Turner RFX 4.0 long term review

27.5 wheels, 160mm travel, carbon frame in a well-sorted package

27.5 Enduro
The Turner RFX.

The Turner RFX (click to enlarge).

Lowdown: Turner RFX 4.0

You may not have heard much from Turner in recent years, but make no mistake, the brand hasn’t lost their touch. The new RFX is as capable downhill as it is pointed up, which makes it one of our favorite bikes in the category.

Stat Box
Build: XX1, w/ Stans Team Flow Wheel size: 27.5
Best use: Shredding the Gnar Price as tested: $6,534
Frame material: Carbon Rating: 5 Flamin' Chili Peppers 5 out of 5
Rear travel: 160mm (6.3”)

Pluses
Minuses
  • Stable at speed, yet still playful
  • Tall front end
  • Geometry is highly customizable
  • Finicky dropper post routing
  • Bottomless feel
  • We don’t own one

Review: Turner RFX 4.0

Turner bikes was founded in 1994 and over the next two decades, the brand consistently produced winning designs that have generated an almost cult-like following. However in recent years, for whatever reason, the brand’s popularity has decreased in our backyard. Where before you might see a half dozen Burners or 5spots over the course of a weekend, its representation on our local trails Santa Cruz trails has declined. And that’s a shame, because the new Turner RFX is one of the best new bikes released this year.

The frame is targeted towards the enduro end of the spectrum with 160mm of travel, and a slack 66 degree head tube angle in its stock configuration, but those numbers don’t paint the whole picture. Despite its bomber tendencies, the RFX is also more efficient in and out of the saddle than the several of short travel trail bikes we’ve recently tested.

Dave Weagle delivers again.

Dave Weagle delivers again (click to enlarge).

The secret to its pedaling efficiency is the DW-Link suspension system, which controls pedal bob so well that despite a low 13.4” BB, the RFX rarely suffers from pedal strikes.

Big bars, short stem. Dialed.

Big bars, short stem. Dialed (click to enlarge).

The geometry is also highly configurable. All frames ship with an angleset that allows the head tube angle to be adjusted upto 1 degrees in 0.5 degree increments. Want to slay the gnarliest tracks at the bike park? Set the chips to 65 degrees. Need something more nimble for your local race series? Steepen the fork and in under ten minutes you’ll have a long-legged trail bike.

Almost every Monarch shock we’ve ridden has a tendency to spew oil, yet that has never negatively impacted performance.

Almost every Monarch shock we’ve ridden has a tendency to spew oil, yet that has never negatively impacted performance (click to enlarge).

Continue to page 2 for the rest of the review and a full photo gallery »

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Comments:

  • Philo says:

    Would you say this bike rides similarly to a VP Free? Geo looks similar. That bike would bomb anything also, but proved a bit too much on the uphills to become my only bike.

    • Saris Mercanti says:

      Hey Philo, the VP Free was a great bike when it was released in 2003, but technology has come along way since then! I know it’s been said before, but these new 160mm travel bikes are just as capable as downhill rigs from a few years ago, but can actually be pedaled uphill. The ultra slack head tube angles make them a little tricky up really steep sections and you may clip a pedal due to the low BB’s on certain bikes (the Nomad comes to mind), but you could totally make something like the RFX work as your only bike.

      • Philo says:

        Thanks for the reply. I know much has changed since that bike, but it’s really my only experience with riding a bike with similar geometry. I honestly didn’t think Santa Cruz’s suspension design has changed much since then….shock technology, yes. My current rig is an aging 5-Spot with the Horst link. Sooooo much has changed since that bike came out.

      • Jeff says:

        The RFX in stock form actually has a fairly moderate head tube angle that still provides nimble handling for trail riding. As you stated, many “enduro” bikes with super slack head tube angles become a handful to ride when they are not going Mach 2 downhill, but the RFX doesn’t fall into that category. With the Angleset headset and a longer fork (up to 180 mm) allowing the headtube angle to be slackened out to 65 degrees, the RFX can be made much slower steering, but the stock 66 degree headtube angle allows the RFX to remain sweet handling and lively at normal trail riding speeds.

    • Jeff says:

      The RFX is rock solid going downhill, but with solid pedal feel that the dw-link suspension provides, climbs as well as many 120mm travel bikes.

  • Butters says:

    What does this mean? “Almost every Monarch shock we’ve ridden has a tendency to spew oil, yet that has never negatively impacted performance”. Are you saying that a shock losing oil (presumably from the damper) still works fine??? Is damper oil leaking common to all Monarchs in your experience, or are you talking about a bit of excess lube seepage from the air can?

    • Randy Collette says:

      I think it would be safe to assume that is just a little air can lubricant. If it were the damper it would absolutely affect performance. The air can has a dust wiper right there. It’s not an oil seal. They lubricate that during installation and it can seep out a little. That caption was a pretty terrible way of explaining the photo.

  • Ralph says:

    Hey, now, how ’bout answering Butters’ question there, eh?

  • J says:

    Turner has a 100mm option and this 160mm option (minus the Sultan which is discontinued??). Is there not an option in the middle for us “trail” riders?

  • Anonymoose says:

    J – Since they are blowing out the aluminium Sultans I am betting they are going to be coming out with a carbon version. Maybe we’ll see something at Sea Otter….

  • Jeff says:

    What was the weight of the tested bike?

  • Pip Hancox says:

    I’ve owned my RFX for a couple of months now and while I also own other more XC suited bikes, the RFX gets my vote for pretty much every ride these days. Unbelievable all-rounder.

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