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Customer Review: ICE Sprint with Golden Motor


Sean sent us this excellent review of the ICE Sprint paired with the 1000W Golden Motor system. It is equipped with the 36V battery which drops it down to 750W. Thanks Sean! Pictures of his trike as we originally set it up can be found here.

Written by Sean in VA

Trike Specs: Ice 1 Sprint 26 w/ Golden Motors 36V / 16AH electric assist
Time Used: Over 3 months.
Other Trike: Greenspeed GTO for trail and recreational riding

The Ice Sprint has a very comfortable ride and nice build quality. The 26" rear wheel does a nice job of absorbing shocks on most bumps on rough roads (crazed or cracked asphalt), but small potholes or driveway lips can give a good jolt at speed. Suspension would be a good idea if you have back problems. I still prefer the Greenspeed GTO to the Ice Sprint for two main reasons. First, the GTO has many more accessory mounting positions because of the kingpin posts. The curved handlebar design of the Sprint simply does not leave a lot of mounting options. Second, the turning radius of the Sprint is noticeably wider than the Greenspeed. This does not affect normal riding, but often comes into play when navigating to a bike rack or navigating to where I park it it at home. The 26" wheel on the Sprint leaves more clearance for large panniers (although the GTO rack is pretty high).

Both trikes have a Schlumpf high speed drive installed. It is great to be able to down shift at a stop - especially in traffic - or quickly get to high gear when cresting a hill. This also cleans up the chain line & removes the need for a front derailleur & shifter.

Mudguards are pretty much a necessity for commuting as you will find out the first time you ride in the rain. The Ice front mudguards are easy to attach and have the same fine build quality as the trike.

The electric hub assist motor makes commuting a breeze when there are hills. My commute is about a mile but involves enough hills to induce a sweat and there are no shower facilities. The town where I live is in the DC suburbs, so there is a lot of traffic and a lot of stop signs between home and work. The power assist allows me to arrive at work in less time than by car because I have access to a cut through that is not available to cars. Without using the cut through my travel times compare to using a car.

The power assist to allows you to accelerate out of stop signs whether on the flat or up hill, so you can quickly get out ahead of the cars and keep up with the flow of traffic. There is no problem riding in the center of the car lanes on 25 mph roads which keeps you safer from cars opening their doors and more visible to traffic entering the street. The Ice comes with a very small flag that didn't add much to visibility. This has been replaced with a much more visible Purple Sky flag.

The installed Golden Motor system looks very clean because there are no external controllers. Just a throttle & modified brake levers The hub motor isn't even noticeable because it is covered by panniers, but it doesn't look bad at all when exposed. It is really nice that this system uses stock batteries and throttles. This means replacement batteries will not cost an arm and a leg and components can be replaced with easily available parts. The mounting rack for the motor can interfere with attaching panniers due it its width. It needs to be spaced off of the rack.

The throttle on the power assist can be used in conjunction with pedaling for faster acceleration or by itself. It has some limit to the amount of power it can add so that when you are on the flat or downhill it doesn't seem to make any difference if you throttle or not. There may be a speed cutoff built in to the motor. In short, if you want to reach extra high speeds down hill, the hub motor isn't going to help you. Also, while this motor is not loud it is not whisper quiet either. Most people will be able to tell you are using a motor.

Here are some unscientific speed tests with the motor (using a Garmin 705 and cross referencing the streets on a topographical map). All measurements were taken with no human power added:

Top speed on the flat: 20 MPH (fast acceleration) (<10 ft elevation in 1000 ft)
Top speed on mild incline: 17 MPH (fast acceleration) (30 ft elevation in 1000 ft)
Top speed on moderate incline: 15 MPH (constant acceleration to speed, but guessing about 1/2 the rate of acceleration on the flat) (30 ft elevation in 500 ft)
Top speed on steep incline: 7 MPH (decelerates to speed as I climb the hill. Very slow acceleration after stopping) (30 ft elevation in 250 ft)

So, going up a steep incline you can't keep up with cars without adding some decent pedal power. The more powerful 48V motor may make more sense if you have a lot of steep hills to climb.

If there is a downside to the power assist, it is the weight. Between the battery and hub motor the bike is not easily lifted or carried. Not really a problem if you always park at grade (don't have to carry it inside) unless you are caught with a dead battery. I have been getting about 15 miles out of a battery charge. The amount you actually get would depend largely on your terrain and how often you use the assist. The lithium battery chemistry means that the battery indicator doesn't indicate 1/2 charge until you are really almost out. In my experience it means about 1 mile left. This means you must be aware of how much riding you have done and pro-actively recharge the battery. If used for a commute longer than 7-8 miles I would strongly suggest getting a second charger and/or battery. It takes longer than 4 hours to recharge fully (don't know exact time, since I usually let it go overnight), so if an emergency comes up where you need to leave work early, you don't want to get caught without a battery.

There are two other more import things to note about the power assist. First, when mounted on the rear rack, the battery makes the trike less stable in turns. It is important to lean into turns so you don't flip the trike. When I moved the battery down into a pannier it greatly improved the stability. Second, the hub motor requires the use of a freewheel and most freewheels are low end components. The shifting on the stock 9 speed freewheel can be jumpy and rough. It is no where near as smooth as the identical gearing components installed on my GTO. I plan to change out the freewheel for a 7 speed IRD freewheel over Thanksgiving to try to improve things. In practice, between the Schlumpf and the power assist I don't shift the rear derailleur very often, so this hasn't been much of a problem.

All in all, the power assist works exactly as hoped. The power assisted Ice has replaced about 25 one way solo car trips each week unless heavy rain is forecast. The trike has also been outfitted with a recumbent ragtop, so light rain is no problem with some rain gear for the legs.

If you are looking for a power assist, the Golden Motor unit is an excellent choice. It is easy to control the throttle to go slower than full speed, so if it is street legal in your state and you have long steep hills I would recommend moving up to the 48V system. The 36V system takes you up hill with modest pedaling, so there is nothing wrong with it. My experience was that once you get a taste of the faster speed on the modest hills you'll want to go faster up the big hills too. Make sure to get a traditional wheel & cassette that you can to swap for the hub motor if you want to take a long ride without the weight of the assist unit.

As for the Ice, whether assisted or not, it is a very nice trike and worthy of consideration. For a straight up recreational or commuting trike, the Greenspeed remains my favorites for its tight turning radius, great handling, excellent build quality, and refined design. Think of the Ice as a luxery sedan - comfortable and smooth - and the Greenspeed as a sports car - nimble and quick. Like all trikes - best to take both on an extended ride if you can to see which suits you better. If you have to buy blind you won't be disappointed with either, but my advice would be to pick a Greenspeed unless you have back problems that require suspension.

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