E13 TRS Race Cranks and Guide Ring M – Unboxed, Weighed, & First Impressions

E13 TRS Race Cranks Unpacked

With the recent advancements in drivetrain technology, its never been a better time to be a MTB biker. The single ring drive train used to the exclusive territory of those who went up to go down, but times are a changing.

Between the advent of SRAMs revolutionary XX1 groupo, narrow-wide chainrings, clutch derailleurs, and a dozen other little innovations along the way, anyone can shed their front derailleur and enjoy the simplicity of a 1x drivetrain.

The new TRS Race Cranks from E13 are part of this new wave . They are built enduro tough and trail light. Setup with the company’s direct mount Guide Ring M, that uses a narrow-wide profile to aid chain retention, the cranks offer considerable weight savings in a svelte package.

Spin past the break for more…

Weight

E13 Threaded BB WeightE13 doesn’t list any weights for their BBs on the website, but our came in at 79 grams. The package also included 3 BB spacers (not pictured), which barely registered on our scale. Our installation only required one spacer.

E13 TRS Race Crank Weight no BBWith a 30T Guide Ring M installed, the TRS race crankarms weighed a paltry 595 grams on our Weight Watchers approved scale. E13 claims the Cranks, BB, and 34T chainring should weigh ~665 grams. Our complete setup came in a little over budget at ~675 grams.

Tech

E13 TRS Race Polygon SpindleThe most unusual thing about the E13 cranks is the funny triangular spindle where the crank arm mounts. The shape is borrowed from the Germans and dubbed the P3 Lobe Interface. We are told the technology is found in many high torque applications -such as tank drive shafts – and provides better surface contact which eliminates the spindle wear that often causes competitors cranks to creak or loosen up.

E13 TRS Race Crank Spline

The TRS Race cranks utilize a direct mount spider to mount different chainrings. By eliminating the conventional spider/chainring bolts combination from the equation, E13 can make incredibly small rings without running into clearance issues.  The only downside to the integrated spider is that you’ll need their special tool to switch between rings. You’re also required to run their proprietary chainrings, unless you purchase an adapter that allows you to run normal 104 BCD rings.

Pictured above is their popular single ring offering, but E13 also offers a one piece double ring that mounts directly to the spider. It is available as either a 22/36 or 24/38.

E13 TRS Race Crank narrow wide chainringThe new Guide Ring M has a narrow-wide profile to help aid in chain retention. The rings are available in even increments from 28-38 and are designed to work with either 1o or 11 speed drivetrains. In addition to the spiderless version reviewed here, the chainring is also available for 104 BCD cranks.

E13 TRS Crank DetailsThe majority of MTB cranks on the market use a 24mm steel spindle. In order to win the weight game, E13 utilized a 30mm aluminum spindle. This system is claimed to be lighter and stiffer, but must be paired with an E13 BB.

Price for the crank arms and a single ring is $370 USD but the BB must be purchased separately.

InstallationE13 BB Installation

Once installed, only 3 understated arrows serve to remind you that you’ve departed the realm of “righty tighty, lefty loosey.”

After removing the tangle of cables required to shift a triple, then disassembling the linkage on our demo bike to access the BB , installing the TRS Race cranks was a pleasure. For those who have installed previous iterations of these cranks, E13 has come along way. There was no need to use any shims or respace the BB. We just followed the directions and installed one BB spacer on the non drive side.

If you’re at all nervous about installing these cranks, you should schedule a visit at your LBSs service department. But if that’s not you’re style,  E13 has one of the best online service guides we’ve ever encountered.

E13 BB Torque Recommendations

On the underside of the BB (and the backside of the cranks) are careful torque specs.
E13 Crank Install Torque WrenchTo install the BB, a special tool is required. It’s included in the package and can be used in conjunction with a regular BB tool or a 10mm hex head and torque wrench.

Once installed, the cranks slide in, and are torqued to spec. To remove any play, a preload ring on the non-drive side can be adjusted by hand. It that’s simple. After years of grinding down granny tabs and carefully shimming BBs and chain guides, this install was downright fun. Total install took no longer than it takes to drink a quality IPA.

As an aside, I’ve installed numerous cranks and BBs over the years and rarely use a torque wrench. So I was surprised by how much force was required to tighten the cranks to spec. Had I not been using a torque wrench, I probably would have stopped ~10 N.m below the recommended threshold. If you are having issues with your cranks loosening up, you should consider borrowing or buying a torque wrench.

On The Trail

E13 TRS Race Cranks Installed

The 2013 GT Sensor arrived at our doorstep a few weeks ago with a three speed contraption from 1996 bolted on and for obvious reasons – it was horrible. We snapped the chain on our first ride out so swapping to a 1x drivetrain was a no-brainer. The switch to the E13 TRS+ Cranks shaved nearly a pound and pushed the bike weights into the low 26 lb range (w/out pedals.)

Since this is a review bike, we decided to not trim the excess chain links. Instead, we opted to tighten the clutch mechanism on the 10 speed Shimano XT Shadow derailleur and cross our fingers.

On the trail, even with more chain links than a bad rapper, the E13 Guide Ring M worked as advertised. It’s also eerily quiet. The only sound you’ll hear when pedaling is that of your tires in the dirt. Although we did notice that after getting into the gas after a rock garden, you can sometimes feel the chain shifting on the ring, but no matter how hard we’ve tried – we have yet to drop a chain.

We’ve only had the cranks installed for a few weeks but they’ve been rallied under some fast riders and none have complained about a lack of stiffness. Despite being sloshed around in the back of the truck, bashed into rocks and logs, the components look no worse for the wear.

Overall, the new E13 TRS Race Cranks are an impressive piece of kit. Since the last time we reviewed a set of their cranks, they’ve made huge improvements to the installation process. Gone is the bag of shims and in its place is a mechanics delight. Not only are the parts easy to service, but the aesthetics are great too. With the exception of the proprietary tools required for installation, there is nothing to complain about. Everything just works. If you’re looking to upgrade your existing drivetrain, these cranks are well worth your consideration.

Stay tuned for a long term report after we’ve logged a few hundred miles of muddy winter ridding.

 

Comments

don - 12/18/13 - 8:13am

Looks raceface next-ish. Would be good to have a compare/contrast on the two.

not sure why these companys think proprietary ring designs are warranted. If it doesn’t offer a substantial advantage then go with a standard

don

captain derp - 12/18/13 - 8:39am

they use the proprietary ring interface for two reasons:

1 – allow direct mounting of rings to the crank/spindle, which allows for smaller size chainrings not available with conventional BCD interfaces. which wouldn’t be a problem except…

2 – e13 is the only company using a 30mm crank spindle. they claim its lighter and stiffer. as someone who owns a set of their cranks, i’ve never weighed them so i can’t really comment on weight, but i can tell you they are the stiffest cranks i’ve ever ridden, aside from a set saint DH cranks.

Quickie - 12/18/13 - 8:55am

The crank looks nice, but count me out due to the chain ring availability…or lack thereof. There are plenty of common ways to directly mount a chain ring, and they don’t require special tools. There was no reason to invent a new standard. It is bad enough Shimano and Sram are constantly reinventing the wheel, but now companies with a much smaller share of the drive train market are making up “standards” too.

Reformed Roadie - 12/18/13 - 9:02am

So, how long do those graphics last before your shoe polishes them off?
Why not copy XTR/SLX with a bare outside surface?

Smokestack - 12/18/13 - 9:57am

So when Shimano and SRAM make something everybody else is just expected to play along? While not necessarily in my price range, I like the design, and the design necessitates a different interface between the ring and arm. I wouldn’t call it a standard by any means.

SmooveP - 12/18/13 - 10:06am

@Quickie,
I believe that this crank allows a spider with standard BCD to be mounted, similar to the RF Next SL. There is no standard method for direct mount rings/removable spiders across the different manufacturers who offer this feature (older FSA, White Industries Eno, to name a few more). e13 even makes a direct mount one piece double ring, which is lighter and cleaner looking than a setup with spider + separate rings.

Fraser C - 12/18/13 - 10:10am

Hey those pedals look sweet – nice low stack.. Anyone ID them for me? Thx!!

ms6073 - 12/18/13 - 10:40am

@captain derp – I am a bit confused. Were you trying to say that e13 uses a 30mm spindle that works with BSA, BB30, and BB86/BB386 bottom bracket standards?

Dave - 12/18/13 - 10:46am

The 30mm spindle can be used with other BBs. I’ve been running my E13 cranks with an Enduro BB for a while now. Smooth spinning and much more durable than the E13 BB, highly recommended!

captain derp - 12/18/13 - 11:20am

@ms6073: not sure which other BB’s standards it is compatible with, as none of the stuff i’m on is press fit.

to the best of my knowledge e13 is the only company using a 30mm spindle that’s available off the shelf (without needed another company’s adapater, which do exist) for english style (threaded, non PF) bb’s.

@dave: how do you like the enduro bb? did you ever try e13′s TiNi bb? it’s a big improvement over the standard e13 bb, and cheaper than the enduro. was wondering how the 2 compare

captain derp - 12/18/13 - 11:21am

and you’re right, i did mis-speak. they’re not the only company with a 30mm spindle, but they are (as i just mentioned) the only one i’m aware of that offers it off the shelf for english style bb’s.

mateo - 12/18/13 - 11:56am

FSA’s 386Evo standard is a 30mm spindle that works with threaded BBs as well. It’s still road only for the moment, but they’re working on mountain versions.

The road version is compatible with BSA (68mm), BB86, BB30, and PF30.

bikecharlie - 12/18/13 - 12:19pm

Hey Guys,
Charlie from e*thirteen.

For those of you asking about BB fit we have a great tech doc here that goes over our system and the BB standards we support: http://bythehive.com/support/?did=41
We do use a 30mm spindle but we place the bearings outboard of the BB shell in order to fit BSA shells and give the bearings a wider spacing.

Along with the direct mount rings we also have 104bcd spiders and M rings available for those that want to run a 4 bolt ring or a bashring with the M ring. For the 30t and 28t we felt like the direct mount rings were a better approach than offsetting a 4 boltring.

The ring swaps do a require a special tool, but it is included with every TRS crankset.

JasonK - 12/18/13 - 12:46pm

Captain derp: Lightning and RaceFace both make 30mm cranks that are designed to go in BSA bottom brackets.

Dave - 12/18/13 - 12:58pm

Captain derp: I did not try the E13 TiNi BB, only the standard version. I went through three of them, at about five months of service each. I’m currently using the Enduro XD-15R External BB30 unit in a BSA shell. It’s been in there for nearly a year and feels just like it did on the first day, absolutely flawless.

Seraph - 12/18/13 - 2:00pm

@everyone ever: the only reason why it requires a “special” tool to remove the chain ring is because of the oversized spindle. You need a tool with a 30mm ID to clear the spindle. The same tool to remove the chain ring/spider can be used to remove the BB as well, so it’s the only tool I keep around the shop.

And I have a set of the TRSr cranks on my Solo, and the TRS+ on my Edit 1 and they are both sick!

captain derp - 12/18/13 - 2:23pm

Dave: thanks for the info. i’ve got a year on my TiNi, if/when it gives up the ghost i may just give the enduro version a shot.

KJR - 12/19/13 - 3:18pm

@Fraser C: Those look like HT AE03 pedals. Super thin!

Taansie - 12/22/13 - 12:20pm

Gruppo

That is all.

z1ppy - 01/13/14 - 6:59am

“The ring swaps do a require a special tool, but it is included with every TRS crankset.”
Unless it come OEM on the bike, any chance they update the ridiculously small bearings (& are a non-std size, so you can’t replaced them) they use in their PF30 BB? Had my BB milled out 1mm, and depth increased by 2mm, so I could fit ‘normal’ BB30 bearing everyone else use & fit a cover over it – much happier now. Though due to the cost of the spider & rings, it was cheaper to buy a SRAM chainset than replace my single spider with a dual setup.

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