The Race Face Turbine R dropper appears to be a solid alternative for riders searching for one of the best dropper posts due to its stealthy, unassuming design, internals sourced from an industry leader and appealing price. However, not everything is perfect, with a few small drawbacks impacting the overall appeal.
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Race Face makes no secret of the fact that the Turbine R's internals are based on the Fox Transfer, with clear markings on the exterior of the post. Because Race Face and Fox are owned by the same parent company (Fox Factory Holding Corp), it's not surprising that the new Turbine R seatpost uses the same internals as one of the most popular dropper posts on the market.
Race Face Turbine R Dropper Seatpost – Technical details
The seatpost is available in 100mm, 125mm, 150mm, 175mm, and 200mm drops, with diameters of 30.9 and 31.6mm. The seatpost does not come with a lever but Race Face offers an under-the-bar shifter style 1x Dropper Lever or the Universal Lever. It can be mounted on either side of the handlebar and is more suited to 2x drivetrains or, in my case, a bike with a suspension lockout lever. Whichever lever you choose, both require an inner and outer gear cable, which is disappointing given the high price tag.
The post pictured here has a 125mm drop and 31.6mm diameter and weighed 536g on my scale. The lever adds 30g and, when you factor in the cables, the total weight will be just over 600g, making it comparable with its competitors. Unsurprisingly, the Fox Transfer SL, which we are also testing, weighs 534g in the same size.
Measurements for the different options are:
100mm drop: 309mm rail to bottom, 100mm minimum insertion.
125mm drop: 363mm rail to bottom, 100mm minimum insertion.
150mm drop: 418mm rail to bottom, 100mm minimum insertion.
175mm drop: 475mm rail to bottom, 100mm minimum insertion.
200mm drop: 531mm rail to bottom, 150mm minimum insertion.
Each drop size is fixed, with no option or ability to change the drop, as some other dropper seatposts are able to do.
Race Face Turbine R Dropper Seatpost – Installation
Fitting and installation were fairly simple. With the cable secured at the lever end, it's easier to cut both inner and outer cables to length. Just be careful of the tiny bolt that secures the cable (2mm Allen key, ensuring you use a good quality tool to avoid it from rounding or stripping.
The saddle clamp is the same as the Fox Transfer, with a unique pain-free setup. With a low stack height (44mm) it might allow you to fit a longer travel seatpost than some other brand options, though it doesn't drop quite as low as the recently tested Wolf Tooth Resolve, (32mm) (currently the lowest option on the market).
With the seatpost installed, there was a significant amount of play in the saddle before the first ride and, while some movement is normal, it is noticeably more than others, including the Fox Transfer SL, which is surprising since the internals should be identical.
The post moves smoothly, with little friction between the lever and cable, giving in a swift and smooth drop. The return is rapid with a definite whack as it tops out giving it a brutal feel.
The amount of movement at the saddle has been constant and has not increased but, otherwise, the seatpost has been reliable and trouble-free. Despite being used in all conditions, including places with very sandy, gritty soil, the seal has remained clean and the shaft has no scratches or obvious wear.
Because the cartridge internals are filled with nitrogen and pressurised to 400psi repair and maintenance are best left to experts with the necessary skills and knowledge. The seatpost has proven to be reliable and durable in all conditions, which should mean that servicing will hopefully not be needed often, with current UK service costs set at £109.
The Race Face Universal lever has a slightly larger thumb area than the Fox and a different cable clamp placement. The rough surface of the metal lever makes it easy to use in any kind of weather, with or without gloves. The Fox lever has a smaller area, a somewhat different shape and a different cable access and cinch bolt. They're probably interchangeable if you like one over the other.
Race Face Turbine R Dropper Seatpost - Verdict
The Turbine R costs £380, plus £85 for the Universal lever or £90 for the 1x lever option, making it an expensive purchase. The Fox Transfer SL with Kashima coating is £440 for the post and £80 for either lever. The internals may be the same but the amount of play in the saddle is more than I believe riders want and this certainly impacts the value.
Riders searching for a lightweight option could choose the PRO Tharsis 3Five dropper, which has less travel at 100mm but is about 100g lighter and, while it is currently priced at £320, it is still a cheaper option.
The Race Face Turbine R Dropper Seatpost delivers nothing new or unique and its high price makes it difficult to justify. If budget is a factor, there are plenty of less expensive droppers, with the PNW Loam being Liam's favourite. The Turbine R has considerable saddle play, no travel adjustment and a weight that places it in the middle of the pack. It may be slightly less than the Transfer SL but not by enough to separate itself from the competitors.