e13 TRS+ Cassette AndrewM
Long Term Review

e*thirteen TRS+ 9-46t Cassette

Words Andrew Major
Photos Andrew Major (unless noted)
Date May 4, 2018

An Unfair Test

I think the best practices for a long-term test on a cassette are obvious. Fresh cassette, fresh chain, fresh chainring, fresh-enough jockey wheels, and ride that sucker into the ground. Straightforward.

This e13 TRS+ cassette was not that lucky. Three different bikes, four different chains in various condition, and five different chainrings from brand-new to 'how does the chain stay on there' were mated to the 9-46t 11spd cassette. 

I even did half a Seymour ride and the 45-minute pedal home with three teeth missing off the upper pulley wheel of my GX derailleur accompanied by a disgusting skipping feeling every third pedal stroke. 

Trek Stache AndrewM

Moving from 42t to 46t was an immediate benefit with the big 29+ hoops on the Stache.

e13 TRS+ Cassette AndrewM

The semi-fat Trek's drivetrain was already well worn when I swapped in the TRS+ cassette. Non-issue. 

I can't imagine a rider removing and installing their e13 cassette as many times as I did. There were no issues with the lockring or the steel-to-aluminum interface that joins the two halves of the cassette.  The TRS+ did not come loose on any of the wheels I used it with. 

This cassette has seen regular use on both test bikes and my personal bikes since before my first look in August. The steel lower half is still fresh and I'm assuming I'll get the summer out of the upper aluminum cluster before I need to replace it for around 100 USD. 

I've run it with both SRAM and Shimano 11-spd drivetrains without issue. The only caveat is it is only compatible with an XD driver. 

Setup

Installing the TRS+ cassette on the Trek Stache I reviewed was plug-and-play and an immediate improvement over the stock 10-42t when it came to getting the 29+ rig up local climbs. The chain was already well used but even so, up-shifts were crisp and down-shifts were crisper than with the stock, albeit worn, SRAM cassette. 

When I mounted it on my Marin Rift Zone I had issues with the chain skipping viciously, and randomly, on the first ride in every gear combination. Ugh. I had been meaning to replace that chain. 

nsmb_2017_gear_review__apparel_7mesh_guardian-9110.jpg

The TRS+ cassette mounted up easily to three different rear hubs. Photo: Dave Smith

nsmb_2017_gear_review__apparel_7mesh_guardian-9190.jpg

It was not an easy winter for drivetrain components. Photo: Dave Smith

As it turns out, as worn as my chain was, the issue was my chain length which, for whatever reason, was fine running 10-42t. I took out one link and I've not experienced any skipping since. Ugh. I have been meaning to replace that chain. As I noted in my first look, riding in the 9t is a bit clunky. That's even compared to Shimano's 11t cog and SRAM's 10t cog. I only regularly use that cog on the road where it is both more noticeable and bothers me less. That's commuting.

No adjustment to limit screws is required, but I did need to add some b-tension when installing the 9-46t on bikes equipped with SRAM 10-42t setups. I've mated this cassette to rings from Blackspire, e13, RaceFace, SRAM, and Wolftooth in various states. I didn't expect any compatibility problems and haven't experienced any. 


In Theory

Since the e13 TRS+ cassette has a 511% gear spread the theory is that I can get the range of Eagle with my existing 11-spd drivetrain and smaller chainring than I'd run with an Eagle setup. On a hardtail, like the Stache or my Honzo, this is absolutely true. Chuck on a 28t oval ring and climb everything without giving up the high gear.

Most 1x optimized suspension platforms work best within a range of chainring sizes. In these cases, the promise of 9-46t cassette falls short of the 10-50t Eagle cassette mated to a larger tooth count. A good example of this scenario is the V3 Santa Cruz Nomad, which I've discussed previously in reference to One Up's Shark. 

9-46

Fresh in August. By the end of the summer, I will need a fresh upper cluster. 

Maximizing suspension performance could tip the scales between a full drivetrain replacement and upgrades like the TRS+. When doing a 1x conversion or considering drivetrain upgrades it's a great idea to touch base with your bike manufacturer for the recommended chainring size range for your bike. 

In Practice 

I don't care about the 511% range. It's easy to gear a bike for the local terrain with a tighter range as long as running smaller rings is an option. I only ever use the highest couple gears on the road even when mated to a 30t or 32t. I know it really matters some places. Given the choice, I would like to buy an 11-46t version with tighter jumps at the low end. The stock cassette runs 9-10-12-14-17-20-24-28-33-39-46. 

If it wasn't for the durability I wouldn't care about the weight savings, but I have to say that given how well the TRS+ is holding up the fact it's less money and lighter than an X01 cassette and a lot lighter than a Shimano XT M8000 cassette is impressive. 

e13 TRS+ Cassette AndrewM

Manufactured to be durable. The top three cogs are machined from one piece of aluminum. The bottom eight are steel. 

I like to stand a lot when I climb, including on full suspension rigs, and I never had issues breaking 9-spd and 10-spd cassettes but I have broken a couple 11-spd units. I'm not alone and I think it's fair to say that one of the negatives of 11-spd cassettes* is a lot more riders are experiencing failures. 

*XX1 and XO1 Eagle cassettes seem to be very durable and dependable. We'll need more time to say the same about GX Eagle. 

I can only tell you so much about the durability TRS+ based on my sample size of one, but the way the cassette is manufactured and the interface to join the two halves are solid. I'm as confident in this cassette as anything on the market short of the SRAM X-Dome units which are twice as expensive. 

There are several reasons to choose the TRS+ 9-46 cassette; excellent shifting and durability, flawless compatibility, lightweight construction, and of course cost savings from buying one 250 USD cassette rather than a fresh drivetrain. If the e13 TRS+ makes sense to you then it's an excellent product. 

Comments

anospa
0
anospa  - May 4, 2018, 6:10 a.m.

Any insight into why they switched from the BB tool interface to a pinch bolt?

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - May 4, 2018, 7:28 a.m.

Hi anopsa,

I’d guess it just makes install/removal faster but I’ll definitely find out for you. 

Thanks,

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - May 7, 2018, 3:28 p.m.

Apologies for the delayed response!

e13 says there’s no performance advantage to either system.

They switched to the T-25 pinch-bolt because “everyone has a T-25”. 

Their tool is the same one used to install their BB and direct mount rings but for anyone with their cassette but not their cranks it means owning one less tool.

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JBV
0
James Vasilyev  - May 4, 2018, 8:30 a.m.

great timing, i've been reading all i can on this cassette for potential drivetrain upgrade. it's a conundrum as i have no use or interest in the 9t... 'Given the choice, I would like to buy an 11-46t version with tighter jumps at the low end'.  ditto. 

most everything else appeals, but it is still very expensive in Cdn bucks. hmmmm.  they also make a 'race' version i believe, Andrew do you know how it differs?

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Endur-Bro
0
Endur-Bro  - May 4, 2018, 8:37 a.m.

I've been using the SunRace 11-46t 11spd cassette.  I don't have enough distance on it for long term but in the short term it has got the job done.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - May 4, 2018, 8:51 a.m.

On my wife’s bikes we’re running 11-46t SunRace 10-Spd cassettes. 1x XTR 10-Spd shifter and 1x XT 10-Spd shifter. Both have 11-Spd XT derailleurs with the clutches detuned (still more clutch resistance than SRAM but lightens up shifting quite a bit).

Can’t say anything about durability yet but shifting is top notch and I didn’t have to buy XD drivers which is win-win. Price was really reasonable as well. 

I like the design of the TRS cassettes and I’ve had great results but it’s really hard to argue with what SunRace is bringing to the more-range-without-a-whole-new-drivetrain game.

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slyfink
0
slyfink  - May 4, 2018, 11:20 a.m.

My experience with the SunRace cassette (11-36 10sp I think.  May have been 11-40) was that I bent a few of the cogs within 3 weeks of installing it.  The lockring had backed out on a particularly rocky trail and I hadn't noticed.  This meant the cassette has some lateral play.  I went to throw in a couple of pedal strokes and the chain had bounced out of its correct position, and when it tried to pull the cogs, it bent three of them. 

I hadn't done this to a cassette since my days running 9-sp SRAM (pre x-dome cassettes).  I used to do that at least once a year before that.  Never had a problem with Shimano cassettes.

Given what you say in your article about damaging cassettes, I'll be very interested in reading about your experience on this one.  My bike came with an XO1 cassette that is proving to be very durable.  When the time comes to replace it, this TRS+ cassette will be at the top of my list.

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Endur-Bro
0
Endur-Bro  - May 4, 2018, 2:56 p.m.

^Depending on where the wear is on your X01 cassette a few companies; WTC being one that make largest cog replacements. 

^^SunRace won out by being the most blackest non-XD cassette on the market.  Lower gearing for a larger chainring without having to go Eagle.  Plus the entire point of that build was to try some new stuff without getting too far out there. Still have a few staple reference components. 

SunRace 11-46t 11spd/XTR 11spd trigger/XT derailleur/KMC X11SL/BS Snaggletooth Oval

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lister_yu
0
lister_yu  - May 4, 2018, 10:18 p.m.

Hi, I´ve had a 10spd Sunrace (guess 11-42) running for 3 years with no issues at all except that it gets the job done. Had a second one installed and also no issues there. In my opinion you can´t go wrong with a Sunrace cassette.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - May 4, 2018, 8:44 a.m.

The Race version is notably lighter and looks to have a lot more machining. I’ll try to find out if they’re using more expensive raw materials as well.

Reply

sospeedy
0
sospeedy  - May 5, 2018, 5 a.m.

Nice review Andrew. I've been using both on a couple of bikes with great success (got the Race version before the cheaper "regular" version came out). Honestly, I can't tell any difference in performance between the two. For the weight equivalent to a shot of rye, i'd just buy the regular version next time and save the $100.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - May 5, 2018, 6:54 a.m.

Thanks!

Have to ask - are you from or have you lived in Manitoba?!

It’s just that everyone I’ve met who uses the Rye-Whiskey-Standard of measurement has spent time where the east meets the west to discuss music and mosquitos.

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sospeedy
0
sospeedy  - May 5, 2018, 7:04 p.m.

Ha, ha...nope. But friends there and, yes, visits and lots of memories of music and mosquitos (I swear they are twice the size in MB...or twice as hungry).

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amrskipro
+2 Andrew Major James Vasilyev
AndrewR  - May 4, 2018, 10:22 a.m.

@James Vasilyev: I totally agree with the 9T even when running a 30T chain ring

For me the perfect cassette would be:

48-42-37-32-28-24-21-18-15-13-11 and I doubt that I would use the 11T very often. That represents even 13% jumps. I would still run it on an XD driver as it saves weight and I have not had any bearing issues in four years of running XD.

I would rather have the smoother shifts and a cassette that focuses on climbing and trail riding rather than a commuting gear (which is what the 10 and 9 are for me)

Garbaruk make a 48-10T.

An 11% shift would be: 48-43-38-34-30-27-23-20-17-14-12 so that would shift beautifully smoothly between gears and be the perfect 11 speed trail cassette. e*thirteen or Garburuk would be able to machine it up at around 290-310 grams and it would be super long lasting so good value for money.

And I could easily live with that where I ride (Whistler & Sea to Sky Corridor) as any time I am going really fast downhill I am not pedalling and we don't have long commute rides to get to and from our trails.

I am 300 km in on my TRS+ cassette and I am very impressed with the smoothness of shifting (as good as my XX1 cassette).  There were no set up issues with my XTR M9050 rear derailleur (despite it being three years old and beat up).

The TRSr appears to be almost identical and is about 10 grams lighter for the additional $100 retail.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - May 4, 2018, 10:36 a.m.

I haven't weighed a TSRr cassette, but looking at others' measures it looks to be around 30-grams of savings for 9-46t vs. 9-46t 11-spd. Not worth it for $100 in my book but I know that math would work for lots of weight-conscious riders. Can't imagine many folks spending the extra c-note to save 10-grams though. 

I'm down with 11-48t!

Reply

earleb
+1 Todd Hellinga
earle.b  - May 4, 2018, 12:37 p.m.

Sign me up for this mythical 11-48 that is lighter and cheaper than the alternatives.

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shoreboy
0
Shoreboy  - May 4, 2018, 1:10 p.m.

This is why I did the Shimano 11-42T plus 47T OneUp.

11-13-15-18-21-24-28-32-37-42-47.  I guess its one tooth off your ideal, but basically the same thing.

Great shifts, about $150-$170CDN for both.  A bit on the heavier side, but ill gladly take that for the even gearing.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - May 7, 2018, 3:30 p.m.

James, e13 says the ‘Race’ version is essentially the same cassette that goes through a ton of extra machine time (extra $) to shed some excess weight.

It sounds a bit like trying to lose a set of love handles... a hell of a lot of effort for a bit of weight savings :-)

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Jenkins5
0
Jenkins5  - May 4, 2018, 9:33 a.m.

Great review Andrew. I've been using the TRS+ cassette for about a year now and can't say enough great things about it. The main reasons I went for the TRS over the SunRace 11-46 are weight (the TRS is a whopping 145g lighter) and the range. I actually use the 9T when I'm occasionally in the bike park, and it gives provides me a high enough gear with my 30T front where I don't really spin out...I don't notice it being clunky but I'm also not mashing it on the road. I also like the fact that I can switch out the alu cogs when they wear out (they're still working fine BTW) at a fraction of the cost of a new cassette. SunRace is winning the value game for sure, but for me the extra price of the TRS was worth it. My buddy has tried the SunRace and the TRS and claims the TRS shifting is a bit crisper and more precise...

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - May 4, 2018, 9:51 a.m.

Thanks!

What chain are you using with your TRS+? SRAM or Shimano drivetrain?

I'm not very weight conscious but as you note that is a significant amount of unsprung weight with the same low gear.

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Jenkins5
0
Jenkins5  - May 4, 2018, 3:53 p.m.

I’m using it with a Shimano XT med cage derailleur and a KMC chain.

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amrskipro
0
AndrewR  - May 4, 2018, 10:28 a.m.

I am using KMC XSL-11 TiN as I believe that too many people overlook the wear and tear reduction benefits of a lighter chain (and these are still bomber).  Think of which part on your bike is constantly being pulled, pushed, stretched over metal and ground with muck whilst being bounced up and down 100-200 times per minute!

At first people scoff at 25 grams saved but those same people would be all "wow" if I said that I had managed to shave 1.3 kg off my bike (10% weight saving on a 30 lb/ 13 kg trail bike). 

I have been running KMC chains (SL Ti-N versions) for about 10 years now and, whilst I know that there have been significant improvements in drivetrain materials and machining, I think they significantly reduce drivetrain wear and tear and are worth the additional $$.

Reply

JBV
0
James Vasilyev  - May 4, 2018, 11:15 a.m.

The Garbaruk options look like the solution but when i priced them out thoroughly, including shipping the Cdn cost was hard to swallow.

Reply

shrockie
+1 Andrew Major
Shrockie  - May 4, 2018, 12:29 p.m.

I've got one, my set-up didn't go quite as smooth... It would drop from the biggest cog down 3 gears and stall.. (new chain, new chain ring). 

My Nomad 3 had a 2.5mm spacer on the drive side.. to nail the chain line, a 1.25mm would be on each side.. I moved the spacer to the non-drive side, pulling the chainline in 2.5mm and that helped a TON.. Only dropped off the top once, and that was on a messy shift.. I found Eagle to be a bit more crisp and precise.. but for the $ I'm pretty stoked and love the range..   If anyone has any shifting issues. look to see if a spacer could be moved..

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - May 4, 2018, 12:37 p.m.

Very interesting. I’ve been mainly running it on bikes with Boost rear hubs but regular (non-boost) chainring offset which is accomplishing the same goal.

Hadn’t thought about it.

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taprider
0
taprider  - May 4, 2018, 12:58 p.m.

Meh! 10 cogs too many

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - May 4, 2018, 1 p.m.

I want to agree but my body thinks single speeding is good for one out of every two rides.

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striderglobal
0
striderglobal  - May 5, 2018, 5:01 a.m.

Classic type single speed Bicycle is the best for riding.

Reply

striderglobal
0
striderglobal  - May 5, 2018, 5:01 a.m.

Classic type single speed Bicycle is the best for riding.

Reply

JohnF
0
John Forsythe  - May 7, 2018, 8:21 a.m.

Hmm. Not very appealing. $300 for the cassette. Then another $100 every year as the top 3 rings wear out. Sunrace is pretty appealing for Shimano drivers. My GX is wearing nicely and when it goes, its just $90 for an entire cassette. The Garbaruk looks fantastic, but that price tag...

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Jenkins5
0
Jenkins5  - May 8, 2018, 12:40 p.m.

But that's $90 for 10-42. Not really the same comparison...If you want more range than Eagle and lighter weight the e13 is a great option. They can be had for $225 USD at a lot of online dealers as well...I'm 14 months in and haven't needed to replace my alu cogs yet either. Depends on how much you ride though.

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