Video: Race Face Announces Turbine SL Wheels with 'BC XC Grit'

Apr 9, 2019
by Race Face  


Turbine SL - BC XC Grit

Carter Woods and Emilly Johnston are both BC-based rippers who you've probably not heard of.....yet. But they are quickly changing that thanks to their ability to crush trails and put in the hard work needed to steadily progress up the global junior XC ranks!

Turbine SL Wheelset Launch

Woods is the reigning Canadian National Junior Champ for XC and Cyclocross, as well he is currently the #1 ranked UCI junior male in the world for XC. Johnston raced up an age category at the 2018 Canadian XC Nationals and took silver and she's currently 16th in the UCI XC junior women rankings after only three races! These two are seriously fast and Race Face is proud to be supporting them and their teams, the Rocky Mountain Bicycles XC team, and Pendrel Racing. We got Carter and Emilly to ride our new Turbine SL wheels on some fun BC XC terrain on Vancouver Island after a recent Canada Cup XC event - showing what these tough, versatile wheels can do!

Turbine SL Wheelset Launch
Turbine SL Wheelset Launch
Turbine SL Wheelset Launch

The Turbine SL Wheelset

Strong, Reliable, and Performance-Ready

Turbine SL's roll on a tough, welded 6069 alloy tubeless-ready rim with a 25mm internal width, and are laced to our tried and true Vault hub with its fast 3-degree engagement, oversized hub shell for increased stiffness and wide bearing stance for durability. This versatile and stiff wheelset is light enough for XC epics but totally happy to tackle all those aggressive lines on your Trail adventures. No need to choose between a light or strong wheelset for your trail bike – the gritty Turbine SL does both!

• Large oversized flange for improved bracing angle and larger bearings.
• Wide bearing stance.
• 6 double tooth pawls (3 engage at a time).
• 120 points of engagement (3 degrees).
• Individually sprung pawls.
• One length spoke used throughout wheelset (F&R).
• Tool-free interchangeable end caps (sold separately).
• Low drag labyrinth cassette body seal.

• Alloy 6069 Welded rim
• 25mm Internal Width
• Tubeless Ready Rim (Tape and valves installed)
• 3mm Offset improves spoke tension balance and wheel stiffness
• High gloss black logos that are interchangeable with aftermarket color decal kits.

• Built for: XC/Trail
• Wheel Size: 29"
• Available Options: Front - 15x110 Boost (15x110 Torque Cap Conversion Available) / Rear - 12x148 Boost
• Spoke: 28 F/R, 3x Pattern (5 spares included with rear wheel)
• Weight: Wheelset 1635g

MSRP: $850 USD (set)

The new Turbine SL's are available now through your favorite RF dealer or from

Turbine SL Wheelset Launch

Video + Images; Connor Macleod
Riders: Carter Woods + Emilly Johnston
Thanks to Scott at Rocky Mountain Bicycles and Catharine and Keith of Pendrel Racing!!

MENTIONS: @raceface


  • 29 6
 I find it impossible to look past building a wheel set with quality Hope pro 4 hubs (with your choice of colour), lightweight spokes and an alloy rim of your choice (Spank rims personally) all for about £400, its a dreamy and personalised wheel build all for way less money than the majority of off the shelf alloy wheel sets. Its a no brainer!
  • 4 1
 Totally agree! Did just that for my latest project.
  • 6 2
 It's all about weight for xc , no brainer
  • 13 6
 Well unfortunately you'd be getting a lesser performing wheel. XC is all about rolling resistance band those loud hope pawls do create quite a drag. You're far better off with a DT for XC riding. And anything but spank rims.
  • 5 6
 Unfortunately nothing about Hope hubs is lightweight in any way. If you want an XC wheelset that weighs under 1900g you won't be choosing Hope hubs.
  • 8 0
 We actually stopped using hope hubs in this neck of the woods as all of the xd drivers on the 2 pro would self destruct at incredible frequency. The bearings are far too small and cause the races to crack in half with big strong riders on the steep climbs we have. Hope pretended there was no problem. I actually bought a shimano driver and cassette so I could keep using an almost brand new wheel set.
  • 6 1
 Even for XC those are real pigs. For that price you can build a wheelset below 1400g if you shop wise.
  • 4 0
 @lRaphl: I’d love to hear more.
  • 2 1
 I would nt put quality and hope in same sentence ! Never will put money on hope again ! I like to ride to much ! Dt swiss for life
  • 1 0
 Unfortunately performance in this case comes at the cost of parts availability if you damage any of these boutique wheelsets, you can't just grab any spokes or rim to fix them and information is sparse. I've just rebuilt a turbine r wheel using the new turbine offset rim but it was a massive and expensive pain the ass getting hold of a replacement rim, $250 ish for a rim only to het to Oz - would stick with trusty 32 hols J'bend non-asymmetric rims any day of the week and cop the very minor performance handicap for this reason
  • 1 0
 @seraph: Hope Pro 4 hubs weigh 180/311g, that’s decent. 240s are 100g lighter. How “light” are these RFs? As to Tune, DT180 and other silly sht, it’s silly sht. The gentleman up there will not build a good hope wheel for 400£ though, the rims, spokes and nipples will be sht. 500£ and we can talk. Pro4 + DT high end alu rims, DT comps and prolocks. Since it’s XC, you may want carbon rims, since at this weight alu is a noodle so we need to spend at least 800£?

It’s all in the rims and the build quality in the end and you know it Wink
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: My main point was you can build a quality custom wheel set for way less than these RF ones, Hope and Spank are just my preference for wheel builds, but for an XC build i may well go with something more weight orientated like DT hubs, but £400 is easy and will not be shit, go online and Pro 4 pair can be had for £200, a quality Alu rim can easily be found for £70 each (Stans or DT among others have light XC rims for this money) and a box of DT revolution (nice and light for XC) for £60 and your total is £400, job done. admittedly that's online prices and not retail and you can add a little more if you can't build them yourself but it's still alot cheaper than the Turbines.

Just so we all know the RF Vault hubs are 177/305g so only 9g lighter than pro 4, and you can't beat Hope reliability and that hub noise if beautiful imo.

@seraph I have a set of hope and spank wheels built for enduro with nice wide rims and stronger brass nipples that are still only 1850g so with an XC rim you'd be getting close to these RF wheels,
  • 2 0
 @omclive: I had same issue with XD driver on Hope 2 hub blowing bearings. Was able to salvage the hub (make it usable) by replacing all the bearings with Enduro max cageless bearings, no issues after 3K miles now.
  • 1 0
 @in2falling: I read about XD drivers messing up Hopes as well as DT Swiss. Someone suggested that it is the leverage by the large cassette. No personal experience though
  • 8 5
 Hi RaceFace, so when you for whatever reason you break a rim and need to replace it are you going to give hub dimensions for the vault hubs so we can lace other rims?
You are the only hub manufacturer who refuses to give dimensions for a straight pull hubs.
Or are you once again going to lock us into this specific rim?
  • 18 7
 I know it's a crazy thought but they make these things called "calipers"
  • 13 1
 @clink83: straight pull hubs are actually pretty hard to measure, even with calipers. It's much easier to get the dimensions from the manufacturer.
  • 5 0
 @seraph: Just use the existing rim ERD and spoke length to figure out the new spoke length. Yea its annoying but if your're replacing a broken rim then you have what you need.
  • 1 1

These turbine hubs have different flange heights, different flange widths, with a spoke offset that's not like a J bend, plus the rims are offset. You make it sound easy.
Trust me, it's not. Everything needs to be eye balled with calipers.
  • 19 0
 Ollyman, sorry if this information has been refused, we are working on a chart, we don't have dimensions that can plug into a spoke calculator yet.
All RF Vault straight pull hubs are designed to use one spoke length for all locations Front and Rear, Boost, non-boost, super-boost. So that simplifies things.
1mm change in ERD = 0.5mm change in spoke length.
Rim offset does not change spoke length a large amount. This rim has a 3mm offset, our other rims have a 4.5mm offset. if you were starting from a 4.5mm rim offset and going to symmetrical it would be a 0.5mm change in spoke length +0.5mm to the non-drive side, -0.5mm to the drive side. (Most spoke length tolerance is +/-0.5mm from the manufacture). A 3mm offset like this rim, to symmetrical is even less. 0.3mm change.

Turbine SL 29” Offset 3mm, ERD 600, Spoke length 303mm
If you wanted to use these hubs on say our ARC Offset 30 27.5” rims the ERD is 562mm.
600-562 = 39mm change in ERD / 2 = 19mm change in spoke length, 303mm – 19mm = 284mm
Hope this helps
  • 2 0
 Way to go recognizing and supporting these very young but talented technical powerhouses. Carter Woods and Emily Johnston are going places. Looking forward to having them on my future fantasy XC team!
  • 1 0
Lighter, cheaper (700 euro price includes 19 percent sales tax!) and absolutely solid reputation. No idea about availability in North America though.
  • 1 1
 Seems like it should be marketed to the Trail crowd and have an option of 27.5 as well because it seems a little heavy at 1635 grams for XC. Lots of XC wheels are sub 1500 grams.
  • 5 4
 1635 grams doesn't sound SL to me.
  • 12 0
 For an Alu wheelset? Seems pretty light to me.
  • 4 2
 @ratedgg13: I race a set of custom built alloy wheels that come in right close to 1300g. Stan’s crest rims, DT Revolution spokes, XO hubs.
  • 6 4
 @HurricaneCycles: No you don't. The lightest carbon road wheels are usually around 1300g.
  • 6 1
 @HurricaneCycles: those are pretty soft rims though. I wouldn't buy an AL rim under 1500-1600 grams personally, I don't want to be truing or replacing my rims constantly.
  • 3 0
 @Randomacity: crests with super light hubs will build out at 1400-1300g. The rims are 380g? Or so.
  • 2 0
 @Randomacity: Road rims aren't usually lower mass, they are optimized for aerodynamics and use more material overall. If you get climbing wheels, they hover around one kg.
  • 3 1
 @ratedgg13: SL stands for Super Light.
I would consider sub-1400gr super light.
These fall on the light trail or agressive XC segment, but if I was building a XC race bike I would search for something lighter. And cheaper.
  • 1 0
 @ratedgg13: Its not bad, Stan's Crests are 1579.
  • 2 1
 @Randomacity: No you can get 1000, even sub 1000 gram road wheels.
  • 3 0
 @clink83: I had a pair of Velocity Blunt SS laced to see 350 hubs with aerolite spokes and alloy nipples that came in just under 1400 grams. Super solid wheelset that rarely needed any truing for tail riding or racing. Crests feel like your wheel is melting beneath beneath you, too soft for how I ride.
  • 2 0
 @Randomacity: Lightest carbons are 950-1100g for road. Actually, people have been building similar weigh alu wheelsets for road for at least 30 years also using 320g Mavic reflex rims and low spoke counts.

1300g alu rims for mtb has been done plenty of times Smile
  • 4 0
 @HurricaneCycles: the headline clearly says "for BC xc grit". Come run your race setup at the bc bike race , tranrockies , spawkus or Vedder classic at the front end of the packs pace and see how well it treats you
  • 1 1
 @dan-graham: but XC is only on pavement smooth trails...ha
  • 1 0
 @Randomacity: Ha! That’s cute. I think you mean the lightest AERO road wheels. In which case you might be right. The”lightest road wheels” as you say (depending on what type of wheel you are needing) are actually under 1kg. Lightweight Meilinstein Is a good example but not the only one. On the MTB side you have several good examples but The Silverton SL is one option that Weighs a good 1-200g less than my setup, and probably better in every way.

More food for thought, carbon is not always the lightest option for wheels. I chose crest because they are actually lighter than most carbon rims(marginally, but lighter). I also couldn’t afford carbon rims but it was a bonus that these were lighter. I’m ignoring performance and other factors on purpose here as I’m only explaining the bigger picture.

@dan-graham: I would love to actually! At 170 pounds I’m certainly one of the heaviest guys in my class but I haven’t had any durability issues from these wheels. I hand built them myself and have maybe trued the rear once in a year of racing and training.

I’ve heard all the bad reviews about Crest but I believe it’s mostly down to poor wheel building. If they are built right they are just as good as anything else built for that intent.
  • 2 1
 What, no 157 super boost option? Pass
  • 1 0
 With a small online markdown, these could be great. 1600 with 25mm.
  • 1 0
 I’d look so terrible in Lycra...ahhhh it burns
  • 1 0
 I wonder if I'm the only one who keeps reading "BKXC"?
  • 10 11
 So many quality wheel choices out there, why would you pay money for something like this?
  • 10 1
 What are you even saying? Why would you pay money? What, are you going to pay in bananas?
The Vault hubs are solid I have them on my XC bike and my Trail bike and have had no issues. And the straight pull builds are stiff, but have a nice ride quality. The hubs are easy to pull apart and maintain. The Turbine R wheels on my trail bike have take and beating! They're dented and still hold the tire bead after 1.5 seasons of riding. I mean, why would you pay money for something like that?
  • 2 1
 Many will, because the idea of choice is scary. Those same people buy Sworks and Project One homogenized product.
  • 8 9
 you can get a custom wheelset, heck even carbon ones for the same or less than that
  • 10 2
 Please name a few?
  • 4 8
flag js11 (Apr 9, 2019 at 5:57) (Below Threshold)
 @wittereus: NOBL, we are one, bontrager, roval....
  • 6 1
 @goflowz @js11: we are one wheelset with dt350 hubs is 1300, nobl is about the same, i don't care to research bont or roval because i'd never put a large company's house brand on my bike. you could probably do some off brand crap rim if you want for under this price, but I think your statement is off about a custom carbon set under $850.
  • 10 1
 @js11: Not even close. These are $850, the rest start at $1200.

Nexties and Light Bicycle definitely come in at those prices, but the crash replacement is pretty much worthless.
  • 5 2
 @js11: So not only did you fail to correctly "Let me google that for you", you clearly didn't bother to look up pricing yourself. I stand by my statement, the Chinese knockoffs with no crash warranty of any use start at $850. The rest, including Roval, start at $1200.

Sure, you can buy the Bontragers but seeing as several reviews have had numerous failures, I'm gonna put them in the category with Nextie and Light Bicycle.
  • 1 6
flag js11 (Apr 9, 2019 at 9:43) (Below Threshold)
 @ratedgg13: roval 27.5s with the non series roval hubs are not 1200. go to your dealer and unf*ck yourself.
  • 1 0
 @js11: try using your eyes:
Traverse carbon is $1200.
  • 1 0
 @ratedgg13: Nextie gave me a crash replacement rim without hassle. It wasn't free but the rim warranty was well expired.
  • 1 1

you can find roval traverse fattie SL carbons all day at the 500-750$ level..

1530g, 30mm internal, dt240s, and looks like places are selling them with a google search, for $625 right now.
  • 1 0
 @redmr2man: Sure, if you want to compare sales or last year product, that's a different story. My point is that for a brand new, just launched product, that you cannot find a comparable carbon wheel set.
Wait a year, and I'm sure you'll be able to get these on sale for like $500.
  • 1 0
 @ratedgg13: idk man, wider, lighter, better hubs, and carbon, for less $.

In a year, these RF wheels will still be...heavier, narrower, aluminum, and with lower quality hubs. They missed the price point here, clearly.
  • 3 4
 @wittereus: Sadly nobody mentioned these yet.

Their custom alloy wheels (and their carbons) are among some of the best wheels you'll ever buy, and they come in at $1200NZD, which is around the $800USD mark. For the money, I will flat out say, you CANNOT find better wheels. If you have the money and you buy something else, you've done yourself a massive disservice.
  • 1 0
 @Zaff: thanks for the top!
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