Posted by: Silver | January 17, 2011

Gear Reviews

2000-odd kilometres into my life as a cyclist, I thought it was about time I graced you all with some entirely personal, non-scientifically-controlled opinions on the equipment I chose to get me this far, just in case anyone’s the slightest bit interested…

ICE Adventure 3 trike (aka Ranger)
Those of you who’ve been following my blog for a while will already know this, I’m sure, but I think it would be fair to say that I am very happy with my new best friend. The issues I noted in my entry way back in June (not being able to reverse and not having a very good turning circle, not tripping traffic light sensors etc) haven’t gone away, but they’re far outweighed by the advantages – comfort being the primary one among these. Read any book on long-distance cycling and you will find pages and pages devoted to dealing with the ‘inevitable’ pain associated with such an activity: saddle soreness, cramped shoulders, numb hands etc. If you’re on a trike, however, you may happily skip over the entirety of these chapters with a delightful feeling of warm smugness, and believe me, I have 🙂

Ranger is essentially a standard production model, but I did opt for two upgrades: hydraulic disc brakes and Schwalbe Marathon Plus puncture-resistant tyres. Once again, I think it would be fair to say that I’m very happy with my choices 🙂 Once I’d got the hang of just how powerful the disc brakes are (see the entry ‘My First Crash’ back in May for details of my ‘learning curve’ here), I never had any cause to worry about my ability to stop in an emergency, even coming down a 14% slope in the rain with 45lbs of luggage on my rear wheel. Now maybe the standard brakes would have provided just as much confidence – I’ve never ridden further than the car park of the bike shop with them so I can’t really offer a useful comparison – but I can certainly confirm that, so far, my hydraulic discs have been maintenance-free and more than equal to every task I’ve subjected them to.

As for the tyres, well: 2415 km and no punctures. I rest my case. I did have my inner tubes injected with green slime as well (I’m sure any bike shop could tell you the ‘real’ name for this puncture-protection stuff, but when all’s said and done, green slime is what it is…), so possibly that helped, but either way, I’ll say no more about my good fortune on the puncture front so far, just in case the fates are listening 😉 It is probably worth noting, however, that these tyres are seriously dedicated road tyres – which is another way of saying they’re completely useless on any unpaved surface; I may yet have to change them for just that reason…

One upgrade I decided against was a rear mudguard. I thought it would be an unnecessary piece of extra weight. BIG mistake. Seriously: unless you know for a fact that you are never going to ride when it is, or has just been, raining, and you are never going to ride on any surface other than a beautifully clean, smooth road surface with no loose material on it whatsoever – GET THE MUDGUARDS! Unless you actually like having a wet bum and spending all your spare time washing gunk off your trike, of course…

Reviews of my choice of accessories will follow – watch this space for more edifying insights….!

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Responses

  1. nice feedback (though 2K km isn’t even enough riding to wear our your first chain ).). I’m pleased to hear your positive experiences with hydraulic disc brakes. I’ve avoided them so far (the hydraulics, not the discs). I do all my own maintenance, and it’s a whole new set of skills and tools that I don’t want to have to acquire (though most serious MTBers swear by them). It also seems to me that cable based discs are much more repairable out on the road/trail. May they continue to give you trouble free service. Schwalbe Marathons are well regarded in the Randonneuring community (that wonderful group of crazies who mix cycling and sleep deprivation, and call it fun).


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