The Pinkbike Podcast: TRP's Race Engineer on Developing a New Drivetrain & Testing with World Cup Racers

Mar 25, 2023
by Mike Levy  
Art by Taj Mihelich

March 24th, 2023

With electronics on the rise, is it time for a new high-end mechanical option?

It's been a busy week of new gear, including TRP's first complete drivetrains. Yes, they've done a shifter and derailleur previously, but the EVO12 and EVO7 systems use completely new components, including their first cassette, both carbon and aluminum cranks, chainrings, and a clever dual-mode shifter that's come straight from the race track. I sat down with TRP's Research and Development Test Engineer, Colin Esquibel, to talk about what it takes to deliver a brand new drivetrain, testing with World Cup racers, embargos, why they're using KMC chains, and a whole bunch more.

First Ride: TRP's New 12-Speed Mechanical Drivetrain

TRP EVO12 drivetrain photo by Ajax Salvador

Featuring a rotating cast of the editorial team and other guests, the Pinkbike podcast is a weekly update on all the latest stories from around the world of mountain biking, as well as some frank discussion about tech, racing, and everything in between.

Subscribe to the podcast via your preferred service (Apple, Spotify, RSS, Megaphone, etc.), or visit the Pinkbike Podcast tag page for the complete list of episodes.

Podcast presented by The Pro's Closet


Author Info:
mikelevy avatar

Member since Oct 18, 2005
2,032 articles

  • 13 0
 DHR-Evo best brake on the market imo. If this drivetrain is anywhere near as good then we can all be stoked to see a viable 3rd option in the drivetrain space!
  • 8 0
 HI Pinkbike, please bring back the option to download the podcast mp3 file from the webpage. The seems to be a delay for it to appear in my podcast app feed, and it's ver nice to be able to download it immediately from the website.
  • 3 0
 Yes please mp3 download, I'm a cheapass and have a crap data package, need to download on WiFi and listen in the car on the way to the trail!!
  • 12 0
 @DrPepperUltimate @Stevelol just click on "share" and then click "download".
  • 1 0
 @wagonjon: thanks!
  • 3 1
 @wagonjon: Thank you for being a friend.
  • 1 0
 @DrPepperUltimate: going down that trail and back again
  • 2 0
 @Chief2slo: may your wheel be true and your brakes have no fade at all
  • 8 2
 I’m sure this podcast had some great info! Too bad no one of us could hear it! It’s called sound editing Wink
  • 3 0
 Seemed like it would be a good podcast but the volume levels went from whisper to airhorn and back repeatedly.
  • 2 0
 @ryan77777: I have just stopped listening 5min in because it was too quiet and annoying. Would I be correct in saying the ads were extremely loud and the rest quiet? Seems to be the norm. I’ve commented on this issue in the last 3 podcasts. Damage your eardrums loud when the ads come on because you have to have it quite loud to hear the actual podcast…
  • 2 0
 Just listened to the podcast on Spotify this morning (27-March) and sound levels were fine.
  • 1 0
 @ka-brap: Thanks, I'll check it out again!
  • 4 0
 Great interview and some great marketing for TRP. I legitimately want to try out their high end brakes now.
  • 2 0
 You won't be disappointed. I'm a pretty die hard Shimano guy. My TRP brakes were better in every single way... except maybe the levers... but you get used to them and if you ride Moto's you'd probably like it. The actuation that runs through the complete lever pull can't be matched by anything but maybe magura.
  • 2 1
 According to Zero Friction Cycling testing data KMC 12 speed chains run very fast, but have very high wear rates.

Sounds like bad news for TRP component wear unless people are right on top of frequent chain replacements.
  • 1 0
 The KMC chains seem to wear fast in general. We tried them for a minute when Shimano and Sram chains were hard to get, even the nicer coated chains tend to wear faster, especially on commuter bikes that get some neglect. I try to match my chain to my cassette, (I have a couple mixed drivetrain bikes) and when I can’t I usually reach for a Sram chain since they bought their tech from Hugi which integrated the busing into the side plate and made the chains more durable.
  • 1 1
 @BikesBoatsNJeeps: looking at their data they are about as durable as Shimano and the sram gx and lx.
  • 2 0
 Colin mentions that by matching their chainring and cassette to the KMC they were able to push for tighter tolerances, I wonder how much that will improve the wear rates.
  • 5 2
 That's great but where is the 2023 Fantasy League?
  • 4 0
 pov checking the site every hour incase you miss the cut off only to find it's not even starting :/
  • 5 2
 Colin Esquibel makes me want to work for TRP!
  • 2 0
 So how does it shift under load??
  • 1 0
 Is it me, or does Colin sound like Jason Segel. Listened while out on the gravel bike and I kept thinking that.
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