Here we are. It’s 2016, and while many mountain bikers are still on a 2×9 drivetrain, most have found their way to a 1x drivetrain. Whether it’s a 10 speed version with an extended-range cog or a full Shimano/SRAM 11 speed setup, the implication either way is that wide range 1x systems are now accomplishing what older 2x or 3x systems used to.
But just when most folks were getting up to date, SRAM released their 12 speed Eagle group. To say the least, there were some differing opinions—if you don’t believe me, you can scroll through the seemingly endless Comments section at the end of this Pinkbike article. Along with the Eagle release, SRAM also announced that they’re disbanding their mountain front derailleur department moving forward.
So, it seems 1x is here to stay, and why not? Switching to a 1x system saves the weight of front derailleurs, extra chainrings, and heavier cranksets, is ultra simple to use, offers a big range that’s comparable to most 2x drivetrains, and delivers cleaner bike aesthetics.
SRAM’s been touting that their Eagle cassettes have a 500% range (10-50 tooth) and we’re not here to argue that… BUUUUUUUUT is there a way to have near-500% range without upgrading your entire 1x drivetrain to Eagle? Short answer: yes. Enter e*thirteen’s TRS+ 10 and 11 speed cassettes.
e*thirteen’s 11 speed cassette goes from 9-44t and boasts a 489% range, while their 10 speed cassette goes from 9-42t and offers a 467% range. To put it into perspective, the 11% difference in range between Eagle and TRS+ cassettes doesn’t even total a full gear shift. As nice as all of these complicated numbers and terms might sound, there’s one thing might remain unclear: Why buy a TRS+ cassette over an Eagle cassette?
If you want the widest 1x range on the market, you’ll have to buy SRAM’s entire Eagle groupset, which means quite literally an entire drivetrain that’ll round out at $1250 for X01 and $1413 for XX1 (not including XD drivers).
If you want that similar range without upgrading your entire 10 or 11 speed drivetrain, you can do so by purchasing two things that’ll cost $330 at the low end, and $561 at ultra-maximum.
- the appropriate 10 or 11 speed TRS+ cassette ($279-$309)
- an XD driver to fit your wheels ($50-$180, with Chris King being the expected outlier at $261)
So, here’s the question at hand: Is the extra 11% gear range that you’d get in an Eagle cassette worth $800+ to you?
On top of the comparable range and money savings, there are some more benefits to running e*thirteen’s TRS+ cassettes:
- In going from 9 teeth up to 44 and expanding the gear range towards the lower/harder gears (rather than expanding towards bigger, easier gears as SRAM has done with their 10-50 tooth cassette), riders get a wide range without the disadvantage of needing to run a larger front chainring. While mountain bike bottom brackets are getting lower and terrain getting steeper and rougher, ground clearance is now a consideration to be made, and being able to run a smaller chainring is actually a good thing. And because these cassettes utilize your existing derailleur, you’ll have a better clearance than the Eagle’s big 50-tooth cog allows. In going with e*thirteen’s cassettes, you get both wide range AND better ground clearances all around.
- These cassettes work with both Shimano and SRAM drivetrains, so no need for more guesswork, measurement, or hassle.
- e*thirteen TRS+ cassettes utilize a special 3 piece design that allows individual pieces of the cassette to be bought and replaced as they wear. Individual replacement parts can be purchased for between $39 and $104, saving you heaps of money in the long haul, especially when considering a single SRAM 11 or 12 speed cassette costs $250-$420.
In summation, e*thirteen TRS+ cassettes deliver on range for less cash and less hassle. Keep your drivetrain, get the range, and ruffle their feathers.