e*thirteen TRS+ Cassette

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e*thirteen TRS+ Cassette TRS  11-speed 9-46 tooth
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Torture Tested: Over 84 Miles & 11,000 Feet of Elevation Gain on the New e*thirteen TRS+ 11-Speed 9-46 Tooth Cassette

How do you put a brand new cassette through a proper first test? 84 muddy, awesome miles.

Torture Tested: Over 84 Miles & 11,000 Feet of Elevation Gain on the New e*thirteen TRS+ 11-Speed 9-46 Tooth Cassette

For the last year some friends and I have been toying with the idea of riding the Colorado Trail from Molas Pass to Durango – a ride actually deserving of the word "epic." Three weeks ago we made the high-country adventure happen. We planned to tackle the beast over two days with a sag-wagon full of friends and post-ride libations to meet us in the middle.

The day before we began everyone was busy ensuring their rides were ready for the challenge. "Did you swap out that 34-tooth ring?" "Damn straight, I'll take every advantage I can get!" replied my buddy, Nate Work, who, just days earlier, was rocking an aging 11-speed drivetrain cobbled Read More »

For the last year some friends and I have been toying with the idea of riding the Colorado Trail from Molas Pass to Durango – a ride actually deserving of the word "epic." Three weeks ago we made the high-country adventure happen. We planned to tackle the beast over two days with a sag-wagon full of friends and post-ride libations to meet us in the middle.

The day before we began everyone was busy ensuring their rides were ready for the challenge. "Did you swap out that 34-tooth ring?" "Damn straight, I'll take every advantage I can get!" replied my buddy, Nate Work, who, just days earlier, was rocking an aging 11-speed drivetrain cobbled together with a mixture of component brands that would make the big two cringe. I silently agreed, too ashamed to admit that I had just installed a 500% range SRAM Eagle drivetrain on my bike. Then it dawned on me. "Hook a brother up!"

I had just received e*thirteen's new TRS+ cassette, an easy swap for Nate's 11-speed SRAM cassette and worked with his Shimano XT derailleur. Little did I know, combined with his new smaller chainring I had just created a high-country weapon. Nate would go on to outride all of us on some of the most breathtaking climbs we've ever attempted.

Highlights

  • 9-46 teeth
  • 511% gear range
  • 9-10-12-14-17-20-24-28-33-39-46 tooth counts
  • Works with 11-speed SRAM and Shimano drivetrains
  • Requires SRAM XD driver body
  • Individually replaceable aluminum and heat-treated cromoly steel clusters
  • Includes lockring, lockring tool, and grease packet
  • Weight: 339g (0.75-pounds)
  • MSRP: $249 / €269
  • Available now

Previously unavailable at this price point and just a hair heavier than the existing TRS Race version, the TRS+ 11-speed cassette offers a huge 511% gear range. That's 11% more than Eagle, even. It'd be helpful to have some added range since Nate was riding a proper full-squish Transition Patrol in anticipation of some great descents. Compared to e*thirteen's existing 11-speed 9-46 TRSr cassette, the TRS+ is just 36g heavier and $100 less.

Even during a busy day running around like a chicken with its head cut off while dialing in final details and assembling camping gear, installation wasn't a big deal and took just minutes to complete. Simply remove the old cassette, clean things up, install the three large aluminum cogs, tighten down the lockring on a SRAM XD driver body with the included tool, then lock the remaining eight steel cogs into place with a chain whip. The part that took longest was ensuring the thin lockring wasn't cross-threaded. Per e*thirteen's recommendation, we were liberal with grease on the locking slots. After a quick readjustment of his b-tension screw, Nate's ride was ready to rock and shifted well in every gear.

On The Trail

If we're honest, my buddies and I are 12-18 mile riders. We usually smash hard and call it before we're drooling all over ourselves. The thought of two 40+ mile days at elevations entering the 12,000-foot range multiple times was daunting to all of us, but we were up for a challenge and wanted to check this ride off the bucket list. Slow and steady was to be our approach.

Day one began with a pre-dawn shuttle up the Million Dollar Highway to Molas Pass, not far from Silverton, Colorado. We could see our breath as we exited the truck and got our gear in order, socked in by clouds gently drizzling overhead. With a wheelie for the camera on the way out of the trailhead parking lot, we were off into the backcountry. Spin, spin, spin...

Heading up! Early on in the adventure.

Like any good adventure calls for, the elements had to have their say. Between the rain and the bar-height skunk cabbage water bombs we were soaked by the time we were just two miles in, setting the tone for much of the ride. We pedaled through puddle after puddle, and I remember chuckling after realizing how laughable it was for me to think one miniature bottle of chain lube would see us through. "Product testing?" "Haha. I guess so."

As my wrinkled toes would attest, I've never been rained on so much in my life. Conditions throughout both days alternated from blind "I hope there isn't a giant rock in this massive puddle!" splashing to "holy crap, riding through this marsh is slooooooow." Thankfully the rocky soil remained pedal-able. We'd part mini seas hundreds of times, and by the time we were 20-miles in on day one all of our bikes sounded wretched. The grinding noises our drivetrains were making were cringe-worthy.

Desperate times.

Like any country boy, Nate has a lot of good ideas. For example, when our hands were freezing after getting hailed on for thirty minutes and then rallying a long descent, he had the stroke of genius to reach down and grab his brake calipers. Turns out they make an amazing pair of hand-warmers in a pinch. He also had the stroke of brilliance to dunk our bikes in a random lake, cleaning the drivetrains. There wasn't a chance in hell any chain lube was left at that point anyway. For day two we'd wise up and bring a rag and an entire bottle of lube.

Gaining miles. Almost to Indian Ridge.

I'd watch Nate disappear into the distance multiple times during the two days. The guy was CRUSHING some grueling ascents, earning the unofficial First-to-the-Top Badass award over and over. Rolling Mountain? No biggie, he was up there having a snack and casually taking photos by the time the rest of us windbags arrived. Bolam Pass? He was so far into a conversation with a hiker by the time we caught up I couldn't interject. Blackhawk Pass? "Later dudes!" Paired with a 28-tooth chainring, Nate was in spin-to-win heaven.

Ascending Blackhawk Pass. That little spec at the top right is an already-frigged Nate.

Little baby chainring and all, with 511% gear range on tap he was right there with us when speeds picked up big time on some of Colorado's most well-earned descents.

As we pedaled the final few miles into town we passed an electronic speed limit sign designed to slow people as they enter city limits. It clocked us at 27mph. Fueled by the stoke of what we'd achieved, without a word Nate and I simultaneously mashed hard on the cranks until our speed blinked back at us and we were officially eligible for speeding tickets.

Victory burrito and beer in hand, we both chuckled at what this cassette had just endured for its "first ride" experience. Guess what? Nate had no shifting issues, never once said anything about odd gearing jumps, experienced no creaking, and the cassette showed a minimal amount of wear. The only major difference is just slightly slower shifts. I'd call that a win.

Trip Totals

  • 2 days
  • 84.1 miles
  • 11,022 feet of elevation gain
  • 17,800 feet of elevation loss
  • All the rain
  • Just 3 amazing hours of sunshine
  • 30+ streams crossed
  • 300+ puddles smashed
  • 3 multi-mile mud bogs
  • 0.25 ounces of chain lube used by the group on day one
  • 1.5 ounces of chain lube used by the group on day two
  • 7 massive mountains Nate reached the top of first
  • 2 mega high-country climbs Nate rode that no one else could muster
  • A lifetime of incredible views
  • 15 times the author pulled over for a "photo break"
  • Plenty of campfire beers
  • 4 pairs of shoes that never fully dried out by the fire
  • About a bajillion circles
  • Nate's estimated value assessment for the new $249 e*thirteen TRS+ cassette: "Worth it."

Visit www.bythehive.com for more details.


About The Tester

Nate Work - Recipient of the unofficial 2017 First-to-the-Top Badass award and inventor of the backcountry hand warmer, Nate is one of the fastest guys we know on an off-road motocross bike and occasionally picks up his pedal rig. His award is fitting though, because he's a natural talent on two wheels with a history in BMX and downhill racing. He did just one short "training ride" in preparation for this Colorado Trail adventure.

Words and photos by Brandon Turman

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Tested: e*thirteen TRS+ 10 & 11-Speed Cassettes

Rating: Vital Review

Review by Evan Turpen // Action Photos by Joel Harwood, Product Photos by AJ Barlas and Evan Turpen

Over the last 20 years there have been incredible changes in mountain bike technology, but drivetrain technology still seems to change at a snail’s pace. We’ve only added three additional cogs to our cassettes in that 20 year span. Gearboxes are the potential holy grail of durability, gear range, and weight placement, but they may never be ready for the mainstream yet. Narrow-wide chainrings, clutch-equipped derailleurs, and add-on cassette expanders are recent steps towards greater performance, but consumers still want more. There seems to be Read More »

Review by Evan Turpen // Action Photos by Joel Harwood, Product Photos by AJ Barlas and Evan Turpen

Over the last 20 years there have been incredible changes in mountain bike technology, but drivetrain technology still seems to change at a snail’s pace. We’ve only added three additional cogs to our cassettes in that 20 year span. Gearboxes are the potential holy grail of durability, gear range, and weight placement, but they may never be ready for the mainstream yet. Narrow-wide chainrings, clutch-equipped derailleurs, and add-on cassette expanders are recent steps towards greater performance, but consumers still want more. There seems to be an overwhelming consensus that we need more gear range than what’s currently on offer as indicated by all of the aftermarket products trying to capitalize on this.

Most companies have taken baby steps towards wider gear range, but all of these options are somewhat give-take and compromise one thing (or multiple things) in order to achieve another. Instead of taking the slow and steady approach, e*thirteen decided to catapult themselves ahead with their freshly released 9-42t 10-speed and 9-44t 11-speed cassettes. Utilizing the readily available XD Driver as their design’s platform makes this a bolt-on, turn-key upgrade for customers.

e*thirteen TRS+ Cassette Features

  • Material: EXA+ Alloy and Heat-Treated Chromoly Steel
  • Drivetrain: 1 or 2x10 or 11sp
  • Cog Sizes 10sp: 9-10-12-14-17-20-24-28-35-42
  • Cog Sizes 11sp:9-10-12-14-17-20-24-28-32-38-44
  • Utilizes current XD Driver mounting standard
  • Maintains the range of a 2x system, but in a 1x package
  • Compatible with SRAM and Shimano shifting systems
  • Colors: Black
  • Weight: 10sp 300g, 11sp 320g
  • Lockring, lockring tool and grease packet included with purchase
  • MSRP: $279 USD

Initial Impressions

The e*thirteen TRS+ cassette is a beautifully machined and engineered piece of kit. From the shifting ramps to laser-etched finishing logos, there’s no expense spared. For this review we tested both the 11-speed and 10-speed cassette. The 1x11 cassette was installed with an entirely new SRAM chain, X01 derailleur, GX shifter and fresh cable and housing. The only old piece of equipment was the 34-tooth narrow-wide front ring which didn’t have enough wear to justify replacement. The10-speed cassette was installed on a different bike and replaced an 11-36t 1x10 Shimano setup. Being very familiar with the shifting performance and gear range on both bikes was a great baseline to compare the various setups.

Previously the widest gear range available was SRAM’s tried-and-true 10-42t 11-speed cassette which offers a 420% range. Compare that to the older 10-speed standard 11-36 cassette, with its 327% range, and that extra 93% seems to nearly satisfy everyone’s needs. We say nearly because even though a 420% range is very wide, there are still situations where an even wider range could be beneficial. Specifically, very high-speed descents and very steep, extended climbs. This is MOUNTAIN biking after all, and what goes up must come down. By squeaking in a 9-tooth and 44-tooth cog, e*thirteen bumped 1x11 gear range up another 69% to the current all-time high of 489%.

To make the 9-tooth cog possible, e*thirteen had to think outside the box and ditch the one limiting factor, the standard splined cassette tool. They did this by breaking the design of the cassette up into multiple pieces. First you must install the single-block CNC-machined alloy piece, which is your three biggest cogs, utilizing the XD Driver splines and e*thirteen’s supplied tool for mounting.

Then things get a little complicated. In order to install the remaining eight gears (which for simplicity come as one complete interlocked piece from e*thirteen) you have to carefully line up the backside of the smaller cassette cluster with the exposed front side of the three largest cogs. There are small notched interfaces that need to be aligned before a chain whip can be used on the lower eight cogs to rotate them clockwise (to a stop), locking all 11 gears together as one. To aid with this there is a laser-etched arrow on the lower eight cogs that is used to align with the locked and unlocked symbols on the upper three cogs. Once installed, the lower eight gears transfer all of their torque up into the upper three cogs which then transfers the torque to the splined XD Driver and eventually to your wheel. Seems complicated, but it works, and that’s all you need to know.

A quick animation from e*thirteen illustrating the install process.

In order to remove the cassette you either need two chain whips (which most people don’t have) or to simply shift your chain to one of the largest three cogs with your wheel still on the bike, then use pressure at the pedals to counter the force of unlocking the lower eight cogs with a counter-clockwise rotation of your chain whip.

With the cassette installed make sure your shifting and b-tension adjustments are properly set. Our setup needed no additional tweaking. We found the shifting performance of the e*thirteen TRS+ cassette is entirely on-par with SRAM’s own offerings. Not better. Not worse. Just the same, which is good.

On The Trail

The first time pedaling the road to our local trails became somewhat of a learning experience. Instead of double shifting when accelerating from a stop, the larger gear jumps require single shifts. On the road this can sometimes be annoying as certain situations had us feeling like the ideal gear we wanted was in-between the gears available. While less shifting is required with the e*thirteen cassette, we had to adjust to slightly changing our typical cadence range, both higher and lower, to accommodate the larger gearing jumps. Winding each gear out a little further before making the shift was all it took for things to become a bit more natural.

Once on the trail, the larger gear jumps are no longer an issue and actually seem advantageous on certain sections. When encountering a steep, punchy climb mid-trail, we didn’t have to frantically shift half way across the cassette to find the appropriate gear. Just a few clicks would do. While climbing very steep sections of fire-road and trail, the 44-tooth cog was a welcomed change. It gave us the ability to spin just a little bit faster and easier up the climb. Once pointed downhill we almost never found ourselves using the 9-tooth cog. Perhaps we could have gone with a smaller front chainring such as a 30 or 32-tooth to really take advantage of easier climbing gears without any loss of top-end speed compared to our prior setup.

Surprisingly, the drivetrain was nice and quiet on our first few rides, even when in the 9-tooth cog. It was so quiet in fact, that a friend riding behind us on our first ride complimented on our drivetrain’s lack of noise. However, this changed after a few rides and we started hearing a slight ticking sound that was only audible while pedaling in certain gears. It sounded as if the shifting was slightly out of adjustment, but no matter what we did we couldn’t get the noise to go away, except by shifting into the upper-three cogs where the noise would magically disappear.

While we may not be rocket scientists, we are pretty mechanically inclined. After removing and inspecting the cassette, we noticed a bit of wear to the outermost edge of the XD Driver. While this so early is a bit disconcerting, after applying liberal amounts of waterproof grease and reinstalling the cassette, the noise never returned.

Besides the phantom noise issue we experienced early on, we found the added range of the e*thirteen TRS+ was an improvement over our previous setup. We'll likely be switching over to a 32t front ring once our current 34t wears out. This will allow us to use the full range of the cassette and give us a bit more ground clearance. But even with the 34t currently being used, we found the added range and gear-jumps to be beneficial to our ride.

Long Term Durability

We can’t foresee any long-term issues with the e*thirteen cassette. Even if the upper three cogs do wear out prematurely (as they are made out of aluminum instead of steel) they can be replaced individually. In fact, all three different sections can be replaced individually, depending on where you spend most of your time in your cassette. This is a nice change from having to scrap the entire cassette if something as small as one tooth is damaged. While we did have the noise issue early on in our test, the problem seems to be resolved and we haven’t noticed any further wear to the XD Driver.

Things That Could Be Improved

Noise: e*thirteen could take a small lesson from SRAM’s original XD cassette design and put in some kind of isolator between the inside of the eight steel cogs and the XD Diver’s metal surface. A simple nylon or delrin sleeve towards the outer end of the inside of the cassette could stop the creaking issues and wear that we experienced on our XD Driver/cassette interface. Perhaps this would be impossible with the dimensional limitations of the smaller 9-tooth cog, but we’re hoping this isn’t the case. Maybe teflon tape would be a quick fix?

Gear Jumps: Nothing really can be done about the larger gear jumps so we’re just going to give them a pass here. They seem to have done the best they could do selecting appropriate cogs to fill the gaps between the 44t and the 9t cogs.

Rust: Rust was something that seemed to appear quite quickly on the steel teeth as they wore. We tested the TRS+ cassette in a humid coastal environment and most, if not all, of the rides were wet and muddy. But, it still seemed to rust at a much quicker rate than the SRAM cassette it replaced. While performance never degraded, it would be nice to see some future efforts towards maximizing its corrosion resistance.

What’s The Bottom Line?

e*thirteen has created a product that expands the possibilities of 1x10 and 1x11 drivetrains to new heights and ticks the all-important boxes of gear range, durability, shifting performance and weight. Throughout the duration of this review, shifting performance remained consistent with no issues. Despite the rust issue we mentioned above, wear and tear seemed close to on par with other industry-standard cassettes.

As long as you don’t mind cleaning and greasing your cassette’s mounting interfaces at a more frequent than normal interval, the benefits of this cassette far outweigh the negatives. e*thirteen has a winner here that, with minor improvements, could very well earn the coveted 5-star rating.

For more information, go to bythehive.com


About The Reviewer

Evan Turpen has been racing mountain bikes for over 15 years. He raced downhill as a pro for the last nine years with his career highlight being selected to represent the U.S. in the 2006 World Championships. More recently he can be found competing in enduro races and having a blast with it. He is an aggressive yet smooth rider who loves to flick the bike around to put it on the fastest line or to smooth out the rough sections. Fast flowy trails and long technical descents (Garbanzo style) are his favorite. With an extensive knowledge of the mountain bike industry and its technologies, Evan is able to take all things in to perspective during a review. He has helped design, develop, and test products for multiple major mountain bike companies and has an attention to detail well above most.

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e*thirteen TRSr 9-46 Cassette

Rating: Featured Member Review
The Good:

Light weight with a claimed weight of 303 grams, or 287 grams depending on what page of e*thirteen's website your looking at. I didn't measure it, but it feels much lighter than the Shimano 11-46 cassette it replaced. The gear ratios are well thought out and feel closer together compared to Shimano's XT cassette. Shifting is buttery smooth, even after two months of use. The 9 and 10 tooth cogs really let you get moving on downhill and flat sections. No unusual squeaks or weird noises as of now.

The Bad:

This cassette is expensive even by SRAM standards. Shifting into the 9 tooth cog isn't as consistent as the remaining cogs. Sometimes it takes a couple pedal revolutions to get it to grab the cog when paired with a XTR derailleur. Ironically, shifting is quicker and more consistent with a XT derailluer.

Overall Review:

This cassette offers much better performance, range and weight savings compared to Shimano's 11-46 XT cassette. I've been running it for a couple months now and it works just as good as the day I installed it. Tooth wear looks minimal to non-existent at this point in the cassette's life; however, it's too early to tell what the longevity will be.

I'm running this cassette with a 32T chainring up front on 170mm cranks. I mostly use the 2nd lowest gear (39T) for climbing and only use the 46T as a recovery or "bail out" gear. The 9T and 10T cogs are great for those higher speed downhill and flat sections. That being said, I spend most of my time Read More »

Overall Review:

This cassette offers much better performance, range and weight savings compared to Shimano's 11-46 XT cassette. I've been running it for a couple months now and it works just as good as the day I installed it. Tooth wear looks minimal to non-existent at this point in the cassette's life; however, it's too early to tell what the longevity will be.

I'm running this cassette with a 32T chainring up front on 170mm cranks. I mostly use the 2nd lowest gear (39T) for climbing and only use the 46T as a recovery or "bail out" gear. The 9T and 10T cogs are great for those higher speed downhill and flat sections. That being said, I spend most of my time using the middle cogs (14-28T).

Installation is different in that this a two piece cassette. The lower cogs (17-46T) lock unto a XD driver using a locking nut and the upper cogs (9-14T) lock onto the lower cogs. It's not difficult to install or remove, just different.

I'm giving this cassette an overall 4 star rating due to cost and the lag getting into the 9T cog. Otherwise, I'm impressed enough to buy it again and recommend it to anyone looking for good top end 11 speed cassette.

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Vital MTB member VonR
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Specifications

Product e*thirteen TRS+ Cassette
Riding Type Trail
Material EXA+ alloy and heat-treated cromoly steel
Speeds 10-Speed, 11-Speed
Tooth Options 10-speed: 9-10-12-14-17-20-24-28-35-42 tooth
11-speed: 9-10-12-14-17-20-24-28-32-38-44 tooth
11-speed: 9-10-12-14-17-20-24-28-33-39-46 tooth
Driver Type SRAM XD
Weight
  • 0 lb 10.6 oz (300 g)
  • 0 lb 11.3 oz (320 g)
  • 0 lb 12 oz (339 g)
Miscellaneous What's in the box: cassette, lockring tool, lockring, and grease packet.
Compatible with SRAM and Shimano shifting systems.
Note: 11-speed chain recommended for both 10- and 11-speed versions.

Range:
  • 10-speed, 9-42 tooth - 467%
  • 11-speed, 9-44 tooth - 489%
  • 11-speed, 9-46 tooth - 511%

    Part Numbers:
  • 10-speed, 9-42 tooth cassette: FW1TPA-100
  • 11-speed, 9-44 tooth cassette: FW1TPA-101
  • 11-speed, 9-46 tooth cassette: FW1TRA-102

    Guaranteed to be free from defects in materials or workmanship for 5 years after original purchase.
  • Price
    • $249
    • $279
    More Info

    ​Using a unique 3-piece assembly, the TRS+ cassette offers 9-44 tooth (11-speed), 9-46 tooth (11-speed), or 9-42 tooth (10-speed) range. The largest two (10-speed) or three (11-speed) cogs are precision machined from aluminum and locked onto a SRAM XD driver body. The remaining eight steel cogs lock into place with a chain whip. The front cogs are shared on the 10- and 11-speed versions and high wear parts are available individually which means replacing worn parts or upgrading from 10- to 11-speed is possible without buying a whole new cassette.


    For more information, visit bythehive.com.

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