e132wheels
First Impressions

e13 TRS Race Carbon Trail Wheels & Helix R 12-Speed 9-50T Cassette

Words Trevor Hansen
Photos Deniz Merdano and Cristina Carvalheiro
Date Jan 23, 2023
Reading time

e*thirteen sent a set of wheels with some confusing labelling on them. I was told they were TRS Race Carbon Trail Wheels but the labels showed TRS R but no Carbon label like the ones on their site. I was confused and unsure if I was to feel carbonic excitement or alloy letdown. I had my two machinist biking buddies, Ryan and Dave, confirm my hopes: they were indeed carbon. This would explain the stiffness I had been feeling on the trails, riding them on my Enduro this fall and winter. I mounted a new e13 Helix 9-50T cassette to the rear wheel and I have been riding the gear in the mud, snow and slop for about 20 rides. There has been no issues with the wheels staying true and unblemished, the cassette rolling smoothly and the hubs spinning and engaging precisely. It is still too early to comment on the longevity of the rims, spokes, hubs and cassette but I'll have a look at the features and the performance thus far.

e13twowheelchannel

The photo teacher, Cristina aka Carv, at the high school I work at was kind enough to shoot these wheels in the photo room studio. I felt like I was cheating on Deniz then realized he would appreciate not having to deal with me pestering him to shoot these in his studio.

Features

  • 27mm internal width
  • Lifetime warranty
  • 27.5" and 29"rim sizes
  • 28 spoke count using custom Hive triple-butted black steel spokes, black alloy nipples, nipple washers
  • Hubs have 6 degree engagement and come with Shimano HG 10/11, Microspline and XD drivers
  • Plasma fill valves
  • Single wheel weight w/valves + tape:
    Front 27.5: 832g
    Front 29: 869g
    Rear 27.5 XD Driver:942g
    Rear 29 XD Driver: 979g
e13channel2

The channel made for easy tire mounting. The plasma fill valve sits atop the channel allowing enough space for the sealant to enter.

e13front

28 Hive triple-butted black steel spokes, black alloy nipples, nipple washers mounted on the e13 SL Race front hub.

e13rear

The SL Race rear hub had no issues with engagement on the approximately 20 rides.

e13's SL Race hubs weigh in at 315g with a 148x12mm Boost XD Driver for the rear hub and 199g for the front with 110x15mm Boost. When mounted to the TRS Race carbon rims, the hubs are drilled for 28 holes whereas when purchased separately they are 32. I assume there are more 32 hole rims out there so it makes more sense to choose that number. Throughout the 20-ish ride test both hubs performed flawlessly and the 6 degree engagement was perfect.

Quick fill plasma valves are e13's answer to easier sealant injection. Bypassing the valve core and injecting the sealant straight into the valve stem makes for much easier installs. The "simple" injecting method of pouring the sealant into the tire with one bead off is the easiest method except for mediocre mechanics like me who just make a mess and have a hard time getting the final bead back on the rim once the sealant has been dumped in.

e13valve

Quick fill plasma valve. Unthread the wide lower valve section, inject sealant, thread, inflate and go...unless like me your tear the rim tape.

e13wheelstiresonEnduro

All dressed up and ready to go. e13 TRS Race Carbon wheels running an e13 Helix 9-50T cassette and mounted on an e13 Control Mopo rear. Up front it's an e13 Grappler Mopo front tire .

Final words for now

Writers who ride way better than me say things like Tim Coleman said," The wheels offered pinpoint precision that tracked off camber sections flawlessly with minimal deflection." I gotta say that I cannot tell any difference with precision, tracking and deflection compared to my daily drivers (Race Face Turbine R35 wheels).

What I notice most is the harsher feel of carbon wheels over alloy wheels. I can say that the e13 TRS Race carbon wheels do feel stiffer and slightly harsher than my RF Turbine Rs. This is not a bad thing since the inserts I run with low pressures help take away most of that feedback. I still think it is a small price to pay for longer life with less dented and cracked rims, truer rims and of course the pure sexiness of carbon over alloy.

The only minor issue I had was mounting a tire but I think it was just me tearing a bit of the e13 rim tape during the swap. I brought the wheel, tire and insert into the best LBS ever, Obsession Bikes, for some advice. NSMB writer, photographer and car wash lifeguard Deniz, advised new tape as I had slight tears in the e13 tape. Deniz stuck 33mm tape in the rim, injected some sealant and viola: it worked. It only cost me a dozen donuts and 15 minutes of Deniz's anecdotes; a small price to pay for fresh tire mountage. I'll give the wheels, cassette and tires a solid winter, spring and summer thrashing then report back if there are any issues of note.

The mullet set I have retails from e13 for 1400 USD

deniz merdano hansen nomad tasco rf 7mesh bell 1

Helix R 12-speed 9-50T cassette in grey which is definitely less styly than the bright blue Intergalactic colour.

Helix R 12-Speed 9-50T Cassette

One of my favourite bike related feelings is the first ride on a new cassette, chainring and chain. I know it is fleeting as the dirt and grime combined with the wear and tear of time grinding gears adds up to a slow crawl towards the inevitable rougher feel; but those first few rides are sooooo smoooooth. I have used an e13 cassette before and was able to purchase the separate replacement double cog when mine wore out. It was nice not to have to replace the whole cassette. Replacement clusters are a little less than half the cost of a new cassette which offers a unique savings: 150 USD vs 320 USD for an entire cassette.

Specs

  • 384g
  • 556% range
  • 9 tooth cog for what e13 calls better ground clearance and an overall lighter drivetrain
  • XD driver compatible only
  • 5 colour options
  • 2 aluminum cogs, 10 steel cogs. PVD finishing on Intergalactic model improves durability and wear life.
  • 2 part design that allows alloy granny gears to be replaced as needed independent of the steel cogs
  • 9-50T cogs: 9, 11, 13, 15, 17, 20, 23, 27, 31, 36, 42, 50
  • 319 USD except 349 USD for Intergalactic model (the best looking by far).

When reviewing a cassette, the only factor that really matters to me (after shifting smoothness which is pretty amazing on even budget cassettes these days) is how it performs in the long term. Unfortunately, with only 20 rides on this cassette, all I can write about the Helix's performance is that it is rolling like new still. I will have to report back after a full season with my findings.

When I looked at price and weight, the Helix R seems to have the best value. The 425 CAD Helix R weighs in at 384g which puts it close to the lightweight 650 CAD XX1 Eagle at 355g and 550 CAD Shimano XTR at 367g. The Helix is much lighter than the 310 CAD 454g GX Eagle and the 220 CAD 470g Shimano XT.

The combination of light weight, replaceable alloy low gear cogs and good performance make the Helix R 9-50T a good option in the competitive sea of cassette options.

More on the Helix R 12-Speed 9-50T cassette.

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Comments

vincentaedwards
Vincent Edwards
1 week, 5 days ago
+1 badgerracer

I’ve been running the Helix cassette for a few seasons and so far it’s holding up well. I believe I’m on my 3rd chain since I purchased it… so I’d say it’s pretty comparable to XO1. (Shifting is comparable as well, or very very close) 

Are your prices CAD? XX1 is $483 USD MSRP and XTR is $410 USD

Reply

Briain
Briain
1 week, 5 days ago
+2 Glenn Bergevin Lu Kz

Have to say, I'm a fan of the e13 cassettes but I could never get the 9-tooth to play nice with Shimano 12-speed derailleur. Also, if you want to save half a gram, you can run it without the little bolt connecting the two halves. I lost mine about a year ago and haven't had an issue

Reply

shoreboy
Shoreboy
1 week, 5 days ago
+1 4Runner1

Not sure i'm a fan of the gearing on that 9T-50T cassette. That's a pretty large jump at the top from 42T-50T? Id gladly forgo the 9T lower end for an additional cog up higher. As said above, the 9T often doesn't play well with some derailleurs and chainstays as well.

Reply

Tbone
Trevor Hansen
1 week, 5 days ago
+2 4Runner1 Shoreboy

Agreed the e13 and Sram 42-50 jump is a lot compared to the Shimano 45-51

Reply

badgerracer
badgerracer
1 week, 5 days ago
+1 Shoreboy

SRAM jumps to 52 now too and it’s way too big. I’ve been using the helix for about 6 months and it’s way better than the 10-52 that came on my bike

Reply

shoreboy
Shoreboy
1 week, 5 days ago
0

Im not sure why SRAM has such bizarre ratios. Does no one ever need to climb in their eyes? A 10 tooth jump is crazy.

Reply

tim-lane
Tim Lane
6 days, 6 hours ago
0

I guess they already had most of the engineering dialed on the 10-42 for 11 speed, and just added the 12th sprocket, 50.

The 9-11 jump at the high end of this cassette is bigger than 42-50 (22% vs 19%). (The Sram/Shimano 10-12 jump is 20%).

Reply

fed
fed
1 week, 3 days ago
0

I feel the same way a 46T will be great to keep the candece, that jump from the 42T to the 52T drives me nuts, Came on SRAM fix it!!

Reply

Tbone
Trevor Hansen
1 week, 5 days ago
0

Yes I put the Helix in USD and the others in CAD. Changes made - they'll show up soon. Thanks for pointing it out.

Reply

slimchances57
slimchances57
1 week, 5 days ago
0

Thank you Trevor!

Your great humble, objective and factual review is the kind that is so valuable these days, so RARE in online publications, and SO needed to steer the industry in a less exploitive direction.

Reply

Tbone
Trevor Hansen
1 week, 5 days ago
0

Thanks Slim

Reply

Ceecee
Ceecee
1 week, 5 days ago
0

Viola

Reply

Tbone
Trevor Hansen
1 week, 5 days ago
0

Reply

TheJankFiles
TheJankFiles
1 week, 5 days ago
0

I’ve got almost a year on a set of their aluminum wheels with zero hub issues.

Reply

Jenkins5
Jenkins5
1 week, 3 days ago
0

Another Helix cassette fan here. Best price to weight ratio, and I can't tell any difference in shift quality from the X01 cassette I had before....

Reply

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