Friday, September 6, 2019

Steps Error Code E043

After getting the error code E043 twice in last few days I decided to take my ICE Sprint 26 FS E8000  for a firmware reinstall and a download of two new firmware updates using Shimano's ETube.

I'm told the error code E043 is the most common. Shimano says simply restore the firmware. While riding the assist stops assisting and the error code flashes. I turned the system off and then back on again and the system rebooted and I was off and cycling again with assist. 

 The trike plugged into Shimano's E Tube program on Dana's computer at Bent Up Cycles for restoring and updating the firmware.

Dana's computer updating the firmware.

Plugged in

I believe this is the first time in 10 years that I had to take a trike in for maintenance. I've always done my owner maintenance. Shimano's ETube program for use with the Steps is available to be downloaded on Windows. I have Mac. It's also available as an app for a Bluetooth connection to the assist system if your Steps has Bluetooth. No Bluetooth on the Steps assist I have. So I'm kinda stuck for now and will have to take the trike in for updates and system analysis. Oh well, I'm not use to relying on others for trike maintenance. But it's good to check in with Dana at Bent Up Cycles for something other than buying a new trike. Hopefully in time this will be worked out so I can at least install updates on my own.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

A Couple Program Changes on My ICE

The original programing on the E8000 speed sensor on the front tires was set up for a 40/406 tire. I now have 35/406 tires on the front causing a 2% error in bike computer reading my speed. It says I'm going 2% (1.9% to be exact) faster then I'm actually going. Only dealers are suppose to have the program to recalibrate the speed sensor so customers can't cheat the system. In addition dealers can only just the sensor 5% one way or another in . 5% increments.  

In addition I had Dana and Jim adjust the TRAIL assist level to provide more assist when in that setting. For me the level of assist between the ECO and TRAIL settings is too close. By lengthening the gap between ECO and TRAIL and closing the gap between TRAIL and BOOST I feel I can use the TRAIL assist more efficiently when climbing and delay going to the BOOST level as the climb gets steeper. Since help with climbing, not speed, is my priority I hope to increase my battery range this way. 

Lastly the integrated light that I ordered with the E8000 was disconnected and the program adjusted accordingly. It turns out the light is given priority over the assist when the battery is running low. I feel this is the reason I lost assist a short time back when I thought I had 20% more range on my battery. There are 5 bars to monitor the battery level. On a recent ride I lost assist immediately after the level indictor went to one bar. The E8000 program is designed to make sure that when a front light is connected to the E8000 system it has at least two hours of shine time. I'm back to using a DiNotte light totally independent of the E8000.

I'll update this post after few rides to talk about the changes I've made and how they're working for me.

Dana and Jim at Bent Up Cycles checking the dialogue 
between computer and trike

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Climbing with the E8000 Re-Visited

Hopefully this post will give current and future E8000 trike riders some idea on what to expect when climbs are part of their route.

First the Stats

As of August 3rd I now have 514 miles on my ICE Sprint FS E8000 and 36,509 feet of gain. I picked up the trike on May 18th from Bent Up Cycles. My average per mile gain is 71 feet.

How I Use the Assist

The E8000 has three levels of assist; 1) ECO seems to compensate for the extra weight of the trike, panniers and the heavy Marathon Plus tires I now use on the trike. 2) TRAIL provides some extra boost but nothing that blows your socks off. 3) BOOST is assist on steroids and it gets me over hills with ease. When you go to Boost you feel it and it feels good on a climb.

On flats and descents I don't use assist. As the terrain starts to rise I'll kick it into ECO. The trike now feels like a normal lighter trike. I'll use the ECO mode on grades between 1% to about 3%. The TRAIL mode is brought into play on grades between 3% to 6%. There's no appreciable speed advantage over my unassisted trike using either ECO or TRAIL modes as I use them but it does save my Piriformis. At 6% grade or more (or for longer climbs of 4% to 5% grades) with a click I'm in BOOST mode and the hills feel flat. On a hill at a 8% to 9% grade I use to grind up at 3-4 mph on my Catrike 700 while working up a sweat. Now I can go up at 7-8 mph barely breaking a sweat. I can easily get up to 12mph with a little extra effort and a bit of a sweat but this really drains the battery. Also I've concluded that a steep climb drains the battery faster than a moderate climb even though the average gain per mile may be the same. On occasion I'll bomb uphill just to mess with the minds of other properly contoured younger riders on their carbon fiber DF bikes. Once I pass them with a smile and a wave they figure out I have an assist and in my mirror I see them sit back down on their saddle and continue their grind up the hill. It's usually all in good fun but occasionally I'll come up on a rider with an attitude but I still give a friendly wave cause I know they'll be passing me later... but not on the downhill.

And yes, I get plenty of exercise riding with assist. No one can tell me otherwise. Probably more than before with all the extra miles and riding days I can now enjoy. That's all I'm going to say about that!

What to Expect from the Battery when Climbing

Having put over 500 miles on my ICE Sprint FS E8000 and given my average per mile gain of 71 and my compulsive log keeping I can say that with the E8014 418wh battery my range is between 30 and 36 miles per battery charge. I use 32 miles per charge as a benchmark as it was at 32 miles I ran out of power. It was right before an extended 10% climb that if I had made it to the top it would all be downhill to get back home. Given that the lowest gear inch is 24 with the 44t chainring and the weight of the trike I wussed out and called for backup knowing that the climb would fry my Piriformis. I parked in the shade of a tree and waited for Carrie to pick me up knowing I saved my old bones for another ride the next day.

While riding I'm constently changing the assist mode to maximize battery use. It's not much different than shifting between chainrings to maximize human output. But now I'm changing assist modes instead.

Having E-Assist has made it possible for me to ride multiple days in a row without ill effects on my Pirifomis or partially atrophied calf. I ordered another battery so I can extend my range. Battery range is now my consideration for the routes I ride, not how many hills lie ahead. That's a trade I can easily accept. For the first I'm exploring options for overnighters. As long as I have a place to plug in at the end of the day all is good.

Final thought; If you have used E-Assist for awhile now you've probably heard the comment "it's cheating". With a smile I say "how can it be cheating? I'm not trying to win anything". With that comment and a smile I usually get back an acknowledgement along the line of "yah, you're right". Sometimes even a short conversation takes place before triking on. 

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

My Catrike 700-Sold

2013 Catrike 700 

Not a typo and trike is in great condition and well maintained. I want a fast sale and a good home for a trike that as served me well.
Pick up only in Thousand Oaks, CA

One of the first 700s with the 20” wheels and still equipped with chrome-moly steel spindles (not the aluminum ones that cracked). 

Mileage  - 5,054

Includes an extra rear wheelset. An American Classic with 23/622 Schwalbe Durano and a 32/11 cassette. Also a couple of extra front wheels equipped with Chris King hubs.

Photo from earlier in the year taken in the Central Coast Wine Country

Sale does not include lights, frame bags, flag and of course helmet. But does include some extras listed at the end of this post.

After 6 years of enjoying my 700 it’s now time to change course. I’ve spent enough time on my new ICE Sprint FS Steps E8000 to know I won’t be using my 700 enough to justify having it take up space in my garage

Her are the details
53/39/30 Crankset with FSA carbon cranks.

DT-Swiss rim and Hub. 35/622 Kojak for a softer ride.

 Extra long boom. Easy to cut if a shorter boom is needed.

28/406 Durano front tires

 Wired CatEye computer

Only one small section of chain tube to route chain under frame

10 speed 36/11 Cassette

 Inner and outer chain guard

10 speed Sram index rear shifter and non-indexed front shifter

 Extra front wheels with Chris King hubs

 Finer Recliner headrest for Catrike mount. Not used.
Tubes for 700 tires.

Extra wheelset. American Classic wheel and hub with a 10 speed 36/11 cassette and a 28/622 Durano tire.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Riding Along the Santa Monica Mountains

Warm and humid in So Cal. Boney Mountain just past the hills of Rancho Sierra Vista, Santa Monica Mountains. 

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Back on the Central Coast

Carrie and I took a drive back up to the Central Coast to get a breath of fresh air.

HWY 1 North of Cambria, CA

 The boost on the Shimano Steps E8000 wasn't needed much but when I did need it...oh so nice! There are a couple of short road sections along Hwy 1 North of San Simeon where there is no shoulder and poor visibility. Throw in trucks bringing massive boulders to stabilize parts of Hwy 1 and it's good to have the E8000 to get me through as fast as possible.

Looking North to the Piedras Blancas lighthouse.


Sunday, July 7, 2019

More Rides, More Miles, More Fun...E-8000

I've had plenty of time to settle in with my ICE Sprint FS Steps E8000. My main concern, thinking I would always be tempted to overuse the assist, has waned. I like the feeling of using my own muscle power to ride but I don't like hills for reasons talked about in my last post, Climbing With the E8000. And the west coast has more than enough hills to climb. Also worried that my ego would take a hit. I waited a good year before popping on the E-Assist. Ego is intact and better then ever as the assist has become a game changer for me. More rides, more miles, more fun.

Here is how I've settled in with the E8000 and hopefully it might be of some value in helping others who are on the fence about making a decision to go with an assist.  

Let me start out my mentioning that the Shimano Steps E8000 has three pedal assist modes. 
1. ECO - 70% support 
2. TRAIL - 150% support
3. BOOST - 230% support

I keep the assist OFF on descents and OFF or on ECO riding the flats and slight ascents. I find that ECO compensates for the weight of the trike and it feels more like I'm pedaling my Catrike 700. That leaves TRAIL and BOOST. The TRAIL mode serves most of my climbing needs but I switch over to BOOST as the grade steepens. So far this year my local rides have averaged 71 feet of gain for every
one mile. The BOOST takes me up the hills so comfortably I've been able to extend my rides.  I reach the batteries limit before I reach my physical limits. I feel like I can just keep going all day but I'll need to carry another battery in my pannier for that to happen. 

E8014 Battery
Right now with the E8014 - 418Wh battery I get a range of about 40 miles where I ride. Climbing sucks up a lot of power. I'll be purchasing an extra battery, the E8010 - 504Wh. But it's not available until September so I'll have to be happy staying under 40 miles per ride or load the trike into my car and find less hilly areas to ride. When I have two batteries on board I hope to squeeze out 100 hilly miles. Carrying the weight (2.6kg - 5.7lbs) of a second battery is not a problem. I have little help. (BTW... the E8014 battery is only a couple of ounces (.05kg) lighter.)

There's more, using the BOOST to get through dicey road conditions such as construction zones and busy intersections is awesome.

And yes...I get plenty of exercise. I'm riding more often and more miles without climbing anxiety. The only thing I'm not doing is getting my heart rate up to where the exercise gurus say it should be.   Even without an assist I climb so slow that my heart rate never did reach the "optimal range". But  I must be doing something right. After my last stress test a couple of months ago I had to work pretty damn hard to get my heart rate to where the doctor wanted it for testing. More on that in my next post.