E*Thirteen gets plenty of OEM spec on complete bikes, with YT being one of its biggest customers, but are the TRS Race Carbon Trails a good upgrade for your existing bike?
We’ve used multiple sets on YTs and Evils, and after seeing the abuse TRS rims handle, it’s easy to see why brands trust sending them out the door in numbers on high-end kit.
The brand’s signature was always chubby, carbon bodied, hubs with tall flanges and subsequently shorter spokes. These latest Race versions dial this back a bit with a slightly smaller hub body that’s now all aluminium, but still use the same 28 front and rear spoke count.
E*thirteen’s carbon rim was one of the first to forego a bead hook to hold tyres firm, and this allows a thicker rim edge that hugely increases strength and impact resistance. The rims are ‘only’ 27mm wide internally, but with the open, hookless design, tyres actually blow up pretty squared off and look more like those inflated on a 30mm rim.
With the thicker sidewalls mentioned, we’ve found the TRS rims practically bombproof. They handle the hardest hits and smashes, and the only damage we’ve ever seen is under the heaviest riders with impacts that could kill off any wheels and never enough to ruin a race run or riding holiday.
Built with Hive’s custom triple-butted spokes, the newer hubs have better grease, improved sealing, via a triple rubber lip design, and a fast six-degree freehub pick up. They never skipped an engagement, are quieter than older e*thirteen hubs when coasting, and appear to have completely addressed any bearing issues older versions had. In fact, the hubs here seem to last ages without attention (even in UK weather), something we’ve experienced on a high-mileage e-bike throughout the winter.
The solid feeling TRS’s are really responsive when changing direction quickly, and, being lightweight, they also turnover well climbing uphill. Weirdly though, they don’t feel as super fast accelerating or as rock-solid as Race Face’s Next Rs that are an almost identical weight.
In the 29in diameter there’s a great balance between feeling reactive and direct, and enough dullness and comfort not to fatigue hands and feet on the longest descents. It’s worth noting though, that the 27.5in TRS versions we’ve used are a little on the stiff side, and won’t suit riders that don’t always charge at race pace.
E*thirteens wheels aren’t the fastest or most comfortable feeling, but if you’re after a super tough, good-looking wheelset that’s fairly light given how strong it is, this totally delivers. Plus, it’s reassuring how the TRS Race Carbon trail package has been continually improved and tweaked to iron out niggles over multiple seasons, so you’re not the guinea pig on a new system when spending this much cash.