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ICE Running Improvements / 2014-2015 model-year changes

One of the sillier things we've inherited from the auto industry is the concept of "model-years". The "model-year" is a fabrication arbitrarily used by the auto-makers to make their own products prematurely obsolete. By making their own cars obsolete, they create a perception among consumers that the older car versions are somehow inferior to the current model, and this drives [pun intended] consumers and dealers to pursue a never-ending cycle of buying and selling -- forever falling behind the curve of endless "improvements"... more and more thneeds which everyone, everyone needs.

Thankfully, the fine people behind ICE do NOT think in these terms. At ICE, the end of the year is just that, and when they have a new improvement, they just put it into the pipeline and it pops out magically whenever the next batch of parts get manufactured.

For this reason, we see a steady improvement in ICE trikes, and yet since the improvements interleave into the regular production cycle and the ICE people are so modest they see improvement as part of the job rather than something to trumpet far and wide, there is little attention paid.

This article is to bring much overdue attention to some really fine improvements which have found their ways into ICE trikes just in the past 1/2 year:

  • ICE trike steering dampingSteering damping: The ability to introduce dynamic friction into the steering system is quite useful. In engineering, this is used to dampen systems that might otherwise have resonant oscillation. In trikes, this resonance is called "shimmy". Over the years, we've seen fewer than one handful of ICE trikes with any user-reports of shimmy, however, there have been a couple of bugaboos that would have been resolved much more easily if we had been able to just tighten up the damping in the steering system.

    Now, ICE trikes have steering damping. Look for the little set-screw on the handlebar pivot.
  • Chain-tube restraint: On trikes, the chaintube tends to get pulled slightly forward on the drive-chain and slightly backward on the return-chain. For this reason, something needs to restrain the chaintube to keep it from migrating forward or backwards. On an ICE trike, the return chain tube is held with a small plastic clamp at the idler-pulley bracket. The drive-side chaintube, however, is separated into forward and aft sections. ICE drive chain-tube retention crimpsThe forward tube is restrained using the same plastic clip, but the tube is held loosely to allow it to move with changes in the front gearing, a flare at the aft end of the tube has the dual function of guiding the chain into the tube gracefully while simultaneously preventing the tube from sliding forward through its loosely held clamp.

    This leaves the aft drive-chain tube and ICE has long restrained this tube with a perfectly placed stainless-steel crimp (crimped vertically to allow perfect chain passage). Unfortunately, with many cycles [pun] and lots of use, the crimp can loosen unexpectedly allowing the tube to move forward into the idler pulley. This failure, though rare, is surprisingly difficult to resolve without a lot of duct tape.

    ICE now make the aft chain-tube with a double-crimp.  Thank you, ICE-people!
  • Quick-release seat clamps: For an eternity, ICE seats have been held at the forward point by a steel cradle that is part of the frame. The cradle is semicircular, allowing the seat frame to rest in it when placed from above. A simple plastic ring kept the seat from moving upwards in the unlikely event of upward force. For a while, ICE used a quick-release lever to allow the plastic ring to be loosened and tightened rapidly with no tools. However, it was too easy for the lever to come loose and fall off. Since the plastic ring is only a retainer rather than a structural component, a missing retainer might not be noticed for a long time and by that time, the lost lever would be long gone -- left behind on the side of the road. ICE quick-release seat retention clampsEventually, ICE gave up on the levers and started using plastic thumbscrews with a retention nut. The retention nut kept the thumbscrew from getting lost, but the plastic thumbscrews took an extra ten seconds out of your day when you actually took the seat off to fold it.

    Enter the new quick-release seat clamps.... No longer made of mere plastic and sporting a long positive-action quick-release lever, these are seat retention levers for the long-term. Now, the seat clamps down and actively holds the seat in its cradle. Now, the lever releases in a snap. On the flip side, the lever pops into locking position with an active click and you know you are set to roll! Nice job, ICE!
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Azub introduces "optional" hinge technology for 2015

To fold, or not to fold... this is the question.

No doubt, the ability to fold your trike or bike, particularly, the recumbent ones, can be a tremendous asset in getting it from point A to point B. On the other hand, who wants to fold something if they don't have to, much less spend the extra money on folding mechanisms and including extra weight that may be unnecessary.

Azub is introducing a new system for 2015 that defaults to being "take-apart". Separately [pun intended], a hinge can be bolted into the middle of the take-apart joint converting it the take-apart trike into a folding trike.

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New Products: ICE introduces full and rear suspension w. 26" drive wheel

St. Charles, IL: At Recumbent CycleCon 2014, Inspired Cycle Engineering (ICE) introduced its new 26" drivewheel suspension.

The Sprint 26-RS brings the efficiency of a 26" drive wheel to rear suspension comfort, reducing the comfort vs. speed tradeoff.

This new rear-fork system will be the underlying technology of two new ICE models: the Sprint 26-RS and the full-suspension Sprint 26-FS.

More later... Here are some pictures for now.

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Izzy and her Catrike Villager roll against Friedrich's Ataxia

Izzy is 13 years old. Next week, she will be getting her brand-new lava-red Catrike Villager.

With it, she will: go to school, have fun and adventures, ride with her brother, and help conquer Friedrich's ataxia.

She's young, but her resume is long. Check the links.

Here's her trike, fresh from the oven like a tray of cookies.

On May 31, 2014, join Izzy and others for the FARA Norcal Ride.

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Naked Chico

Bike parking in front of Naked Lounge coffeehouse was removed to make room for a car to park.Naked Chico

The bikes are back!

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Making CA streets more trike friendly

Caltrans Endorses the NACTO Urban Street Design Guide by Melanie Curry It wasn’t a total surprise, but exciting nevertheless for bicycle advocates gathered at the NACTO “Cities for Cycling” Road Show in Oakland last night. Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty announced that the agency will endorse the use of the National Association of City Transportation Officials Urban Street Design Guide, giving California cities the state DOT’s blessing to install modern infrastructure like protected bike lanes. ... [more]
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HP Velotechnik Scorpion FS-26 wins 2013 Trike of the Year

The HP Velotechnik Scorpion FS-26 full-suspension trike was awarded Trike of the Year by online presence

The FS-26 has a superb combination of comfort and efficiency. The handling and the plush ride are unequalled in the industry, with the only downside its comparative weight as compared to non-suspended models.

AlphaBENT keeps the FS-26 in stock as much as possible. "This trike really has a tremendous feel to it. You really have to ride it to appreciate it.", said AlphaBENT owner, Hugh Kern.

More information on the award can be found at the original announcement.

AlphaBENT carries most HP Velotechnik products available for testing and purchase: the comprehensive list can be found here.

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Commuting, Exercise, Touring, Performance

New product: Gekko FX26 folding recumbent trike, HP Velotechnik

St Charles, IL: HP Velotechnik introduced a new high-performance folding trike into a booming trike market.

The Gekko FX-26 has the foldability of the proven Gekko travel-trike, but now gets the better-efficiency, comfort, and handling performance of a 26" drive-wheel.

The Gekko FX-26 is priced at a competitive $2290 for the 2015 model year. This includes a 24-speed drivetrain and disc brakes.

Also available with a 250W German-produced Neodrive electric assist through AlphaBENT.

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Commuting, Exercise, Touring

New Arkel TailRider video

Arkel released a new video highlighting the versatile TailRider trunk bag. Check it out...

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If I'd known I was going to live so long, I'd have taken better care of myself. ~Leon Eldred

Fortunately, getting exercise has never been easier. Now that we have recumbent trikes, everyone can get out and exercise regularly.

Whether your goals are to ride for exercise, transportation, recreation, or all of the above, a recumbent trike breaks down the barriers that might stop you from getting out on a cycle.

Balance issues, personal discomfort, or a simple fear of falling all fall by the wayside on a recumbent trike.

More information...