Finding the right wheel and hub combination for your bike can make all the difference when climbing or riding technical terrain. The Race Face Turbine 30 with Vault hubs is an extremely well made and lightweight option for those in the market for a new set of wheels. In this review, our customer Dustin picks up a pair for his Ibis. Check it out!
This past Saturday, I found myself on a climb that I've done many times. A climb that crosses a creek. A creek that is just deep enough to soak your foot should you not keep your cranks horizontal. The ability to ratchet without a full pedal stroke is key here. Full pedal stroke and you your foot is wet. Go too slow and stall, now both feet are wet. But keep 'em level and ratchet......dry, happy feet. This ride I had dry feet, and here is why.
Let's start with the wheels I already had. The Race Face Affect R wheelset came stock on my bike. While relatively low cost, the Affect R is really a decent wheelset. They have they are 30mm internal, strong, not crazy heavy, and tubeless-ready. But they were lacking in one place that I personally wanted some improvement......the hubs.
As I started my search for a new wheelset, I focused on 3 main things. Strength, weight, and hub engagement.....well and cost too, so 4 things. I have little doubt that carbon wheels are getting strong enough now that durability and strength shouldn't be an issue. So carbon was definitely an option. When I started looking at weight, I noticed something interesting. For most carbon wheels (not all) it seemed that when I found a wheel that I deemed strong enough, they weighed just as much as an alloy rim. So at that point, I don't personally see an advantage to carbon. If we are talking super weight-weenie stuff, I get it. But for a solid all-mountain and enduro wheel, carbon doesn't provide THAT much of a weight advantage. So with carbon not having a weight advantage and a massive cost disadvantage, I scratched carbon off the list. This led me back to the root of this whole thing, the hubs.
I read a boat-load of reviews on hubs. After a while, I knew I wanted something with at least 3 degrees of engagement. I do a lot of technical climbing and the ability to ratchet the cranks in small increments is a huge advantage. I did toy with the idea of just getting hubs and rebuilding my own wheels but decided it wouldn't really be cost-effective. I ultimately came down to two different wheelsets. The Race Face Turbine R 30 and the I-9 Enduro. I-9 has an amazing hub, the Torch Hub, which checked all of the boxes I wanted. They even come in some wacky colors, for a price. The Turbine R wheels come with Race Face's relatively new Vault Hubs, which also check all the boxes. Both are similar in price until you stumble on a smoking deal on one of them at WorldWide Cyclery. (The Turbines had a clear advantage on price at this point) But that wasn't the only reason I chose the Turbine.
Race Face wheels are really the ancestral descendant of Easton wheels. I have a past with Easton Haven wheels and I'd argue that they are one of the best all-mountain wheels ever made. So to me, Race Face is a wheel brand I already trust. But the Vault hubs.....WOW! Talk about quick engagement. Ratcheting up climbs? No problem! And the sound........if you've ever been deep sea fishing and had a marlin hit the line, the fishing reel will come alive with a glorious sound as the line goes flying out at a terrific pace. When you get these wheels up to speed and coast, it sounds exactly the same. They aren't loud.....they just sound awesome! So to sum this up, these wheels kick some serious butt. And did I mention they look good too?
Weight - 1700grams and some change, Awesome!
Hubs - Vault with 3 degrees of engagement, Awesome!
Width - 30mm to run a set of 2.6" tires, Awesome!
Boost - With so many bikes going boost, these are ready to go!
Tubeless Ready - Taped and includes valve stems and extra spokes, Awesome!
Cost - Find them on sale and you'll have an extra $700 in your pocket by not buying carbon wheels
Yeah, these check all the boxes. Oh, and if you have a RockShox fork, grab a set of Torque Caps for the front. They stiffen up the front hub while making it way easier to put your front wheel on.