They're best known for their brakes, but in 2019 TRP stepped into the drivetrain world with the debut of the DH7 shifter
and derailleur, components that were first seen being tested by Aaron Gwin on the World Cup downhill circuit. The new TR12 components are the follow-up act, a shifter and derailleur that are designed to work with 12-speed cassettes and chains from other manufacturers.
The TR12 derailleur has all of the features found on the DH7, including an adjustable clutch and the Hall Lock, which locks the B-knuckle to the derailleur hanger. It also has a carbon fiber outer cage and upper link in order to lose a few more grams.
TRP TR12 Details
• 12-speed shifter and derailleur
• Carbon cage and upper link on derailleur
• Adjustable clutch
• Adjustable Hall Lock
• Colors: black, gold, silver
• Weight: 291 grams (derailleur), 110 grams (shifter)
• MSRP: $329.99 / set, shifter: $109.99, derailleur: $229.99 USD
The actual weight of the derailleur is 291 grams, and the shifter weighs 110 grams. Retail price for the shifter and derailleur together is $329.99 Shifter
The TR12 shifter is pretty much the same as the DH7 except that, surprise, surprise, it has 11-clicks instead of 6. One push of the larger paddle will shift through up to four gears, with a distinct 'click' for each, while the smaller lever is used to move the derailleur and chain down the cassette one cog at a time. The levers have raised diagonal lines on them for extra grip, and the position of the larger paddle can be adjusted by 20-degrees in either direction to make sure it sits in exactly the right spot.
The Hall Lock feature locks the B-knuckle in place, preventing the derailleur from rotating clockwise and hitting the frame.Derailleur
The overall design and function of the TR12 derailleur isn't radically different from the norm, but there are a few features and details that set it apart. The most visible is the Hall Lock, the lever that sits just behind the derailleur mounting bolt. When the lever is closed it locks the B-knuckle in place, preventing the derailleur from rotating clockwise and contacting the back of the frame's dropouts. A 2mm set screw allows the amount of resistance the Hall Lock provides to be adjusted, or it could be turned off completely if a rider decided not to take advantage of that feature.
Along with the Hall Lock, the TR12 has a ratcheting clutch mechanism that's turned on or off via a sliding switch. The amount of resistance if provides is adjustable via a pair of 2mm screws that are partially hidden by the upper pulley wheel. Adjusting the clutch isn't the easiest task, especially with the rear wheel on – it's easier to do with the wheel off and the bike in a stand rather than on the side of a trail. It's also worth noting that a small turn of each screw can make a big difference – it's best to start with 1/8th of a turn if more clutch resistance is needed.
TRP also designed in a couple of handy set-up helpers. A white line on the backside of the outer cage makes it easy to set the proper B-tension – it should line up with the largest cassette cog once the tension is correct. On the other side of the cage there's a small chain icon that helps check for the right chain length. That icon should line up with the one printed on the derailleurs knuckle when the chain is sitting on the smallest cassette cog. Installation
Installation didn't present any problems, and the little chain length and B-tension indicators did help make the process even easier. The rubber cable port cover on the shifter is a little fiddly, but it's not exactly something that you'll be removing and re-installing all that often. The bulk of my testing took place with the TR12 components paired with a SRAM X01 cassette and chain. Since they don't make their own cassettes or chains, TRP has a list of recommended match-ups, and SRAM is at the top, followed by Shimano, SunRace, and e*thirteen.
I did end up increasing the clutch tension slightly after my first ride in order to reduce the amount of chain slap. The stock setting was a little too light for my liking; what I settled on was closer to the amount of tension typically found on a Shimano derailleur. Performance
The ergonomics of the shifter worked relatively well for me once I'd adjusted the thumb lever position by a few degrees. Each shift creates a very positive, audible click – there's no vagueness here. However, the amount of effort it takes to actually make those shifts, especially moving the chain up the cassette, is more than I would have liked. It takes a decent amount of force to push that thumb lever, and it's not nearly as effortless as what you'll find with high-end SRAM or Shimano shifters.
I replaced the cable and housing to ensure that that wasn't the issue – it wasn't – and I also turned the clutch off to see if that was the cause. It is easier to shift with the clutch off, but even then, there was more resistance than I expected. The shifts themselves were fine – the chain moved the correct amount each time, and there wasn't any skipping or jumping around on the cassette.
The clutch does its job – I didn't have any dropped chains, and I wasn't running a chain guide of any sort, although it was hard to find the sweet spot between too much and two little resistance. The resistance that it applies is also a little less consistent than SRAM's or Shimano's clutch mechanisms – TRP's is a little more jerky feeling as the cage is pulled forward.
It's too early to comment on really long term durability, but over the course of the last two months the TR12 components have been subjected to plenty of wet, muddy rides, and so far all of the bearings and pivots are still operating smoothly.
Handy set up features+
Derailleur is very adjustable and serviceable+
Adjustable thumb lever position
Takes more effort to push thumb paddle compared to Shimano or SRAM-
Can be hard to find sweet spot between too much and not enough clutch resistance-
Price is on the high side