e*thirteen TRS Plus Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Affordable, mechanical, self serviceable
Cons: Less refined feel, four position indexed travel
Compare to Similar Products
Our Analysis and Test Results
Component manufacturer e*thirteen is steadily growing their range of products, and they recently entered the dropper seatpost market with the TRS+. This dropper post is unique in that it uses a simple mechanical spring system, as opposed to the hydraulic cartridges and air springs used in most other models. They claim the coil spring and mechanical cam locking system are highly durable and work consistently and reliably without the need for frequent service. If you remember the old Gravity Dropper brand seatposts, the TRS+ works very similarly but with a more modern design and internal routing.
Our testers used and abused the TRS+ for weeks on end, putting hundreds of miles on this unique dropper post. We found it to live up to their claims of consistency and reliability, but it did so with a notably unrefined and clunky feel. That said, it's simple, no-frills, and it performs the task it's intended to without complaint. It's a far cry from the ultra-smooth dampened travel of its more expensive competition, but if you're a home mechanic or you just think simpler is better, then the TRS+ is an inexpensive option to consider.
Smoothness and Functionality
The TRS+ did not impress us with its smoothness. This post uses a coil spring and mechanical cam locking system, basically a pin in a hole, to move through its travel and stop in 4 preset positions. The result of this simple design is notably harsh and somewhat noisy bottom out, top out, and stops in the other two positions. We suppose this is to be expected from a design like this, but it is significantly less smooth in its travel, especially when bottoming and topping out, than the competition.
The TRS+ is incredibly easy to compress. Push the lever and weight the post just slightly, and it drops like a rock. The ease of compression is among the easiest in the test. Push the lever to raise the saddle, and it extends relatively quickly and tops out with a harsh and somewhat metallic sounding thunk. We don't think the rate of extension is scary fast or anything, although the top out sound makes it seem like it could be.
The TRS+ is the only post in our test that is multi-positional as opposed to infinitely adjustable. The 150mm version we tested stops in 4 positions, 150mm, 110mm, 80mm, and 0mm. Most of our testers ride with our seatposts all the way up or all the way down the vast majority of the time, and those positions are by far the easiest to switch between on the TRS+.
Occasionally on pedal-y trail technical sections, we found ourselves using the 110mm position. When we did, that position wasn't hard to find and engage. Our testers prefer the infinite adjustment of the other posts in our test, but admit that the four position adjustment of the TRS+ works reasonably well.
Based on our measurements, the 150mm TRS+ we tested does, in fact, have 150mm of travel. We measured the length from the bottom of the collar to the middle of the seat rails at full extension, the ride height, to be 225mm. We also measured the length from the bottom of the collar to the middle of the seat rails at compression, the stack height, to be 75mm. This 150mm travel post has the longest stack and ride heights of all the models we tested. This could cause fit issues for folks depending on your height or the length of your seat tube.
The saddle clamp design on the TRS+ is quite good. It is a standard 2-bolt design, but with a user-friendly twist. The upper half of the clamp is slotted on both sides so you can remove it without ever fully unscrewing the saddle clamp bolts. We wouldn't call this design groundbreaking by any means. Still, it does make installing or removing your saddle much easier and reduces the likelihood of dropping saddle clamp parts during the process.
We liked this saddle clamp design better than the standard 2-bolt head found on the majority of the posts in our test selection.
The remote lever included with the TRS+ is one of the best things about this seatpost. Its setup is slightly more involved than some of the others we tested, but its ergonomics and functionality are top-notch.
The cut end of the cable attaches to the TRS+'s remote. You need to remove the lever and a baseplate to feed the cable through the remote and secure it in place. Once you put the base plate back on, you then reattach the lever on a circular pivot point that you can adjust to your exact preferences. This ensures the lever has the perfect ergonomics to suit any rider's needs.
The lever's thumb paddle also has a patch of grippy material that looks a lot like grip tape. It works well to keep your thumb from slipping off the lever. It also has a light lever force when raising or lowering your saddle. The remote lever comes with its own handlebar clamp, and it is matchmaker compatible, so you can organize your brakes and dropper remote for a super clean setup.
Weighing in at 700g for the 150mm travel version we tested, the TRS+ is one of the heaviest posts in our test. There are several other posts within 20g of our new heavyweight. The closest post in weight to the TRS+ is the PNW Components Bachelor, which weighs only a few grams less but offers 20mm more travel.
In contrast to the heavy weight of the TRS+, our lightest weight post, the KS LEV Integra weighed in at 576g, a full 124g lighter for the same amount of travel.
Ease of Setup
The TRS+ is pretty easy to set up. It isn't quite as easy as some of the other posts, but it certainly isn't a major challenge either. As with every other post we tested, the most challenging step is routing the housing through your frame. Once you complete this task, setup takes approximately 15 minutes if you know what you're doing. The biggest challenges are attaching the cut end of the cable at the remote and arranging the cable, housing, and threaded cap at the bottom of the post.
The TRS+ comes with detailed color instructions that lay out every step of the setup process and are easy to follow. They are also available online if you lose them or acquire your post secondhand.
You attach the lead, or barrel, end of the cable to the actuator mechanism at the base of the seatpost, so there is no cable cutting or finicky tolerances on this end of the setup. The most challenging part of this step is lining up all the other parts, a ferrule, a small round rubber piece, and a threaded cap on the housing in the correct order and connecting them securely to the bottom of the seatpost. Once that is done, you can pull tension on the remote end of the cable and secure the cable in the remote.
We like the ergonomics of the TRS+ remote lever, but connecting the cable could be a bit easier. This is a multi-step process that starts with dismantling the unit. First, you remove the lever; then you remove the thin plate on the bottom of the remote to access the area where the cable attaches. Next, you thread the cable into the remote and secure it with the Torx 25 lock screw. Once the cable is secured, you can trim the cable to length and put the remote back together again. After you place the bottom plate of the remote housing back on, you can reattach the lever itself. One nice thing about the lever design is that you can rotate and secure it in exactly the position that is the most comfortable for you.
The last step is to attach the remote to your matchmaker compatible SRAM brakes, or slide the included handlebar collar into place and secure the remote in the appropriate position. You can use the barrel adjuster on the remote to take up any slack in the cable and achieve the correct tension.
At a retail price of $279, the TRS+ is among the least expensive models in our test. The low price automatically makes this post a pretty good value, but our testers are willing to spend a bit more to have a post that functions with a far more polished performance. That said, the TRS+ works consistently and reliably and is unlikely to suffer from the problems that often plague hydraulic seatposts. The TRS+ is also backed by an unprecedented 5-year warranty, the best we've ever heard of.
The TRS+ is a new dropper post that sets itself apart from the competition with its simple mechanically sprung design. We have to admit that it works reasonably well, with consistent and reliable performance out on the trail. Our biggest gripes with the TRS+ are the weight, the heaviest in our test, and its unrefined and clunky feel. It is relatively easy to set up and had one of the best remote levers in our test selection, positive attributes that are outweighed by its otherwise lackluster performance. If an inexpensive and simple dropper post with a 5-year warranty sounds good to you, then perhaps you should give the TRS+ a try. We'll be sticking with higher performance options for now.
Other Versions and Accessories
The TRS+ seatpost is available in 125mm, 150mm, and 170mm lengths and 30.9 and 31.6mm diameters.
— Jeremy Benson