Riding-3.jpg?VersionId=my8MfuS2ki1VqXahVwJS0

On a longer desert XC ride we were able to fully enjoy the good rolling speed offered by the Vault hubs. Point and shoot, the snappy engagement allows you to put the power down with confidence, and the wheels will carry good speed in undulating terrain. They are not the lightest wheels out there but they certainly don’t feel like they are bogging the bike down either. We have yet to subject them to proper torture, but our initial experience points to a quality wheelset that shouldn’t cause too many sleepless nights for the Race Face warranty department. We’ve hit a few rock sections hard in the name of science, and so far, no pinch flats have occurred nor have we been able to dent a rim.


What’s The Bottom Line?

We’d need further testing to form a definitive opinion of the new Race Face Turbine Wheels, but so far, all signs point in the right direction. The new rim profile provides both a degree of compliance and extra pinch flat protection, which are high on our list of priorities when picking a wheelset. We were pleased to see asymmetrical spoke beds and different rim profiles used for the front and the rear wheel, as these features are not always found on wheelsets at this price level. The quick engagement and low drag of the hubs are equally appreciated, while the straight-pull spokes and tasteful graphics provide for a little extra bling – wheels have an important job to do, but it doesn’t hurt if they look good as well.

More information at: www.raceface.com.

About The Reviewer

Johan Hjord - Age: 50 // Years Riding MTB: 18 // Weight: 190-pounds (87-kg) // Height: 6'0" (1.84m)

Johan loves bikes, which strangely doesn’t make him any better at riding them. After many years spent practicing falling off cliffs with his snowboard, he took up mountain biking in 2005. Ever since, he’s mostly been riding bikes with too much suspension travel to cover up his many flaws as a rider. His 200-pound body weight coupled with unique skill for poor line choice and clumsy landings make him an expert on durability - if parts survive Johan, they’re pretty much okay for anybody. Johan rides flat pedals with a riding style that he describes as "none" (when in actuality he rips!). Having found most trail features to be not to his liking, Johan uses much of his spare time building his own. Johan’s other accomplishments include surviving this far and helping keep the Vital Media Machine’s stoke dial firmly on 11.

Photos by Renen Dizdar, Darina Privalko and Johan Hjord


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Race Face Turbine Wheelset
Riding Type
Cross Country
Enduro / All-Mountain
Other: E-bike
Wheel Size
27.5" (650b)
Rim Material
Aluminum 6069
Inner Rim Width
Hole Count
Tubeless Compatible
Rear Hub
Rear Axle
12mm x 148mm (Boost)
12mm x 157mm
Front Hub
Front Axle
15mm x 110mm (Boost)
Disc Mount Type
6 Bolt
Sapim double-butted
Double square locking alloy nipples
27.5": 3 lb 15.6 oz (1,802 g)
29": 4 lb 1.8 oz (1,865 g)
  • 5 extra spokes included with front and rear wheels
  • Tubeless ready, taped with valve
  • Price
    Front (27.5) & (29): $349.00
    Rear (27.5) & (29): $449.00
    More Info
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