Sunday, October 20, 2019

E8000 with Integrated Light

Update 10/21/19. Dana at Bent Up Cycles tells that me he can make changes using his dealer software so the light has 0% priority. I'll be checking that out.

Let me start by saying that integrating a light into the Shimano E8000 reduces the power assist range of the battery. Let me explain...

I originally ordered my ICE Sprint FS E8000 with the integrated Edelux light. It's tied into the E8000  battery and is operated via the E6100 display. The problem...the firmware of the E8000 gives priority to the light. Why is this a problem? The battery indicator on the display shows 5 bars when the battery is fully charge. Not to long ago I was riding up a substantial hill and my battery indicator went from 2 bars remaining down to 1 bar. Fine...I thought I had 20% of battery life to get me over the hill and home. NOT. A few seconds after the display showed only 1 bar the motor shut down and I was on my own. Remember that light priority thing I just mentioned? Well the firmware allocated the last 20% of battery to the light and shut down the motor. Even turning the light off didn't solve the problem. 

Easy fix. Using Shimano's E Tube app for iPhone and Android (see  my post E8000 Customizing via Bluetooth) you can disconnect the light from the system. And then remove the light by taking the access cover of the motor off and undo the light wires (pic below). You'll have to use a light with its own battery that is independent of the E8000 system. Without the integrated light the motor now utilizes the entire battery range.

The two silver screws hold the light wires in place. The larger black and white wires are for the front light. The smaller black and red wires are for a rear light that proved to be useless as a daytime light and the connection wires on the light kept falling off.

It would be nice if the firmware allowed the user to decide whether or not to prioritize the light. But it doesn't. So here is what you can do, when the display is connected to the E Tube app on your phone (or Pad) choose Customize then select Drive Unit and on the final screen you'll see Light connection. Decide if you want the light connected or not.

iPhone screen shot

iPhone screen shot

iPhone screen shot

I now use my old DiNotte light with its battery on the boom.  It's a great daytime running light.
BTW if you choose the integrated Edeluz light it's excellent for night riding but it's useless as a  daytime running light because of the way the light casts its beam. However when I was using it I cut a piece of frosted plastic film and put it on the lens to diffuse the light for daytime running. It worked well.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

E8000 Customizing via Bluetooth for E6100 Display

As always ICE costumer service goes the extra distance to make sure it's costumers are taken care of. Neil at ICE Trikes put together a quick video for me (not on YouTube) showing how to connect Shimano's E TUBE app with the E6100 display for the Steps E8000 via Bluetooth on your iPhone or Android. Doing so allows for customization and updating of the E-Assist.

My display doesn't have a Bluetooth sync on it's menu so I wasn't sure if Shimano's E TUBE app could be connected to the Shimano Steps E8000. In the video Neil walks me through the process of customizing the assist settings on my E8000. Also the E TUBE app can check for firmware updates. The app also allows me to make minor adjustments to the odometer to allow for different tire sizes. The E TUBE app also connects with Shimano's Di2 electronic shifter.

Many thanks to Neil at ICE Trikes for all the help. E-Assist is new to me so this was not the first question he has answered for me and it probably won't be the last. 

I'm have just shy of 1,000 miles on my ICE Sprint FS E8000 and it's been a game changer for me. More  rides, longer rides, flat hills and more fun. And now knowing how to customize the e-assist's all good.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Lighthouse Century 2019

Let me start by saying that the ICE Sprint FS E8000 was an absolute joy to ride in the e-friendly/recumbent friendly SLOBC Lighthouse Century. I rode the half century (50 miles) with 2,156 feet of gain. I'm was more than happy to let others proof their physical prowess and do the century with it's 6,331 feet of gain while I enjoyed the ride along the coast keeping up other DF riders who were doing the same. On the climbs I could easily go 9 mph at half energy while the DF riders were slogging up at 4 to 5 mph. Wanting not to be obnoxious I usually scaled back, only passing the slowest riders early in a climb.  For the ride I took along an extra battery. I probably could have squeaked out the 53 total miles on one battery but why stress. I changed out the battery at the halfway rest stop. During the last 10 or so miles I used more assist than normal as my right calf was starting  to get tight. Yet another reason for having e-assist.

Since I no longer live in Cambria, on the Central Coast, I decided to check back in with the beauty of the Central Coast and join in the Lighthouse Century ride sponsored by the San Luis Obispo Bicycle Club. SLOBC's Lighthouse Century has always been a recumbent friendly ride. Many of it's members ride recumbents. Now the Lighthouse Century is an e-bike friendly ride. So I packed up the ICE Sprint FS E8000 in the car and Carrie and I headed to Morro Bay for the ride. Me to ride and Carrie to visit the beach and antique stores.

HWY 1 from Morro Bay up through Cambria has been repaved with plenty of good shoulder as the rumble strip is along the white line leaving plenty of room to ride and pass.

Conclusion...I would not have done the ride without the e-assist. I was able to enjoy the ride without the worry of physical limitations.

 First long climb of the ride on the new pavement. Although overall less climbing than I usually do on local rides.

First rest stop at Harmony

Climbing the hill through Cambria

Riding back to Morro Bay and the end of the ride

Helmet off and end of the ride. Time for lunch with Carrie.

To finish the day a dinner with Carrie overlooking Morro Bay and Morro Rock

Monday, September 16, 2019

E8000 Display Problem...Solved?

Updated 10/13/2019 - After 260 miles the display started again going on and off on rough roads. I added a plastic shim between the side of the holder and the display. Problem solved again...for now. I've been sending ICE updates on this little problem to get their input.

While riding the other day the display would turn off and then right back on. I contacted ICE and they told me to check the display by wobbling it in the cradle as shown in the ICE video below. I was ready to turn a minor problem into a big production by checking all the wiring for a loose connection. A bit embarrassing that I didn't think about checking the display connections. Oh well...I'll still admit by lack of clear thinking and pass on what I learned to other Shimano Steps users.

Video from ICE Customer Service

If the above video looks like a problem you're having then the fix may be easy. On the back of the cradle is a screw that's used for security. If tighten enough the display will not come off the cradle. It also seems to make the display more snug in the cradle and keeping it in contact with the contact points.

I'll note here that my display problem looked like the one in the video but it didn't turn on and off while testing it in the comfort of my garage. My problem occurred while riding in 95 degree heat and generally when hitting a rough patch on the road. By tightening the cradle screw the display problem hasn't reoccured. Hopefully it stays that way. 70 miles with the adjustment and all is well.

Back of the E8000 display panel and cradle

If the display does loose contact with the cradle for a brief moment chances are contact will immediately be reestablished but you'll be without assist for a couple of seconds and you'll have to reset the assist level on the display. Luckily for me the battery stayed on and I didn't have to reboot the assist by stepping off the pedals to allow the torque sensor to set. Also the electronic Di2 shifter on my trike kept working while the display booted back up.

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.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Climbing with the E8000

So far this year my average gain per mile is 72 feet. I can't avoid climbing unless I load up my trike into my car and head out of town to take a ride somewhere that does't involve so much climbing. A local 20 mile ride means about a 1,400 foot gain and so on. As I've mentioned before, piriformis syndrome and a partially atrophied calf muscle (both post hip replacements) makes climbing a bit of a challenge.

Enter Shimano's Steps E8000 and climbing is made so much easier. By using the Trail mode and Boost mode on the climbs and the Eco mode or no assist on the flats and descents I can manage a range of 35 to 40. Not an exceptional range with the 418Wh battery but climbing does drain the battery.   I'm thinking of getting a 504Wh battery and bringing the smaller 418Wh battery as a backup on longer rides. I also carry the charger with me for peace of mind. Weight is not a problem with the assist but when the battery has no power left the trike can be a real bear to grind up hills. On longer rides I can ride to areas that tend to flatten out a bit and with two batteries on board I feel I can accomplish a range of 100 miles. I look forward to giving it a try someday.

I bought the ICE Sprint FS E8000 specifically for climbing. Being able to call upon the E8000 to get me over the hills takes away any climbing anxiety that in the past would have played a major roll in determining which routes or detours I would ride. Many are the hills I would not go down knowing I would have to climb them later. Not anymore.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Updates on Earlier ICE Sprint Comments

Below are my comments from December 24th 2017 when I owned a ICE Sprint FS for a brief period. Now that I have a new ICE Sprint FS E8000 I've updated those comments to reflect some changes that were made to address some issues. Those changes are in pink.

What I like about the ICE Sprint FS 26

Quality engineering - The Sprint is a beautiful machine and beautifully engineered.

Hydraulic brake function - The brakes have good stopping power and have a very positive feel. The new E8000 has disc brakes and they still have good stopping power.

Rack - The custom integrated rack is solid and easy to take on and off. Only two attachment points.

Elastomer suspension - The elastomer suspension is a light weight alternative to the heavier suspension found on many other trikes. 

Looks awesome - The design, color and graphics are second to none.

Customer service - Very helpful and fast response time.

What I don't like Or more accurately, what wasn't working for me but may be a non-issue for another rider.

Seat - See my earlier posts here. Although I eventually managed to make the seat work for me I always had the sensation that I was sitting on the edge of the seat. I ordered the new ICE with an ICE Adventure seat which has a longer seat base. Problem of sitting on the edge solved.

Cornering - The front suspension does not incorporate a torsion bar to compensate for the pressure on the outboard wheel when making a tight turn. The trike tends to lean away from a turn so take it easy on fast turns and all will be well.

Hydraulic brake maintenance - Because of the suspension system the brakes have to mirror each other. Currently the only option for  the suspended Sprint is hydraulic brakes. If you loose hydraulic fluid while on the road you're out of luck. I would not recommend hydraulic brakes for touring. Maintaining hydraulic brakes is more involved then mechanical brakes and requires a little extra skill and specialized tools.  I now have mirrored Callisto disk brakes (the FS doesn't allow for anything but mirrored brakes). Unfortunilty I don't know much about these brakes and there is very little information available. I can't even find where to get new brake pads.  So maintenance may still be an issue but for a different reason.  I'll have more to say about these brakes as I do more research.

Lack of bottle holders - The mesh seat, unlike the hard seat, has no place to install extra water bottle holders. All you get is the boom mount for water bottles. You can use a Terra Cycle dual water holder adapter on the boom but then the trike doesn't fold well. I now have Terra Cycles dual bottle mount. The trike doesn't fold up totally flat with the mount but it's close. 

Indirect steering - There is nothing wrong with indirect steering. Many riders love it. I personally prefer direct steering. I discussed the matter here on an earlier post. I still feel the some but it's not deal killer. 

Headrest - Here I feel it helps to compare the ICE and Catrike headrests. While many riders love the ICE head rest and hate the Catrike head rest I'm the opposite. I don't like the ICE headrest. It has only two possible adjustments. Up and down and it can swivel at the base where attached to the seat frame. The Catrike headrest has the same adjustments but in addition the headrest pad itself can swivel to allow for a perfect contact point between head and headrest pad. On another point, I like a firm headrest.  I use a headrest about 50% of the time while I'm riding. The headrest is adjusted to be within about 1/2" of the back of my head when I'm not using it. When I put my head back I don't want to sink into a cushy headrest that puts my head at an awkward angle. The ICE headrest lacks a firm backing on the pad and my head sinks uncomfortably into the rest. The Catrike headrest has a firm backing and a just the right amount of cushion for my needs. If it just had a little more width and dished in the middle it would be perfect. I've spent a lot of time talking about headrests. Regardless of your headrest preferences a good headrest is important for a good ride. ICE now makes a wider headrest but it still feels the same. Because the Sprint is more upright then my Catrike 700 I rarely feel the need to use a head rest so not a big deal. It didn't stop me from getting the E8000

Other comments

- The folding option was not important for me. I have a Ford C-max and my Catrike 700 easily fits into the car when I take the rear wheel off. The Sprint takes up less room inside the car but requires a bit of effort to fold and unfold. The folding option is now more of an advantage for me especially now that I have a Ford Escape. The folded trike fits in easily.

- The carbon seat I originally had on the trike looked cool but it's a hard seat and negated some of the benefits of riding a suspended trike. In addition my titanium hips rebelled when using the carbon seat. That post here

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Trike Stand by TRIKE TIGHT

With the extra weight of the E Assist on my new ICE Sprint FS E8000 I decided to replace my old Park Tool bike work stand with a dedicated trike stand. The old Park Tool stand worked well enough for my lighter trikes but it was always a little awkward to use. I wanted something solid that would hold up to regular use. I looked at DIY options but decided that a custom trike stand by TRIKE TIGHT was worth the investment. And yes... it is.

The TRIKE TIGHT stand is an aluminum stand that was easy to assemble.  The stand is light but solid. It also folds up by lifting a single pin. Unlike most of the plans for DIY stands the TRIKE TIGHT has large heavy duty locking wheels that allow me to easily roll the stand around. Not only do all three wheels lock but the swivel locks as well so the stand stays exactly where I want it to stay. And finally, I can move the trike around to work on it without having to move or get up from my stool.

The TRIKE TIGHT stand is a stiff well made stand made with heavy gauge aluminum tubing that should last longer then me. And it has a cool logo.