e*thirteen TRS+ dropper first ride review

The unicorn we’ve been waiting for? New dropper has great remote and easy serviceability

After showing off an early prototype last year at Eurobike, e*thirteen is now ready to drop the production-ready TRS+ seatpost. The component manufacturer focused on three key attributes when developing this dropper; it had to be affordable, serviceable and reliable. So far, it seems e*thirteen is off to a great start. 

e*thirteen TRS+ dropper details

  • Four-fixed positions 
  • Available in 125 and 150mm versions
  • Offered in 30.9 and 31.6mm diameters
  • 574g with remote
  • Shift-style lever
  • MSRP $279 (UK and Australian pricing TBC)
  • Available now

A tried and true two-bolt head handles saddle adjustments
A tried and true two-bolt head handles saddle adjustments

The first of e*thirteen's trinity of criteria is easy enough to see. The dropper is priced competitively at $279 (UK and Australian pricing TBC).

As for reliability, e*thirteen used a full mechanical design — no fluid filled bladder to serve as a brake to hold the post in place and no nitrogen-charged chamber for the negative spring.

The TRS+ uses a spring-loaded cam to hold it in each of its four fixed positions. In the case of the 150mm version I have in for test, those positions are 0, 100, 125 and 150mm of drop. The TRS+ is also available in a 125mm version with 0, 65, 95 and 125mm of drop.

Fixed-position posts may not be as popular as those that offer infinite travel within their range, but they do offer the benefit of improved reliability, thanks to mechanical locking systems.

As for the spring needed to extend the seatpost, rather than use a charged air chamber, the company stuck with an actual coil spring.

An actual spring, rather than a charged cartridge, should bode well for long-term durability. (Look for a complete rebuild in the long-term test)
An actual spring, rather than a charged cartridge, should bode well for long-term durability. (Look for a complete rebuild in the long-term test)

TRS+ anatomy and first impressions

The TRS+ lever is very well thought out
The TRS+ lever is very well thought out

Let’s dive right into the TRS+ dropper, starting with the lever.

The adage “you can be first or you can be right” certainly applies to dropper lever design. e*thirteen seems to have learned from the shortcomings of other levers and incorporated many user-friendly features into this design.

It’s everything a modern dropper lever should be and the only lever that gives the outstanding Wolf Tooth ReMote a run for its money. I’m hopeful e*thirteen will offer the TRS+ remote as a standalone product.

Allow me to wax lyrical about the merits of this remote.

It comes with a handlebar clamp, but it’s also compatible with SRAM’s Matchmaker system. The ergonomics closely mimic a SRAM shift paddle. Like SRAM’s higher end shifters, the lever can be repositioned. In this case with a 3mm Allen screw.

Two bearings give the lever a silky-smooth feel
Two bearings give the lever a silky-smooth feel

To make seatpost height adjustments a satisfying tactile experience, the lever pivots on a pair of sealed bearings and uses a spring wound around the pivot to improve its return action.

To reduce the likelihood of the cable getting mangled, the free end of the shift cable is held in place with a plate, not a setscrew, at the lever. A T25 torx bolt tightened against the plate holds the cable in place.

Last on the list of lever features is a barrel adjuster and grip tape on the paddle.

A T25 torx hidden under a dust cover secures the cable
A T25 torx hidden under a dust cover secures the cable

Moving to the actual TRS+ dropper. The head of the shift cable is held in place at the base of the seatpost. The shift housing is also held in place with a threaded cap that compresses a rubber olive onto the housing. If you’ve ever pushed a cable-actuated dropper down into a frame for travel and then pulled it up only to have the cable come loose from the seatpost you will appreciate this subtle feature.

The TRS+ Seatpost doesn’t require any exotic tools for overhaul. If and when parts wear out e*thirteen is standing by with rebuild kits for wear items.

Much like the olive used to hold a hydraulic hose in place, a round rubber olive secures the housing to keep everything in place
Much like the olive used to hold a hydraulic hose in place, a round rubber olive secures the housing to keep everything in place

TRS+ early impressions

The e*thirteen TRS+ dropper seatpost is affordable, user-serviceable and thus far has proven reliable
The e*thirteen TRS+ dropper seatpost is affordable, user-serviceable and thus far has proven reliable

It's been a long time since I've thrown a leg over a seatpost with pre-set positions. Initially, I thought the four set positions would take some getting used to. There’s 'climbing mode' followed by 'cruiser mode', from there you can take it down a notch to 'control mode' before you final arrive at 'downhill mode.'

Finding these intermediate positions is no different than searching for them with the Fox DOSS or the original Command Post.  Your mileage may vary, but I tend to slam my post all the way when I need to drop my saddle.

The action is smooth and the return speed is controlled, though it doesn't feel quite as refined as the RockShox Reverb. Then again, it's also significantly less expensive. This is only an early review, so time will tell how this new dropper holds up to long-term abuse.

Josh Patterson

Tech Editor, US
Josh has been riding and racing mountain bikes since 1998. Being stubborn, endurance racing was a natural fit. Josh bankrolled his two-wheeled addiction by wrenching at various bike shops across the US for 10 years and even tried his hand at frame building. These days Josh spends most of his time riding the trails around his home in Fort Collins, Colorado.
  • Age: 35
  • Height: 170cm / 5'7"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 72cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Mountain, cyclocross, road
  • Preferred Terrain: Anywhere with rock- and root-infested technical singletrack. He also enjoys unnecessarily long gravel races.
  • Current Bikes: Trek Remedy 29 9.9, Yeti ASRc, Specialized CruX, Spot singlespeed, Trek District 9
  • Dream Bike: Evil The Following, a custom Moots 27.5+ for bikepacking adventures
  • Beer of Choice: PBR
  • Location: Fort Collins, CO, USA

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