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We'll be providing lots of entertaining updates about our bikes and trikes and life here at ICE.
The ICE team
Wednesday, June 13, 2012 - 03:19 AM
How fast is too fast?
I think that’s a question many Vortex owners will ask themselves. The thought certainly crossed my mind when I realised that Peter Eland from VeloVision had taken a substantial lead on Holyrood Park’s Queen’s Drive in Edinburgh, with a strict speed limit of 20mph. Peter was on a review mission for Velo Vision armed with the appropriate permission from Historic Scotland (the park is part of the Royal Palace grounds in Edinburgh and no commercial use can be made without consent - also good PR for Laid Back and ICE though!).
When I spoke to them the day before they asked me what a recumbent trike was. You’d think everyone would know by now but despite my best sales efforts they are still ‘a bit unusual’. I dredged up the usual cliché about being like a pedal powered go kart. Now I was on an ICE Adventure trying to keep pace with Peter on the Vortex I thought that description to be a bit limp. To be honest the Vortex excels at speed whether in a straight line or round tight bends at 25mph. Cornering can be done with confidence and the Air Pro seat keeps the pilot located with great lateral support.
As a dealer who has sold many recumbent two and three wheelers I was thinking of the other things that make the Vortex special. Firstly its 14.7kg weight may not seem to be that remarkable - but it is as it’s more aerodynamic than anything else in the ICE range. If you want to lose more weight go for the 13kg Vortex+. Secondly the Vortex offers outstanding comfort with the seat and neck rest working perfectly. Once you are going it’s easy to imagine powering it on all day – I think it’s the closest thing to ‘wearing wheels’ as much as sitting on a machine with them. It’s a shame more ‘road’ cyclists will not try out something like this. Those that do will discover how much fun triking at the top end can be. The Vortex is the kind of trike you want to do repeated circuits of the hill road - even if it includes a 1 in 9 section.
Tech wise it’s a 30 speed machine with SRAM bar end shifters. The wheels are rather nice with ICE special white Alex DA16 rims on the 20” front wheels and a DA22 on the 700c back. Tyre choice is good with Schwalbe Duranos giving easy rolling and grip in equal measure. The axles are titanium.
I won’t talk any more tech here as Velo Vision will cover what ICE Trikes has created with the Vortex and Vortex+. I know that comfort is a deal maker for most sales - add in a usable weight and bikes and trikes sell themselves. The Vortex ticks the first two boxes and although it doesn’t fold it is light enough to lift above your head and onto a roof rack.
We lucked out with some of the best weather Scotland has had this year. Also had a good chat with a Canadian guy who liked running and loved the look of the trike - it is something that people can’t help asking about. To be fair the fact that we also had the higher ICE Adventure made our review convoy extra noticeable.
To make sure Peter had a chance to wind it up to full speed on a mix of roads we went round by Duddingston village - home of the 14th Century Sheep Heid Inn (no we didn’t go in!). The way back took in some very steep sections where Peter got a chance to use the 34T. Later that afternoon we were joined by Chris of the CityCyclingEdinburgh Forum, and Rebecca, a frequent contributor to Bentrider and other online venues. She modelled it for a couple of shots and took it back through town to Laid Back Bikes. Her own review confirmed that it was a trike that certainly merited further investigation.
I’m now looking forward to more use and interest in the Vortex. It can of course take mudguards and a rack but that would seem a bit wrong for this jetpack of a trike!
- David Gardiner, Laid Back Bikes, Edinburgh, Scotland
Read Peter Elands stunning review of the ICE Vortex in VeloVision issue 43.Click here to order a printed or digital edition.
Wednesday, June 13, 2012 - 03:02 AM
When you arrive at the coolest cycle show in the world, you don’t want to hang around at the entrance foyer filling out forms. That’s what Jurgen reckoned, but his girlfriend Sonya thought otherwise. “That first prize is a really cool trike, stop moaning and fill out the form” she urged him, grabbing two forms and quickly completing them. Hours later Jurgen couldn’t believe his luck when he got a message from SPEZI organiser Hardy Siebecke, saying he was the lucky winner of the first prize; an ICE Sprint.
Last week Hardy Siebecke invited the SPEZI prize winners to a dinner and award ceremony in Germersheim’s city garden restaurant. Kirk and Manuela Seifert, our esteemed German distributors, went along to present the ICE Sprint and give Jurgen a full tutorial.
While to food was excellent, all the winners wanted to do was receive their prizes! Kirk and Manuela ensured that Jurgen’s new trike was set up perfectly for him and set him off on a few test rides. Jurgen was so impressed with the quality of the ride that he decided to ride the 10km home. Unfortunately in his enthusiasm he set off with the car keys, leaving Sonja standing in front of a locked car. Thankfully he was back as quick as a flash on his speedy ICE Sprint!
We are delighted that the ICE Sprint has found an enthusiastic new owner who is looking forward to setting off on a series of trike tours. “Now all we need is a trike for Sonja so we can ride together” said Jurgen.
Wednesday, June 13, 2012 - 02:36 AM
It was a new millennium and ICE was on the up. Chris and Neil recruited two multi-talented friends, Ben Dickinson and John Olson, to help meet the growing demand. With two extra hands in production and assembly more time could be dedicated to developing the range, resulting in some momentous years in the evolution of trike design.
Both Ben and John were enthusiastic hobby recumbent designers and builders, so it wasn’t long before they were getting stuck in with improvements and innovations. Armed with a newly developed rear suspension system and a prototype of a new speed machine called the Micro, the team set off for their first big bike show which was a great reminder of the strength and breadth of the UK cycling industry.
Then the big breakthrough came. The most stubborn problem with trike design is how to successfully balance the front brakes for high speeds. While much of the industry tried their hardest to ignore the problem, it was something ICE felt compelled to resolve. The solution came to Chris while reading about some research conducted by Mercedes to cure the worst effects of a front wheel blow out on their cars. Chris realized that the steering geometry concept used by Mercedes could be adapted to enable the front brakes of a trike to be used independently at any speed. After months of further research and development by the team, Chris’ theory was turned into a working system. And as 2001 approached handling nirvana was found and quickly introduced across the ICE range. If you ride a trike with no brake steer today, chances are the design comes from an ICE trike.
Long term testing of the tandem fell to Chris’ Mum and Dad. In 1999 Chris’ 60 something Mum had smashed her knee Mountain biking in Sherwood Forest. After extensive surgery and a long time in plaster she decided she would like to ride the ‘End to End’ from the northern to southern most points of the UK. They rode the around 50 miles per day, for 28 days, stopping to see the sights and enjoy the odd cup of tea! The tandem passed the test with flying colours. Fully laden the tandem was not fast on the up-hills but down the other side was a very different story!
The World HPV Championships coming to the UK in 2001 ICE needed a no compromises speed machine. Development of the Micro was progressing at a pace and with John focused on the finer points if the handling of the Micro and Ben developing a new light and supportive hard shell seat it was set to be a machine to be reckoned with. Long-time friend of ICE, Jaap Stolk, brought the Micro in second in the World Championships. The Micro laid down a new standard for production trikes.
Pictures: The ‘End to End’ route; Val and Frank Parker on their UK tandem test-ride; Chris shows off the ICE trikes at the 2000 York bike show; Ben Dickinson on his own-made recumbent bike; suspension on the Explorer; John Olson racing a Crystal Engineering Festina; a prototype Micro; Chris and Sharon Brown celebrating their wedding on an ICE tandem; Jaap, Chris and Ben on a test ride; Jaap riding the Micro at the 2001 World HPV Championships