Wednesday, September 13, 2017

700 v Sprint26fs v Expedition, Part 3

Go to Part 1, September 9th
Go to Part 2, September 12th

Suspension is what it's all about. It's the driving force behind making a change.

From my last post, The condition of the roads throughout the Central Coast can vary widely. I need to soften up the ride without sacrificing to much speed or weight. Right now some form of light suspension is a must. Whether mechanical suspension like on the Sprint or suspension in form of larger lower pressure tires to be used on the 700 or Expedition, some softening of my ride is a must. 

The ICE Sprint 26fs elastomer rear and front suspension combined with the mesh seat does a superb job at smoothing the chip seal and it handles many road imperfections in respectable style. Using a hard shell seat negates some of the benefits of the full suspension system. It's not a pot hole eater like some of the beefier suspension systems now on the market but then it doesn't weight nearly what some of those other trikes with more substantial suspension systems weight.

Next I revisited the concept of trying to get a smoother ride on my 700 by swapping out the high pressure 28mm Duranos with lower pressure and larger 35mm Kojaks on front. I already use a 35mm Kojak on the rear. With Kojaks all around I went for a ride along HWY 1 over chip seal and all the other usual suspects that try to throw me around. The results were okay but nothing like being suspended with the ICE elastomers. With the extra rolling weight of the Kojaks and more rubber on the road the going was bit slower. In the end it's still tiring to ride on rough roads without any mechanical suspension.

ICE elastomer suspension is the winner over using larger low pressure tires. With mechanical suspension I can keep the rolling weight of the tires at a minimum. Rolling weight is the enemy.

Even with all the lesser issues discussed in Part 1 the ICE Sprint 26fs comes out on top. One last critical issue for me is comfort. I almost gave up on the Sprint when it was fitted with the Carbon seat. The bottom of the Carbon took issue with my titanium hips. That post here.

This is a make or break issue for me.

I'll start with seat angle. The 700 has a 25 degree incline. It's low and it's great for fast riding on well maintained roads. On rougher roads it can get tiring. I spend most of my time with my head not touching the neck rest. On better roads I spend most of my ride with 30% to 100% (climbing hills) of my head weight resting on the neck rest. Based on this alone it might be time for a different seat. The Catrike Expedition has a seat angle of 37 degrees while the Sprint has a range of 36 to 42 degrees. Both of these trikes have seat angles that would probably be better for longer rides.

I initially didn't want a mesh seat because it felt awkward on the Sprint. Comparing it to the mesh seat on my 700 it felt short and I felt like I was sitting at the end of the seat and would slip forward. After a few rides I feel locked in. It was just a matter of time to get accustomed to a new feel. I've been riding Catrikes for the last eight years and that's all I know. The back of the seat has padding for the low back on both sides which holds the rider firmly in place. A nice feature that works well for me.

Weight is a non-issue when comparing the Catrike 700, ICE Sprint 26fs and the Catrike Expedition. The factory specified weight range for all three trikes is between 34lbs (15.4kg) for the 700 and 36.9 lbs. (16.7 kg) for the Sprint. The Expedition comes in at 35 lbs (15.9 kg). Even though the Sprint is a minimally suspended trike with it's elastomer suspension I am impressed that it's factory weight is only 36.9 lbs (16.7 kg). With rack, pedals, mirrors and mounts, and a few tweaks my Sprint weights in at 40.1 lbs (18.2 kg).


I think I covered everything I wanted to for now. I'll put a few more miles on the Sprint and then decide if the Sprint gets my final blessing.

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