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31 March 2016 - 2:18pm
 
 

Field-fix for broken ICE chain tube flex connectors

 

Foldability of recumbent trikes is an important feature. It helps many people with transporting and storing their trikes.

ICE pioneered the compact flat-twist (CFT) design which angles the hinge at 45 degrees so the rear section of the trike twists sideways during the fold and lands flatly in the plane of the cruciform of the trike.

This allows big-wheeled trikes to fold even tighter than some of the smaller-wheeled varieties.

The Achilles heel in the CFT design is at the flex-point in the chaintubes where the chain doubles back and twists all at the same time. There is a lot of force on those flex points, and, eventually, we see some of these trikes in the shop for replacement of the flexible connector.

Replacing the flexible connector requires labor, a special part, and some effort removing the chain from the chaintubes and then putting it back. An air compressor comes in quite handy, as well. All of these factors may not be present when you are sitting on the side of the road with a broken chain-tube.

We found that with some creative use of four zip-ties, we were able to recouple the chaintubes with a flexible mechanism and no need for special tubes, nor a lot of time.

We simply put an anchor on the chain-tube on each side of the break, then connected the anchor with two opposing zipties criss-crossing in a helical pattern across the flex-joint.

The zipties we used are white and will not weather as well as black ones. We used them because they show the technique readily.

 

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