Practicality meets speed with this rapid all-rounder
While the ICE Sprint 20RS with its three 20″ wheels may be the archetypal recumbent trike, another very popular option is to go for a full-size rear wheel, in the form of the ICE Sprint 26.
I’ve already written an in-depth review of the Sprint 20RS and as these variants are almost identical in every way, I highly recommend this if you are interested in the Sprint 26 (rather than copy and pasting it here!).
However, it is worth highlighting a few of the differences with a side-by-side comparison (underneath the image you can hover over the text to flip the photo).
You can see that the fronts of the trikes really are identical, save the size of the chainrings, as you’d expect given the different size drivewheels:
Hover to view:
[Sprint 26] [Sprint 20RS]
However, note the increased ground clearance of the rear mech on the Sprint 26, and the much lighter rack made possible by the unsuspended frame (it’s also much cheaper than the exotic suspension-compatible rack on the Sprint 20RS).
With a longer wheelbase, the Sprint 26 is a little more stable than the Sprint 20RS at speed. However, speed merchants be warned that there is limited scope for reclining the seat in imitation of the (faster, less practical) ICE Vortex, which I also reviewed in depth last year.
That doesn’t mean the Sprint 26 is a slouch, far from it. Indeed, it might strike the best all-round balance of the ICE range if you have any aspiration to ride on rough roads or carry anything more than a water bottle!
Having a large rear wheel and rigid frame does simplify things in some ways (fewer moving parts to maintain) but introduces complexity in others (for instance carrying two sizes of spares). Shod with comfortable tyres the Ice Sprint 26 won’t pound you like a Vortex, but you will feel the road surface more than on the suspended Sprint 20RS.
It’s important to consider the gearing implications of your choice of drive wheel. With a Sprint 26 you can get wide gearing with a common (and cheap) mountain bike cassette rather than the specialised ICE Capreo-style cassettes needed for a Sprint 20RS. However, the larger rear wheel does somewhat hinder the excellent ICE flat fold… choices, choices!
For all these reasons, I recommend prospective buyers to get in touch with a knowledgable dealer such as Laid-Back-Bikes to benefit from their experience fitting people to the ICE range (and perhaps a demo ride).
And again, you probably want to check the main ICE Sprint 20 review for a much more in-depth look at the ICE range.