I thought it would interesting to build a “light” trike. Light is a relative term. No trikes are really light. My Monster weighs about 36 lbs so light to me means less than 30 lbs. The ICE Vortex + is claimed to be less than 30 lb. This iteration of the Vortex (from 2012 on) is a very different trike than the 2010 Vortex that I once owned. It is narrower, more laid back and lighter than the 2010 model. I believe that ICE trikes have the highest quality construction. Considering that and the fact that they can now make a sub-30 lb trike, I decided to put a Vortex together.
I decided to buy a Vortex frame kit and select my own components and see if I could still come up with a sub-30 lb trike. As usual, I contacted Dana at Bentup Cycles and he set me up. The kit arrived within about a week of placing the order.
The frame kit comes with all of the non-standard bike parts I’d need. This includes the frame, steering hardware, carbon fiber seat and front hubs. One of the areas where a lot of weight can be saved is in the choice of crankset. Compact double cranksets have almost totally replaced the road triple crankset in the bike world. I felt that I needed a light triple on the trike. Dana ordered me an FSA SL-K carbon fiber road triple crankset. These are not available in the US according to the FSA web site so I was happy that Dana could get me one.
I chose to build my own wheels. In fact, I will be building 3 sets of wheels to experiment with some ideas. The first set is a pretty standard set of aluminum Velocity A23 28 spoke rims. Since the ICE front hubs only come in 36 hole, I had to use some very similar Bitex 28 spoke front hubs. These are the wheels shown below. Tires and tubes contribute to the rotating mass. I chose the Schwalbe Ultremo ZX tires since they are among the lightest tires on the market. I’ll post more info about the other 2 sets of wheels when all of the pieces have arrived and the wheels are completed.
Another prime area to reduce weight is in the chain. I went with 3 KMC X10SL-TI chains. They have pierced side plates and hollow pins. Also, I decided to go with hydraulic brakes (instead of the trusty old BB7s) for the first time. I chose Avid X0s. I was amazed how much smaller and lighter the calipers are than the BB7s on my other trikes. Another benefit is that the X0s have dual pistons so both pads are activated during braking. Other than that, most of the weight savings comes from resisting the addition of more stuff to the trike.
I’ve only ridden it enough to get the basic setup right so I haven’t formed any opinions about the ride and handling yet. Here are the pictures of the first iteration of the trike.The final weight came out to be 29 lb 3 oz. That’s with no tools and no water bottle. That weight does include the pedals.
I’ve sold the Vortex on June 6, 2016. I’m sorry to see it go, but there’ll be another toy replacing it in the garage soon enough.