Belt Drive BlackSheep- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Belt Drive BlackSheep

    After 5 months it arrives.....Complete build 7.96kg ( 17.55lbs )

    Belt Drive BlackSheep-006.jpg

    Belt Drive BlackSheep-009.jpg

    Belt Drive BlackSheep-010.jpg

    Belt Drive BlackSheep-011.jpg

    Gates Belt is thus far proving to be a nice addition to the ride.
    "Be the Gear..."

  2. #2
    aka baycat
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    Woah!

    So the belt slides through the dropout?

    In the last picture (profile shot of the crankset, which is dope!, and belt drive. What is the purpose of the lower tubes of the rear triangle going into one another?

  3. #3
    Feeling retro..but Jung
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    intersting..sliding chain stays for tensioning

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Germany_chris
    intersting..sliding chain stays for tensioning
    I hope it works, but it seems an overcomplicated answer to something with a simple solution. How much pressure is a single set screw on each side capable of resisting? Add mud and crud. It's taking the full tension of the power stroke unlike an EBB. Sliding dropouts usually need 2 large bolts and plenty clamp area.

    The bike looks lovely though
    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by baycat
    Woah!

    So the belt slides through the dropout?

    In the last picture (profile shot of the crankset, which is dope!, and belt drive. What is the purpose of the lower tubes of the rear triangle going into one another?
    The telescopic tubes on the Chainstay are James's patented tensioning system called HACS, it is there that I inserted the belt by undoing the grub screw and pulling the tubes apart. The bike was originally built for chain drive until I realized I could squeeze a belt through the junction.
    "Be the Gear..."

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velobike
    I hope it works, but it seems an overcomplicated answer to something with a simple solution. How much pressure is a single set screw on each side capable of resisting? Add mud and crud. It's taking the full tension of the power stroke unlike an EBB. Sliding dropouts usually need 2 large bolts and plenty clamp area.

    The bike looks lovely though
    James has been using this method for some years now and the system is in its 4th phase so I put my trust in him when ordering...if he is confident then I am.

    It slipped slightly on my debut run but I didnt have the bolts torqued adequately but its fine now. The bolts clamp onto solid billets of Titanium, so its very solid when tight.
    "Be the Gear..."

  7. #7
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    sweet bike...must weigh about a 1/4 of nowt?!


    as an aside
    if you used a wider rear hub (say 160) and bottom bracket axles (say err,100 mm shell), could you get shorter stays and avoid a cut out on the chainstay?

  8. #8
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    There had better be a Yumeya crank bolt on the other side.

    Also, any issues with tensioning the belt since this doesn't have any sort of set screw to drive the axle rearward?

  9. #9
    superluker
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    Very nice. With the split chainstay is there much range in the way of belt/chain adjustment? Does it limit gear combos? I'm not trying to find flaws in this design, just VERY curious. Hell, even if it does, it looks fun.

  10. #10
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    This is great, and very close to my dream bike.

    1- Which model is that? I don't see it on the BlackSheep web site, but I really like it. Full Custom?
    2- Do you feel any extra resistance compare to a chain with the Belt Drive?
    3- What brakes are these? R1?

  11. #11
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    "Also, any issues with tensioning the belt since this doesn't have any sort of set screw to drive the axle rearward?"

    I would tension it by driving a large diameter pole in between the wheel and the seatpost. That would keep the tension when bolting the chainstays.

    HACS looks very nice. I am intrested in the long term usability. The flow in the top tube and downtube dos not appeal to me. But that's personal.

  12. #12
    nothing to see here
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    fark me, that's beautiful.
    I see hills.

    I want to climb them.

  13. #13
    What's "social pace?"
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    I like what James did to make the cranks clear the chainstay.

  14. #14
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    Impressive and beautiful.

  15. #15
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    Wow... Sooner or later, I will just have to get a Ti bike. Probably later, though... Enjoy!

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by -Muz R-
    After 5 months it arrives.....Complete build 7.96kg ( 17.55lbs )

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    Gates Belt is thus far proving to be a nice addition to the ride.
    spectacular

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by taehome
    Very nice. With the split chainstay is there much range in the way of belt/chain adjustment? Does it limit gear combos? I'm not trying to find flaws in this design, just VERY curious. Hell, even if it does, it looks fun.
    The system offers the same amount of adjustment as Sliders or EBB.
    "Be the Gear..."

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by flafonta
    This is great, and very close to my dream bike.

    1- Which model is that? I don't see it on the BlackSheep web site, but I really like it. Full Custom?
    2- Do you feel any extra resistance compare to a chain with the Belt Drive?
    3- What brakes are these? R1?
    1- I got the idea from a picture so it doesnt have a name at this point.

    2- With correct tension on the belt, you cant tell any difference. I got a tensioner with the setup and it takes the guess work out.

    3- Brakes are MartaSL's
    "Be the Gear..."

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiDaDunlop
    "Also, any issues with tensioning the belt since this doesn't have any sort of set screw to drive the axle rearward?"

    I would tension it by driving a large diameter pole in between the wheel and the seatpost. That would keep the tension when bolting the chainstays.

    HACS looks very nice. I am intrested in the long term usability. The flow in the top tube and downtube dos not appeal to me. But that's personal.
    There was supposed to be tensioning bolts at the back of the pinch bolts but James forgot to put them on. They would have served two purposes...A. To provide micro adjustments and tension. And B. They would avoid the possibility of the CS slipping forward under load.

    To my surprise though, tensioning the belt was far easier than I had first thought, its not heavy like a chain so when you pull it back it stays there until you nip up the bolts. If its too tight, I simply squeeze the belt to slacken it slightly before tightening completely.

    A Belt doesnt stretch like a chain so if your happy with the gear ratio it could remain there for up to 12,000kms of riding. So the nature of the adjustment is of very little concern until you want to change gear ratios etc.
    "Be the Gear..."

  20. #20
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    Are those U-brake bosses? LOL!
    Looking nice....looks like the seat stay/chainstay drop-out splits as well.
    Where did you get those gold bottle cage bolts? Do they match the CK Gold?

  21. #21
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    well done man, looks great. I am loving my belt drive as well. it only gets better with time, 250 miles so far and I haven't had to reach for the chain lube!!
    Quote Originally Posted by thefuzzbl
    aluminium has a tendency to fail when you need it most. i.e. you end up with a bad day.

  22. #22
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    sweet bike. 2 guys I ride with have Blacksheeps w/ that slider design. They love it. Does your frame have an indention on the chain stay for the front (chain?) ring to clear? Looks like it in your picture, but I can't tell.

  23. #23
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    Muz R,

    I'll trade you all the bikes in my basement for your bike...whaddya say?
    Responds to gravity

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by cytoe
    sweet bike. 2 guys I ride with have Blacksheeps w/ that slider design. They love it. Does your frame have an indention on the chain stay for the front (chain?) ring to clear? Looks like it in your picture, but I can't tell.
    There sure is and it fits a 39T ring nicely, I have 2 and a half BB spacers on the driveside also to give about 1mm clearance off the chainstay. He's a cleaver dude that James.
    "Be the Gear..."

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by buddhak
    Muz R,

    I'll trade you all the bikes in my basement for your bike...whaddya say?

    Hmmmm.......let me think?


















    Nut.
    "Be the Gear..."

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by scooter916
    well done man, looks great. I am loving my belt drive as well. it only gets better with time, 250 miles so far and I haven't had to reach for the chain lube!!
    Hey Scooter,

    Thanks for the kind words, Im glad to hear your bike is running smooth

    Im off to the Aussie SS Champs with it tomorrow morning, should be a hoot!

    Plenty of dudes from here heading over to NZ next year too, we'll catch up for sure.
    "Be the Gear..."

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by cytoe
    2 guys I ride with have Blacksheeps w/ that slider design. They love it.
    I meant to ask....do your buddies know what torque setting is required for the Chainstay adjuster? James didnt tell me what he recommends so Im guessing at the moment.

    Cheers
    "Be the Gear..."

  28. #28
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  29. #29
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    belt drive option

    Looks like the belt drive options are starting to gain interest.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by TiCutter
    The seperation in the frame is beautifully done
    "Be the Gear..."

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by TiCutter
    And what is this frame?

  32. #32
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    Form Cycles

    It is a Form Cycles Ti frame out of Sedona, Arizona. They build some pretty sweet stuff.

  33. #33
    Drinking the Slick_Juice
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    truly unique bikes
    "If women don't find handsome , they should at least find you handy."-Red Green

  34. #34
    Single Speed Junkie
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    Nice ride. What bars are those?

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by crux
    Nice ride. What bars are those?
    Groovy Cycles Ti Luv Handles 28" wide x 25.4mm, 21.5 deg sweep, 1/2" rise, 217 grams.

    Great bars, I love them.
    "Be the Gear..."

  36. #36
    blet drive
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    very nice man
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  37. #37
    Chronic 1st-timer
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    Pron, pure pron!
    Trailwrecker at large

  38. #38
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    very nice

  39. #39
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    I appreciate your willingness to answer questions about your bike, which is a beauty. I for one very much like the lines/curves on this frame. I considered the belt when I had James build my frame awhile ago, but ultimately gave up on it because I was focused on obtaining a narrow Q-factor (also known as "tread"). Using a road crank and a WI ENO setup I was able to get things nice and narrow (~145 mm), and it didn't appear that it could happen with a belt-drive. What's the Q-factor for your setup and would it be possible to get things narrower?
    "The plural of anecdote is not data." -- Attributed to various people in a variety of forms, but always worth remembering...

  40. #40
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    VERY nice bike you've got there! I see a lot of similarities with my bike, but a lot of differences as well. I have had my Black Sheep for about 15 months now and love it! I got rid of all of my other MTBs, and now only ride Rigid 29er. Mine is also a full custom frame with James' fork. I also had him add a bolted connection at the top tube so the rear triangle can be removed for traveling. Pictures don't show it, but I also now have a Ti Luv Handle. My HACS system is slightly different using 2 pinchbolts instead of a grub screw. I have been considering going belt drive but have not pulled the trigger yet. It also works great with an Alfine gear hub (first picture):
    Attached Images Attached Images

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeT
    I appreciate your willingness to answer questions about your bike, which is a beauty. I for one very much like the lines/curves on this frame. I considered the belt when I had James build my frame awhile ago, but ultimately gave up on it because I was focused on obtaining a narrow Q-factor (also known as "tread"). Using a road crank and a WI ENO setup I was able to get things nice and narrow (~145 mm), and it didn't appear that it could happen with a belt-drive. What's the Q-factor for your setup and would it be possible to get things narrower?
    Thanks for the comments...Im not quite sure how to calculate Q-factor...is it the total width from the outer faces of both crankarms or from the inner faces, or is it a measurement from the centre of the frame to the outer face of one crank? Im confindent its more than 145mm, I use 2.5 BB spacers to get the ring just clear of the chainstay.
    "Be the Gear..."

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikeny
    VERY nice bike you've got there! I see a lot of similarities with my bike, but a lot of differences as well. I have had my Black Sheep for about 15 months now and love it! I got rid of all of my other MTBs, and now only ride Rigid 29er. Mine is also a full custom frame with James' fork. I also had him add a bolted connection at the top tube so the rear triangle can be removed for traveling. Pictures don't show it, but I also now have a Ti Luv Handle. My HACS system is slightly different using 2 pinchbolts instead of a grub screw. I have been considering going belt drive but have not pulled the trigger yet. It also works great with an Alfine gear hub (first picture):
    Thanks Bikeny, its was a reply from you that made me decide on the HACS system, it slipped on my first ride as it wasnt tight enough but has been great since. Ive just come back from the Aust SS Nats and it generated huge interest. The Ti fork and Luv Handle combo is like silk, I love it too!
    "Be the Gear..."

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by -Muz R-
    ...is it the total width from the outer faces of both crankarms
    That's the measurement I'm after, taken adjacent to where the pedal spindle screws into the crank arm. It does seem it will be significantly wider than what I would like. I do know that I'm sensitive to that measurement, needing it narrow for knee-happiness, and that others prefer it wider for similar reasons. Ahhh, the vagaries of the human body...

    I was trying to figure out what geometry changes might occur between the two extremes of the "chain tensioning" processes using the HACS system -- it would seem only a slight, unnoticeable variation in all possible affected angles/wheelbase/bottom bracket height. Even one tooth different cog size using the ENO eccentric requires me to adjust the angle of my seat as there's enough change in STA upon re-tensioning of the chain to be noticeable. The EBB on another bike necessitates moving the seat to reestablish the proper position when pedaling in the saddle after changing the rear cog. Presumably sliding dropouts or track ends, which I have no experience with, only affect the wheelbase (albeit a very small affect), but he HACS system might have even the smallest consequences on frame geometry upon changing gears of any system yet...
    "The plural of anecdote is not data." -- Attributed to various people in a variety of forms, but always worth remembering...

  44. #44
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    To generalize, if your SSs are at 45 degrees, and you move your wheel forward of back by a half-inch, you're going to get quite a bit of vertical movement also. Nobody who owns one will ever care, it's those who don't who will complain about such a lousy system.

    All chain tensioning methods are flawed.

    If those set screws dig into the Ti, then after a number of adjustments, you will no longer be able to make small adjustments, because the set screw will fall back into a previous indent. This happens with eccentric BBs, but they're a bunch cheaper to replace when they get chewed up.

    Did the Jones with the telescoping chainstays violate James' patent?

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeT
    That's the measurement I'm after, taken adjacent to where the pedal spindle screws into the crank arm. It does seem it will be significantly wider than what I would like. I do know that I'm sensitive to that measurement, needing it narrow for knee-happiness, and that others prefer it wider for similar reasons. Ahhh, the vagaries of the human body...

    I was trying to figure out what geometry changes might occur between the two extremes of the "chain tensioning" processes using the HACS system -- it would seem only a slight, unnoticeable variation in all possible affected angles/wheelbase/bottom bracket height. Even one tooth different cog size using the ENO eccentric requires me to adjust the angle of my seat as there's enough change in STA upon re-tensioning of the chain to be noticeable. The EBB on another bike necessitates moving the seat to reestablish the proper position when pedaling in the saddle after changing the rear cog. Presumably sliding dropouts or track ends, which I have no experience with, only affect the wheelbase (albeit a very small affect), but he HACS system might have even the smallest consequences on frame geometry upon changing gears of any system yet...
    In that case, the measurement your after would be 167mm, remember that Im using 3 2.5mm spacers so on other frames Im sure it could be reduced by up to 5mm. It is infact a fair bit more than 145 though.

    Regarding geometry the HACS would have no more effect than your standard Paragon Sliders IMO, It has a range of approx. 1.25-5" and I would imagine that Chainstay length would be most effected moving the wheel for and aft. Seat position should remain the same whether at min or max adjustment. With the 24T Gates Cog it is only extended 6mm from it shortest adjustment point which Im really happy with, it will allow me to run a 39-25 if need be reducing the CS to 17". I could use a 22T at maximum extension providing 51.4 gear inches which is more than enough for a 29er where I ride.

    Overall its a unique tidy system that works quite well, its easy to adjust and keeps the belt super straight and inline with everything. I had initial doubts that it would allow accurate adjustments required for the Gates Belts but infact it doest a great job without all the messy adjustment screws etc. Im surprised that others havent thought of such a device earlier. I can imagine that it allows a stronger dropout region that Sliders and eleviates the hassles with noisy and slipping EBB's. The best part is that its 150grams lighter than sliders and definately lighter than EBB without any negitive effects to stiffness and strength.
    "Be the Gear..."

  46. #46
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    [QUOTE=D.F.L.]
    All chain tensioning methods are flawed.

    If those set screws dig into the Ti, then after a number of adjustments, you will no longer be able to make small adjustments, because the set screw will fall back into a previous indent.
    QUOTE]

    The ends of the set screws are flat to avoid this problem and the end of the inner chainstay is a solid billet of Ti so as to not indent under pressure. I must admit that I preferred James older design that used two clamps on each Chainstay rather than the single grub screw but Im sure this version will provide years of use. If in the event it wore a depression it would be simple enough to file the solid billet flat again.
    "Be the Gear..."

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by -Muz R-
    Thanks Bikeny, its was a reply from you that made me decide on the HACS system, it slipped on my first ride as it wasnt tight enough but has been great since. Ive just come back from the Aust SS Nats and it generated huge interest. The Ti fork and Luv Handle combo is like silk, I love it too!
    I totally forgot that you had contacted me about the HACS, It's great that you went through with it. As I think I told you, I am very happy with it, and I have never had it slip. The only inprovement I could see would be some type of micro adjustment. This would allow the length to be tuned in very accurately. Also, for me it would allow the chainstays to be inserted to the exact same position when I remove the rear triangle for travel. It's not a huge deal, just an added luxury. What I have done is just put a thin ring of black electrical tape on the inner chainstay, so I insert up to that point and I know I am at the right spot. I have done the same with my seatpost for quick install when traveling.

    Anyway, I hope you're enjoying the bike. It sounds like you are in Australia? If so, you are lucky, as summer is right around the corner. I have the opposite in NY right now: Days are getting shorter and colder.

    Mark

  48. #48
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    Very nice bike but I have a hard time believing those little set screws will hold under heavy duty cranking. I guess I won't know until I try one. I am riding a Spot belt drive so I at least have some experience with belt tension. I have about 2000 miles on my Spot and in the beginning had a hard time getting the rear wheel adjusted just right and tight enough that it wouldn't move under heavy torque. I think there are a lot better designs out there now than the Spot had for it's first belt drive. Ventana has a nice one and I think that Form Cycles (in this thread) is a great design too. I also saw a thread that showed Spot's new set up and it is leaps better than their old one.
    Anyway, enough of that crap, your BlackSheep looks great.

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yogii
    Are those U-brake bosses? LOL
    no chain no gain.

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Cheswick
    Very nice bike but I have a hard time believing those little set screws will hold under heavy duty cranking. I guess I won't know until I try one. I am riding a Spot belt drive so I at least have some experience with belt tension. I have about 2000 miles on my Spot and in the beginning had a hard time getting the rear wheel adjusted just right and tight enough that it wouldn't move under heavy torque. I think there are a lot better designs out there now than the Spot had for it's first belt drive. Ventana has a nice one and I think that Form Cycles (in this thread) is a great design too. I also saw a thread that showed Spot's new set up and it is leaps better than their old one.
    Anyway, enough of that crap, your BlackSheep looks great.

    Charlie,

    Thanks for the kind words.....I had a hard time believing the set screws would work myself and to be honest its not the design I asked for. James was meant to use an older design of the HACS system that used 4 clamp bolts and seperate adjuster bolts on each CS. The adjuster bolts would have provided infinant adjustment and a stop to resist any movement under load. I can say with confidence that with the correct torque on the grub screws that they work perfectly well under any load Ive thrown at it despite my initial doubts.

    As far as tunability goes, it is suprisingly easy. Strange I know but my belt never wanders or derails...I simply get the wheel roughly straight...set the desired tension ( with supplied guage ) by having the grub screw slightly nipped, if its too tight I sqeeze the belt to slacken it and if its too loose I pull back on the seat stay. Once the tension is correct I tighten the drive side completely and all thats left to do is centre the wheel and tighten the nondriveside...Walla! Ready to ride. I had read plently about getting the alignment spot on or the system would fail but I cant see what the fuss was all about, it is dead easy. You would have to have it out by an aweful lot for it to derail anyway. I always back and forward pedal before tightening the nondriveside for obvious reasons.

    The cog and ring alignment has presented more accuracy though, I first measured the the seat tube and divided it by 2 , then added it to the distance to the outer front ring from the seat tube. I then divided the rear axle by 2 and subtrated the front measurement from this to get the correct distance from the driveside axle cap. With a straight edge off the front ring my calculations had me within 1/2 a mm of accuracy.
    "Be the Gear..."

  51. #51
    Tattooed Scumbag
    Reputation: J_Sims's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    151
    nice to see this.. I have a similar frame on his jig this week and have been planning the same drive option. Good to hear that you have not had any issues. that is one good looking bike...
    If you don't live for something,
    You will die for NOTHING!!

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