TURNER RFX V4.0
Carbon version of a freeride favorite
The RFX was first introduced in 1999 at a time before events like the Red Bull Rampage even existed. That first version was a dedicated freeride machine and usually had a long-travel, double-crown fork; huge tires; and a burly attitude that was meant for hucking off anything, including the roof of your house. Since then, the RFX has been through several versions, refining its personality with each reincarnation.
When Turner decided to stop the production of the iconic RFX back in 2012, diehard RFX fans were sorry to see it go. For the past few years the RFX has been missing from the lineup—until now. The new RFX is a long-travel bike that’s part freeride, part enduro and all Turner.
WHO IS IT MADE FOR?
The RFX started as a dedicated freeride machine, built with 7 inches of travel and meant for hitting gnarly trails. The latest version takes that long-travel capability and adds a lightweight carbon chassis and a more pedal-friendly geometry. The bike is still slack and capable of tackling the steepest of trails, but the new RFX is geared more towards the enduro rider than the park rat. While you could build your new RFX as a park bike, or even a long-travel trailbike with a light-enough parts package, the RFX seems geared towards the rider or racer who wants a little more travel than what your typical 150- or 160-millimeter- travel bike offers.
WHAT IS IT MADE FROM?
The RFX 4.0 is the first long-travel bike from Turner built with carbon. The frame uses Toray high-modulus carbon fiber in the front and rear triangles. The bike is held together with a dw-link suspension design and machined aluminum rockers that ride entirely on cartridge bearings. The bike sports a very slack geometry, with a 65-degree head angle and a 160-millimeter-travel fork. Our test bike with a matched 170-millimeter Lyrik fork was even slacker.
Get the size right: Turner bikes seem to run smaller than some we’ve tested in the past. Our large-sized frame fit our 6-foot test riders well, but anyone taller would want something bigger. Thankfully, Turner also makes an extra-large RFX for the big guys.
The bike also has all the modern amenities you’d expect from a carbon enduro bike. It has a direct-mount front derailleur, a 12×142-millimeter rear axle, a tapered head tube and a clean but fast-looking flat-black finish. Turner chose to use external cable routing throughout, which keeps the ride noticeably quiet and the maintenance easy.
Mechanic’s choice: The RFX has externally routed cables. This might not seem like the right choice for aesthetics, but we can tell you, it’s the right choice for this bike. The routing is smooth and easy to use. It’s also quiet and makes the job of replacing a cable or housing much easier for any home mechanic.
Light and clean: The carbon construction of the front and rear triangles make for a streamlined look that works impressively well and keeps the weight under the 30-pound mark.
WHICH COMPONENTS STAND OUT?
Turner is one of the few companies left that offers its bikes as frames and lets you choose a parts package. Since Turner bikes are also available to you directly through their website, you can tinker with the components to your heart’s content. Our test bike came spec’d with SRAM’s flagship XX1 drivetrain, a RockShox Lyrik fork and Stan’s wheels. All of these components are “industry standard” and did not disappoint during our testing.
The RockShox Monarch Plus shock comes standard with a DebonAir sleeve, which makes the bike feel incredibly plush. It’s as close to a coil shock as you can get and provides a very supple and lively ride when combined with Turner’s dw-link suspension design.
Industry standard: The SRAM XX1 build kit and Guide Ultimate brakes worked flawlessly during testing and would be welcome on any of our test bikes.
HOW DOES IT PERFORM?
Suspension setup: Turner makes setup easy with air-sprung suspension front and rear. We ran a matched 30-percent sag front and rear, which worked perfectly for the aggressive SoCal trails we tested on. The bike is remarkably plush, but can easily be tuned to be more efficient using RockShox Bottomless tokens in the fork and volume spacers in the shock. Our testers were happy using the stock setup, so they didn’t feel the need to tinker.
Weagle-approved: The dw-link may look like the Turner four-bar linkage bikes of the past, but the linkage is more complex than that. Turner’s adaptation of the dw-link design is plush and surprisingly efficient.
Moving out: Turner’s cockpits run on the small side of the spectrum, so a few of our testers felt they could easily go up a frame size. If you find yourself in between sizes, we’d recommend going with the larger size. Our size-large test bike fit true and worked well, but the 6-foot-2 testers who used it easily could have ridden an XL and felt more comfortable.
Climbing: The RFX doesn’t put climbing at the top of its list of priorities, but it will float to the top of the hill with enough gumption. The lightweight parts package and climbing switch on the Monarch shock allow this bike to grind out climbs as long as there’s a strong rider at the controls. The slack geometry works well charging up technical climbs, as long as you let the suspension do the dirty work.
Full enduro: This bike is touted as an enduro specialist. It’s certainly light enough to make it to the top of the climbs, but also has a plush suspension feel that wouldn’t stray away from a few laps in the bike park. For the aggressive rider, this is a bike that can do it all.
Cornering: The 65-degree head angle is impressively aggressive and makes for a bike that’s super stable in high-speed corners. The chainstays are also relatively short, which makes slow-speed maneuvering possible. The bike corners more like a downhill bike than a trailbike, which makes technical cornering a blast on the RFX.
Descending: The impressively supple suspension and slack geometry make this bike excel at descending. This bike is plush and stable in the best ways without sacrificing the nimbleness necessary to ride tight switchbacks. It’s also not afraid to hit a few jumps and drops along the way.
Boostin’ it: The RFX has a playful character that’s at home on trails that feature jumps and gaps. Feel free to take it on the rowdy lines.
TRICKS, UPGRADES OR TIPS?
The external cable routing might not be as streamlined- looking as an internal option, but we applaud Turner for using it. The routing is spot-on, easy to use and impressively quiet on the trail. Our test bike came with a RockShox Lyrik fork, but you could easily go with the lighter Pike chassis and not lose stiffness or compromise geometry. To us, the Lyrik seems like a bigger fork than the RFX was meant to handle. That said, though, the plush rear suspension felt well-matched to the Lyrik’s forgiveness for the rider looking for a daily driver/park bike rather than an enduro race machine.
The Turner RFX is as much at home turning laps in the bike park as it is on the enduro racetrack. The suspension is tuned to meet the needs of the most aggressive riders, which also makes it a great candidate for the park rider who wants a bit of trail riding in the mix. The simple, no-frills design will appeal to those who appreciate the details in the finish quality and suspension tuning done long before this bike ever hit the dirt. The new RFX was a long time coming but well worth the wait.
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