New e*thirteen Helix R cassettes take high-performance wide-range drivetrain upgrades to another level, with lighter weights, improved shifting and a new PVD treatment that doubles durability. Offering more range than any other cassette on the market, the 12-speed 9-50T will extend your SRAM Eagle or latest Shimano drivetrains at a better price. And the 11-speed 9-46T version will take your previous generation drivetrain further than ever before.
e*thirteen Helix R cassette, wide range for Shimano or SRAM MTB
Helix is essentially e*thirteen’s next generation in aftermarket cassette upgrades following TRS+. The same wide 556% 9-50T 12-speed and 511% 9-46T 11-speed gear ranges remain, as does their compatibility with all existing SRAM XD & XDR driver-equipped wheelsets. And while TRS+ cassettes were first developed for SRAM compatibility, then later OK-ed for Shimano, new shaping means better all-around compatibility with e*thirteen Helix.
Actual gearing steps remain the same (12-sp: 9,11,13,15,17,20,23,27,31,36,42,50 & 11-sp: 9,11,13,15,17,20,24,28,33,39,46). Relying on the tiny 9-tooth cog, e*thirteen says will allow you to run smaller chainrings for max hill climbing range, without losing top-end speed, plus dropping drivetrain weight overall and improving ground clearance.
The Helix cassettes still use a separate machined, nickel-plated steel cog cluster for the ten smallest gears and aluminum for the two largest gears, that can be replaced individually. Since the big alloy gears often get the most wear, that makes it more economical & efficient to replace just those two vs. expensive one-piece Eagle cassettes that have to be replaced when only the top cogs are significantly worn.
What’s new vs. TRS+?
The most obvious difference are new anodized color options for the big aluminum teeth and a shiny silver nickel-plated coating for the steel cogs. Less apparent though, the new blue Intergalactic finish with hints of rainbow around the edges is an all-new PVD Film (physical vapor deposition) coating that claims to “double the durability” when compared to the standard anodized finish. It costs just $30 more, making it a pretty good bet on value if durability claims hold out in real world conditions.
The first change you will feel is substantial weight savings. The Helix R 12sp is 60g lighter than the TRS+ version before, down to 345g now. The Helix R 11sp gets even lighter, saving 80g over TRS+, now down to 325g.
Weight saving comes from more complex machining, but also a new optimized interface between the separate steel and aluminum gear clusters. With newly revised tooth shaping also comes improved shifting and compatibility.
e*thirteen Helix R cassettes – Pricing & availability
The new 12-speed Helix R cassette is now available only in 9-50T (no more 12sp 11-46T option), and the 11-speed in 9-46T, with shipping starting next week.
The Helix cassettes all retail for the same $290 / 290€ in standard anodized dark Gray, Bronze, Eggplant purple, or Naranja orange.
The longer wearing Intergalactic blue cassettes sell for $320 / 320€. Replacement steel clusters sell separately for $160, and alloy clusters start at $130.