Blue ICE Refinements

I’m planning a long tour this Summer and a 120km test tour in March revealed some shortcomings in the setup of the Blue ICE.


Too long cranks
While the Patterson Drive with 175mm cranks felt ok on my usual 30-60km rides, the longer ride clearly showed the crank size doesn’t fit me.

The shortest crank size available for the Patterson drive is 165mm. I bought one, since I wanted a second Patterson for the black commuter Sprint anyway. The 175mm cranks can be shortened to 150 or 155mm length. Not sure if I do it myself. That can wait.

The 42t chain ring on the Patterson (67t in overdrive) and a finely spaced 13-32t freewheel didn’t work out as planned. Turns out, I don’t need finely spaced gears at the top end up to 60km/h. 42t at the front and 32t at the rear wasn’t sufficient to climb steep hills without electric assist, either.

Patterson Metropolis im Blue ICE
old 42t chain ring with cheap silver aluminium 130mm chain ring adapter from Ebay

Patterson recently added 32t and 36t chain ring options to the stock 28t chain ring. After calculating different gear setups with Mike Sherman’s Gear Calculator I came to the conclusion the 36t chain ring and a 11-34t freewheel should fit my needs and preferred pedaling cadence.

Patterson with 36t chain ring_web
36t Patterson chain ring (‘customised’ with 3mm neodymium magnets for the pedelec sensor)

The 11-34t freewheel, 36t chain ring and shorter cranks work way better in every respect. The 1:1.6 overdrive of the Patterson Drive provides a ‘virtual’ 57t chain ring.

Front Light
The front light changed from the old Trelock 950LC with a slowly dying lithium battery and way too narrow beam, to a B&M IQ Cyo Premium 80 Lux ebike light. The IQ Cyo Premium has a much wider beam pattern, more suited for a trike and is fed from the output of the Cycle Analyst V3. Turns out, this 6-42V Ebike light can take 61V no problem.

Blue ICE updates_front light and chain ring
new front light

Chain tube fix
Against occasionally dropping the chain on rough roads, this little plastic clamp keeps the upper chain tube in place.

Blue ICE updates_chain tube clamp
chain tube clamp and pedelec sensor

Pannier mount
Instead of a rear rack, two 16mm stainless steel tubes are directly bolted to the rear frame. The Ortlieb Quick Lock-1 hooks of the Ortlieb XPress panniers mount securely onto the steel tubes. The slightly modified Cycle Analyst bracket on the lower frame tube provides the third mounting point for the panniers.

Blue ICE updates_BB7 and pannier mount
16mm steel tube at the upper frame tube, a Cycle Analyst bracket at the lower tube

I’m apparently not the first Sprint owner who doesn’t care much about ICE rack options. Olaf made a similar pannier mount, but raised it higher since he uses regular Ortlieb rear panniers. Looks way better than a rack on his sleek, black Sprint 26X in my opinion.

Olafs Sprint 26_Gepäckträger
‘stealth’ pannier mount instead of a rack

Rear Brake
The cheap and ugly Chinese disc brake caliper made way for a better looking Avid BB7. Since the distance between brake disc and hub motor flange is rather small on the Bafang BPM, the BB7 needs a 180mm size disc to fit. Barely.

Blue ICE updates_Avid BB7
Avid BB7, 180mm disk, one of the two torque arms

Blue ICE updates_BB7-BPM distance
not much space

New motor controller
The trike currently got a 15FET/50A Sunwin controller that is way oversized for this motor and could strip the stock Bafang BPM planetary gears in short order. Fortunately it has a soft start feature and isn’t as hard on the plastic planetary gears of the BPM, but thus feels a bit sluggish up to 25km/h. The Cycle Analyst restricts the controller to 35A.

Blue ICE updates_15FET controller and battery mount
15FET controller, tucked away under the seat between the two battery mounts

Cycle Analyst V3
While the Cycle Analyst V3 enables ‘intelligent’, completely configurable electric assist with any ‘dumb’ controller and keeps me informed about the battery status, its current main job is protecting the geared hub motor from the brute force of the oversized controller.

It got a firmware update from FW v3.01 to version v3.1b3 yesterday.
Thats a beta FW version, but the CA can display instantaneous W/km consumption now and got some other new features.

Blue ICE updates_CA3 FW update
Firmware update to a tricycle…

What’s next?
New gears for the Bafang
I’ve already ordered three custom-made, steel planetary gears for the Bafang BPM and will use transmission oil to lubricate the gears and cool the hub motor. Its noise level will noticeably increase. Otherwise I’m pretty certain the ‘500W’ BPM will work reliable up to 2 or 3kW after this modification.

Steel planetary gears and ATF cooling worked great with my Bafang SWXH.
After that mod the little ‘250W’ geared hub motor could handle 1.5kW continous quite well for short periods.

New controller
Instead of the current big and brutish 15FET controller, the tiny, potted, 6FET field orientated Phase Runner motor controller from should be a way better solution. Smaller and much better looking than almost any other available controller, it’s still able to handle 90V, 40A battery current and 96A phase current.
I’m definitely waiting for the OS-X version of the interface software before deciding.

the Phase Runner

Nose fairing?
Since a black nose fairing is waiting to get on the black commuter Sprint, the short white KingCycle fairing currently installed, might find a new home on the Blue ICE. Should look nice with the white Ortlieb XPress panniers, but first it needs a more refined mount and a lick of paint.

This entry was posted in Cycling, Recumbent Trike, Technical Stuff and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Blue ICE Refinements

  1. Tony Grant says:

    Do you have a photo of the black nose on your black trike?

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