ICE Vortex 2012
This page is about
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;
I was looking for a fast, day trike, to combine the advantages of
my ZOX 20 lowracer and my Hase Kettwiesel Tour trike.
CompactSport: A fast, light classic, I fancied one since reading a
review in 1983, but a) the company was in a state of flux (now
resolved with a new owner) and b) no chance of a test ride in Germany
(although I could have tried to arrange one on a UK holiday). (2020:
company went bust some time ago, which is a great shame for a classic
Vortex: new model (2012), plus: narrow, local importer and dealer,
light, minus: I would prefer 406 all-round, and a little less blingy
! (2020: model has had many great looking improvements since !)
- Catrike 700
US trike, hard to find in Europe, would have to test direct steering.
- Catrike Speed
(already discontinued at that time, but available in places)
- CarbonTrikes nice
looking Swedish trikes just coming to market when I was looking. Very
expensive. Definitely one to watch for !! (74cm wide, from 11.7kg !)
(2020: basically, also now
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
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
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
April 2020 - SRAM Apex rear derailleur now working
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
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.
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
Sometime 2015 move GPS to a Rose "Barnizer"
Easier to access the buttons whilst riding, without stopping pedalling.
June 2014 - phone / GPS mount
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
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.
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.
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.
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).
Some photos: Radical Solo Racer Bags / short cranks / GPS unit and
cadence sensor mounts (speed sensor not used):
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:
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:
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
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
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