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  1. #1
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    Manually tensioning gates belt drive??

    I have a Ventana El Gordo that I really like, currently set in a single speed belt drive configuration. What annoys me a bit is that the chainstays can be run as short as 438mm, but because Gates recommends reserving at least 10mm for tensioning the belt, I currently have them extended to 450mm.

    Recently I came across this build from English Cycles where apparently the bike was designed with chainstays properly sized for the belt length, with little room for adjustments:
    Superlight Alfine | English Cycles

    My guess is that the belt was stretched or "tensioned" by hand. The obvious drawback is that, should I need to replace a tube in the rear wheel, it would be a PITA. Then again, it seems like the only way to keep both a belt drive and short chainstays. Or I could use an eccentric bb and no longer use my Next sl cranks (30mm spindle), but that would also suck as that is the lightest available and I like it lightweight

    Or maybe use a configuration that is a compromise, where I leave only 6 or 7mm for tensioning the belt, getting me at ~444mm chainstay length?

    Sorry for the longish post, what do guys think, other than just use a chain?

  2. #2
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    So you wish to change the belt for a shorter one to have shorter chainstay length?

    I don't think you will gain anything more than a headache.
    -16 Moulton TSR2 (Automatix)
    -15 Cannondale Hooligan (1x10)
    -13 Surly 1x1 (SS)

  3. #3
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    I have a belt drive Reeb and ran into a few issues with the belt tension, I asked here but also consulted with Reeb on it.

    With the tension at the low end of the mountain SS spectrum, I think it was 35lbs, you should be able to drop and reinstall the rear wheel without having a ton of problems getting the wheel in and out. So if you get the measurements right on the chainstay combined with the tension, even if you have no adjustment there should be no problem. In other words, you shouldn't have to adjust the chainstay bolts to remove and install the rear wheel.

    BUT as you get higher in the tension, it becomes considerably more difficult. Closer to 60lbs, I was not able to accomplish this and had to unbolt the dropouts to relieve some tension.

    All that to be said, you could buy a shorter belt and try it. I don't have 10mm between the forward part of my sliding dropouts and the position the bolts are in. It takes a very small amount of movement to relieve the pressure to the point you can remove the wheel in higher tension settings.

    I think the problem you are going to encounter is that you have to calculate the length of the belt based on the size of your chainring, cog, and # of belt teeth. Getting this right might be a bit challenging and expensive. I'd probably start by just getting the next size down in belt, each tooth is fairly large and I think dropping 2 might get you near where you want to be.

  4. #4
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    Interesting insights, many thanks for sharing!

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