ICE Ages chapter 2: Growing Crystals
In his characteristic style Peter Ross took all the conventions of bicycle geometry and through them out of the window. A new approach was required to develop a revolutionary cycle, so Peter decided to start from first principles. This is called doing it the hard way but it is the only way to come up with truly ground breaking design. After a number of prototypes the design was finalised and the Speed Ross bike was born. This was soon followed by a stream of ever faster bikes as racing once again took its grip on Peter.
Demand for the new Trice grew so in 1986 Peter established Crystal Engineering to manufacture his designs. Peter was determined that recumbents should be available to everyone, not just the elite, so he ensured that the Trice was very good value for money.
The Trice design continued to develop and the range expanded. 1987 saw a move to 16” front wheels and a racier look and in 1988 a 24” rear wheel and a triple chain set - giving a total of 15 gears - was introduced to meet the demand for those living in hillier parts of the UK. The square tubing was dropped in favour of a 2” diameter round tube with a super thin 1mm wall thickness, making these the lightest Trice to date.
Production had moved to Cornwall in the far South West of the UK and development continued apace. Demand was growing for Trice around the world and in response to this production under licence started in the USA.
Peter felt the need for a better ventilated seat. By 1993, after much experimentation, the now ubiquitous stretched mesh fabric seat was standard equipment on the Trice and Speed Ross bike. The curved frame of the seat was contoured to fit the rider’s body and the slight stretch of the fabric provided the best possible comfort and ventilation.
The final major piece in the Trice design jigsaw was the introduction in 1994 of the split frame. The rear end of the trike frame slid inside the front end and was secured with a clamp. This cured the problem of international shipping charges as the Trice could now be packed into a reasonably small box. Production was now concentrated in Crystal Engineering’s Cornish home, where the company would flourish and grow.
Next month in ICE Ages: Chris Parker joins Crystal