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  1. #1
    _CJ
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    New build - Alfine / belt / 26er

    First post here....hoping to find some help on this project.

    I've been riding mountain bikes since about 1990, and after going through most bike designs and materials, decided I just wanted a simple, minimalist bike. Ended up finding an old steel 26" frame, and built it up with a rigid fork, V-brakes, and 1x8 gears in 2008. It's been a great bike, and it's all I ride anymore, but I've always been curious about IGH and belt drive. With my 44th birthday closing in next week, I decided it's now or never.

    Yesterday I bought a 2000 Ionic Dean Johnny Rotten (pictured below), and plan to install a frame splitter, belt drive, and IGH. I'm handy with mechanical stuff, welding, and machine work, so the splitter is no big deal. Decided to stick with 26 because it's always worked well for me and I have a decent stash of back-up parts centered around that wheel size. V-brakes for the minimalism thing, and they work well enough for me.

    The build:
    -Steel 26 frame w/horizontal dropouts
    -Rigid steel fork
    -V-brakes
    -Carbon bars
    -Carbon post
    -Brooks saddle
    -Alfine 8
    -Gates belt drive

    My main concern here is the Alfine 8. I've got some people telling me there's now way it will hold up, but then I'm reading on-line about lots of people riding them and loving them. From what I can gather, the failures are mostly a result of going too low with the primary gears. My current 1x8 has 32 front and 11-32 rear, so a 1:1 low gear is all I really need. Looking at the Alfine ratios, a 39x22 or 39x24 belt drive should get me close to 1:1 in low gear.

    As for my riding style....I live at the base of the mountains in Colorado. Typically put on about 2000 miles a year, 95% dirt, 50% single-track. Average ride being twenty miles with 1500 feet of climbing.

    Am I on the right track? Gearing look right? Should I cut and run before it's too late?



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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by _CJ View Post

    My main concern here is the Alfine 8. I've got some people telling me there's now way it will hold up, but then I'm reading on-line about lots of people riding them and loving them. From what I can gather, the failures are mostly a result of going too low with the primary gears. My current 1x8 has 32 front and 11-32 rear, so a 1:1 low gear is all I really need. Looking at the Alfine ratios, a 39x22 or 39x24 belt drive should get me close to 1:1 in low gear.


    Am I on the right track? Gearing look right? Should I cut and run before it's too late?



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    I've had two A8's in our Pugleys for 5yrs+ now with zero issues. MTBing, bikepacking, beach use, etc... Check out the link below to see the sort of abuse they been subjected to:

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/vikapp...7610461277546/

    We are running 32T x 23T. That's fine for me. For steep riding I'd probably get my GF on a 30T x 23T.

    The only comment I'd make is I think belts are a waste of time/money and are a real problem when they break many miles from the trailhead. You'll 95% of the perceived belt benefits with a chain plus it's cheap, proven and field repairable.

    Nice looking frame....enjoy the new bike....
    Safe riding,

    Vik
    www.vikapproved.com

  3. #3
    Frt Range, CO
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    I'd go with the newer center track version that doesn't take so much tension compared to the first version. The first version needed lots of tension to work and frame flex was a big deal as was wear on the Alfine from a really tight belt.

    I'm with Vik, why bother with the expense and hassle of a belt when chains work so well.

  4. #4
    _CJ
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    Quote Originally Posted by pursuiter View Post
    I'd go with the newer center track version that doesn't take so much tension compared to the first version. The first version needed lots of tension to work and frame flex was a big deal as was wear on the Alfine from a really tight belt.

    I'm with Vik, why bother with the expense and hassle of a belt when chains work so well.
    Definitely planning on the center track style.

    The belt appeals to me for a lot of reasons....simple, silent, durable, no lube needed. Just make sure the tires have air, and go. More than anything, I just want to try it out so I'm not sitting in a nursing home 40 years from now wondering what it would have been like.

    Cost is a non-issue as I'll have so little into the bike with the use of spare parts and such that I could easily sell it for as much as I have invested. Using my stash of old leftover parts is the reason I'm building the bike from the frame up instead of just buying a belt drive 29er and installing an IGH.

  5. #5
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    I ditched my centertrack belt because I couldn't get it to keep silent.... too much flex in my frame/dropouts I guess? I rock a chain on that bike now.

    That said carrying a spare belt is very little weight (less than my chain tool) and changing belts was faster than linking a chain back together.

    However silent, it was not by any means.

    I had it hooked up to an alfine 11 with no problems.
    Please stop telling me about your quiver, it makes me feel unclean...

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  6. #6
    _CJ
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    So I spent a ridiculous amount of time today figuring out the details (which was fine because it's been snowing all day). Long story short, it appears that I need to do a 46/24 cog setup to attain a reasonable effective chain-stay length. This is based on a 113 tooth belt being the shortest currently available. This will net an 1st gear ratio of roughly 1:1 which is what I've been riding with my 1x8 geared combo for six years now.

    Question of the day: Will a Nexus 8 speed twist shifter work with the Alfine 8? I was an early adopter of grip-shift, and really just can't stomach the thought of using the Alfine trigger shifter.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by _CJ View Post
    Question of the day: Will a Nexus 8 speed twist shifter work with the Alfine 8?
    Yes
    Safe riding,

    Vik
    www.vikapproved.com

  8. #8
    Stubby-legged
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    I love the A8 on my pugs. If I were to do it again, I would buy the A11. my wife's A11, on her 907, has been flawless.

  9. #9
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    Nobody has mentioned the obvious. If the frame in the photo above is the one planned for the build, a belt is a non starter. I don't see an opening in the triangle.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Burkhart View Post
    Nobody has mentioned the obvious. If the frame in the photo above is the one planned for the build, a belt is a non starter. I don't see an opening in the triangle.
    Folks running belts are creating openings on the driveside of the rear triangle using a number of methods. So that's not a problem as long as you have budgeted the cost into the build.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
    www.vikapproved.com

  11. #11
    _CJ
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Burkhart View Post
    Nobody has mentioned the obvious. If the frame in the photo above is the one planned for the build, a belt is a non starter. I don't see an opening in the triangle.
    Not a problem for me to fab up a frame splitter and braze it in. Also going to have to notch the chainstay to clear the front cog, but again not a problem.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by _CJ View Post
    Not a problem for me to fab up a frame splitter and braze it in. Also going to have to notch the chainstay to clear the front cog, but again not a problem.
    OK, sounds like you have those bases covered.

  13. #13
    _CJ
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1spd1way View Post
    I love the A8 on my pugs. If I were to do it again, I would buy the A11. my wife's A11, on her 907, has been flawless.
    Looking at the ratios of the A11, it only adds more top end gears. 1st gear is the same ratio as the A8, so it does nothing to improve the low end unless the primary ratios are changed, which increases applied torque throughout the entire range possibly leading to early failure?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by _CJ View Post
    Looking at the ratios of the A11, it only adds more top end gears. 1st gear is the same ratio as the A8, so it does nothing to improve the low end unless the primary ratios are changed, which increases applied torque throughout the entire range possibly leading to early failure?
    I've got a couple A8's and an A11. Given the cost differential vs. the additional top end gearing which I don't care about too much on dirt I'd buy more A8's before another A11.

    There is also no twist/grip shift for the A11.
    Last edited by vikb; 05-13-2014 at 10:49 AM.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
    www.vikapproved.com

  15. #15
    _CJ
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    Frame in hand....

    New build - Alfine / belt / 26er-10177278_696583833732110_7999833355534602046_n.jpg

  16. #16
    meh... whatever
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    Quote Originally Posted by vikb View Post
    Folks running belts are creating openings on the driveside of the rear triangle using a number of methods. So that's not a problem as long as you have budgeted the cost into the build.
    any of the new surly bikes with the mds system can be easily modified to accept a belt. linky and linky
    "Knowledge is good." ~ Emil Faber

  17. #17
    _CJ
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    Quote Originally Posted by monogod View Post
    any of the new surly bikes with the mds system can be easily modified to accept a belt. linky and linky
    yup, that's pretty much the technique I decided to go with, just need to fabricate a plate to sandwich on top of the dropout after it's cut. Also decided to use a butane mini-torch to heat and bend the chainstay for front cog clearance instead of cutting and brazing. Trying to do this in such a way that it can be easily duplicated by anyone with limited tools and experience.

    Haven't made much progress other than collecting parts. I'll probably get back to it next month. Busy with other projects right now....


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