ICE Ages, Chapter 7: Art and Engineering
All ICE trikes were hand built following the best English frame building traditions. Keeping the manufacturing in-house opened up all kinds of possibilities for customisation.
As a school boy Chris had fallen in love with the fancy lugged frames of Hetchens and Bates and decided to bring this level of craftsmanship to the recumbent world. Learning to make and braze intricate lugs in a frame proved to be somewhat of a steep learning curve. Concentration was everything as one slip with the oxy-acetylene torch or a file would render the frame as scrap metal. With their usual determination the ICE boys conquered the skills needed and fancy lugs were introduced across the range as an option. They proved very popular and they always prove to be a talking point.
Craftsmanship was ICE’s watch word and this helped promote the care and attention to detail built in every ICE trike. The second generation rear suspension was another result of ICE’s unique blend of Art and Engineering. The handmade lattice box section near the suspension pivot was used to minimise weight while maximising stiffness. It looked good and worked even better.
It was not just the frames that were produced to the highest uncompromising standards. The carbon fibre seat developed for the Micro was made in two halves. Hidden inside were the multiple tailored layers of carbon fibre and Kevlar each layer carefully designed to do a specific job. Each seat took days of meticulous work to make. They were very strong, very light, had built in ventilation channels and above all were absolutely beautiful to behold.
A nasty problem arose when Sturmey Archer’s factory was closed and the secure supply of the world’s best bicycle drum brakes was gone, fortunately ICE had sufficient stocks to keep them in production for a few months while plans to make disc brakes standard was pushed ahead. To that end ICE developed a hub specifically for its trikes by the time that was in production Sturmey Archer brake production had moved to Taiwan and once again excellent drum brakes were available. Now ICE Customers had even more choice.