e*thirteen TRS Race SL Carbon Wheels - Review

Feb 7, 2018
by Mike Kazimer  

e*thirteen rolled out their new TRS Race SL wheels last summer, another addition to the constantly growing fleet of carbon wheelsets on the market. Aimed at the trail and all-mountain crowd, these are the evolution of e*thirteen's original TRS Race carbon wheels that we reviewed back in 2016.

Compared to those wheels, the TRSr SLs are lighter, a little wider, less expensive, and, according to e*thirteen, twice as strong when it comes to impact resistance. I do wish e*thirteen had gone with a name that rolled off the tongue a little easier, instead of something that looks like I fell asleep with my head on the keyboard, but that's a different topic.
e*thirteen TRSr SL Wheelset

• Intended use: trail / all-mountain
• Carbon fiber rims
• Sizes: 29", 27.5"
• Internal width: 28mm
• SL aluminum hubs
• 28 spokes
• Weight: 1700 grams (actual, 29"); 27.5": 1650 grams
• Lifetime warranty
• MSRP: $1499 USD

The 29” version is tested here, but there's also a 27.5” option, along with hub choices for Boost and non-Boost frames. MSRP is $1,499 UDS, and includes a lifetime warranty for the rims.

e thirteen TRSr SL
The hookless rims have an internal width of 28mm
Matchy matchy... Well, almost. The dirt stains have turned the wheel decals a slightly different color than the tire's sidewall. Good thing e*thirteen have replacement decals in a range of colors for freshening things up.

Rim Design

The carbon rims used on the TRSr SL have an internal width of 28mm, a number that, according to e*thirteen, works best with tire widths between 2.1” – 2.4”. If anything, I'd say that's on the conservative side – I ran 2.5” tires for a portion of the test period without any issues. The rim sidewalls are hookless and measure 2.5mm thick, which is .5mm narrower than the previous version. It's that improved layup process that e*thirteen credit with improving the rim's impact resistance.

e*thirteen's valve cap doubles as a valve core wrench.

TRSr SL Hubs

The TRSr SL hubs are a departure from e*thirteen's previous design, which used a carbon tube bonded to tall aluminum flanges. With the new version, the hub flange is now constructed entirely from 7075 aluminum. The freehub mechanism design remains the same, with three double-toothed pawls that engage with the 60 teeth in the hub shell to create a quick 6-degrees between engagement points.

Each wheel has 28 j-bend spokes laced up in a three-cross pattern, and no proprietary spoke wrench or tire removal is needed to true a wheel.

After seven months of use the hub internals were still well greased and operating smoothly.
e thirteen TRSr SL
Three double-toothed pawls mesh with the 60 teeth of the drive ring to create 6-degrees between engagement points.


I've had a variety of tires installed on the TRSr SL wheels over the last seven months, including a Maxxis Griffin, Specialized Butcher, and e*thirteen's new LG1 tires, and haven't run into any issues getting them set up tubeless. That's become a fairly standard line when it comes to wheels these days, which is a good thing – the less time I need to spend shaking, spinning, and swearing at a wheel while it oozes sealant everywhere the better. The wheels come pre-taped, and include e*thirteen's own tubeless stems that have a clever valve cap that doubles as a valve core wrench.

Out on the trail, the TRSr SL wheels delivered a very smooth ride, free of any unwanted harshness. They're stiff and strong enough to handle rough trails and hard riding (a portion of my time on the was spent the Whistler Bike Park, and they still emerged unscathed), but they have a way of absorbing the small bumps that makes them extremely comfortable, especially on longer rides.

The rear wheel has been in the truing stand a few times to get rid of some minor wobbles, but in each case it only took a few minutes with the spoke wrench to get them spinning straight again. After all those months of mud and dust both hubs are spinning smoothly, and there isn't any side-to-side play on either wheel. e*thirteen did have some reports of unwanted rear hub drag in wet conditions, and have since updated a seal to address that issue, but that didn't occur on my test wheels.

Race Face Next R wheel review
e*thirteen's TRSr SL wheels weight 1700 grams and retail for $1,499, while Race Face's Next R wheels weigh 1750 grams and go for $1,500.

How Do They Compare?

Race Face's Next R wheels retail for $1,500 USD and weigh in at 1750 grams, which makes them a prime contender to go head to head against the TRS Race SL wheels. Both wheels have hookless carbon rims and hubs with over-sized flanges, but there are noticeable differences in how they feel out on the trail.

Stiffness: Stiffness isn't everything, but this point goes to Race Face. The Next R's feel more precise, with a crisper on-trail feel than the more muted sensation the TRSr SL's deliver. The Next R's will suit riders looking for a stiff, snappy feeling, the characteristics traditionally associated with carbon wheels, while riders looking for more comfort will likely prefer the way the TRSr SL wheels take the edge off small bumps and chattery sections of trail. It's worth mentioning that e*thirteen's TRSr wheels, which have an internal width of 31mm, are said to be stiffer than the Race SL, but they do weigh a little more, at 1810 grams.

Hub engagement: The Vault hub used on the Next R wheels has six pawls and 3-degrees between engagement points, while e*thirteen's hub has 3-pawls and 6-degrees between engagement points. I haven't had any durability issues with either hub, and that 3-degree engagement difference isn't drastic, but I'm going to say that this one goes to Race Face as well.

Weight: The TRSr SL wheels are lighter than the Next R wheels by 50 grams, although they're also a bit narrower, measuring 28mm internally versus 31mm internally, which I'd say makes this category a draw.

Warranty: With so many carbon wheels on the market, this factor is becoming more of a selling point. After all, if you're spending that much money on a set of wheels, it's nice to know that you're covered if shit hits the fan (or you hit a sharp, pointy rock). Race Face offers a two year, no-questions-asked guarantee that even covers non-riding damage; for instance, accidentally backing over your fancy new wheels in the trailhead parking lot.

e*thirteen's warranty goes a step further - they've had so few issues with their rims that they're now offering a lifetime warranty. If a rim breaks during the first year of use they'll send out a complete new wheel and call tag to return the wheel with the failed rim. After that, if a rim fails they'll send out a replacement rim with a call tag for the old one. Either way, it's nice to have that extra peace of mind when you're pinballing through a scree field.

Pinkbike's Take

bigquotesI was a fan of the way that e*thirteen's original TRS Race carbon wheels felt out on the trail, and that sentiment continues with the Race SL version. They have a straightforward, no-nonsense design, one that strikes a nice balance between stiffness and comfort, all at a reasonable weight.  Mike Kazimer


  • 69 13
 All Mountain??? What is that? Some new wierd form of Enduro? Or some hot new marketing term? Not sure if we should kill it now with fire or whole heartedly embrace it.
  • 34 54
flag YoungGun13 (Feb 7, 2018 at 0:26) (Below Threshold)
 All Mountain was the thing that evolved into enduro. I remember looking at all mountain bikes many moons ago
  • 82 0
 @YoungGun13: The joke/your head.
  • 23 0
 Nah, it just means that if you break the rim, u were clearly riding in an enduro way, and not trail/ all mountain, hence it would not be the manufacturer's fault...damned, I sound angry.
  • 14 4
 @MTB-Colada: I actually had that happen on WTB's this year. Apparently roots only exist on enduro trails
  • 12 0
 They call enduro stuff all mountain if its not up to beeing raced Razz
  • 9 2
 @Luneec: Then could somebody explain to WTB that a group ride on a blue trail isn't an enduro race?
  • 14 0
 @Luneec: But, but these have "race" in their name. I'm confused.
  • 8 30
flag taletotell (Feb 7, 2018 at 6:25) (Below Threshold)
 The humor is in poor taste. PBers bitch and moan about the word Enduro. Bike companies respond by making an obvious difference between Enduro and all mountain (spesh Enduro vs stumpjumper. Trek slash vs remedy. Ibis mojo vs mojo hd) and rather than appreciate the options the PB audience shift focus to axel width.
The bike companies say "well damn. Using the word enduro, (even legitimately to describe a different bike) pisses the PB people off. Let's just call our shish all mountain like they want." And the top voted comment is a joke about enduro.
They would stop trying to please you if only they didn't need your money.
  • 6 0
 @YoungGun13: You are thinking of Super D. It was All-Mountain, Super D, Enduro
  • 14 1
 @taletotell: did someone piss in your coffee? Clearly you fail to see the future of the "cycle" industry. AMWS will be a thing very soon and so will AM race bikes to compete in the AMWS where retired XCO racers go. Whats old is new again.
  • 10 4
 @Boardlife69: posts like yours do in fact make me feel better. A well told bad joke can be a good thing.
That being said I think you are seeing illuminati where there are none. Remember when good suspension valving was only on dh bikes. Then it worked it's way down to 6" forks meaning a six inch travel bike was no longer wallowing and slow so it could be raced instead of being limited to hucking (freerider). Then they shaved weight and made the 5" suspension feel like 6" and yet even more playful. And the trek remedy was the winningest bike in ews, even on rough tracks.
The pattern had been to lighter, shorter travel bikes that are super capable. Even dh bikes dropped a bit of travel and upped the wheel size.

Now the day has come when aggressive xc bikes (AM) are getting some serious love and people are crying about it. Forget the branding. Enjoy the incredible improvement!
A 5" travel plus bike eats gnar like an old dh bike. A 5" 29er handles and sprints like a 3" xc bike while soaking up bumps like 6" enduro.
AM really means all mountain. And they are even fun going up!
  • 4 3
 Enduro was just a label so the manufacturers can charge more for same shitty products! Now they are labeling them All-Mountain for 2018 so they can now charge the Enduro base pricing for same shitty products!
  • 2 1
 @drivereight: @drivereight: I know that is what people think. I just don't believe it. Enduro is a market segment. And right now that segment isn't seeing any big leaps forward. AM is a different segment and it is currently making the most progress. When I first came to this site it was all DH and FR, which was where the tech was advancing at the time.
other places the tech is advancing right now:
Guess what. Both of these segments are getting a bit more news coverage by the industry journalists.
They aren't pawns of the illuminati. The industry pushes the newest stuff and journalists cover the newest (news) stuff.
There doesn't have to be some evil sex cult involved. That is just a thing to do while the snow melts. . .
  • 31 0
 "I do wish e*thirteen had gone with a name that rolled off the tongue a little easier, instead of something that looks like I fell asleep with my head on the keyboard, but that's a different topic."

That was funny. And true.
  • 5 0
 @mtb-journal: How about evil 13
  • 6 0
 @kwapik: Haha... that's how we used to answer the phones back in the day when both brands were still under the same roof: "Evil Bikes and e13..."
  • 1 1
 @jtpentecost: Yeah, sounds right. Those were the days.
  • 32 2
 need a set of oval rims for my oval chain ring
  • 12 9
 Make sure you get 28.99" rims. That's the new standard.
  • 1 0
 @ciszewski: hahahaha!~ yam!
  • 1 0
 27.5 inches one one axis......29 inch on the other axis.....dilemma solved......
  • 31 2
 The question that's never asked: is these wheels playful?
  • 17 0
 Nah man they are aggressive af
  • 31 0
 I don't know; Is they?
  • 20 0
 They is.
  • 29 0
 People don't think it be like it is, but it do.
  • 6 5
 @SangamonTaylor: if it be why seems it so particular with thee?
  • 19 1
 Meanwhile lots of WC racers run sub 100 euro aluminium rims..
  • 1 0
 Shhhhhh! $500 up for wheels or your friends will laugh at you and you'll crash.
  • 1 0
 That's because they weigh 120 lbs.
  • 14 0
 I cracked one Race TRS+ rim and the warranty was flawless, they sent to Brazil with no cost, and now they running smooth, Thanks Cory Sullivan and e13 guys Wink
  • 6 0
 One of the best customer service out there. Cory responds to emails within an hour most of the time and resolves any issues immediately. None of the "take it to your LBS" crap. They help you out directly.
  • 1 0
 @ride4austin: Good to know. Thanks
  • 1 0
 This Cory fellow sounds like someone to be friends with.
  • 13 1
 @mikelevy - will your mini ever be in Space like Musks Tesla? With the bike attached to it?
  • 4 0
 I'm picturing another "shooting stars" meme
  • 3 0
 It already pisses me off enough when on a bright winter day one single car casts a shadow right where I'm hanging. Don't send another car up there, it is pretty annoying already.

That said, this article is written by the other mike. You don't want him to to launch his buddies car and bike up there, don't you? Kind of a shitty prank to pull on someone.
  • 1 0
 @vinay: and it’s an E-car... ouch... another fork in my head
  • 5 0
 PB, how about some back to back testing of all these carbon hoops you guys have reviewed? Same tires, same bike, blacked out decals, see which one is fastest, damps best, corners best, and held up? Just swap wheels and smash the same trails over and over to see if there really is that much of a difference?
  • 1 0
 Because that would be useful/helpful.
Blacked out rims (rim stickers are lame) don’t make for a very good review-vertisement
  • 6 3
 I had 2015 trs+ wheels and they were shockingly bad especially the rear, freewheeling was really bad and got worse as you rode, seemed to me the hub end cap preload adjuster kept tightening up on itself, poorly engineered. For that reason i will not buy ethirteen again. Sorry ethirteen fans ????
  • 5 1
 I have to disagree with you I'm afraid. I ran the same wheels and the rear preloader never tightened itself up on me. It just worked loose every ride instead haha. That allowed the pointless angular contact bearings to fall apart which soon gets old at £20 a set if your lucky enough to find them in that size! Also that stupid lockring on the freehub seal used to work loose, jam into the cassette and turn my bike into a fixie every once and a while (Always fun halfway down a decent!). Absolutly dog sh*te wheels and the RRP of £600 was a joke. Went back to Hope on flows and never had to touch the wheels since.
  • 3 0
 New axle/bearing design fixed those issues and are provided free of charge to customers.
  • 1 0
 @petehaddock: Yes i to spent my hard earned money (£600) on a set, should have gone with hope or dt swiss. Lesson learnt. I had the bearings replaced which i was told would sort the problem but it didn't do anything, in the end i put a small washer on between the end cap and the inner bearing race which seemed to sort the problem but it shouldn't ever get to that point.
  • 6 0
  • 8 4
 I would go for the raceface. It is not enduro enough to have 28mm internal width. I need my 2.6 minions running at full capacity.
  • 1 0
  • 1 1
 That’s why the also have the 31mm internal TRsr. The comparison Mike does isn’t really comparing apples to apples.
  • 1 1
  • 3 0
 The thing with carbon hoops. They're fine till they aren't! I've ran four brands of carbon hoops and busted two. I love them, but don't ever want to feel like I have to ride differently because I might break them.
  • 1 0
 Which brands didn't bust, and which did?
  • 2 0
 Sounds like an awesome wheelset but I’m not sold on the 28 spokes. If your going to make a wheel, do it right and make only the front 28 and the rear 32. Those 4 extra spokes can make a world of a difference and probably would have meant the rear wheel wouldn’t have to be trued every few rides
  • 3 0
 Great review. Ridden both. I'm not sure I really notice much of a difference. I prefer carbon rim only option so I went with We Are One Composites as I use King Hubs.
  • 1 0
 @Longtravel, Have you ridden the santa cruz reserve wheels? if so how do they compare with the we are one agent and the TRS wheel? Thanks
  • 1 0
 @fedfox: I liked them and I like the warranty but the hub options are DT Swiss 350 (cheaper) and I9 hubs (more expensive). If I had to choose, I would go DT Swiss but with 240s. As of now, they don't do just rim options.
  • 4 1
 I picked up a set from Worldwide Cyclery for just under $1,000 (with discount). Seemed like a pretty good deal and they have been great so far.
  • 2 0
 You got the coupon handy?
  • 1 0
 Even without a discount they have them on for $1275 a set. Pretty decent for a wheelset with lifetime warranty!
  • 1 0
 @jwrendenver: my first purchase, so 20 % off. You can ask and I think they will give it to you.
  • 1 0
 Just scooped up a set from those guys for $1056. So many folks complain about the cost of carbon wheels, a set of Stans Flows on mediocre-at-best hubs is $700. Lifetime warranty on a carbon wheelset for just over $1000? I'm in!

I wasn't totally clear what was covered by the warranty, contacted e*thirteen and they confirmed that it doesn't matter how you break it, they will replace it for life even if 100% your fault and not a "defect". Hope I never have to use it but nice to know you can bash through rock gardens at will, or at least just be worried about destroying an $80 tire.
  • 3 0
 Once again PB reviews a wheel set and doesn't mention rim weight, way more concerned about the weight of the rim than the weight of the wheel set.
  • 4 1
 But I thought carbon is laid up naturally straight, never need truing blah blah blah.
  • 6 1
 Carbon rims DO get laid up in molds, so yes, they ARE naturally straight, but when you build with J bend hubs, the spoke holes tend to stretch over time, which affects wheel true. Straight pull hubs, on the other hand, have a lot more metal supporting the spoke head and are much less subject to deformation at the spoke holes. But what do I know? I just build wheels FOR A LIVING.
  • 2 0
 @RunsWithScissors: I'm repeating the garbage that's said on here, nobody is doubting what you're saying...imagine buying carbon rims believing what I've just said, only to find, just like these rims did, that they do actually need to be re-trued multiple times.
  • 1 0
 Add a few more spokes might help....but the weight!!!
  • 1 0
 @RunsWithScissors: Proper stress relieving will minimize that.
  • 9 4
 Hey wheres 26? Damn.
  • 13 4
 6 feet under ground...
  • 12 0
 Dont kid yourself, you will never pay $1500 for a 26" wheelset
  • 3 1
 @karoliusz: 26 alive and kicking Big Grin .
  • 4 0
 I like the j bend hubs. Nice review.
  • 2 1
 im just wondering if any brand or company will ever be smart enough to realize that if they make carbon rims about 3/4 the price they will still make profit and make more business.
  • 2 0
  • 2 0
 Been riding this wheels for 7 months without any issues. I was surprised how expensive these wheels are, cause these just came with the yt jeffsy that I purchased.
  • 10 7
 NO 26er wheel size? Come on! #26aintdead
  • 2 0
 @mikekazimer. How would you say these wheels compare to the Bontrager line pro 30? Thanks.
  • 2 0
 @mikekazimer. nice review Mike. How does this compare to the santa cruz reserve wheels?? Thanks
  • 3 0
 Twice the impact resistance. Rather significant claim.
  • 1 0
 I agree. Not doubting the claim but I'd love to hear how they determined that and also how they acheived it with carbon layup while also decreasing the bead width by 0.5mm. How much of a difference is there between carbon hoops from brand to brand then? If it's legit, awesome, cuz the new ones will be twice as tough as the old...

E13, can you comment?
  • 3 0
 For $1500 what kind of bike does it come with?
  • 3 0
 An invisible one.
  • 1 0
 I wish the valve core worked better with floor pumps that require you to thread onto the core, these make them somewhat difficult to use with that style pump....
  • 4 2
 First thing I did was scroll down to see price. Moving on.
  • 3 1
 Not enough spokes for me. Need at least 32.
  • 2 0
 Anyone had issues with the alloy ones? I have broken 2 of them now...
  • 3 2
 The eyelets split on 3 different rims. The weld that joins the rim together broke. I stripped the pawls of the hub a few times. They warrantied them a few times till the weld broke. Since they sold them to me initially at a reduced price, they decided they would not warranty them any more. They ended up giving me my money back and I got rid of a set of problematic wheels.
I also made the mistake of trying their TRS tires. One lasted seven rides till the knob ripped off spewing sealant everywhere. The back one went three rides later. So much for "reinforced" casings.
I have sworn off anything E13.
  • 1 0
 Gonna guess these were tested on the new capra. I got a noner fot that bike. Its gonna get what it deserves.
  • 3 2
 I am not convinced until we see the McAskill test!
  • 1 1
 What is pinkbike gonna do once they don't have any more plastic wheels to review? They must be getting close.
  • 3 1
 Ya lost me at 28 holes
  • 4 4
 Nice...more wheels, I can't afford..haha.
  • 2 1
 NO 26", NO SALE.
  • 3 5
 good hubs, shit rims..
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