e*thirteen TRS+ Seatpost

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e*thirteen TRS+
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First Ride: e*thirteen TRS+ Dropper Post

100% mechanical design for durability and ease of maintenance, at a great price.

Rating: Vital Review
First Ride: e*thirteen TRS+ Dropper Post

Just a few short years ago, there were not that many dropper post contenders on the market - and just a few short years before that, your seatpost clamp was your only ticket to more fun on the descents. Fast forward to today, and there are more than 20 viable options for those looking to drop their seats at the push of a button. Or lever, as the case may be. e*thirteen is one of the latest companies to join in the fun with their TRS+ dropper post, first unveiled at last year’s Eurobike and now available for sale. But rather than go down the me-too road with another airsprung, hydraulic cartridge offering, e*thirteen took a different approach. We’ve tested it to see how it performs.

e*thirteen TRS+ Dropper Post Highlights

  • Fully mechanical design
  • 4 set positions (150-125-75-0 / 125-95-65-0)

Just a few short years ago, there were not that many dropper post contenders on the market - and just a few short years before that, your seatpost clamp was your only ticket to more fun on the descents. Fast forward to today, and there are more than 20 viable options for those looking to drop their seats at the push of a button. Or lever, as the case may be. e*thirteen is one of the latest companies to join in the fun with their TRS+ dropper post, first unveiled at last year’s Eurobike and now available for sale. But rather than go down the me-too road with another airsprung, hydraulic cartridge offering, e*thirteen took a different approach. We’ve tested it to see how it performs.

e*thirteen TRS+ Dropper Post Highlights

  • Fully mechanical design
  • 4 set positions (150-125-75-0 / 125-95-65-0)
  • Cable adjustment at lever
  • Stealth cable routing only
  • Interface style: railed
  • SKF low-friction, dual-lip seal
  • 1x or 2x compatible lever options
  • Grip tape pre-installed on shifter-style lever
  • Shop serviceable
  • Weight: 575 grams (31.6, 150mm, verified)
  • MSRP: $279 USD

Initial Impressions

Pulling the TRS+ dropper from its packaging reveals a well-made item with a very business-like look. The post has a sturdy appearance, but not bulky. You can have any color you want as long as it’s black, with just a white few logos and the graduated markings on the main body of the post to break up the murdered-out theme. We tested the 150-mm version, with a 1x compatible, shifter-style lever. The TRS+ exists only in the stealth version shown here, so if your frame lacks internal dropper post cable routing, you’re out of luck.

The shifter-style lever is quite big, but there is a good reason for this: it is meant to replace your long-forgotten front shifter on the handlebar, and it sits in very much the same space (it is MatchMaker compatible which is awesome for those running compatible brakes). The lever is solidly constructed with the adjustable thumblever rotating on bearings for a smooth, precise feel.

The actuator assembly on the bottom of the seatpost is fairly big, and it protrudes a bit more than on some other posts we’ve tested recently. Keep that in mind if you have limited space in your seat tube – we’ve put together a little table with the key numbers of the 150-mm drop version for your convenience below, with all relevant measurements done from the actuator assembly and not the base of the main tube itself.

Full Length (rail to base) Collar to Rail Minimum Insert Collar to Base Max Extension (seat tube to rails) Weight (incl remote & cable)

502mm

222mm

219mm

280mm

290mm

721g

As mentioned in the introduction, e*thirteen decided against using what is by now probably the most common dropper post design on the market, the airspring/hydraulic cartridge combo. Instead, they came up with a fully mechanical design, which they feel is going to provide better reliability than many competing offerings today. It has also enabled them to hit a very aggressive price point right from the start. The TRS+ post uses a mechanical spring and a system of locking pawls that engage slots set at four pre-determined positions. e*thirteen’s athletes and other testers helped them come up with what they feel is the ideal combination of positions, 150-125-75-0 or 125-95-65-0 for the shorter post. The post is made to be easy to service, and even a full tear down can be carried out by any shop using standard bike tools. The recommended basic service interval for a general clean/regrease is 200 hours.

On The Trail

Installing the TRS+ dropper is not very difficult to do. Chances are, the most complicated part of the job will be figuring out how to get your cable routed through your frame, depending on the manufacturer this can be anything from a walk in the park to a somewhat more painful experience involving sweat, tears, and choice vocabulary. Once the cable housing is in place, the cable stop end simply hooks into the actuator mechanism at the base of the post, where the cable housing is also held in place by a nut and a rubber washer. This is meant to ensure that the cable does not slip out before you can install the lever on the other end. Once the cable is hooked up to the post, you push it through the lever at the other end, apply light tension (by hand) and tighten up the locking plate. The locking plate is a nice touch (in contrast to many other posts that use a simple grub screw to crush the cable into submission), although it requires a fair bit of torque to ensure it won’t slip later. Having the “open” side of the cable at the lever also makes it easier to adjust the length of the cable housing if you want to clean up your cockpit properly (which you should!).

Once everything is installed, you can use the barrel adjuster on the lever body to fine tune the tension of the cable, just like you would with a shifter. The TRS+ is not overly sensitive to cable tension, unlike some other posts on the market it will continue to work even with a slack cable for example. For the perfect set-up, use the barrel adjuster to tighten the cable until there is little to no play in the lever and you’re ready to go.

The TRS+ uses a traditional 2-bolt design, with a little twist: the bolts and lugs pop out of the top clamping plate via an opening towards the front and rear respectively, which makes it a lot easier to install and remove the saddle. A nice touch. The rearward bolt is a little bit on the short side, which limits the maximum forward tilt angle of the saddle. It’s not a problem per se, but it is right on the limit especially if you run a saddle with taller rails.

The TRS+ is easy to use on the trail. The action of the lever is very light, and the force required to push down on the saddle is also minimal – one of if not the easiest post on the market to push down. The lever sits in a very natural position, especially if you run it with a MatchMaker compatible brake. The return speed of the post is pretty much spot-on, it gets back up in a hurry but not in a violent way. The 4 stops are well defined, and the post makes a distinct clicking sound when it locks into place.

The design of the locking mechanism means it locks in both direction, so you can lift the bike by the saddle in any of the four locked positions.

The mechanical character of the post makes for a different experience than a “regular”, hydraulic post. There is a bit more clicking and clacking, and you can feel/hear the locking pawls working if you just press the lever half way and then move the post. Also, when the post bottoms out, it does so at a point beyond the lower locking position, which means it then clicks into place only once you take your weight off the saddle. None of this gets in the way of the post’s performance, it is just the result of the design and something to be aware of. It is very easy to get used to the post, and it has performed flawlessly for the duration of this test.

The design of the locking mechanism means it locks in both direction, so you can lift the bike by the saddle in any of the four locked positions. There is a tiny bit of side to side wiggle in the post, and a very small amount of vertical play in all four locking positions as well. Neither are noticeable when you’re actually sitting on the post (and are certainly still par for the dropper post course), but we’ll keep an eye on this aspect over time to see if and how it evolves.

On the topic of the intermediate stops, e*thirteen told us they were chosen carefully, based on feedback from their athletes and testers. In use, we found the first stop (at just 25mm drop for the 150mm version) to be hard to lock in consistently. It comes so soon after you start pushing the post down that it’s easy to go straight by it before releasing the lever, especially if you’re standing on tired legs. Apart from that, the TRS+ is very intuitive and user friendly in action, and we didn’t find ourselves missing the ability to stop anywhere within the travel as you would with an infinitely adjustable post (although we admit to not being heavy users of the intermediate position in any case).

Things That Could Be Improved

Overall, we have been impressed with the TRS+. We appreciate the light action of the lever, but we think it could offer a slightly more defined travel range. As it is, it feels a bit vague towards the end of its travel, making it hard to know if you’ve pushed it all the way. This ties into our only other issue, which is the top-out sound – or slight lack thereof. Standing beside your bike, you definitely hear the post topping out, but at speed on the trail, it can sometimes be a bit harder to pick out. And with the aforementioned slight vagueness of the lever, it means you sometimes wonder if it made it up there (which is it always does, BTW).

Long Term Durability

The whole point behind the mechanical design chosen by e*thirteen is durability and ease of service. Since there is no airspring and no hydraulics, there are no critical seals that can fail and cause the post to suddenly stop working. The locking pawls and keys were designed to be easy to replace in case they wear out, which e*thirteen claims will take a “heavy rider and many hours of climbing” to achieve. A basic clean and grease service is not a complicated job, and even a full rebuild can be done by any shop (or reasonably skilled home mechanic) with standard issue bike tools. This all bodes well for longevity, and although our ride time so far has been limited, we feel the TRS+ has the potential to provide a satisfying long-term user experience – which would certainly set it apart in today’s dropper world, plagued as it is by various mysterious ailments and afflictions. We did have the post's head work itself loose at one point (which manifested itself gradually in the form of extra side to side wiggle). The remedy involved simply tightening the main bolt that holds the head onto the post mast with a 10mm allen key. We’ll be keeping a close eye on the TRS+ for the next few months to make sure it lives up to its longevity billing, and we’ll come back to this review if something needs to be amended.

What’s The Bottom Line?

Reliable, easy to service, and affordable, that’s how e*thirteen describe their all-new TRS+ dropper post. With a 100% mechanical design and a list price of just $279 USD at launch, it certainly seems like they have put their money where their mouth is. We do not take any dropper post reliability claims lightly, but although we still have some miles to put in before delivering a final verdict, what we have seen so far of the TRS+ does not point to any problems. On the contrary, e*thirteen have delivered a very user friendly dropper post which is refreshingly different and very effective on the trail.

More information at: www.bythehive.com.


About The Reviewer

Johan Hjord loves bikes, which strangely doesn’t make him any better at riding them. After many years spent practicing falling off cliffs with his snowboard, he took up mountain biking in 2005. Ever since, he’s mostly been riding bikes with too much suspension travel to cover up his many flaws as a rider. His 200-pound body weight coupled with unique skill for poor line choice and clumsy landings make him an expert on durability - if parts survive Johan, they’re pretty much okay for anybody. Johan rides flat pedals with a riding style that he describes as "none" (when in actuality he rips!). Having found most trail features to be not to his liking, Johan uses much of his spare time building his own. Johan’s other accomplishments include surviving this far and helping keep the Vital Media Machine’s stoke dial firmly on 11.

Photos by Johan Hjord

e*thirteen TRS+ Seatpost Short-term review

Rating:
The Good:

The lever has nice ergonomics. Easy to install. The Torx bolts in the seat clamp have not worn out after several weeks of use, it looks promising. The barrel adjuster on the lever for wire tension has not snapped or bent yet, so it looks promising. The barrel adjuster has a ice wheel to turn, it makes it easy to adjust the tension even with one finger the dropper is easy to service with common tools.

The Bad:

After few weeks of riding the stanchion got a slight discolouration about a cm below the top it is where when the it’s fully down, it’s I side the collar, I am not sure why this happen, but it’s barely visible, and try to get it to show on photo. You have to have weight on the middle to drop it, but not a problem, if done like that it drops smoothly, it’s faster than Turbine dropper, so light feel drop, this is not surprising at all nor is this a major flaw. The slot for the brass key holding the head straight is too wide so the head rotates few degrees, this could be felt when riding, especially if doing wheelies There is also up & down play, forward backward rocking play, so a lot more play than the Turbine, which only had side to side rotational play. The top of the stanchion gets very grease after a long ride with dropping the saddle a lot, a lot of up and down, combined with rocking play back and forth. Clamp head saddle rail bolts can get loose, and might undo enough for the saddle to slip back, I think it’s due to temperatures changes & the loads, this is what happens when you take the bike out from the warm home out and ride for few minutes in subzero temps, this has happen with the Bontrager rigid post too, also the Race Face Turbine post. When I got home I had to fix this, and yes I had on Loctite 243, but this eventually happens anyway, Loctite eventually needs reapplying. So a multi tool is a must, even if everything on the bike has been checked, i had to do this every time, but of course how much it loosened varied. But I haven’t had issues like this on the Renthal Apex stem, but with Atlas Stem I had to Check it before and after every ride, and during ride to be sure bolt’s did not get loose and the handle bar were spinning. also I got issue with Hope Tech Seat post clamp & Shimano brake levers too. the bolts might undo enough for the saddle to slip back, but these are side effects rapid temperature change, shrinking things slightly, of course different materials will be effected at different rates. You just have to expect this and tighten it down when you are out and check suspension too see if pressures are right, because it can drop a lot, so if this post was a air post it would need to to work with something like 10psi drop or increase, but as this is a mechanic dropper post you don’t have to worry about the pressure. Once when greasing the collar and screwing on the collar there was resistance, it turned out to be the dust wiper seal which has was skewed, and got worse when threading the collar on, so I had to take the collar off, and hammer it in using a bearing press block. I don’t know why this happen, but I suspect it might be the play in the post, the front to back rocking.

Simple and Reliable

Rating:
The Good:

Mechanical design Very reliable User serviceable

The Bad:

Tiny bit of side to side play after long term use

Overall Review:

The TRS+ dropper has been trouble free for me for over a year now. It has developed a tiny bit of side to side play, but nothing more than my buddy's Fox Transfer, and much less than my old Reverb. The 4 preset positions took one ride to get used to. I don't really miss infinite adjust! I love the fact that the post just has a simple spring design so it will never leave me stranded. It's simple and it just works. Great product.

e*thirteen TRS+headaches

Rating:
The Good:

Fairly easy to service

The Bad:

Not reliable Too many moving parts Inconsistent customer service

Overall Review:

My Experience

I got this post when I bought my 2017 YT Capra AL and right from the start it did not work correctly. Now being new to mountain biking and not wanting to admit that something on my brand new bike did not work correctly, I just ignored the fact that the post was not returning to full height after depressing the post. The post has four preset heights at which the post stops at; 150mm (fully extended), 110mm, 80mm and 0mm (fully compressed). Essentially the post was returning to right below full extension, say ~145mm, so when I went to sit back down the post would fall back and lock into the second highest position, 110mm. To me at the time this was not a huge deal and I was fine sacrificing some drop in order to have a working dropper. After a while I became tired of this

Overall Review:

My Experience

I got this post when I bought my 2017 YT Capra AL and right from the start it did not work correctly. Now being new to mountain biking and not wanting to admit that something on my brand new bike did not work correctly, I just ignored the fact that the post was not returning to full height after depressing the post. The post has four preset heights at which the post stops at; 150mm (fully extended), 110mm, 80mm and 0mm (fully compressed). Essentially the post was returning to right below full extension, say ~145mm, so when I went to sit back down the post would fall back and lock into the second highest position, 110mm. To me at the time this was not a huge deal and I was fine sacrificing some drop in order to have a working dropper. After a while I became tired of this sacrifice and started to read some forums online only to find out that this was an extremely common problem for this post. Afterwards I reached out to e*thirteen and was told that the original spring was too weak and that they would send me a stronger spring. Once installed the post was now fully extending every time and gave a satisfying thump noise when released up. This would have been to end of my headache only if new problems with the post did not arise in the meantime. While out on a normal trail ride, the main screw holding the level to the remote became loose and fell off the the bike, and in the process was lost somewhere on the trail. After contacting e*thirteen a replacement was sent to me in the mail and the problem was solved with a bunch of Loctite. One of the biggest headaches with the post was the fact that it had developed a significant amount of lateral or side to side play. As Johan Hjord (iceman2058) pointed out in his review of the post, the top cap would come loose sometimes and a simple tightening of the 10mm allen key would solve the problem. This did the trick for the first few times but because the actual top cap is removable from the mast itself, instead of being one piece, the lateral play became permanent even after tightening the 10mm allen key. In between the top cap and the mast was a plastic bushing that made sure the top cap fit snugly on the mast itself. This plastic bushing became so brittle and cracked that it was allowing the top cap to move side to side when slight pressure was applied to the saddle from either side. After contacting e*thirteen once again I could not get a response back from them and as a result I was forced to make some modifications to the post. In order to eliminate the lateral play I had to douse the mast, plastic bushing, and the inside of the top cap with copious amounts of super glue. After letting the glue dry I was pleasantly surprised by how well my hack had worked. At this point the post was finally working the way it should have been out of the box with very little lateral play.

Living in Colorado and riding dry dusty trails all summer I experienced no problems with the seal until fall came around and the weather became a bit more wet. After a real wet and muddy day up at Trestle bike park and having the post compressed for nearly all day I was extremely angry, after all the other problems, to find that the post was not extending to full height. A simple fix though with a few goes of PTFE spray the post was working fine. Although this now became the norm after every ride that was slightly wet or muddy. And if it wasn't enough I started to experience more and more lateral play again. At this point I thought it would be best to take the post completely apart for a serious service job. I will give credit to e*thirteen for having a extensive how to and troubleshooting guides up on their website, which set my mind at ease before attempting to take the post apart. Once the post was removed from the bike I had found a culprit for the newly developed lateral play. The bottom cap of the post had come loose and had to be tightened using a Park Tool FR5 or other Shimano compatible cassette tool. This solved the side to side play of the post and now all I needed to do was clean my seal and bushing inside of the post. In order to get to these parts the top cap must be removed from the inner stanchion except I could not do this because of my previous hack with super gluing it and the plastic bushing. There was no moving the top cap even after giving it a few good wacks with a rubber mallet.

Conclusion

So this is where I am at after a year of using the post and having multiple replacement parts sent to me. The post is not working correctly because it needs fully serviced but I can no longer service the post because of modifications I had to make in order for to just work correctly. At this point I have run out of patients with the post and e*thirteen so I have come to the conclusion that I just have to bite the bullet and try a different brand. Most likely will be going with the Bike Yoke Revive, so expect a review of that in about a year. I would not recommend this product to anyone and I think if anyone is looking to upgrade their existing post or looking for their first one I would stress that paying the extra versus going with a budget friendly dropper like this one is the way to go. Unless you enjoy servicing a fairly complex piece of componentry after every other ride. Pictures I included show the side to side play.

Specifications

Product e*thirteen TRS+ Seatpost
Riding Type Cross Country, Trail
Seatpost Type Dropper
Interface Railed
Remote Adjustable Yes
Diameter 30.9mm or 31.6mm
Travel 125mm: 4 set positions at 125mm-95mm-65mm-0mm
150mm: 4 set positions at 150mm-110mm-80mm-0mm
170mm: 4 set positions at 170mm-150mm-100mm-0mm
Length 405mm for 125mm travel version
485mm for 150mm travel version
498mm for 170mm travel version
Tilt Adjustable
Materials Alloy
Colors Black
Weight
  • 1 lb 1.3 oz (490 g)
  • 1 lb 4.1 oz (570 g)
  • 1 lb 3 oz (540 g)
  • 0 lb 2.3 oz (65 g)
Miscellaneous • Fully mechanical design
• Cable adjustment at lever
• Stealth cable routing only
• SKF low-friction, dual-lip seal
• 1x or 2x compatible lever options
• Grip tape pre-installed on shifter-style lever
• Shop serviceable
• Weight: 575 grams (31.6, 150mm, verified)
Price $279
More Info

What's in the box: Post, lever, cable and housing

​www.bythehive.com

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