For those looking at the SRAM Eagle drivetrain but can't pull the trigger because of the price, it might be time to take a look at the E*Thirteen TRS cassette. With a 511% range, the TRS 11 speed cassette gives you plenty of gearing at a mid level price range that can be fitted to either Sram or Shimano. Let's see what this customer thinks about the TRS+ cassette.
I've been asked to provide a review for the E13 TRS+ 9-46 tooth cassette, which I will gladly do as it has been a great piece of kit so far and I have nothing but high expectation for it in the months to come.
I purchased the cassette a short while back for a build on a 2017 Evil Insurgent. The bike was built do be my "do it all" "quiver killer" "other industry buzzword" bike (which it has excelled at). The bike is known for its descending prowess, but I was uncertain how efficient the power transfer would be to the rear wheel and, as such, I wanted to go with a drivetrain with extended range for long rides and climbs. Eagle is typically where people seem to look in this situation, but with the excessive cost of the high end varieties and the high weight and unproven durability of the lower end varieties, I wanted to find an alternative. Enter the E*Thirteen TRS cassette.
The cassette boasts a 9-46T range (511% for those who love numbers) and a relatively light weight at 339g. While other 11 speed cassettes are lighter, they do not have near the same range. Eagle systems have a similar range (only slightly less) but have a higher weight and much higher cost. The cassette was mounted onto DT Swiss 240 hubs with an XD driver. Mounting was relatively painless, but definitely more complicated than a traditional 11 speed cassette. In the two piece assembly, the smaller cogs are mounted with a chain whip and it takes considerable force (at least for me) during the mounting process. Once mounted, though, the cassette is rock solid.
The remainder of the drivetrain components are an XTR front shifter, XTR rear derailleur, and Hope crankset with spiderless oval chainring that I alternate between 30T and 32T. The first thing that I noticed was that the cassette was dead silent, not a creak to be heard. Earlier versions of the cassette were said to be creaky in reviews, but it appears to have been remedied on the recent iterations. In shifting performance, I would place this as 4 out of a possible 5 stars. Due to large gaps in profile, the shifting is more noticeable than on prior cassettes. The shifting is not as buttery smooth as I became used to with my XTR system running a XX1 rear cassette (great 11 speed cassette if you don't need range and can find a decent price), but in the past few rides it has either smoothed out or I have become used to it, as I don't notice it any longer. As expected, range is where the cassette really shines. I have noticed that I am able to clear climbs that previously had me struggling while maintaining enough gearing for high speed runs.
All in all, this has been a great piece of equipment so far. If the durability is anywhere close to its performance, I will continue to be a loyal E*thirteen customer. While this covers a niche, a customer who wants value, range, and relative light weight, I believe it does so exceedingly well. Eagle would likely be an excellent alternative. I imagine the shifting performance of the higher end models slightly exceeding that of the TRS+ mated to XTR, but this cassette allowed me to build a drivetrain with greater range for about 40% of the cost of a comparable Eagle build at a similar weight.