ICE Vortex Recumbent Trike (dorky side shot)

ICE Vortex 2012


This page is about my ICE Vortex 2012 recumbent trike and what modifications etc. I have made to it. ("2012" as the model was revised from previous versions, and has since been revised again (and renamed to "Vtx").)

On this page;

Choosing (mid-2012)

I was looking for a fast, day trike, to combine the advantages of my ZOX 20 lowracer and my Hase Kettwiesel Tour trike. Options considered:

Vortex Log

Sept 2020 - summer is over!

Refit mudguards, swap fading/small Zefal Spin mirror back to original Mirrycle (still on winter tyres!). For practicality Mirrycle is much better!

June 2020 - new block and chains

Happy with current setup, but chain is very worn now and a couple of smaller sprockets skip a bit ! (Strava says I have done 6650 miles on this trike.)

Also note: still running "winter" tyres all year round: I am not racing so any small loss does not really matter, and it is nice not to fix punctures ! (and some of the bike paths around here are not so clean !)

April 2020 - SRAM Apex rear derailleur now working

Apex_12_27 Finally fit longer inner gear cable to get the new derailleur working, and it works great: quick to get the adjustment correct, then works prrfectly (set chain lenght to be just enough to cover large chainring to largest sprocket). Only downside is that there is not enough chain-wrap (expected) to use the smallest ?N gears with the smallest chainring. But for me this is a worthwhile sacrific, and they ratios duplicate the middle-ring anyway, and for most of my riding the middle ring is OK for all climbing.

October 2019 - fit new short cage SRAM Apex rear derailleur

The supplied SRAM rear derailleur is designed for a larger largest sprockets (32/34?), so there is too much space between the top jockey and the sprocket (27 for the block I chose) to change cleanly (but it does work, maybe sometimes with a little overshift !).

So search for rear derailleur that will with my SRAM shifters, 10 speed 12-27 rear, 24-46 front: closest I could find was a SRAM Apex (possibly already an old model). Choose the Short model, rated to 28T sprocket.

March 2017 - fit new front derailleur (CX70)

Current one has 'steps' in cage that do not match my (all relatively small chainrings). Spec needed: 3x10, 24/38/46, bottom pull.

Shimano FD-CX70-B is spec: 2x10, 16T max cap, 46-52T max. Works fine on my setup, although needed to squeeze the cage sides a bit closer together to get reliable change down to smallest ring. (Narrower cage is OK because on this trike the chainline does not change when shifting rear gears (chainline to front is fixed by pulley under seat).

December 2016 - 'new' style Garmin cadence sensor

The old-style Garmin combine crank and speed magnet are even harder to fit on Carmina cranks as they are "carved out" at inner-side: try newer Garmin sensor that does not need a magnet not a sensor but uses an accelerometer. Works great once I realised that you need to change the sensor type configured in the device to be "cadence" (ie cadance only) and not "combined" (ie speed and cadence) before scanning !

November 2016 - heavier tyres for winter

After 2 more punctures in 3 rides winterize all wheels with Schwalbe Marathon Plus Performance Wired 35mm (same width as Kojaks to ensure clearance compatability and to use same inner tubes !). No immediately obvious hit in performance, grip or feel.

October 2016 - TA Carmina 155 chainset / Speedplay pedals

To get lower Q factor fit Carmina 155mm cranks (using same chainrings) (can not find a low Q triple 140 crankset) and move boom in 1.5 cm to match change in crank length. (Using same chainrings effectively reduces gearing by 140/155, but for me that is a plus.)

Lower Q gave problems with derailleur touching 'downtube' when shifting to smallest ring: fixed by sloping in to rear, but now need to be careful not to overshift going from smallest to middle ring.

TA Carmina parts list: Carmina 100mm cranks, Carmina Triple Adaptor 110/74, Park Tool BBT-18 (to fit adaptor to cranks), bolt sets for outer/middle and inner rings TAD302/TAD746 (from SJSC), pin-pliers to fit crank dust-caps.

Also fit Speedplay Ultra Light Action Cr-Mo pedals and cleats as they have adjustable Q, unlike Look Keo which I am otherise happy with.

September 2016 - new bottle holder

Replace bottle holder on back of seat with Cannibal Elite one (other one (from my parts box) does not feel secure with a large, full, bottle). Later add second holder, for summer rides.

May 2016 - date - bag problem

Patch Radical side bags where the sharp seat edge cuts into throw-over (could try car-door rubber edging on seat). Otherise I am very happy with the bags.

May 2016

Gearing thoughts... it is difficult to get low enough gears with a 700c rear wheel and short cranks. SRAM 3*10. Schlumpf MtnDrive.


July 2015 - May 2016 - Mirrors (B&M, then Zefal Spin)

Replace ICE supplied mirror fit Rose barnizer on LHS and old B&M short mirror. In September replace short stem B&M mirror (keeps slipping) with long stem one that can brace on mudguard, but then in May 2016 fit Zefal Spin mirror on ICE mirror mount to get a wider view (used in parallel for a while to compare, then remove B&M).

Zefal Spin downside: the mirror surface is plastic so does not last so well, but still OK in 2020).

May 2015 - bar grips

Replace ICE supplied handlebar grips (foam, now rotten) with regular handlebar tape (shock absorbing foam not needed !!)

Sept 2014 - Q factor

Trying to reduce Q-factor replace original 113 with 107, then also notice that the front derailleur does not work good for top gear as it has ramping on it, but in the wrong place: probably designed for large gap and a large ring so get a CX70 (straight edge, designed for cyclo-cross, i.e. smaller rings) and also add 2 links back. Much better change onto large ring now, and not throwing off.

Sept 2014 - ?July 2015 - persistent flats

Luckily only happens before a ride but keep getting flat tyres: many abrasions on tube: see photo. Check tyre and fit new tube, with lots of talc and keep to higher pressure (was at min recommended, for comfort.

GPS_barnizer GPS_barnizer_side

Sometime 2015 move GPS to a Rose "Barnizer"

Easier to access the buttons whilst riding, without stopping pedalling.

June 2014 - phone / GPS mount

phoneHolder_GPS_pieces phoneHolder_GPS_mounted Need reliable way of hearing/seeing phone ringing during ride (whilst on-call for work) (do not reliably hear it when it is in the pannier, even on full volume). Find a fitting (make ?) designed to clamp on handlebars with a waterproof phone case above the bars, and a water bottle holder below. Use water bottle mount to fit holder on bottle bosses, then phone in case can be seen whilst I cycle. In the backet where the handlebar should go fit a wooden dowel and mount GPS on that.

Works, except hit legs on GPS (not phone) when cycling, so remove wooden dowel and fit GPS on RHS Ahead cap "barnizer" (Rose Bikes own brand but others are available)

to do: see photos: much better than on centre tube: more visible and can reach the buttons without leaning forward.

April 2015: buy a basic Pebble watch with Bluetooth notifications and phone in panniers. Other options would be a newer Garmin unit, or a Bluetooth headset.

July 2013

Loving it: much faster than my Kett, although not as fast as the Zox it is about the same as the PDQ. Seat suits me fine, and not too sweaty, even in the recent 30C+ temperatures. Handling is great, although I have not hammered it yet through the downhill curves, still getting used to hanging out the side ! Radical panniers work great, and bottle mounted on rear of seat easier to get at then on the boom. Headrest removed for now, and update header photo.

May 2013

Remove headrest (not used it yet !), move bottle holder from boom (can not reach without leaning forward, and also legs sometimes touch it), remove flag holder from seat, and use same screws to fit bottle cage to the seat (RHS). Can now reach it easily.

March 2013

Riding more as weather improves, gearing sorted, boom setting sorted, getting used to the handling, and getting faster :-)

Replace pedals with Look Keo 2 Max, and shoes with some slightly more sporting, but not too blingy Shimano SH-R062 and replace 40T large ring with 46T.

Warning: the front derailleur post has thicker/thinner sections and for a 46T the bracket is a bit on the slope between the two ! (as delivered with the 40T it was shimmed out on the thinner section).

December 2012

Some photos: Radical Solo Racer Bags / short cranks / GPS unit and cadence sensor mounts (speed sensor not used):
Bags 3d view Bags front view Bags rear view Short cranks GPS mounting cadence sensor mounting

Whilst looking at the photos I noticed that the rear derailleur was way off the cogs (6mm recommended in the manual), so I loosened the B-screw:
rear derailleur adjusted

October 2012

Collected and cycled home, doing setup as I went !

August 2012: Order Vortex

Place order for a Vortex: Kojak tyres, carbon fiber seat (as per test trike), ICE mudguard kit, headrest, short cranks (in the end use mine from my ZOX 20). Also swap out cassette for a close ratio set: 12-27 (with 24/34/40 140mm cranks: may need revising with experience !!) and Radical Solo Racer wide bags for my dayride bits and pieces !

August 2012: Test Ride in Mainz, Germany

Local dealer for ICE are only a short train ride away in Mainz: Die Radgeber. Arrange a short, Saturday morning, test ride. For demo they had just recieved a Vortex+ ("plus") with the more racing oriented spec: incl the hard/narrow Ultremo tyres and v. sharp brakes. Very different to my Hase Kettwiesel: lower, sharper brakes and much harder ride, but when you push hard it moves !!. To be honest, not love at first sight, but as best I can judge it I think I could get used to it, although probably in its standard spec: wider Kojak tyres, and gentler BB7 brakes. The main thing was it fitted !

pre-August 2012: research

As always I did lots of research, mostly with Google but also looking over back issues of the excellent magazine VeloVision and the online mag BentRider Online(BROL).

I also kept my eyes open on the Germany for-sale boards and shop close-out/2nd hand pages. Not many trikes come up for sale 2nd hand: I did see an older model Vortex at a shop in Frankfurt, but even though I emailed less than 24 hours after it went up for sale I was too slow :-(

Vortex Links

Vortex Reviews

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