eThirteen TRS+ Race Cranks
Reviewer Info: 5’10’’, 165 lbs. Jumps off everything.
Stated Weight: 665 Grams (34t single ring w/BB)
· Length: 170, 175(tested), 180
· Material: Exalite R Forged Aluminum
· BB Width: 68/73mm
· Spindle: P3 Connect
· BB Choices: BSA, PF30, BB92, BB30 ($40-80 depending on model)
· Single Ring Options: 28,30,32,34,36 (GuideRing M with narrow-wide pattern)
· Dual Ring Options: 22/36, 24/38
· Hardware: Integrated spider – no chainring bolts
· Included Tools: BB Cup tool
· Color: Black with Red Spindle
MSRP: $379.99 (without BB)
Test Locations: Hurricane, St. George, & Moab, Ut; Fruita & Loma, CO; Pocatello & Boise, ID; Missoula, MT
Days Tested: 6 Months / 50+ Days
Crank arms and the bearings that rotate them are important components, though they are often overlooked and under-spec’d.
eThirteen’s newly designed TRS+ Race (TRSr) crankset is the latest in the company’s new line of ‘Enduro’-specific products, and as they put it are “engineered to take the daily extreme punishment dealt by riders on enduro bikes, [yet] still light enough to use on XC specific bikes.”
The TRSr adds a few new innovations over previous eThirteen cranks, most notably doing away with the more finicky washer and spacer kit used to preload BB bearings, in favor of the new APS system– a threaded plastic ring integrated into the non-drive crank that makes installation a breeze.
eThirteen updated their design to incorporate the chainring and crank arm by creating their new GuideRing M – a one-piece spiderless chainring that attaches directly to the drive-side arm by means of a threaded ring. No more 4-bolt spider patterns here.
Rotational weight can be a concern to some, and the TRSr weighs in at svelte 665 grams with single ring and bottom bracket. (While the TRSr is comparable to Shimano’s top-tier XTR crank, it is not quite as light as RaceFace’s carbon Next SL offering.) eThirteen achieved this impressively low weight for an aluminum crankset by using a special alloy that they call ‘EXAlite.’
The TRSr is available in all current bottom bracket configurations including press-fit and threaded types, and will accommodate standard shell sizes of 68-73mm. Riders can choose between 170,175, or 180mm crank arm lengths.
Chainring-wise, for those running 1x, the new GuideRing M comes in a myriad of options – 28, 30 , 32, 34, and 36 teeth rings are available, and feature a narrow-wide tooth pattern for added chain retention. In a side-by-side comparison to SRAM’s XX1 narrow-wide chainring (looking at both from the side), the GuideRing M has a somewhat shorter and more tapered tooth pattern than the XX1, while the SRAM ring has noticeably longer and more square-shaped teeth.
Those that have yet to ditch the front derailleur will be relieved to know that the TRSr can accommodate 2x as well, with either 22/36 or 24/38 spiderless configurations.
eThirteen looked at how other industries (tank drive shafts specifically) connected interfaces and incorporated it into their P3 Connect spindle. Instead of a spline-like spindle found on other cranks that can wear out over time, the triangular shape of the P3 Lobe provides constant contact with the surface of the crank arm making for a much tighter fitting and (ideally) longer lasting connection.
The P3 spindle found on the TRSr cranks is also 30mm in diameter, 6mm larger than Shimano and SRAM offerings. This makes a difference in two ways: (1) it’s stiffer, and (2) you can’t use any ‘ol aftermarket bottom bracket; only eThirteen BB’s are compatible with the TRSr cranks.
My 175mm TRSr cranks came with a 34-tooth GuideRing M, threaded bottom bracket cups, and eThirteen’s specialized BB tool necessary for a proper install. I’m still a huge fan of threaded bottom bracket cups for their dependability and ease of maintenance, not to mention I’ve ridden behind countless press-fit BB’s that creak like old houses.
The BB threaded into my 2013 Knolly Chilcotin easily and with no problems (although I was left wondering why there was no spindle-condom…er, the plastic tube that bridges the internal gap between BB cups and helps prevent grime from entering your frame). Keep in mind while most shops have the eThirteen bottom bracket tool, some do not, and it might be best to keep it in your travel toolbox for races, etc.
After I got the cups snugged up, the spindle slid through without complications, ready to accept its female mate. This is really where the user will appreciate the APS system, as the new non-drive crank with APS preloader completely replaces all the spacers and washers that caused previous eThirteen cranks to be a hassle to install.
The eThirteen cranks do not have pinch bolts found on a few other brands (Shimano, FSA, etc…) and rely on the P3’s tapered spindle and a single 8mm hex bolt to keep the crank in place. This one-bolt design is similar to RaceFace’s, and dates back to the days before 2 piece cranks were in existence. Users simply batten down the crank arm bolt to the correct torque, then dial the APS threaded collar until the crank has no play. That’s it. No more guess work installing, uninstalling, adding/removing washers, the APS does all of that with a few quick twists.
I’ve ridden the TRSr cranks in just about every condition imaginable, including spring creek crossings that submerge hubs and cranks alike. From the deserts of Virgin and St. George, Utah, to the mud and loam in Montana, these cranks have seen it all.
I’ve hucked drops, rallied some nasty boulder gardens at high speed, and pushed the TRSr as hard as I’m willing. In fact, I don’t think twice about these cranks when eyeing up a drop or big line—which is great, since I used to be skeptical of crank arms, having grown up snapping square-taper bottom bracket spindles clean off on even small drops.