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  1. #1
    midnight skulker
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    Belted Fatbacks?

    Does anyone have one of the Fatback Rocker frames built up with a belt? I am curious at to whether they are able to keep tension. Also, anyone rolling one of these with an Internal Gear Hub? I would love to hear about their experiences. HOw well does that spacer work?
    Boy, are my parents gonna be pissed.

  2. #2
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    My Fatback Rocker is sporting a belt and an Internal Gear hub. Nothing too exciting to say other than it works and so far, works well.

    The hub I am using is a Sturmey-Archer SX-RK3 3-speed 170mm. Gates Centertrack belt and cogs.

    The belt tension is easy to set with the rocker dropouts via the little adjusting bolts. There is an iPhone app that aids in getting the correct tension by plucking the belt and the app listens to the frequency. Once the tension is set, I don't recall messing with it until I do something like pull the wheel off. That is unlike my other single speed bikes where I need to adjust the tension as the chain wears.

    A few disclaimers; I mainly use my Fatback as a commuter (summer & winter), i.e. no gnarly off-road riding. I have used different belt & cog size combinations, all work equally, except for the gear ratio of course. So far I have not worn a belt out, which you can take as I haven't put tons of miles on it (yet). Though if I had been running a chain, I'm guessing I would have gone through one or two by now.

    Also I have used the off-set adapter/spacer with a Pugsley wheel I have in SS mode (belt drive). The adapter was fine with maybe adding the slightest bit of flex in the rear. Really a non-issue, but I haven't rode a whole lot with the adapter to give a very accurate assessment.

    UR

  3. #3
    midnight skulker
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    Thanks Uncle! Great feed back. It is good to know there are options out there that are 170mm! I did not realize that.

    I am really on the fence about this one. To belt or not to belt. I have been thinking about it so long i think i need a belt, but that will have to wait till after work.
    Boy, are my parents gonna be pissed.

  4. #4
    will rant for food
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    It's more like "can you get away with a belt?" - do you ever find yourself riding wet, large-grain sand? Belt doesn't do so well at all there.

    If your answer is no, then you can likely go forth, and talk to Fatback directly about their 170 to 135 adapter. It looked to me to be the only such adapter that considers the 10mm threaded axles that IGHs employ.
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  5. #5
    midnight skulker
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Diller View Post
    It's more like "can you get away with a belt?" - do you ever find yourself riding wet, large-grain sand? Belt doesn't do so well at all there.
    .
    Wow. Hadn't thought of it that way. I am building this for regular beach riding and commuting (which also has a beach involved), so that is a REALLY good question. The way you put that makes it sound like the belts don't like wet sand at all. I have seen the video posted around here from someone who (you?) converted a Surly to belt drive, but the magnitude didn't really sink in i guess. I started looking at the FatBacks because it seemed like they would allow the larges tires and still let you use a beltdrive, but maybe i overestimated the benefit of a belt, and should look more towards one the will take a b&l/clownshoe combo. 9:0:7 maybe? then i may be unable to go with IGH, but I am starting to second guess the benefits of that as well.

    Thanks for the great input! I am much obliged.
    Boy, are my parents gonna be pissed.

  6. #6
    will rant for food
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    907 has the Tusken. Although I slightly prefer the Alfine hub over the NuVinci N360, though. The Alfine doesn't suffer the same bottom-gear squishiness as the NuVinci, and is venerated among IGH users. I just had a shop (Freewheel in Minneapolis specialize in this) give my Alfine an oil bath and a cone adjustment and it is ticking along great and they noted nothing wrong with the guts.

    I'd put IGH higher in priority over belt, having used the former for a handful of years and the latter for one year.

    I did not post that video but in reaction to watching it I went looking for wet sand (mine is usually dry and sugary). Had a similar result.

    Don't get me wrong. I liked the belt. Brainless once configured. I'm going to have one on a bike again in the future (I'm riding chain for completely unrelated reasons). The chain is simply tougher.

    If you like dragging your bike through stuff, or toss your bike on its side thoughtlessly (me), or are clumsy (oh me big time), then an IGH is worth your time.

    A belt is just kinda... nice, and is a thing to be used in conditions that are on the nicer end of things.

    I reiterate that you should talk to Fatback about their adapter. It looks legit. Those folks don't design anything half ass.
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  7. #7
    will rant for food
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    As an after thought, specifically related to wet sand - I bet belts would work great if they mimicked a chain in shape, but retained their materials. That said, changing the shape might make materials impossible, so...

    At any rate the crux of the problem is in the center of the conveyor. That's where the grinding occurs, right? Basically the belt cog design is such that it squeezes material out like a mortar and pestle. If the material is too large-grain and not enough like liquid, how does it squeeze out?

    Answer: it doesn't.

    Compared to a chain where the same area, a particle can simply be ejected away from the crank rotation axis.
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  8. #8
    midnight skulker
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Diller View Post

    I reiterate that you should talk to Fatback about their adapter. It looks legit. Those folks don't design anything half ass.
    Done. After trying several time to make contact via their website, I (ahem) actually left a phone message, which was promptly returned. (shortly after I started this thread) He was very helpful, but was not in full support of the idea of the belt. I asked about the adapter, which is offered at a quite reasonable price. The Fatback seems to allow for a lot of different configurations.

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Diller View Post
    As an after thought, specifically related to wet sand -

    At any rate the crux of the problem is in the center of the conveyor. That's where the grinding occurs, right?
    Compared to a chain where the same area, a particle can simply be ejected away from the crank rotation axis.
    i wasn't sure where the problem was. Thanks for clarifying.
    It sounds like I can try a bunch of different methods if I go Fatback.

    I did check out the Tusken from 9:zero:7. That was what got me going on this whole deal. The only issue I had with that was that it if I went with a rear cluster instead of a belt, I would be limited to 3.7" tires (and an offset wheel). They did get me a quote for a single speed belt drive set up that would roll 4.8" on 90mm rim. So, that started me down the whole as-fat-as-possible (or AFAP) road, trying to keep options open, since i am new to all of this. (Fatbikes, IGH, and belt drives.)

    I am glad to hear some positive feedback about the Afline too. I am a low gear grinder, so what i had heard about the Nuvinci didn't make me want to run out and get one. And since the Rohloff is out of my present budget... well, i will have to keep working on this one .
    lastly, from your earlier post, it sounds like IGHs won't fit in regular drop-outs? is that right?

    Thanks again.
    Boy, are my parents gonna be pissed.

  9. #9
    will rant for food
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prof. Chaos View Post
    lastly, from your earlier post, it sounds like IGHs won't fit in regular drop-outs? is that right?
    They'll fit in "standard" dropouts. Normal QR hubs have a little shoulder that mimics the axle of a pre-quick-release-era hub axle. That's the point of IGHs... mount to as many existing bikes as possible. The Mukluk adapter was built so that only a QR skewer can fit through it. Fatback designed it so you can put an actual axle through it, smart. So you ought to be good.

    As far as low-gearing the Alfine: ever drive a manual transmission in a car? It's like that. You're responsible for the engagement teeth. Don't muscle it while going into an easier gear, and the shift will be clean and instant. If you do muscle it while shifting to easier, bad things can happen. I run 32x23. You can look up values on Sheldon Brown's gear calculator, that hub is one of the options. You can get a larger rear cog but they are really obscure, I'm on a waiting list lol
    Latitude: 44.93 N

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Diller View Post
    ...Don't get me wrong. I liked the belt. Brainless once configured. I'm going to have one on a bike again in the future (I'm riding chain for completely unrelated reasons). The chain is simply tougher..
    I'm another fan of belts, but agree with this. Light, clean, silent, what's not to like about belts except the price - ah yes sugar sand. A chain works in that stuff but I'm not sure how long the life of your drivetrain is when using a chain in clinging gritty sand.

    One day the mtb world will rediscover the virtues of IGH hubs and fully enclosed oilbath chaincases, and we will have a drivetrain that will last for ever. (Well at least 70 years if the hub, chain and sprockets on one of my 1930s Sunbeam are anything to go by).

    Or maybe not! There's more money to be made by increasing the number of cogs on the cassette and making them progressively thinner because they will have to be replaced more frequently. The reality is most mtb riders don't do a lot of mileage so the frequency of replacement isn't that high to them.

    An enclosed belt would also be good and the enclosure wouldn't need to be oil tight. All a belt needs is to not have muck chucked on it.
    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
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  11. #11
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    actually belts work really well in Muck, if you mean mud. I think the sand issue is one that sand is actually little stones, and they get stuck in the groove of the centertrack set up. I wonder if you ride in sand more that the CDX with the mud ports would benefit you more?

    As for the centertrack, I've ridden one in some muddy muddy east coast mud, and it worked very very well.
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