I dressed up a Knolly Endorphin with Turbine and put 60+ days on the new Race Face components in North Vancouver, Whistler’s Valley Trails, and then Whitehorse in the Yukon, then Swiss trails in Europe.
Not too much to say here. The anodized finish is sharp. There’s markings on the end if you want to cut the bars. There’s a variety of rises and colours. For 2012, the bars will be a touch wider coming in at 725mm as opposed to the 680mm tested. The bars feel stiff but I have not measured deflection or stiffness so that’s the subjective opinion of a light (160lb) rider. Weights are in-line with other aluminium offerings and if you want lighter you’d have to go carbon (perhaps the SixC).
It’s scientifically proven that gold handlebars are 0.37% stiffer
There’s even less to say about the stem. It’s a basic four bolt design with indicators to help you align the bars. It’s shockingly good-looking.
Perhaps nothing epitomizes CNC’ed sculpted magnificence more than the Turbine stem. Pictures convey what words cannot.
Cranks (3×10 and 2×10)
Turbine SL cranks have a NorAm-sourced Ti spindle saving 45g over the regular Turbine cranks. Many sizes and ring combinations are offered (more on that in the table above). The Race Face rings on these cranks shift without issues (not suffering from chain-suck which characterized some other random RF offerings of yore). This includes some 20 rides on rough Swiss trails; if I were to encounter problems I daresay those trails would have exposed any flaws.
Of note, the Race Face offerings was my first experience with 2×10 and it was a very favourable experience. Sure, you do loose some of the smaller gears so the very steep grinding climbs I often encounter in local BC trails do become a bit more painful but this small downside is more than compensated for by several things. First, it seems to be a better chainline as its easier to tune rub out of the front derailleur. Secondly, the 2×10 has a very natural feel when pedalling in granny. In particular single pivot bikes I put the cranks on seem to have less bob and chain growth when pedalling in granny so I would be less reluctant to use that gear when climbing. Of course there is also another downside in that there is no current bashguard available (that is set to change in 2012) so you have to be more careful around logs and rocks. Also, a slight quibble from a technical perspective is that the chainring bolts are Torx head. I personally am careful with the allen keys when securing equipment and dislike Torx as it means having to keep one more tool around in the backpack. Having said that, a careful person should probably be tightening chainrings before they go biking so perhaps I am being overly picky.
I’ve now had 60+ rides on both the 3×10 and 2×10 Turbine. Visual inspection shows no burrs or signs of excessive wear so this bodes well for longer-term performance.
It’s hard to say much about a bottom bracket since its one of those things you hope to set and forget. Still it’s hard not to marvel that RaceFace could somehow shave 15g of weight from their older X-type BB’s, making the Turbine BB 85g in weight. I note that it’s Race Face’s standard X-type BB with the plastic cover over the bearings; if the bearings seize or need replacing you’d be hard-pressed to remove the cover without tearing it. As the plastic cover forms part of the spacing for the BB if there is a bearing issue repair would be difficult. I draw no conclusions on the longevity of this BB or its performance in wet weather and will update this article with comments if there are issues (goes without saying for all the other Turbine components).
Having said that, Race Face is doing all the right things for BB longevity; factory-filled with Phil Wood grease, Ti-coated bearing races and triple wiper seals. Again, I’ve had 60+ days in abnormally wet BC conditions without issues so my fingers are crossed for long-term performance.
3×10 Turbine cranks with bashguard. BB is (obviously) not pictured
2×10 Turbine cranks (on a Transition Bandit)