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  1. #1
    I have red hair
    Reputation: RedGreen's Avatar
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    What's the story behind the Belt Drive??

    So I've been seeing lately people with SS bikes that have the belt-drive system, mostly Spot Brand, but some other ones too, and was wondering, what are the advantages/disadvantages to running this system?? Are there any special features that the frame must possess in order for this system to work (other than horizontal dropouts/EBB/Eno hub/normal SS stuff)?? Will this work with any crank?? Is it much more expensive/reliable/lightweight?? And, lastly, Do you think it will catch on??

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation: kbollox's Avatar
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    It's kinda pricy for now from what I heard at my LBS. But cleans up with water, zero noise, good wear time. Belts are made by Gates who make the belt drives for Harley Davidson.

    It is Spot Brand specific, you need a frame with a split dropout.

  3. #3
    meatier showers
    Reputation: Sparticus's Avatar
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    I might buy one someday... if ever / whenever belt drive's attributes eclipse those of chain drive.

    Meanwhile I've got plenty of chain drive bikes, a few of which are singlespeeds. They all get the job done just fine.

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  4. #4
    I have red hair
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    Yeah, the concept is cool, less maitenence, quieter, the bling factor , but I've also heard that it's kinda tough to get lined up, and if it's not right on, it can be a hassle. And does it actually work any better than a chain??

  5. #5
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    I don't know that it works any better. They're pretty cool. I don't know if I would spend that much on the system, though.

  6. #6
    aka baycat
    Reputation: Ryan G.'s Avatar
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    A solution to a problem we already have a good solution to. The chain. While I think it is a novel, cool application. Know a strong rider who has been on one for quiet some time, he almost lost his cajones when the belt was not tightened enough. He REALLY needed to tighten it according to him.

    Seen the Spot bikes and a few custom ones floating around. It seems the application is appearing on more urban commuter, beer run bikes than MTBs. Be interesting to see what comes of it in the next few months and years. I know the bits are expensive, hard to procure (at least in my limited attempts) and not much stock to run varied gear ratios.

  7. #7
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    Wait till these take off!

    http://www.dynamicbicycles.com/


  8. #8
    I have red hair
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    ^^^^^^^ HAHAHA!! That's awesome, I'd only buy one if...nope, i'd never buy one

  9. #9
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    I have a spot longboard with the gates carbon belt setup. It's light, strong and maintenance free is all goes well. It feels like you just dipped your chain in a quart of chain saw lube all the time. Silent too. King wheels help with the smoothness...instant engagement makes it that much better.

    The only downside that I have had is making sure that the tension is correct. If it loosens up the belt will skip when cranking up hill. That only happened once in about 500 miles of riding so far.

    One thing I can say is that the soft supple spot frame, 29ers(conti mtn king 2.4), chris kings with the belt make for a buttery smooth ride that I am hooked on.

    I realize that the belt is just a toy and nothing revolutionary. A chain may work 99% as well or better(people will probably debate it for a while). It was just something cool to mess around with this winter. I love it!

    oh yea, the only other problem is that the only place I can get belts from are my LBS or spot if I'm in golden. Would suck to break it or not have a spare in Baja .Long drive home and no belts in Tijuana.

  10. #10
    one chain loop
    Reputation: fishcreek's Avatar
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    bikes are getting uglier and uglier each year.
    everything sucks but my vacuum cleaner.

  11. #11
    blet drive
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    ... and if we just ...

    Quote Originally Posted by kbollox
    It's kinda pricy for now from what I heard at my LBS. But cleans up with water, zero noise, good wear time. Belts are made by Gates who make the belt drives for Harley Davidson.

    It is Spot Brand specific, you need a frame with a split dropout.
    Pricey. you can by a complete spot belt drive 29er and manitue fork for $1300 no more than any other.. and yes you do need a frame that splits, there are company's that make them.
    Orange bike is working on a belt drive as well with many others
    Save a tree & wipe your butt with an owl.
    Thank your local Sierra Club.

  12. #12
    nothing less than a biker
    Reputation: polluce's Avatar
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    belt drive + Spot Longboard = sweetest ride ever

    I got the Longboard for a month now.
    It's sound and silent and it's easy to tension and line up. I do agree that chains do work fine but I also believe the belt is ideal for SS.
    Besides it is super light, requires maintenance, makes absolutely no noise and is very long lasting; having said that, combined with the fantastic spot frame there's nothing better.
    A complete drive system (front and rear sprockets + belt) comes for something around 200$ and is supposed to last 10.000 miles.
    I was wondering if anyone has a Rolhoff geared hub, that would be a killer combination indeed....

  13. #13
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    I have been waiting to jump on the belt drive bandwagon for while now. There are certainly advantages and dis-advantages of the belt versus a chain drive system, and each person has to decide for themselves if the pros outweigh the cons.

    The pros for the belt are: lighter, no maintanence, no dirty calf, silent, longer lasting than a chain drive (at least 3x the life expectancy)

    The cons are: expensive compared to a cheap chain drive setup, requires a compatible frame, chailine adjustment must be perfect, not repairable, limited sizing right now.

    When the correct ratio becomes available, I will definately give it a try. I already have a frame that will work, so I just need the ring, cog and belt. For most of my riding I think this will be a fun experiment. If I were dong long distance or endurance races, I would stay away form the belt, mostly because if the belt breaks, you are screwed! Sure you could carry an extra, but it takes a while to replace it properly.

    Mark

  14. #14
    Lackey
    Reputation: Joshua Pattersnap's Avatar
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    I've got about a 10 months of racing/riding on mine: Here are my thoughts...

    Quote Originally Posted by RedGreen
    Are there any special features that the frame must possess in order for this system to work
    Yes

    Quote Originally Posted by RedGreen
    Will this work with any crank?
    Yes, any 4 bolt, 104 bcd crank.

    Quote Originally Posted by RedGreen
    more expensive?
    Yes

    Quote Originally Posted by RedGreen
    more reliable?
    No

    Quote Originally Posted by RedGreen
    lightweight?
    Yes

    Quote Originally Posted by RedGreen
    Do you think it will catch on?
    No

  15. #15
    Let's ride SuperModerator
    Reputation: rensho's Avatar
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    I have ~500mi on mine.

    The belt drive is no/low noise most of the time. If the belt gets slightly wet, I get squeeking/squelching. Kinda drives me batty. When it is quiet, it's really quiet, and all is good. I sneak up on riders all the time.

    The current gen of the system is 2mm wider to handle more load, at less tension. That's what I'm told. I'm running the wider system.

    I found out that tension is LESS of an issue than parallelness of the rr axle and bb. If your wheel is skewed to the left, that allows the belt to slide off the rear cog(one side of the cog as a little wall to prevent sliding off). Balls then accelerate towards the stem at near lightspeed.
    Additionally, the rr wheel CANNOT slip on the dropouts. This will immediately untension the belt, and possibly result in said balls acceleration too.

    Overall, I like it, as long as I can assume everything is just right. Since the belt has slipped on me twice (both due to setup issues), I have a tough time applying full power without thinking about it, or looking at the rear cog the whole time.

    Bolt on skewer are a must, and full chain tugs as well.

  16. #16
    meatier showers
    Reputation: Sparticus's Avatar
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    Seems like the photos I've seen show a "wall" on one side of the "cog" plus the opposite side of the "ring." In order to ensure the belt can't possibly slip off, why don't the ring & cog each have walls on both sides?

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  17. #17
    Lackey
    Reputation: Joshua Pattersnap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rensho
    Balls then accelerate towards the stem at near lightspeed...
    Additionally, the rr wheel CANNOT slip on the dropouts. This will immediately untension the belt, and possibly result in said balls acceleration too.
    Sounds like we have had similar experiences with ball acceleration, where [Ball speed = Δv/Δt + broken or loose belt]

    Alignment is key — I think trackends are the wrong way to go with belt drive. Spot/CDS was supposedly working on a sliding dropout. That was as last April; I've yet to see it come to fruition.

    I quickly ditched the Spot Tensioners, since then I've been running mine problem free, as far as tension/slipping goes, with a Surly Tugnut on the drive-side and DT Swiss RWS skewer. Ratcheting under high torque is still an issue.

    I caught up with Travis Brown before the start of Cross Vegas, we exchanged impressions of belt drive. I was impressed with Trek's take on tensioning the belt on his prototype singlespeed 'cross bike. Trek used hardware from their full suspension Active Braking Pivot to create an eccentric dropout.

    I think beltdrive is best suited to the urban/commuter market—there's more money to be made there anyway.
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  18. #18
    Drinking the Slick_Juice
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    Quote Originally Posted by p nut
    Wait till these take off!

    http://www.dynamicbicycles.com/

    those were invented way back, in fact those are what came up with the idea of putting drive-shafts into cars
    "If women don't find handsome , they should at least find you handy."-Red Green

  19. #19
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    I've had mine for a few months now

    with no problems. I do plan on switching out my Spot tensioners however. Spot does now make a sliding dropout version of the frame that was featured in the most recent Mountain Flyer. From what I have been told is that the horizonial dropouts still work the best. The problem with the sliding dropout is it does not give you any way to adjust if the alignments is off a little.
    Photobucket

  20. #20
    I have red hair
    Reputation: RedGreen's Avatar
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    So, as I understand it, the split frame is necessary so that you can adjust the alignment of the belt, and keep it from coming off the cog/ring and busting your balls...

  21. #21
    mtbr member
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    the split frame is needed to pass the belt through the frame (you can't split the belt, as you would do with a chain)

    at the moment i'm having a belt drive frame built for me by sherwood gibson from ventana, it will still last a little, this is what i've got last night:

    I have finalized the design for the freaky Toro dropouts and intend on beginning the machining process on them this week. It requires 6 new parts so it may take a while to actually get them built, and then the bike.
    yes, i wanted sliding dropouts for my bike, rody walter of groovy cycles is also building one with an ebb, but i guess the frame's got to be really good aligned so the belt doesn't slip, because there's no adjustment to be made.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by RedGreen
    So, as I understand it, the split frame is necessary so that you can adjust the alignment of the belt, and keep it from coming off the cog/ring and busting your balls...

    The split in the frame is necessary because the belt does not have a break in it. You have to have a way to pass the belt through the frame, therefore the split in the frame.

  23. #23
    I have red hair
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steelman1
    The split in the frame is necessary because the belt does not have a break in it. You have to have a way to pass the belt through the frame, therefore the split in the frame.

    oh yeah, i didn't think about that

    der....

  24. #24
    Schipperkes are cool.
    Reputation: banks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SilverBullet
    That only happened once in about 500 miles of riding so far.
    damn son, I got work to do if you have 500 miles!

    your lbs has a belt in stock as well as a large Longboard on the floor and a medium in demo.


    http://www.carbondrivesystems.com/testimonial.php
    http://www.carbondrivesystems.com/support.php


    My Matt Chester Mutinman will be replaced by a Spot Longboard, Golden made just like SilverBullets.
    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee
    Better suited to non-aggressive 125# gals named Russell.

  25. #25
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    damn son, I got work to do if you have 500 miles!
    ok.480 and change....
    Think I know someone who wants to take the belt drive out for a spin. Be sure to keep the belt tensioned for him.Next thing you know the Karate monkey will be sitting next to the Trance.

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