There’s a New Player in Bike Drivetrains: Meet the TRP DH7

Two brands, Shimano and SRAM, have dominated the mountain bike drivetrain market for decades. Today, a new player, TRP, launches a drivetrain it hopes will shatter the duopoly.

Consider the drivetrain of a bicycle. The chain, crank, and derailleurs are the transmission of the bike. Put simply, other than gravity, they’re what makes it go, turning energy from your legs into forward motion.

TRP_DH7gold

And for decades, most quality mountain bikes by nearly every brand used a drivetrain from one of two brands, Shimano or SRAM. So when TRP announced its new seven-speed drivetrain, the DH7, at Eurobike today, it was David swinging a rock at two very large Goliaths.

But while TRP (TEKTRO Racing Products), a brand known for bicycle brake systems, may be an underdog in earning a market share with a new drivetrain, it has some big-name riders and interesting tech behind the pitch.

Let’s take a look at the new drive and dive into some specs.

TRP DH7: A Downhill Drivetrain

The first thing worth noting is that TRP entered the drivetrain market in a specific niche: downhill and enduro riding.

The DH7 aims for the gravity-focused rider with this shifter and derailleur. Engineers built it for “rough and rocky rides on big bikes with 200 millimeters of travel.”

And it enlisted some big names in the project. The TRP DH7 series drivetrain components are the result of teamwork between TRP R&D Taiwan, TRP USA, and five-time DH World Cup Overall Champion Aaron Gwin in cooperation with his mechanic, John Hall.

“It is a pretty complicated project to make a derailleur. There are a lot of patents and all kinds of things you have to work around, so you’ve got to be really innovative to find your own way to do things and also make it better,” said Gwin.

The brand started its drivetrain push with just two products: a derailleur and a shifter.

TRP Derailleurs

TRP has a big push with its derailleur: to be the quietest bike on the track. Hall identified the movement of the derailleur around the B-knuckle as one of the points for improvement. This inspired the idea to lock the B-knuckle to the bike‘s derailleur hanger. Thus, TRP invented the Hall Lock.

TRP-John-Hall-DH7-ClutchAdjust
Adjusting the clutch of the TRP DH7

The Hall Lock is a lever integrated into the mount, which can be opened or closed as needed. When working on the derailleur or changing the wheel, the Hall Lock is opened. When closed, the derailleur is locked to the frame and is stabilized in the roughest conditions. This helps maintain accuracy in shifting and chain retention. Its clamping force can be adjusted to balance stability and security with the derailleur’s ability to deflect on impact.

But due to suspension travel, a chain loosens when the suspension is compressed. This is called “chain growth,” and it varies from bike to bike. To address this, the team designed adjustability into TRP‘s ratchet-style clutch. If a rider wants to free up the system, they can back off the clutch to balance pedal feedback with the clutch’s chain-retaining properties.

DH7 Derraileur Specs

  • Hall Lock
  • G-Spec ratchet clutch
  • Carbon fiber cage and upper link
  • Extra-wide parallelogram pivot
  • Sealed cartridge bearings pulleys

TRP D7 Shifter

TRP_DT96

Most bike shifters work with a simple system that shifts up or down with a single press of a button. But TRP claims it changed the path the button travels to one that mimics the motion of a rider’s thumb rather than rotating away. It’s a unique ergonomic approach the brand claims maintains consistent thumb contact and overall better grip and shifting performance.

TRP D7 Shifter Claims

  • Shift levers designed and located for optimum performance by Aaron Gwin
  • Enhanced grip and tactile feel built into lever paddles: embossed grooves on
    advance and release lever
  • Carbon fiber upper housing and advance lever
  • Ball-bearing equipped
  • 7-speed
  • Tool-free straight lace cable changes
  • Rider-adjustable home position of the lower lever with a 40-degree range

 

Overall, it’s a compelling new system, and we love to see new competition arise in the high-tech world of drivetrains. While we haven’t had a chance to test these yet, we’re excited to see innovation from a new brand right out of the gate.

DH7 Rear Derailleur Specs

  • Speeds: 7
  • Weight: 272 g
  • Materials: Forged aluminum and carbon fiber
  • Colors: Black, gold, silver
  • Outer cage: Forged aluminum
  • Chain compatibility: 11-speed
  • Inner cage: Forged aluminum
  • Spring: Stainless
  • Bearings: Sealed stainless steel
  • Cage sizes: 7-speed
  • Mount options: Hall Lock
  • Max tooth: 25
  • Pulleys: 11t pair
  • B-knuckle Hall Lock
  • Clutch: Ratchet clutch technology
  • Retail availability: 2019

DH7 Shifter Specs

  • Speeds: 7
  • Weight: 120 g
  • Materials: Aluminum and carbon fiber
  • Colors: Black, gold, silver
  • Advance lever: Carbon fiber
  • Compatibility: TRP DH7
  • Release lever: Forged aluminum
  • Bearings: Sealed stainless steel
  • Cable: Tool-free straight lace
  • Technology: Linear release action
  • Other 5 maximum upshifts
  • Adjustable advance lever
  • Retail availability: 2019
Sean McCoy
By

Editor-in-Chief Sean McCoy is a life-long outdoorsman who grew up hunting and fishing central Wisconsin forests and lakes. He joined GearJunkie after a 10-year stint as a newspaperman in the Caribbean, where he learned sailing and wooden-boat repair. Based in GearJunkie's Denver office, McCoy is an avid trail runner, camper, hunter, angler, mountain biker, skier, and beer tester.

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