When it comes to mountain bike tires, and especially the kind that you'd put on an enduro bike, there's never been more options than there are right now. You've got your go-tos from the names we're all familiar with, but also worthwhile choices from Vittoria, Goodyear, Tioga, and e*thirteen, among others.
And it's e*thirteen's revised 29'' TRS Race tire that we're looking at here. Mike Kazimer reviewed the first version
back in 2016, but e*thirteen has since updated its casing to ''improve grip under cornering and braking, decrease rolling resistance, and dramatically increase the tire’s puncture resistance.''
TRS Race 29'' Tire Details
• Intended use: all-mountain / enduro
• Diameter: 27.5'' or 29'' (tested)
• Width: 2.35'' only
• Casing: single ply
• 'Apex' inserts, aramid reinforced
• Compound: Plus, Race (tested)
• Weight: 1,065-grams
• MSRP: $69.95 USD
The TRS Race, or TRSr for short, is available in both 27.5'' and 29'' diameters, a 2.35'' width only, and a single ply but reinforced casing. In a 29'' diameter, it weighs 1,065-grams on my scale, which underlines the fact that this thing is intended for some rough and tumble riding.
It might say single ply on the sidewall, but this is a burly tire.
e*thirteen offers their tires in two different flavors: the TRS series that uses a single ply casing, and the LG1 series with a dual-ply casing that adds around 150-grams (depending on the model) for the extra protection. The TRS is reviewed below, and you can get them in the 'Race' triple compound or the 'Plus' compound that forgoes the ultra-mega-sticky rubber used for the cornering lugs of the TRSr. For the TRSr, you'll find a 72a durometer for the base, 40a at the side knobs, and 42a in the center. You probably already know the story here: a stiff base for support, soft and slow rebounding rubber on the sides for maximum traction, and a bit firmer down the middle for wear resistance.
But if bang for your buck, long-lasting rubber is what's at the top of your list, the Plus' 50a durometer sides and 61a center is probably more your thing.
The fresh TRS sports the same tread design as when it was first introduced back in 2016 that, as Kazimer mentioned in his review, looks a lot like the love child of a Schwalbe Magic Mary and a Bontrager SE5. Their make-believe kid sports some very prominent cornering lugs that also have a long, angled base for support, along with ramped center lugs that have lost a little bit of height compared to the original version.
There are sipes everywhere, too, which allow the lugs to flex and conform more to whatever's under them. These can be especially important when it's slick and sloppy.
The tread looks the same, but it's laid over a new casing that gives the TRS tire a much squarer profile than it originally had back in 2016. The new casing also sports an aramid layer for cut-resistance and new thicker 'Apex' inserts in the sidewalls for protection. The latter only extends part way up the sidewall to allow the casing to still be supple enough to conform to the ground to deliver traction and relatively decent rolling speed. This ain't your dad's flimsy single ply casing tire.
Tested on Guerrilla Gravity's Smash, the TRS saw everything from bone dry conditions to monsoon-like weather.
Alright, installation first and no levers needed, of course, with a fit that's tight enough on a set of 28mm internal width Roval wheels that it both required the proper technique and aired up instantly without any tricks. No removing the valve core, no soapy water, and no air loss. In fact, they held bang-on 20 PSI overnight; no sealant bleeding and no bubbles. They're true to width, too, measuring exactly 2.375'' wide. Once mounted, they look incredibly square compared to rubber with a rounder cross-section, like those from Schwalbe.
For comparison's sake, here's a completely unscientific bunch of numbers: From the center of the tread to the top of a cornering lug measures about 6mm of drop, whereas a Baron or Minion is 10 to 12mm. So yeah, a much more square cross-section than many other tires.
You're probably not here to read about the TRSr's climbing performance, but here it is regardless, summed up in one word: Somuchtraction. They're not exactly sporty feeling, sure, but if we're only talking about climbing grip, these things might be the most impressive tire around. A handful of tricky "first ascents" were cleaned with the TRSr tire on Guerrilla Gravity's Smash, ascents that had previously doled out frustrating dabs left, right, and center.
Time to descend. In steep, loose, dry conditions, the TRSr might be unbeatable so long as you're happy with a square-shaped profile that offers a different kind of feel compared to something rounder. Traction can be more on/off when talking about such a defined cornering edge, but it was pretty much always 'on' when conditions weren't sloppy. Timed runs on the same steep five-minute trail averaged out to them being consistently between 5 to 6-seconds quicker Minions, which was a bit of surprise. That's an average taken from dozens of runs over countless rides, but all in the dry. When gravity was doing the work, you could brake later and harder than when on Minions, and they roll quicker than a Magic Mary, too.
With such prominent side lugs, some squirm was expected on hardpack, but that wasn't the case at all, with 21 - 23 psi proving to be the go-to pressures for the Smash and the terrain, and with zero burps to report. Cornering is more a matter of courage than traction, with that square edge finding purchase pretty much everywhere in the dry. In fact, they're as predictable as a tire with a rounder cross-section. Braking bite is solid, too, as they're on par with other full-sized burly tires out there.
Timed runs over many, many rides revealed that the TRS was consistently 5 to 6-seconds quicker than other, more common tires, but only in dry weather.
Things aren't so rosy when it's wet, though, with the tire often acting like it was over-inflated, even when it was run as low as 18 PSI. Weirdly, they felt stiff and unforgiving when conditions were muddy and slow and the ground was hard or covered in roots, which is in opposition of their dry weather performance. Swapping out to a set of Maxxis Minions, and then a set of Continenal Der Barons, further underlined this. To be fair, the Baron is probably the best (and least known) option when it's slimy, and the Minion is a decent all-around tire, but both are more predictable in the muck than the TRSr.
The other downside is their wear rate. While I'd stop short of half-jokingly calling them a qualifying tire, the photos you see here show them after just fifteen rides. Nope, these probably aren't your bike park tires, and that's not what they're intended for either. If that's what you need, look at the Plus compound. Pinkbike's Take