The Phase AD3 celebrates riders of different abilities
After suffering a brain injury in 2015, pro mountain biker Lorraine Truong was left partially paralyzed – this meant she could no longer ride a conventional bicycle. She’s now back in the “saddle” again, though, thanks to the cleverly designed Orange Phase AD3 eMTB.
Adaptive bikes are great for helping disabled people who can’t use a regular bike get out on the trails, and adaptive riders can now even race in the EWS. However, the most common designs do come with their own unique set of problems. Three or four wheeled designs are often confined to specially designed adaptive trails due to their width while bucket seat designs require support from either other riders or something to lean on when the bike is stationary.
Key to the cornering capabilities of the Orange Phase AD3 is the leaning linkage that separates out the leaning balance and the steering. This allows the two front wheels to move independently of one another in the vertical plane, whilst being fixed to one another in the steering plane. This allows Lorraine to lean the bike when cornering through berms and flat turns to lean angles of up to 40°.
Lorraine admits to there being some “really dark times” for her after her injury but she continues to maintain her independence and still has a fierce sense of adventure, helped by living in the Swiss mountains.
“It just feels like riding, plus the bike’s working so well. On the downhill, it feels just like being on a downhill bike, it just eats everything and is so smooth” – Lorraine Truong.
The Phase AD3 is, in a nutshell, an adaptive bike that’s designed to feel like a conventional bike, built around the principles of giving riders independence and accessibility.
Alex’s design uses a pair of cantilever linkage arms to join two additional head tubes. It takes a second steering linkage element connecting the two suspension forks to the original steering head tube. The rider then sits in a bucket seat which gives core stability and the ability to throw the bike around – pumping, jumping and railing berms.
Where conventional bikes need your lower body for balance, the Phase AD3 transfers this job to the rider’s upper body, allowing riders to stationary balance and manoeuvre at low speed without using their legs or lower body. This design means that the rider can balance upright without toppling and is very stable, even in tight turns or at slow speeds. Many riders who have disabilities are able to get in and out of the Phase AD3 without assistance and many find it quick to learn, giving loads of confidence from the get-go.
As a hard-hitting eBike, the Phase was the perfect chassis for the Phase AD3 project, which Alex paired up with the Paradox Kinetics eMTB Motor motor. Depending on the rider’s requirements, it can be built as a pedal-assist eMTB or, like Lorraine’s version, a full twist-and-go setup where the motor provides all the propulsion.
Battery life and range will vary depending on an individual rider’s setup but in Lorraine’s case, the bike was built with a 504wh battery and a 1.5kw continuous motor with a 2kw peak and around 150NM of torque.
Lorraine can do about 700m of technical climbing on one battery and about 25km of trail. She can also carry a spare battery when she wants to go further, which easily fits in a backpack and takes seconds to change. A day’s testing in Verbier saw Alex and Lorraine use the chairlifts (yep, the Phase AD3 does fit) and cram in over 2500m of descending.