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  1. #26
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    If you're riding a Harley, you probably have so many other things to worry about...

  2. #27
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    I clearly exceeded my gearhead quotient with that post. If I was worth my salt I'd know that was not the belt in debate. DUH! To those of us less informed....notice has been served! I ride bicycles....never been on a motorcycle.

    Quote Originally Posted by monogod View Post
    you do know that gates MAKES harly's belts, right?

    for one thing that is the primary belt, not the final drive belt.

    for another, harleys don't come from the factory with primary drive belts. that picture is of an aftermarket conversion. in other words, the chain drive was electively removed in favor of a belt. lots of custom and performance builders go this route because belts are smoother, require less maintenance, and look cool - just like for bicycles.

    for another, it would stand to reason that an engine putting out 60-120hp would need a more robust belt to transfer power from the engine to the transmission (primary drive belt) than would be needed for a human putting out less than .5 hp to transfer power from the cranks to the rear wheel.

    for yet another, due to the advances in belt technology many of the newer harleys use 1" and even 20mm wide final drive belts. interesting when considering the gates cdx system for bicycles uses a 12mm belt.

    so in all actuality, the 12mm wide cycling belt for a .5hp (if that) application is FAR more robust for the application than a 20mm final drive belt for a 60hp application.

    so yeah... it's a good comparison, my man.

  3. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghost_03 View Post
    I agree, but I would probably say look at the torque and not the power. I would think that spinning a belt fast--power--would not stress a belt as much as tensile forces--torque. Regardless, the comparison still holds as you're looking at around 100 ft lbs at high RPM on a 20mm-40mm belt vs maybe 50-60 ft lbs at low RPM on a 12mm belt. Plus the motorcycle belt has to contend with engine vibrations, engine movement, parasitics of the belt tensioner, etc. The bicycle belt has to deal with frame flex and maybe off center chainri...uhm...beltrings?
    So your just off the cuff guess is that a Harley has about twice the torque of a cyclist?

  4. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Welnic View Post
    So your just off the cuff guess is that a Harley has about twice the torque of a cyclist?
    Yes. The difference is that the Harley spins with that amount of torque at 5k+ RPM, while the cyclist spins at ~100 RPM, so the Harley is making WAY more power, but not WAY more torque.

    You don't have to take my word for it. Harley Davidson publishes torque specs and 100 is pretty common for them I think, and even on the high side for some motorcycles. Pro rider torque specs aren't necessarily measured, but if I'm standing with all of my 160 lbs on a 175mm crank (and not even pulling up on the handlebars) some basic math will show that that is 44.8 ft lbs.
    '12 Santa Cruz Superlight 29 | '12 Santa Cruz Butcher | '06 Specialized Allez Comp | '81 Schwinn Converted Fixie

  5. #30
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    Yes, the engine generates about 100 ft/lbs of torque. But that goes through the primary drive into the transmission, and then from the transmission to the belt drive. Both of those gear the power down, which decreases rpm and multiplies torque. So in first gear the belt drive has about around 600-700 ft/lbs being transmitted through it.

  6. #31
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    I love my Spot Honey Badger and the belt is spot on (pun intended).

    No regrets with the belt drive and my riding conditions are some of the most difficult on the east cost. I live in Western NC (Pisgah National Forrest, Bent Creek, DuPont State Forest)
    Just stick it in granny and start grinding.

  7. #32
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    BTW, I have getting close to 1000 miles on my Spot with zero issues and zero maintenance on my belt from day 1.

    Belts are more expensive than chains but supposedly last longer.
    Also I look at all the money I save on cleaners and chain lube over the life of the belt.
    I don't carry a spare belt with me as I am not really that worried about braking it.
    Maybe one day it will bite me in the ass.

    Most the bad opinions on belts are from those who had the old system or have never had one but there will be a few people that insist theirs is set up right but have had nothing but problems.
    Just stick it in granny and start grinding.

  8. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Welnic View Post
    Yes, the engine generates about 100 ft/lbs of torque. But that goes through the primary drive into the transmission, and then from the transmission to the belt drive. Both of those gear the power down, which decreases rpm and multiplies torque. So in first gear the belt drive has about around 600-700 ft/lbs being transmitted through it.
    I assumed we were talking about primary drive belts off a crankshaft as thats what was in the photo posted, and more akin to what I am used to with the cvt belt in snowmobiles which connects a clutch directly on the crankshaft to the track. Certainly a transmission being involved changes things.

    Regardless, upon investigating it appears that primary belts are usually wider than final drive belts (which i actually didnt know existed), so I guess more torque does not directly translate to a wider belt. Ya got me.

    Anyway, back on topic, another reason I want a belt drive bike is so I dont have to deal with as much grease/lube/stickiness/etc. Grease is one of my least favorite parts of bikes, cars, etc.
    '12 Santa Cruz Superlight 29 | '12 Santa Cruz Butcher | '06 Specialized Allez Comp | '81 Schwinn Converted Fixie

  9. #34
    psycho cyclo addict
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    I am contemplating checking one out because I acquired a custom steel frame that comes with S&S couplers and a "belt ring".

    Ollie Whalley won the 2,740 mi Tour Divide running one a couple of years back (he changed belts part way into it and said it was easier than installing a new chain).

    On the flip side:

    I have a 7-speed chain on a bike installed in 1995 that shows no signs of quitting anytime soon. I typically get ~1k miles out of single speed chains (Nashbar cheapy 8-speed) and more miles out of Shimano XT/XTR 9-speed ones that are on my other 29er's.

    Whipperman White Star 108 chains are a lot beefier/stiffer than typical single speed MTB chains.
    【ツ】 eDub 【ツ】

  10. #35
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    I think that the primary belt is wider because it can be, it doesn't have the restrictions on its width like the tire and all of that other stuff between the transmission output and the rear wheel. The primary is a perfect place for a chain since it runs in an enclosed oil bath. The newest Harley engines use gears instead of a chain.

    Having ridden both motorcycles and bicycles for many years I had a good feel for how much more torque motorcycles have at the rear wheel, so it was interesting to me to figure out where that extra torque comes from considering the actual torque of the engine.

  11. #36
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    So, to summarize:

    Cons:
    Limited to single speed
    Need a special frame
    Non-repairable if it breaks, must be entirely replaced

    Pros:
    Slightly more efficient than a chain (debatable)
    Slightly less maintenance than a chain
    Novelty factor
    Mind your own religion.

  12. #37
    Neg reppers r my biatches
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    why? just like carbon...and 29er wheel size...and 650b....and suspension.....and hydraulic brakes....absolutely no reason whatsoever other than MARKETING and thank goodness for companies that retardation runs rampant in the MTB community.

    there is nothing better about any of the aforementioned dynamics, to include belt drives, other than to pose a little better at the trailhead to compensate for your insecurities.

    the only radical improvement in the entire MTB market that is tangible is a gravity dropper post.

  13. #38
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    Less efficient than a chain especially the newest incarnation.
    Full rigid SS, Hardtail SS, Hardtail Geared, Full Suspension Geared.

  14. #39
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    And not really debatable, since Gates admits this.
    Full rigid SS, Hardtail SS, Hardtail Geared, Full Suspension Geared.

  15. #40
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    Having owned a first generation gates belt bike, my evaluation could be summarized as a novel idea, but the ability to execute well was very limited. I liked the super clean drivetrain, and lack of noise, and the promise of increased lifespan.

    However when all is said and done, I'd be hard pressed to do it again. Perhaps a world touring Rohloff bike might be a great application for belt technology. Or today's stage 5 of the tour.

  16. #41
    blet drive
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    love the set up on my xxix. yes it took some time to get it set up properly but man is it smooth. I have had 4 years of hard new England riding on it and still going strong..
    Save a tree & wipe your butt with an owl.
    Thank your local Sierra Club.

  17. #42
    meh... whatever
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    Quote Originally Posted by Welnic View Post
    The newest Harley engines use gears instead of a chain.
    nope.

    victory and indians do. but not harleys.
    "Knowledge is good." ~ Emil Faber

  18. #43
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    The Harley Davidson Revolution engine, which is in their V-Rod motorcycles, uses gears instead of chains for the primary drive.

    2014 V-Rod Muscle | VRSCF Drag Motorcycle | Harley-Davidson USA

    As an aside, I have a engine which has 650 ft/lbs of torque at 2900 rpms and and weighs about 480 lbs.

  19. #44
    Neg reppers r my biatches
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    Quote Originally Posted by Welnic View Post
    The Harley Davidson Revolution engine, which is in their V-Rod motorcycles, uses gears instead of chains for the primary drive.

    2014 V-Rod Muscle | VRSCF Drag Motorcycle | Harley-Davidson USA

    As an aside, I have a engine which has 650 ft/lbs of torque at 2900 rpms and and weighs about 480 lbs.
    not relevant, v-rods are not even harleys. they have zero street cred and SOA would never consider them a harley and thats good enough for me

  20. #45
    meh... whatever
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    Quote Originally Posted by Welnic
    The newest Harley engines use gears instead of a chain.
    Quote Originally Posted by monogod
    nope.

    victory and indians do. but not harleys.
    Quote Originally Posted by Welnic View Post
    The Harley Davidson Revolution engine, which is in their V-Rod motorcycles, uses gears instead of chains for the primary drive.

    2014 V-Rod Muscle | VRSCF Drag Motorcycle | Harley-Davidson USA

    As an aside, I have a engine which has 650 ft/lbs of torque at 2900 rpms and and weighs about 480 lbs.
    that would be a great point except for the fact that's not harley's newest engine. the revolution was introduced over 12 years ago and was only used in one model until a variant was used in the street 750 and 500. ALL the rest have had and continue to use chain driven primary, including harley's NEWEST engine - the project rushmore.

    as an aside, that sounds like a fun ride.
    "Knowledge is good." ~ Emil Faber

  21. #46
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    Thanks for the info. I haven't paid attention to motorcycles for a while, I was just poking around on their site looking for torque info. I just knew that it had more "modern" features than the Harley engines I knew about, so I assumed it was the newest.

    The engine I have has two push rod driven valves per cylinder. It is a technological marvel.

  22. #47
    meh... whatever
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    meh, no worries. i discover new stuff all the time too. a day without learning is a day wasted.

    my harley has the same. but then again, so does a chevy small block. so you gonna keep teasing and being vague or give a little more insight into this mystery motor of yours?
    "Knowledge is good." ~ Emil Faber

  23. #48
    meh... whatever
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bimmer74 View Post
    I was aware of belt-drive when I was into motorcycles.

    One big quibble: IIRC, belts fall down when they're exposed to dirt/grit/mud. Any grit between the belt and pulleys makes them act like sandpaper on each other.

    Again, just IIRC, but this is why you never, ever see belt drive on dirt bikes they're on tourers and cruisers.

    Why somebody would think that they would do well on a MTB, I don't understand...
    well, not the sole reason. there's also the aspect of tension. easier to keep spec belt tension with 2-5" of travel than with 10-14".

    be that as it may, they do very well on a MTB even in muddy, sloppy conditions.

    dirt/sand/grit doesn't build up in the cdx belt as it is a self-cleaning design. the cdx system is a proven system in all conditions that doesn't disintegrate itself due to sandpaper effect.

    i've got enough faith in it due to its proven performance that i plan on riding the great divide on a belt drive ss or igh either next year or in '16 so we'll see how that works out. flawlessly, i suspect.
    "Knowledge is good." ~ Emil Faber

  24. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by monogod View Post
    i have two spot brand bikes now, a rocker and HB, am in the process of building a cream, and also recently converted a karate monkey ops to belt drive (with nothing more than a hacksaw).
    Pics please?!

    A man willing to customize a frame with a hacksaw is someone that needs to be taking lots of pics..

    I like your style sir!

  25. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by monogod View Post
    meh, no worries. i discover new stuff all the time too. a day without learning is a day wasted.

    my harley has the same. but then again, so does a chevy small block. so you gonna keep teasing and being vague or give a little more insight into this mystery motor of yours?
    It's made in Russia and works as well upside down as right side up. And looking at just the engine it is hard to tell which way is right side up.

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