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.