E*THIRTEEN 11SPD (9-44T) CASSETTE
With the constant change of standards and technology, it's quite refreshing to see some innovators developing components that don't require a new bike to keep up with the trends.
E*THIRTEEN is one of those companies that seems to actually care about your wallet.
With the SRAM eagle hitting our shores, many of you are probably googling the importance of your second kidney as this seems to be the answer to everything.
Step in the E*THIRTEEN TRS+ 9 - 44T 11speed cassette. Boasting 489% range and compatible with your current drivetrain 11SPD (you need an XD driver which you already should have if you are currently using a SRAM 1x11). It's seems like a no-brainer but we had to get one to try out for ourselves.
What really peaked our interest was the 9 tooth. Why hadn't this been done before?
Some very clever engineering went into this, more than us and your average trail junkie can comprehend so we will just divulge what we know.
Firstly, the cassette itself is made of 3 pieces which is pretty amazing considering that you can actually now just replace the section that needs replacing. Happy wallet vibes.
The first 2 sections (9-28T) are made of a hardier heat treated chromoly steel, these are normally where the most wear would take place. The third section (32-44T) is aluminium, the weight saving stuff.
For you weight weenies, that comes to 320g in total which is very respectable.
The cassette attaches to a SRAM XD driver using a clever lockring. According to our mechanic, the installation was straight forward. We just nodded in agreement.
ON THE TRAIL
Now this is the important stuff. With the 44T we felt comfortable that the 32T chainring up front would be sufficient, and that it was. Like any good old fashioned South African trail ride, you have to climb to get to the fun. We have some steepish little sections to get to the start, and to be honest, it felt like we were cheating. The changing of gears was crisp and we didn't feel any noticeable strain on the derailleur, not even the slightest.
We had to make sure so we made our way to the more technical climbs in the park and an especially steep section we like to call "The Pig". The gears chewed the pig to a bacony paste and left that hero kinda feeling inside, even though we were 'cheating'.
Unfortunately, or fortunately, depends on your ideal style of riding, we didn't really get to put the 9Tooth to any real form of testing as our trails are flowy and don't require any real form of hard pedalling to get speed. Where we did have a little taste was on the flattish district road back to the trail cafe. We pretty much pedalled as hard as we could and there was way more acceleration left in the 9Tooth. Even if we had stronger legs I doubt we could have fully utilized the full capability of it. We hit around 50km/hour on the flats and the taste of bile was a good enough indication that our legs were outmatched. We took an oath to never attempt that again.
The guys at E*THIRTEEN have definitely done their homework. Well designed and a perfectly integrated component that would actually make your ride just that much better.
What we really liked is that it allowed us to keep our current shifter, derailleur and chainring.
If you are not a trust fund kid, this is especially awesome.
We were impressed and at the moment of writing this we can't really remember what life was like before.
There is also a 10speed 9-42T which would suit many of those die-hards out there who want to take the 1x plunge but still remain in a viable relationship with their significant other.