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Review: E*Thirteen LG1 Race Carbon Downhill Wheels

Jun 22, 2023
by Henry Quinney  
E Thirteen LG1 Race Carbon Downhill Wheels review


E*thirteen claim their LG1 Race Carbon wheels are built to the highest standards, and they are covered by a lifetime guarantee. Which is what you would hope for on a carbon wheelset. A combination of the warranty, and just how many World Cup teams they work might just pique a potential customer's curiosity and maybe even confidence. Of course, carbon wheels aren't cheap, but is the LG1 Race the wheelset to last under weekend warrior, privateer, and pro racer alike?

E13 LG1 Race Downhill Details
• Wheel size tested: 29/27.5"
• Intended use: Downhill
• Rim dimension: 30mm width, 24mm profile
• Hubs: 6° engagement, and includes 9-21T cassette
• Weight: 2265g total (actual)
• MSRP: $1,729.95 USD
• More info: ethirteen.com

The wheels feature a now-common 30mm inner width and are built around tires between 2.3 and 2.6". The wheels are sold separately and come in both 27.5 and 29", front or rear. They use 32-spoke rims that feature nipple washers, triple-butted spokes, and alloy nipples.

I personally am a big believer in using washers with wheel builds, and it's good to see more brands doing it from stock. A washer on your spoke nipple, like most other washer applications, is a way to stop the interface binding as you add tension, hopefully meaning the resistance you feel in the spoke key reflects the tension of the spoke.

The wheels are made of "World Cup carbon fiber" - whatever that means - and have claimed weights of 961g and 962g for fronts in 27.5 or 29" respectively. I'm not too sure how going to a 29" wheel only adds one gram. The rear has weights of 1448g and 1485g. We measured our mixed-size wheelset to weigh 982g for a 29" front and 1283g for a 27.5 rear.

E Thirteen LG1 Race Carbon Downhill Wheels review

E Thirteen LG1 Race Carbon Downhill Wheels review
E Thirteen LG1 Race Carbon Downhill Wheels review

Design & Specs

The wheels come with different end caps to go between 150 and 157 mm spacing, and are fitted with a proprietary steel cassette. The cassette works well with both Saint 10-speed or an 11-speed spacing 7 speed SRAM drivetrain. To me, it makes total sense for the rear wheel to be made with a certain cassette in mind, as it lets the designer maximise the real estate on offer in terms of flange width. Is it not slightly backwards that on some downhill bikes you space out the freehub? Or maybe just equip the bike with gears you'll never use? Especially if including those elements is coming at the cost of either ride quality or durability - or maybe even both. The idea of 157mm spacing while also running a cassette that wastes all that space is nonsense.

I love the integration personally, and I like the tight range and shift quality it grants. However, I also am not a stickler for running large chainrings to better isolate drivetrain forces away from the pedals. With a 34T chainring, the gearing is ample for all the riding I did, and I enjoyed the idea of extra clearance around the bottom bracket. However, if you wish to run a 36T you could end up with a gear range that's quite high. The hub itself offers six degrees of engagement.

E Thirteen LG1 Race Carbon Downhill Wheels review

Test Setup

I have used this wheelset over two stints of heavy riding. One last summer in the French Alps, and the more recently in BC. After spending a few weeks smashing them into just about everything in Whistler bike park, I can say that I have confidence in them. I've sliced a few tires in that time, but have yet to damage the rim itself.

My test setup has consisted of running inserts at times last summer, but more recently I have gone without. I've gone between downhill tires from Continental and Versus. I've been using these wheels on a Santa Cruz V10. While I really love my V10 and the versatility it offers, it perhaps isn't the best in terms of all-out chunder-tracking, and if you feather the brakes at the wrong time you can go straight to the rim.

During testing, I would typically run around 24 psi in the front and 28-30 in the rear.

E Thirteen LG1 Race Carbon Downhill Wheels review
E Thirteen LG1 Race Carbon Downhill Wheels review

On the Trail

Before we get to the wheels, I just want to say how well the cassette shifts. It doesn't look too exciting or appear to have any delicate shifting ramps and is absent of exotic materials, but it shifts very very well. There was one instance in heavy, clay-like mud, where I lost one gear due to it clogging with mud, but I think all cassettes are vulnerable to this (get in the comments to bemoan the lack of gearboxes). I coupled it mainly with Shimano Saint. If you cycle the shifter through the first three clicks, leaving only six remaining available before clamping the cable you can have a very good 7 speed drivetrain with the durability that I for one have come to love.

The wheels err on stiffness more than compliance and track very well when you're really driving the end and trying to sink your weight through the rear on the exit of a turn. These are stiff wheelset that offers a very direct feeling that happens to be comfortable.

E Thirteen LG1 Race Carbon Downhill Wheels review
The wheels come with E13's own three-piece valves, that aim to cover off some of the drawbacks of a standard presta valve.

The bead is tight to get tires on - perhaps a little too much so. Interestingly, the 29" front never gave me any issues, but getting a tire on the 27.5" rear wheel was a hard-fought battle. Removal isn't particularly easy either, and you have to be very careful not to pinch the rim tape. This isn't something I find myself concerned with on a lot of wheels, but I was very conscious of the risk with a bead as tight as this. That said, I never suffered any burping, both in turns and through compressions regardless of the tire on the front or the back.

I have sliced two tires on this wheelset, but there's nothing to suggest there's anything about the profile or shaping of the rim that makes this more likely. Although speculative, I might even contend that these impacts were enough that they would have dented an alloy rim and something simply had to give. Both times were on a high-speed trail that was littered with a razor sharp rocks.

E Thirteen LG1 Race Carbon Downhill Wheels review

Durability

During the course of testing, I have been impressed with these wheels' durability. Sometimes, testing wheels can be a bit daunting. Am I riding hard enough? Am I, essentially, smashing the rim directly into rocks and roots in a way that could cause an impact? In this instance, I feel like I have satisfied my own expectations.

Riding in Whistler, doing lap after lap of telemetry (data acquisition) testing, meant that I was able to really push these wheels time and time again on my chosen test track of Whistler Downhill and Detroit Rock City. Yes, I'm sure you could break them in some way - and everything will break if hit hard enough - but these wheels have done a very respectable job of standing up to abuse and holding tension. I would be interested to see how many dings and dents an alloy rim would have suffered under a replicated load. And isn't that, after all, one of the main benefits of carbon wheels? Being able to take the hits without having you reach for the crescent wrench.

E Thirteen LG1 Race Carbon Downhill Wheels review
E Thirteen LG1 Race Carbon Downhill Wheels review

I also lent these wheels out the Gabe Neron (the current Canadian national downhill champion) at the Fort William World Cup last year. Up until this point, I hadn't even ridden them myself, but when his bike got lost on a flight I was very happy to help. Not only did they survive his riding, but they came back true and under tension, which couldn't be said for all wheels on the infamously rough track.

The hubs have been good, but maybe not quite as impressive as the rims. I've had the rear come loose twice, and although it can be preloaded with standard cone spanners and without the need for any particularly specialist equipment it was a mild irritation. I also developed an intermittent squeal from the seals. I clean it, it's quiet, and then it eventually returns. It's not a big deal, and the bearings are still very smooth, but that's not to say it isn't an irritant. After a pretty frequent washing and cleaning, the freehub internals remained greased, adequately clean, and running smooth.

Finally, it is either nitpicking or very valid depending upon just how much you care, but the decals and stickers peeled easily, and they subsequently look quite tatty. It doesn't bother me, but it might bother you.


Pros

+ Strong wheels that can take a beating
+ Stiff and precise, yet also comfortable
+ Good shifting on the provided cassette

Cons

- Tires are very tight on the 27.5" rim
- Intermittent squeal from hub seals
- Rear hub came loose twice



Pinkbike's Take

bigquotesThe e*thirteen LG1 Race downhill wheels have offered a great mix of comfort, performance, and durability. Yes, there are some people that may have had their fingers burnt in years past with carbon parts that are too delicate, too expensive, and only offered brittle stiffness, but carbon wheels are coming good. Whether you're racing World Cups or just cruising laps in the bike park, if you're ready to take the plunge on a set of carbon wheels the LG1's would be a good choice. Henry Quinney


Author Info:
henryquinney avatar

Member since Jun 3, 2014
348 articles

72 Comments
  • 18 0
 Bang on review. I lhave these wheels on two of bikes for a couple years now. I did crack one under a heavy impact no alloy wheel would survive and it was immediately warrantied with no questions asked. I will also confirm that getting the tires on/off the 27.5s is very difficult. The amount of rim tape i've wrecked and tires I've pinched is rough!
  • 3 0
 One thing I've found with e13 is, no matter the problem, they stand behind their product. If you have an issue with anything, reach out to them and they'll take care of it.
  • 2 1
 @chriskneeland: I have not had the same experience. I’ve had issues that were not resolved under warranty since I didn’t have a receipt. Aluminum wheels, dropper posts, etc all failed prematurely. I now stay as far away as possible from their terrible products.
  • 1 0
 @Murphius: yeah e13 is terrible. The moment I took all that crap off my YT was so satisfying. Nothing but problems.
  • 1 0
 @bodingus: yup. Same here have two YT bikes and all e13 crap was removed. Worst quality parts.
  • 1 0
 @Murphius: Sorry to hear about those issues. Like most companies, we do require a purchase receipt to show that you were the original owner and that the warranty applies. In the absence of that, we typically offer a low cost replacement. We'll send you a DM to see if we can make things right.
  • 1 0
 @scoobiemario, @bodingus - Sorry to hear about your experiences with the OEM parts on your YT. We'll reach out to get a better understanding of what went wrong and see about getting that corrected with you.
  • 9 1
 Out of cost savings, I decided last year, to go the custom build route by building a set of E13 carbon hoops up to Spank Hex hubs...and have not been disappointed. They are a bit heavier than some other wheels I've run in the past (DT Swiss XMC 1200) but I don't gather the feeling that my wheels will blow up while riding in BC. Running a Cushcore pro on the rear for added comfort in knowing I can plow through chunky/aggressive terrain and have my wheels come out unscathed.

Warranty? Fantastic.
Price? Fantastic.
Looks? Pretty good.

Built two sets (27.5 and 29), with Spank hubs, for less than $2000 CAD. Worth it!!
  • 1 0
 I am considering doing something similar, spank hex hubs, spank 350 alloy front, then either e13 DH carbon or WAO strife rear. Seems to me like the best cost/performance/durability combo out there
  • 2 0
 @IsaacWislon82: Hex hubs are, IMO, probably the best bang for your buck currently. They sound great, look great and are super easy to service and maintain.

I was initially turned off E13 due to the issues I had with the alloy wheels but the carbon rims are fantastic and you can't go wrong with a lifetime warranty. Putting a cushcore on the rear of any bike with carbon wheels just adds peace of mind.
  • 1 0
 @SpecSRAM: I've had great experience with Spank hubs and wheels in the past. Running 350f/359r on hex hubs on my enduro bike now and they are amazing. But alloy rims still have their limits, particularly on the rear of my DH bike that sees an unreasonable amount of bike park laps at a particularly rough park (Angel Fire).

I've definitely heard the same about e13, the alloy rims might as well be made of cheese but the carbon ones seem to last great and get warrantied quick if you do manage to break em
  • 1 0
 @IsaacWislon82: Why not buy a Spank wheelset and replace the rim when it's toast?
  • 1 0
 @DaveRobinson81: That's what I've been doing, getting about a season out of a rear which is fine but It would be nice to not true/tension wheels as much
  • 1 0
 @IsaacWislon82: Maybe a miscommunication - I thought you meant building up a new wheelset. I think if you look far and wide enough you could find a rim with the same ERD as a 359(?) so change over to carbon at the right time with relative ease - job done.
  • 5 0
 They were running a 30% off sale this winter and I picked up one of these rear wheels for my DH bike and one of their Carbon Ebike Wheels. Both have been great thus far.

I will say I really want to try a 32T front chainring. I have a 34 currently and I think for bikepark riding the 32 would be better for the occasional climb on some of the tech trails or just riding the bike paths in the village.
  • 5 0
 I don't get how the cassette works with both Saint 10 speed and Sram 7 speed that's on 11 speed spacing. Isn't the Saint 10 speed spacing 3.95mm between cogs, while the Sram 7/11 speed spacing is 3.72mm?
  • 1 2
 It has to do with the ratio at the lever, not the spacing of the cogs.
  • 6 3
 This whole review was a very tough read: so, what cassette does the freehub fit?
And what does "if you feather the brakes at the wrong time you can go straight to the rim" mean? Are you saying the V10 firms up under braking, so your rim will take more impacts if you're braking in a rock garden?
Honestly no idea here.
  • 1 1
 @bishopsmike: agree it was a very difficult read, but I believe the answer is that it doesn’t fit any standard cassette. the rear hub has special spacing that requires a proprietary cassette.

I already get annoyed that every manufacturer has proprietary pawls on their drivers. Throw in the need for a proprietary cassette and I’m out.
  • 7 1
 @bishopsmike: Hi. The cassette is proprietary to the freehub, meaning that only that cassette fits the hub - and vice versa.

I am not saying the V10 firms up under braking, I'm saying that it can hang up under braking in certain instances with certain setups.

As for the shift, it does work with both. I imagine it has something to do with the cogs being very small and you essentially run a large amount of B-tension compared to a standard setup, meaning the lines between 10 and 11-speed spacing become somewhat blurred.
  • 11 0
 @bishopsmike: The cassette is a proprietary integrated unit and does not use a traditional style freehub body. Going this route allowed us to space out the hub flanges further appart and utilize the "wasted space" other high end 7s cassettes have between the largest cog and drive side hub flange to make a stronger, near dishless wheel.
  • 6 0
 @toast2266 It's complicated. Believe it or not, the cog spacing is not identical between every sprocket on those cassettes. It comes down to a combination of a lot of testing and some engineering wizardry. The cassette works great with both systems and we've had World Cup DH teams using both drivetrains in past years with no complaints whatsoever about shift quality.
  • 2 0
 @henryquinney and @ethirteen: makes total sense, clear now - thanks folks!
  • 2 0
 @ethirteen: Now...if only you'd make me feel better about that 21 tooth having nothing to keep the chain
from dropping behind it and into the spokes when I set it up as shitty as a I usually set anything up.
  • 2 0
 @blowmyfuse: get urself a dork disk
  • 1 0
 @gtill9000: The dork disc built into the SRAM GX makes a ton of sense. Heck..if they added an 8th gear that was a 28 with no ramp and no way to shift up to it, at least I could set the limit screw on the 22 & have some measure of trust that if I thumb up as hard as my panicked brain is known to do, I will never risk going into spokes.
  • 1 0
 @blowmyfuse: Are you really riding in that gear? I mean it's a DH wheelset. Generally I would only be using that gear to get to the trailhead and immediately shift down as I pedal in.
  • 1 0
 @jomacba: sometimes the legs are cooked and the gravel is deep. Yesterday was the perfect example. Brand new dumped deep gravel at the lift top and bottom.
  • 1 0
 @blowmyfuse: Dumped deep gravel at the bottom of the lift??? Do you not have dirt where you ride? Are you sure your not at the quarry? Where TF do you live? I have so many questions!
  • 1 0
 @jomacba: Well...would you rather stand in ankle deep mud in the lift line? Most all resorts dump fresh gravel at the start of lift season to keep rainy days from being a bog.

You're familiar with the concept of drainage?
  • 1 0
 @blowmyfuse: Never heard of it.
  • 4 0
 Ive had a set of these on my gravity bike for 4 years now. They havent skipped a beat. They are as true as the day they were delivered and have taken impacts well. They are marked and scarred but still going strong. Id never have thought a set of carbon wheels could hold up to the abuse as they have.
  • 2 0
 I've been using their enduro version for a few years and the rims have been great. The rear hub though comes loose with that wheelset too, even with the through axle torqued in tight. The spokes that wheelset also are fairly weak. Rear wheel I've replaced 7 of them, hopefully burlier spokes are used now. I haven't done a full rebuild because I'm looking to replace the rear hub with one that doesn't loosen up.
  • 10 0
 @FaahkEet - Glad to hear you have been liking the rims! For the hub loosening trouble, reach out to us via the support link on our webpage - we've got a solution for you. For spokes, we are currently using Sapim, which are considered some of the best available. Generally once you've seen your 3rd spoke fail, we recommend a full rebuild due to the other spokes being stressed and much higher likelihood of failure. Cheers
  • 1 0
 @ethirteen: Thanks for the reply and info about the rear hub, will check with support. For the spokes I went into a shop to get a replacement spoke just to keep rolling for a few but they didn't have any in 1.6mm, they also made a comment about them being pretty thin. I put on a 2.0mm as that's the smallest they had so it definitely stands out. Looking at other wheels with thicker spokes has made me a little spoke-conscious. Wheels are currently not mounted up so no risk of catastrophic failure.
  • 4 0
 I have a set of e13 TRS Race carbon wheels I got as part of an Intense promotion in 2019. Still running strong and true today.
  • 2 0
 Been running a set of LG1r EN 29" wheels since about 2019 and they are very bomber, very stiff. Tires are a pain to get on/off (set the rubber in the sunshine or a hot car for a bit to soften up) and they're a bit heavier than other carbon wheels. Did I mention they're stiff? I've recently gone back to AL rims for a bit more flex, and these are now my "back ups". However, I'm currently running the rear after destroying I9 EN305 rim the other week on a rock that these rims probably would've just brushed off. Probably need to put cushcore back in.
  • 1 0
 The tightness extends to the 29" version. Taking out Maxxis, Kenda and Continental tires is on the difficult side. Taking out a WTB tough one with an insert on might actually prove impossible, especially if it´s a 2.3" and there's not much space left.
  • 1 0
 Oh interesting. Maybe I just got luckier with tyres. The Conti and Versus I used on these wheels were noticeably easier to get on the 29 and the smaller rear wheel.
  • 1 0
 I have not experienced the same. No issues on tire fit on my 29 set with multiple brand DH or enduro casing tires. One thing I have found is that rim tape can make a big difference in tire fit. Gorilla tape is thick and builds up the rim well a lot and can result in much tighter tire fit. 2 wraps of the e*thirteen tape works great. It's thin and really sticky.
  • 1 0
 I have no experience with the hubs, but I have a set of these rims on some Pro4's, and my experience with them so far has been fantastic. Prior to these I was rebuilding a rear wheel once a season on average, and denting the hell out of them before I bent them enough to need replacing. These are on my second season now, and I've had to true them up twice.
  • 1 0
 It says the cassette works with saint 10 speed? What does henry mean by this? Can you run a saint rear derailleur with a 7 speed shifter and this cassette? i thought 10 and 11 speed (which 7 speed is based on) were different spacing. I would love to swap my xodh7 rear mech for a saint with an actual clutch but i assumed it wouldnt work right
  • 1 0
 The sram has a MUCH stronger clutch. I ran 7 speed on shimano you just get a long high limit screw and adjust. You can run anything from 10-4 speed
  • 1 0
 @freeridejerk888: so you think i can just put a saint rear in place of my xo1dh7 rear? still keep the sram 7 shifter and use this lg1 cassette? i thought 10 and 11 speed dont mix and match i read and 7 is based on 11 speed spacing.
  • 1 0
 @slickrides: Despite the 11 speed spacing, which you're right about, the 10 speed system works very-very well
  • 1 0
 @slickrides: sorry I didn’t write that correctly. You use a Saint shifter and derauiler. Then you replace the limit screw with a longer one locking out the top 3 gears making it 7 speed.
  • 1 0
 @freeridejerk888: interesting I’ve never heard of SRAM having a stronger clutch but I haven’t experience their dh groupset. Advantage of the Shimano clutch’s is that they can be adjusted from almost nonexistent to completely immovable with just an Allen key.
  • 1 0
 @spicysparkes: the clutch is terrible on my xodh7 rear. chain slaps around like crazy. compared to shimano its laughably bad
  • 2 1
 I can't say anything about the carbon wheels by e13, BUT I've tried the LG1 aluminium rims on my dh bike. The rear rim was destroyed after ONE day at the local bike park. Tire pressure at 30psi front and rear. There were over 10 dents and dings, one was fatal. It was bent like it's made from cheese. Tire was not damaged, nor did I hear any dings. I know I'd stay away from e13 aluminium rims from now on.
  • 2 0
 Shoot, I've been trying to sell a brand new set, but now maybe I want to keep them haha
  • 3 1
 I still don't get the point of carbon wheels if they weigh 2265g and cost $1,730.
  • 6 2
 If you're hard on rims, DH carbon lasts a lot longer than alu and you never need to true them. I'm on really nice Newmen alu, can't wait to go back to carbon. I have to true and re-tension my wheels every month or so with alu, never touched the carbons.
  • 2 0
 @JustinVP: I don't think carbon lasts longer. I have had four carbon wheelsets. All were lighter, but I cracked the rear wheel on every wheelset. Carbon is stiffer and you don't have to true them much at all, but a good aluminum wheelset you don't have to either. The ride characteristics are very different between carbon and aluminum. I do like the ride characteristics of carbon, but that is the only advantage I see is that if you want a stiffer wheelset.
  • 2 0
 Best company so far for me I run e13 Ebike wheels and nothing but great times up and down the mountain
  • 2 1
 Bring back Aston for wheel reviews Smile .
  • 7 7
 but did they survive Paul Aston? man rides like a bag full of rocks
  • 8 0
 Got nothing against Paul. The project he’s got going seems pretty cool. His experience is what it is. If he says he’s breaking things, he’s breaking things.

That said, I can’t figure out what he’s doing to all these bikes and parts to destroy them the way he does. He breaks more parts in a month than I’ve broken in 38 years of BMX and mountain biking combined.

I am absolutely willing to concede that I am not as fast or as rad or as hardcore as he is — and the way he seems to break stuff, I guess I count that as a good thing. But I ride a lot, I ride fairly advanced terrain, and I am neither light nor heavy, nor exactly slow. By and large stuff holds up for me, well within a reasonable lifespan. What is this dude doing to his bikes?
  • 10 2
 Guys a certified clown. I think he purposefully tries to break bikes at this point. He also pushes bikes that are totally stupid for 99% of riders
  • 2 3
 @freeridejerk888: Which bikes has he purposely tried to break? Starling recalled the frame he broke because half of the customers had the same issue. Commencal is somewhat well known to have frame cracks in the same place he did. His DVO was defective. The Norco broke and Norco did a recall of that frame because the issues were quite glaring and common. His orange had an issue (apparently a common one), his Hope had an issue but its an early production frame (#3).

The carbon YT and Canyon, Egerie, Nicolai, Radon, all survived.

What bikes does he "push", and why are they stupid for 99% of riders?
  • 2 1
 @wburnes: no one should be riding a 520 mm reach and chain stay high pivot to have fun on a blue jump line lol.
  • 1 3
 @freeridejerk888: what about on a double black, with a short, high rise stem?
  • 2 0
 @wburnes: Norco didn't recall the shore frames, they just sent out idler kits to fix the chaindrop issues. Not that there wasn't an issue, but it's not correct to say the frames were recalled.
  • 2 3
 The idea of using alloy nipples, and then sticking on a steel cassette seems ridiculous to me, but hey, what do I know.
  • 9 1
 What 7-speed cassette is made of anything else?

The steel part of this cassette weighs 153g and threads onto the aluminum freehub body, the complete assembly is 225g and retails for $160.

Compares favorably with the lightest SRAM 7-speed block, XG-795, which weighs 136g w/o freehub body, but retails for $300.
  • 2 1
 @g-thrash: that’s valid. But still, why the alloy nipples? Especially for this application.
  • 1 0
 Keeping in mind that in motocross, they only run alloy nipples.
  • 1 0
 @jomacba: I haven’t spent 23 years working in a motor cross shop, so I can’t speak to anything in that industry.
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