ICE Recumbent Trike Gearing Options

Gearing Overview

Hub or Derailleur: There are two main choices when it comes to gearing with options for each. You can choose a trike model with either derailleur gearing or hub gears. In general, derailleur gears are lighter, cheaper and more efficient with hub gears being lower maintenance, more reliable and some offer optional automatic gear shifting. Derailleur gears are found on our faster trikes for people who are looking to ride faster. Hub gears are preferred by a lot of people who are interested in touring and riders who want a trike which requires less maintenance and features like optional fully automatic gear changing.

NEW - Enviolo Automatiq Hub

Stepless fully automatic gear shifting. Find out more in our hub gearing section below.

Derailleur gears

Derailleur gear systems comprise of a rear gear set, called a cassette, and a front gear set, called a chainset. The combination of these two gives you your overall gear range. The total range is limited so a compromise must be made between lower gears and higher gears.

We describe our chainset options using the size of the chainrings. For example, the Shimano Deore chainset we use is a “26/36/48” meaning it has 26 teeth on its smallest chainring and 48 teeth on the largest chainring.

Smaller chainrings on the chainset gives easier gears. Smaller chainsets are best for those who are looking to carry heavy loads, climb steep hills or those who are just starting out on their cycling journey and have less power.

Larger chainrings on the chainset gives you harder gears, better for top speed and powerful riders. The largest chainsets we offer are suited best to flatter areas.

Medium chainrings on the chainset gives a balance between low gears for climbing hills and high gears for going fast. We use this type of chainset on our trikes as they suit the broadest range of riders.

We also have a short crank chainset available for riders with shorter legs or with knee or hip issues which is 152mm rather than the more standard 170mm. The short cranks reduce the size of the circle that your foot tracks through the pedal rotation and by doing this they reduce the range of angles that your knees and hips go through. We chose a short crank chainset with small chainrings as the smaller levers mean you need smaller gears.

Derailleur gearing on an ICE Trike
ICE Short Cranks

Bar end gear shifters

Bar end shifters are standard on most of our non e-assist trikes. They work extremely well on our vertical handlebars that are  used on our trikes. You can precicely select and change to the gear you need by pushing or pulling the lever on top of the handlebars forwards or backwards. Forwards to select a lower gears, backwards to select a higher gears. Depending on your chosen gearing set up you will have one or two bar end shifters on your trike.

We use Microshift bar end Shifters on our 8 and 10 speed trikes, and Shimano Dura Ace bar end shifters on the 11 speed version available on the Sprint X and VTX. We choose to fit our bar end shifters slightly differently from most people. We set ours up so that you can shift to lower gears on the rear derailleur by pushing the shifter forward. This means that as you are pulling on the brakes you can push the shifter with your thumb and get lower gears selected for when you start off again.

Single-handed controls

ICE Trikes as standard come with the gearing and braking controls fitted to both handlebars. Optional single-handed controls help riders who have limited use or no use of one hand or arm to ride. You can specify controls are fitted to either the left or right handlebars. This enables the trike to be safely controlled from either side.

Bar end gear shifter on an ICE Trike
ICE Single Handed Controls

8 Speed, vs 10 speed, vs 11 speed, derailleur options

Our different trike models are available with different drivetrain options to suit your budget and cycling needs. The 8, 10 and 11 speed refers to the number of gears on the rear cassette. The 8 and 10 speed, combined with a triple set of chainrings in front these are sometimes called called 24 and 30 speed as there are 24 or 30 possible combinations of front and rear gear position. The 11 speed setup is available only with a double chainring setup.

8 Speed gearing systems are our lowest price gearing option that gives reliable gears with slightly less range and refinement than our other options. They are ideal for most casual and leisure riders.

10 Speed gearing systems are fitted to the majority of our trikes. They are good for different riding styles and are a good balance of performance and price. They are lighter and more performance oriented than their 8 speed counterparts. They also offer a greater gear range to tackle steeper climbs or higher speeds. 10 speed gearing give small steps between the gears to make shifting feel smoother. It has a wide range to give you the gears needed to tackle any road or trails. 

11 Speed road gearing systems use close ratio gears to allow faster riders to optimise their cadence to produce maximum power. It doesn’t give as low a bottom gear as the 10 speed system so it does not suit touring riders or those who live in the mountains but for those looking for maximum speed it is the perfect choice. Having an added advantage of lighter weight race orientated components.

Hub Gear Systems

Hub gear systems are low maintenance, simple to operate and ideal for touring riders. Some offer fully automatic gear shifting. One of the greatest advantages of a hub gear system is the ability to shift gears while at a standstill so that if you have to come to a sudden stop there is no need to pull away in too high of a gear. This is a great advantage for people with knee injuries as it reduces the strain on the joints. We have three main hub gear options:

ICE Trikes Enviolo Automatiq
ICE Trike Huib Gear options - Alfine Hub

Enviolo Automatiq Hub

Forget gears, simply pedal and go. The Enviolo Hub features truly fully automatic gear shifting technology and is available on Shimano STEPS EP8 20" and 26" rear wheel trikes. The system lets you focus on what’s important, like enjoying your ride. Simply set your desired cadence once (how many pedal rotations feel comfortable for you) and the Enviolo Hub will constantly adjust its internal gear ratio to maintain a steady smooth cadence regardless of the speed or riding conditions that you encounter. If you ride uphill it will adjust to a lower gear ratio for you and if you ride downhill it will do the opposite.

Watch the Enviolo Automatiq Hub Gearing Video below.

The Automatiq Hub uses stepless gear changing technology to automatically maintain the correct gear ratio for you regardless of the conditions. Forget gears, simply set once and off you go. The hub is ideal for riders who are distracted by traditional bike gear changing. You can even to pull away from a standstill if you have to stop quickly. Reliable and maintenance free riding.

The hub has near silent operation and can shift under a full load. You don’t even have to slow down or stop pedalling while it operates. It has a good gear range of 380% which is suited to most leisure and touring rides. For example, pedalling at a steady 65 rpm the hub will maintain a speed of between 5 and 20mph. It’s ideal for hilly riding conditions that require gear changing under full load. The system can be easily adjusted while riding using the Bluetooth Smartphone App. Simply turn on, set your STEPS power assist level, pedal and go. 

ICE Trikes Rohloff Hub
ICE Trike Huib Gear options - Rohloff Speed Hub

Rohloff Hub

The Rohloff hub gear has 14 equally spaced gears, with enough gear range to run a single chainring in front. The Rohloff hub is the standard by which other internal gear systems are measured and not many others come close. Unfortunately, the downside to this incredible, German engineered quality, is the price. The Rohloff drivetrain is our most expensive drivetrain option.

The Rohloff is available with a twist shifter and not a bar end shifter as with our derailleur gearing, we modify the standard Rohloff shifter so that the whole grip is rotated to make shifting very ergonomic and simple. Just twist one way for harder gears and the other way for easier gears, there is nothing else to consider. The big advantage of the Rohloff hub is the ability to change gear while not pedalling. This is done with the cranks in the up and down position while pedalling, when there is less pressure on the cranks. The Rohloff hub is available on our Shimano STEPS e-assist trikes.

Shimano Alfine
ICE Trike Huib Gear options - Alfine Hub

Alfine Hub

The Shimano Alfine 8 speed hub gear has around the same gear range as a standard 9 speed cassette so it works very well when combined with a triple front chainset. This gives a similar range to a standard derailleur system with the rear gearing being enclosed and lower maintenance.

The Alfine 8 speed hub uses either a bar end shifter to change gear on a non e-assist trike or on a Shimano STEPS e-assist trike you can choose electronic Di2 push button controls. Automatic gear shifting is also an option on a shimano STEPS equipped trike using an Alfine hub, giving the rider a simple pedal and go experience if you select auto on the STEPs controller.




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