The RaceFace Aeffect R wheels bring some of the brand's high-tech features into a more accessibly-priced package
Race Face’s latest Aeffect R wheelset incorporates some of the brand’s higher price tech into a more affordable complete package. Most obvious in terms of looks are the asymmetric rims, with their flat profile and 30mm internal width.
Made from 6069 aluminium, these Aeffect R rims use a 4.5mm offset spoke bed to provide spoke tension balance and increase wheel stiffness. Drilling the centre holes out of line means spokes can run a more uniform tension. But it also means the tubeless valves need special offset wedge spacers to form an airtight seal.
Like many of Race Face’s newer-generation products, there’s a big focus on reliability. It’s reflected in a mid-pack overall weight and a more robust, but slower engaging freehub inside the latest Trace hubs. With a steel axle and larger bearing race diameters, these new oversized hubs also lean towards durability, and are compatible with both HG, Microspline, and XD driver bodies.
A four-pawl freehub design (similar to Nukeproof’s Neutrons) has 36 points of engagement for a 10º pick up. It’s not particularly rapid after a gear change or pause, but this was only a problem on rare moments looking to find grip on janky technical climbs, or when lifting the bike up steps and ledges with a slow cadence and high torque.
The Aeffect R’s use 28 Sapim spokes at each end, which is less than some equivalent wheels, but they never felt soft or flexy as a result. Actually, this is one of the most solid and direct feeling packages in the test. Spokes are double-butted to save weight, and laced three-cross, so there’s more overlap for a theoretically stiffer build, but the rims must be sturdy too, as there’s no twanginess, even when slamming berms or schralping ruts. You get five spare spokes thrown in, and the black brass nipples are less likely to get chewed up than lighter alloy nipples.
Zippy and solid without ever being too stiff and jarring, these Aeffect Rs feel slightly faster and tauter than the budget Nukeproof Neutrons, but we struggled to tell much difference against Hope’s Fortus SCs, beyond Race Face’s slower engagement. With the asymmetric rims and chunky hubs, they look really high-end too, but having stickers rather than etched logos on the rims means they can get damaged and look tatty a bit quicker.
As far as durability goes, after several noisy rim strikes on rocks, there was no damage or dents and there were no broken spokes. With plenty of confidence in their toughness, we’d consider these wheels as a good option for a heavier rider or one that abuses their kit.
How do these stack up against the competition? Check out our guide to the best mountain bike wheels we’ve tried and tested. Pop on a set of the best mountain bike tyres for the purpose and conditions you’re riding in, then head out on the trails.
Despite the Aeffect Rs riding really well, and costing less, Hope’s Pro5 wheels are faster engaging. Other close rivals, such as Nukeproof’s Horizon wheels, are cheaper. Or you could enjoy a decent weight saving with Hunt’s less comfy XC Wides if you’re a lighter rider. But while you pay a slight premium for the Race Face Aeffect Rs, there’s still a lot to like about these solid and tough wheels.