TRP’S NEW TR12 DRIVETRAIN
Words by Cole Gregg | Photos by Full Pull MTB
Having eyed TRP’s G-Spec DH7 system for a long time, wishing I had a DH bike, I was over the moon when I heard TRP was launching a 12-speed drivetrain. It didn’t take long for me to tear open the box containing the new TRP TR12 (G-Spec) components and get them mounted on my bike. It was time to hit the trails and begin the break-in process.
As my first test ride began, I noticed the spacing between the upshift and downshift trigger was tight. The upshift trigger was in a great location and is very easy to reach but I wanted to adjust the location of the downshift lever to better suit my hand position and thumb length. After just a couple minutes of tweaking the lever spacing, I was much happier and ready to continue my ride. Now after six rides it feels like home and I have come to enjoy how easy it is to transfer back and forth, making shifts very comfortable and natural.
The downshifts are super quiet, sharp and very pleasing from a tactile perspective. There is no lag and dang near no sound. The chain tension seems constant when downshifting and it slides right into gear. Even dumping gears from 4th to 10th while pedaling into the start of my favorite downhill trail went smoothly. No complaints there! There is no moment of wondering if you pressed the lever enough because there is a very nice motion and bottom out on the lever giving you the indication, you’re ready for more speed. Despite the firm and crisp shifts, the lever actuation is pretty light, and definitely doesn’t require a lot of energy.
There is a climb trail that starts just off the main path where I ride and it’s a pretty quick transition from gravel to rooty, moderately steep single track. Usually, I would be pre-shifting as we hit the start. Instead, I figured what better way to ease this derailleur into life than power-shifting it as I grunted up the first incline. From that point on my new TRP TR12 derailleur knew it was my slave, not my friend.
After my initial torture test, I have started to treat the TRP TR12 a bit more nicely and am still happy with how it performs. The upshifts are not as smooth as the downs, but the system does not miss a beat going from 9th to 3rd in 3 powerful pedal strokes. Just like with the downshifts there is a nice, tactile feel for the shift indication and the derailleur always finds the right gear.
Generally speaking, I do my best to unload while shifting when climbing, I ride the bike hard when it’s called for but when I can preserve the life of a part, I’ll do my best. However, I realize some riders may, either knowingly or not, choose not to unload the drivetrain while shifting. So, as testers, we have to try and do whatever we think other riders may do to expedite wear and tear during our often-times, shorter test periods.
The robust system kept working without a hitch and I found myself unloading less and less over the period of a few rides. My previous XT set up was thrashed from a long PNW winter and it was on its last leg, grinding through what felt like every gear. I am curious how long these loaded upshifts will last, but I look forward to reporting back in a couple months with a longer-term update. I will say thus far, after 100 miles, lots of mud and a few wipeouts, I have yet to adjust anything.
THE WOLF’S FIRST IMPRESSIONS
Along with the crisp shifts and impressive durability, the TRP TR12 (G-Spec) packs some standout features like the Hall Lock, B-Knuckle Lock and their Ratcheting Clutch system. The features are truly impressive, and The Hall Lock really puts this system over the top. It’s one of those things you don’t realize you want until you try it. Have we said it yet? DANG THIS THING IS QUIET!
After taking a nice little digger on a pretty steep shoot I was worried I wrecked a brand-new derailleur literally 4 corners into the first ride. To my surprise and prayers, everything was A-ok. This wasn’t an “Oh I lost my balance and tipped over” wreck, it was a “butt puckered heel clicker over the bars watching the bike cartwheel down a 20-foot chute” kinda wreck. Major facepalm.
There was a fair amount of dirt packed into every nook and cranny, but it was scratch free and didn’t even miss a gear on the test pedal after I collected myself. Having fancy equipment is great but I really value how durable a product is. This passed the test. I really look forward to keeping this on the bike through the summer throwing some bike park days at it.
In the end TRP has really done something great with their TR12 shifter and derailleur. It truly stands out from the crowd. To top it off it really looks the part with gold graphics in all the right places. We’re happy to say TRP don’t sacrifice durability or performance for style-sake. The TRP TR12 is clean but not overdone. It’s going to be hard to change back to any other system after having grown to love the TR12 in these first few weeks. I look forward to continuing to beat on this system over the next couple months before reporting back with a long-term review.