e*thirteen TRS Race SL carbon wheels review

All mountain performance from trail oriented package

27.5 29er Wheels
e*thirteen TRS Race SL Carbon Wheelset

The new SL wheelset is e*thirteen’s first attempt at a trail oriented product.

Lowdown: e*thirteen TRS Race SL Carbon Wheels

The e*thirteen SL wheelset is targeted squarely at the trail segment. It utilizes technology developed for Enduro World Series and World Cup downhill racing, but distills it in a package that weighs considerably less. Despite the impressive weight savings, e*thirteen claims these wheels are two times tougher than their predecessors. Learn more in our full review below.

Stat Box
Weight: 1733g claimed, 1670g actual Inner rim width: 28mm
Rim material: Carbon Extras: Tape, valves, extra spokes
Driver: Shimano or XD Price: $1599 ($675 front/$842 rear)
Hub engagement: 60 POE Rating: 4 Flamin' Chili Peppers 4 Chilis-out-of-5

Pluses
Minuses
  • Stiff with great ride feel
  • Touch heavy
  • Enduro durability, trail weight
  • Loud hubs
  • Loud hubs
  • Valve pump compatibility

Review: e*thirteen TRS Race SL Carbon Wheels

The current e*thirteen product line is divided into two main categories. The LG1 goods are designed for World Cup DH, while the TRS bits are built enduro tough. The one category in the brand’s portfolio that appears underrepresented is trail. But with its new SL line of TRSr components, e*thirteen is righting that wrong. The first product in this new category lineup is the TRS Race SL carbon wheelset.

THE TRSR and SL rim share a similar profile.

The TRS R and SL rims share a similar profile.

Rim Shape

The new SL rim is based on the current TRS Race rim. That rim was built to survive EWS levels of abuse, which means the priority was strength, not weight. Coming in around 1800g for a 27.5” wheelset (or 1890g for the 29er version), it wasn’t particularly light.

E*thirteen wanted to retain that durability, but made weight reduction an important goal for the SL. To get there, they revisited the carbon layup, reduced the overall sidewall thickness by 0.5mm (from 3mm to 2.5mm), and pushed out the internal rim width by one mm to 28mm.

e*thirteen TRS Race SL Carbon Wheelset

Like the majority of modern mountain bike rims, e*thirteen uses a hookless bead.

These modifications allowed e*thirteen to shave 30g per rim. When compared as a total package, the new SL wheelset comes in at 150g (or about ⅓ of a pound) lighter than the TRS Race. What’s even more impressive, is that the company claims they’ve also doubled overall rim strength.

Despite all these changes, the wheelset remains on the heavy side for this category. Both ENVE’s M60 wheels (with DT hubs) and Ibis 935 wheels (with I9 hubs) are far lighter at 1572g and 1590g respectively.

e*thirteen TRS Race SL Carbon Wheelset

By using tall flanges, e*thirteen improved spoke bracing angles and was able to use shorter spokes, both of which should produce a stiffer wheel.

Hubs

The rims are laced to the new SL hubs that share the same design ethos as the current TRSr hubs, such as larger flanges for better triangulation. However, they ditch the carbon shell. The new aluminum shell is easier to manufacturer and weighs virtually the same.

e*thirteen TRS Race SL Carbon Wheelset

Need to replace a spoke? Just check the hub shell.

Inside, you’ll find a double notched three pawl setup, which delivers 60 points of engagement or six degrees between engagement points.

e*thirteen TRS Race SL Carbon Wheelset

27.5/29/non-boost/boost/Shimano/XD. E*thirteen offers every option, including an adapter kit for going from standard to boost hub spacing.

Options

You can order an SL wheelset in just about any configuration (except 26”). If you order a non-boost wheelset, you’ll receive 12×142/12×135/ and QR adapters. Both the boost and non-boost hubs are available with Shimano and XD freehubs. Every wheel ships with tubeless tape installed and e*thirteen tubeless valves.

The wheelset sells for $1599. A front wheel costs $675, the rear is $824. That may sound like a lot, but it’s in line with what you’d expect from a quality carbon wheelset. For comparison, a set of Roval Fatties or custom built Nox hoops with Hope hubs will cost around $1500.

The E13 tubeless valves put regular valves to shame.

The e*thirteen tubeless valves put regular valves to shame.

Install

The standard tubeless valves we use today are terrible. You could literally cut a valve out off a tube and get the same results. But e*thirteen’s valves are different. They use a two-piece system. The inner portion slips through the rim, which the outer then threads over. Both pieces use captured O-rings to create a leak resistant seal. The entire system is designed to maximize airflow, helping make seating tires easier.

e*thirteen TRS Race SL Carbon Wheelset

The best part of these valve is the cap, which doubles as a valve removal tool. Why doesn’t everyone do this?

The only issue we encountered with these valves is they don’t play nice with every pump head. Despite our best efforts, we could not get tires to inflate with either a Lezyne ABS2 or Birzman Snap It valve head. You can work around the issue by using a Presta to Schrader tool.

On the tire installation front, things went smoothly. We were able to mount a set of Maxxis tires with bare hands and minimal swearing. Once the tires were mounted and the valve issue sorted, the tires seated with a standard floor pump. No fancy tricks or chamber pumps required.

Ride Impressions

All the technical facts are fun to geek out about, but the real question is how do these wheels perform? I hate to dish the generic “laterally complaint, vertically stiff” mantra, but I’m going to disappoint myself. If you’ve ridden e*thirteen’s other carbon offerings, you’ll understand why. The wheels are pleasantly stiff. I was previously running a set of lightweight carbon wheels, but the SL is noticeable stiffer. It makes holding rough lines that much easier and slapping into berms that much more fun. With some manufacturers, that stiffness comes at a cost. Those wheels can feel overly harsh or pingy, but you never that get rough sensation from this e*thirteen wheelset.

e*thirteen TRS Race SL Carbon Wheelset

The SL tires left us with nothing to complain about.

Some riders will complain that the internal width is too narrow, but most trail riders are probably running 2.3” or 2.4” tires making this less of an issue. Our test wheels were set up with 2.3” rubber front and rear. With this combination and tire pressures in the low 20s, the tires had a nice rounded profile and zero burping issues. Overall, the 28mm inner diameter feels like a good compromise.

With only a partial season of testing on these wheels, it’s hard to comment on long term durability, but so far everything is holding up nicely. Both wheels were true out of the box and evenly tensioned. After a few rides, they’re no worse for the wear.

For more information, visit bythehive.com.

Photo Thumbnails (click to enlarge)

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  • dogfaced boy says:

    nice wheels. duh that cap is so trick, time to make these trick caps, duh.

  • jwilli says:

    I’m curious why you didn’t use the e*thirteen TRS tires. I think they are a great alternative to the DHF’s.

    • Saris Mercanti says:

      @Jwilli

      Truth be told, the tires were out of stock. Also, they’re a bit to burly for a Tallboy. I’m running a DHF front, Ardent rear. I have as set of 27.5 TRS tires in the garage. I plan on mounting them on my Nomad ASAP. They’re great tires.

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