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Thread: Belt Drive

  1. #1
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    Belt Drive

    Was looking at the belt drive system and picturing the bikes I would own if money was no object.

    24" Surly Moonlander with the SS belt drive for sand, snow, ice, mud, water, go anywhere problem free pedalling. Not having to clean and oil all the time is attractive, as is continued pedalling through any conditions. I've literally had my chain turn into a block of ice before on a ride so it is an attractive technology.

    Carbon Belt Drive System | Gates Corporation

  2. #2
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    I'm not convinced belts are worth the hassle/cost. Most of the benefits people report for belts happen because they switch from derailleurs to SS or IGH. Once you are just turning a chain round and round without trying to shift it on a cassette you can literally ignore the chain at the beach, in mud or in snow and it will just keep on trucking. You can also buy cheap 8 spd chains with no performance loss.

    You don't have to modify your frame to use a chain and spare parts are ubiquitous.
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  3. #3
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    ya the belt having to go through the frame is a major downfall, now that I'm picturing it would the best case scenerio be having the frame built with the belt installed, then when it wears out your outta luck?

    Ya forget I asked lol

  4. #4
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    Just sell it and get a new one with a new belt

    Theres some really clever ways of splitting a frame these days without being too invasive. If you are requesting a belt fitted to the bike its going to be somewhat custom or at least made specifically for you, so just ask for the split then.
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  5. #5
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    I ride with one - while I *really* like not maintaining a chain, there are some irritating things about it, mostly during setup and wheel changes. Some temperatures and humidity combinations will yield an irritating squealing. The mud clearing claims are a bit exaggerated.

    I'm not going to say you should fall all over yourself to get one. I'm not taking it off my bike any time soon, either.
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    Drew, can you provide some more defined temps and conditions? I have almost bitten the bullet on my dream fatty and it involves a rohloff with gates drive.. Just want to get all the facts before I do

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by vikb View Post
    I'm not convinced belts are worth the hassle/cost...
    I like belt drive, and have done a number of conversions, including in the pre Gates Carbon Drive era, but I do have some reservations.

    I agree the cost is high, but that is in line with high end chainrings and chains and is a reasonable comparison.

    As far as hassle, there's none if you have a properly built frame designed for belt drive.

    BUT there's loads of hassle if it isn't.

    I wouldn't recommend doing a conversion unless you are realise that the suitability of the frame won't be known until you have cut it. Belt drive doesn't work unless you can keep the belt and cogs exactly in line. Chains aren't so fussy, so in the quest for lightness and 'feel', many chainstays are lightly built and have a fair bit of lateral flex. That flex is a no no for belt drive.

    So basically conversions are a lottery.

    A properly designed frame will have stiff chainstays and exact alignment. If a manufacturer simply modifies one their earlier chain bikes, then I'd wouldn't want to buy one without a proper demo ride.

    (I haven't done a conversion with CenterTrack components, and these are claimed to be superior to the earlier belts)
    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
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  8. #8
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    I am on a belt-driven Rohloff geared Fatbike and 29-er for about 4 months (and rohloff for 3 years now after 25 years with derailleurs). I had a custom frame designed specifically for this set up. Velobike is right: if the frame is sufficiently rigid in the back and within tolerances, then there is no hassle. I have yet to experience the squeal that some people talk about. I have had to re-tighten the belt just once in this time (about 800km on it so far). I won't go back to derailleurs and I won't go back chain-drive either. Once set up, the belt has been "fit and forget", cleaning my bike is now optional instead of mandatory.

    One thing to bear in mind that a Rohloff in a symmetric wheel and in combination with belt limits the tire-width you can run. I have about 3-4mm clearance in combination with a 3.8" Nate. There are some solutions to go wider, I think 907 came with a 30mm spacer to put a Rohloff in a 165mm frame, which would give you some extra width.

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    ah, forgot to add: I am using centre track components.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Giel View Post

    One thing to bear in mind that a Rohloff in a symmetric wheel and in combination with belt limits the tire-width you can run. I have about 3-4mm clearance in combination with a 3.8" Nate. There are some solutions to go wider, I think 907 came with a 30mm spacer to put a Rohloff in a 165mm frame, which would give you some extra width.
    Geil, is the bike you are having this issue with your fatbike with the 68/72mm BB and 135mm rear ?

    With a 100mm BB and/or a wider rear this should never be an issue.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by ozzybmx View Post
    Geil, is the bike you are having this issue with your fatbike with the 68/72mm BB and 135mm rear ?

    With a 100mm BB and/or a wider rear this should never be an issue.
    Correct, my fatbike is limited to 3.8". Bear in mind that the Rohloff chainline is 54mm, so unless you go assymmetrical and/or use spacers for 165mm in combination with a 100mm BB, 3.8" is pretty much the max of what you can run (I suspect 4.0" might also work if you use a chain, but I still need to test that).

    My name's Giel btw, not geil Google Vertalen

  12. #12
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    Hahaha... Doh!!

  13. #13
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    I was being polite in using your name as quoting your text was enough, a small typo considering its there in front of me, a simple 4 letter word.... i really dont give a **** what it means in one of the 6500 languages spoke in the world today.

    Use an alias if you feel you need to pull people up on it.
    Ti O'Beast
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  14. #14
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    jeesh, don't get your knickers in a twist

  15. #15
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    What is the expected life span of these belts?

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Giel View Post
    jeesh, don't get your knickers in a twist
    Nevermind my knickers horny !
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  17. #17
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    I followed a link or two from that site and came across this gearbox which I've never seen. Went to the company website. 18 gears. That's a sweet looking unit, but the weight is nearly 6 pounds not counting cranks. I should probably search over in the IGH forum, and not that it would work on a fat bike due to chainline, but anyone have info on real world use of this?

    Belt Drive-paragon-pinion-closeup-1024x682.jpg

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by smithcreek View Post
    I followed a link or two from that site and came across this gearbox which I've never seen. Went to the company website. 18 gears. That's a sweet looking unit, but the weight is nearly 6 pounds not counting cranks. I should probably search over in the IGH forum, and not that it would work on a fat bike due to chainline, but anyone have info on real world use of this?

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Paragon-Pinion-closeup-1024x682.jpg 
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    The chain line of the Pinion P1.18 is 54mm. Pinion P1.18 | PINION / P1.18 / DRIVE TECHNOLOGY

    So, you could run 3.7 inch wide tires on 70-ish mm wide rims.
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  19. #19
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    I heard the paragon machine works bike was amazing. Had a new cool dropout. The pinion is cool, I think it makes more sense than a rohloff if refined- way better center of mass. I thought I saw a comment on a blog of a guy who got to ride a p.18 some time ago who mentioned it felt like it had 4 pawls so it felt like it took a while to engage. Maybe it was an earlier prototype and maybe the dude has no clue as to what he's talking about.
    For suspension bikes the pivot location is constrained and if they could only get that weight down, maybe lose a few gears. Compete with XX1 or 1x9 not the gear range of 3X9 or rohloff.

  20. #20
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    DIY Belt Drive Pugsly

    I started a thread DIY Pugsly Belt Drive about my experience.

    When I last signed off I promised that I'd report back in year's time but seeing this thread I figured it might be time for an update.

    After almost 2 months of fairly abusive riding the first belt broke while I was hammering up a grade:


    On closer inspection it appears that something may have cut the belt from the inside (sharp rock or a piece of glass?) and damaged a couple of the carbon cords:


    Since the bugaboo of this belt has been getting crap caught in the cogs I fabricated a "moto-style" belt guard:


    3 months of riding since; no problems.

    To answer the OP; I don't think any of Surly's fatbikes have stiff enough frames to be within "spec" for a belt drive. I have discontinued using the spring loaded belt idler; it's definitely not advised per Gates and may have contributed to failure.

    I hope to have good news to report come next New Year's!
    The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not represent any policy of the CA Dept. of Parks & Rec.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtydoug View Post
    The pinion is cool, I think it makes more sense than a rohloff if refined- way better center of mass.
    The Pinion is cool - particularly for a FS MTB where having all that unsprung weight on the rear wheel is not ideal.

    The issues I see are that you are stuck with a Pinion specific frame - both in terms of not being able to move that expensive transmission to another bike or putting another drivetrain on the Pinion frame.

    With a Rohloff you can move it around as needed which is nice when the service life is over 100,000kms and the transmission is expensive. You can also run another IGH or switch back to derailleurs if you want to on your Rohloff bike.

    You may change your mind after a year or two and want a different bike. The Rohloff can be repurposed easily.

    With the Pinion you better be 100% on it to invest a lot of $$$ in it.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
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  22. #22
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    The belt guard is a good idea. It beats me why those aren't readily available - especially with cover for the lower run.

    For comparison's sake, I've just broken the chain on my Pugsley (also singlespeed). It's had 2 years use, and at first I thought it was just wear, but on a closer look it appears something got caught in it.
    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
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  23. #23
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    Belt Drive

    I've seen some mrp products mod'd with some success and used as a belt guard. The pinion appears great for belts because you can run a smaller tooth count sprocket making it less susceptible to getting bashed on the rocks.
    To Op if you want a belt driven snowbike frame you should check out the REEBs.

  24. #24
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    pliebenberg, newbie question here, but did you have to cut the frame to get that belt on? Is there a limited number of times that can be done?

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velobike View Post
    For comparison's sake, I've just broken the chain on my Pugsley (also singlespeed). It's had 2 years use, and at first I thought it was just wear, but on a closer look it appears something got caught in it.
    You can rejoin the broken chain in the field in a few minutes and keep riding. That's a big plus if you ride far afield.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
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