Vortex in the Park
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.