by Lee Trumpore
e*thirteen has embraced the rising popularity of all-mountain bikes and enduro racing by designing components specifically for the unique needs of each. With the TRSr crankset (short for TRS Race) they’ve taken this a step further by eliminating a traditional triple-ring setup and spider in favor of a unique one piece, interchangeable one or two-ring design.
TRSr Crank Highlights
- Spiderless chainrings shave grams and efficiently transfer power
- Uses integrated Guidering that can be interchanged with other single or integrated shift rings
- Exalite R forged material
- Single ring: 28, 30, 32, 34, 36-tooth options // Double: 22/36, 24/38 options
- Spindle: P3 Connect - oversized 30mm TiNi coated aluminum spindle
- APS (Adaptive Preload System) eliminates need for washers and spacers
- BB/Guidering tool included
- 170, 175, or 180mm lengths
- 73mm BB width*
- Black with red spindle
- 665 grams with 34-tooth ring and threaded BB
- MSRP $370
*Requires separate purchase of specific 30mm e*thirteen bottom bracket
Rather than adapt an existing XC or DH crank to meet the needs of riders looking for strong, lightweight single or double-ring setup, e*thirteen engineers decided to design an entirely new crankset. The resulting TRSr is intended to be everything an enduro racer or all-mountain shredder needs with nothing they don’t. This meant eliminating the smallest ring and mounting the remaining ring (or rings) directly to the 30mm spindle rather than to a traditional 4-bolt spider found on other cranks. The result is a lightweight crank that doesn’t sacrifice strength or stiffness.
Finish quality and attention to detail are what I would expect from a crank costing $370, but it is the simplicity of the design, refinement, and clean lines that really stand out. There are no bolts, spacers, washers, or other bits to fiddle with. Aesthetics are a personal preference but I really like the minimalist looks of the spiderless design. Depending on how old you are it might even have a certain retro feel.
Installation took a matter of minutes, aided tremendously with the new APS system built in to the non-driveside crank arm. Previous e*thirteen cranks required a series of spacers and wave washers to properly preload the bottom bracket bearings and this often necessitated several installations and removals to get everything just right. The new design utilizes a spring loaded threaded collar that is simply rotated once the crank arm is installed and does the same job in just seconds.
On The Trail
Seven weeks of hard riding has proven these cranks to be impressively stiff under foot. Multiple impacts with rocks and a few trees has resulted only in expected cosmetic damage. Even with some DH-level abuse, they have been nothing but impressive, remaining straight, tight, and trouble free for the duration of the testing period. I also appreciated that the bottom bracket ball bearings can be removed, cleaned, and re-greased easily. Being rainy season here in Taipei, this feature certainly adds to the lifespan of one of the most abused components on my bike.
I tested a 30-tooth single Guidering setup only (the pre-production ‘M’ version) and it is still running straight and true with no signs of premature wear. Despite the lousy weather the interface has remained creak free, something that can’t always be said for traditional bolt/spider setups that can be prone to making all kinds of noises after a few proper thrashings in the muck.
Things That Could Be Improved
There isn’t much to complain about really as these cranks have proven to be every bit as good on dirt as they sound on paper. But I’m not a huge fan of the crank bolt. I put a nice dent in mine with a rock and for aesthetic reasons tried to replace it with one of several others I had lying around only to discover that none were the same thread size as the one on the TRSr. Removal of the arm also requires the use of either a traditional puller or special removal bolt supplied with the crank. Personally I’d love to see the move to a self-extracting design similar what is being used by other manufacturers. This is surely splitting hairs a bit, but I’ll take any chance I get to ditch another tool from my toolbox.
Long Term Durability
Seven weeks isn't long enough to truly evaluate wear and tear, but there has been no cause for alarm thus far. Nothing has come loose, no odd noises have developed, and the finish has held up as I’d expect given the conditions I’ve been riding in. I’m continuing to test these cranks throughout the Summer, particularly to evaluate the durability of the new Modified Guidering, and I very much expect they will continue to remain trouble free.
What's The Bottom Line?
e*thirteen has a winner with the TRSr cranks. They are stiff, strong, refined, and well thought out. On top of that, at 665g with a bottom bracket they are in the same class as Shimano XTR and other lightweight favorites. Installation couldn't be simpler and unnecessary maintenance has been, well, unnecessary. If you are a 2x10, 1x10, or 1x11 rider you really cannot go wrong with the TRSr crank. With single rings ranging from 28-36 teeth, you’re certain to be able to dial in a setup that works well regardless of your given fitness or choice of terrain.
For more info on the TRSr line, visit www.bythehive.com.
About The Reviewer
Lee Trumpore has been riding bikes for more than 20 years on just about every material and technology the bike industry has come up with. In more than a decade of professional DH racing, Lee won a Collegiate National Championship and was a mainstay at major North American races as well as occasionally snagging a last page result in the World Cup series. Testing prototype components and suspension setups was common during his racing days. He has a smooth, light style on the bike even while holding it wide open. An East Coast native, his favorite trails are fast and flowing technical descents with as many corners as possible and just enough moisture to keep things interesting. Nowadays, rather than racing the clock, he'd rather enjoy a rad descent after a hard pedal to the top. A closet nerd with a Master's degree in education policy Lee currently lives in Taipei, Taiwan where he splits his time teaching mathematics to the next generation of computer geniuses and behind the lens as a photo mercenary for VitalMTB and other industry clients.