TRS now lives up to the potential it’s always had, and has good durability, a predictable feel from both the tread and the high-friction rubber, and better rolling speed than similarly sticky tyres.
E*Thirteen has repeatedly revised its tyres over the last few seasons; to the point it’s been hard to keep up with the changes when the open, paddle-style tread pattern always stayed roughly the same.
Its tyres are now made in Thailand, with latest versions adopting the A/T (All Terrain) tag and a tread adjusted for a more rounded profile that’s less aggressively squared off. With a distinctive grip channel, L-shaped edge blocks and rectangular central lugs, it doesn’t take a detective to spot more than a passing resemblance to popular tyres like the Minion DHR II, and TRS block height is almost identical to the Maxxis now too, whereas previously edges were higher and central knobs smaller.
The TRS’s 72tpi folding casing is single ply with reinforced Apex nylon breaker inserts in the sidewall to resist pinch flats. The more expensive Race and MoPo models also pack an extra woven aramid layer that adds around 30g, to better hold air and resist puncturing or damage. E*thirteen also offers dual-ply casings using 120tpi fabric under the LG1 moniker (Double Down equivalent) as well as full-on dual-ply DH tyres for even more protection.
Looking for maximum grip, I opted for the new top-tier, ultra-soft, MoPo version with a rubber blend born in Thailand’s underground moped drag-racing circuit. The sticky compound has slow rebounding properties and both central zone and edges are soft, rather than just the sides on the ‘Race’ version. The base material under the knobs is deliberately firmer though, which counteracts the tendency of first-generation TRS tyres to fold too easily at the shoulder under high side loads.
MoPo rubber is extremely grippy. It’s positive and assured over slime, wet roots and rocks, and the tread pattern has a distinct bite without ever doing anything unpredictable. There’s also a calmness over chatter, but slightly less ‘slurp’ than you’d expect from a super-soft compound – whether this is due to the stiffer knob foundations, or the casing construction, is hard to say, but there’s slightly reduced comfort and a ‘contour tracing’ feel compared the most supple tyres I’ve tested.
On the flip side, wear life and puncture protection is good, as is rolling speed; the TRS rolls at least as fast as a ‘Maxx Terra’ DHR II despite behaving more like a ‘Maxx Grip’ on damp roots. It’s significantly easier to turn over than the Maxxis Assegai tyre I’ve been riding loads recently, too.
Compared to my personal fave Assegai though, TRS edge blocks are less pronounced and clearly no match in terms of pure grip in loose surfaces or biting into mud and leaf litter in the worst conditions. In drier or normal/mixed conditions, it’s more of a contender, but swapping directly between the two, I still prefer the Assegai for both comfort and ultimate confidence (although it’s definitely more of a dog to drag round all day).
Fair play to E*thirteen: the TRS now lives up to the potential it’s always had, and has good durability, a predictable feel from both the tread and the high-friction rubber, and (importantly for some) better rolling speed than similarly sticky tyres.