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  1. #1
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    Belt drive experience / recomendations

    I am thinking about giving the belt drive a try this race season. I have never ridden a belt drive nor do I know anyone who has one, so I am completely ignorant...

    I will be training for and racing mostly endurance style races in New England (rocky, rooty, some mud, and wet weather). My races will include 100K, 6 hour, 12 hour, 24 hour, and 100 mile events. My bike is a 2016 Tranny 29, with a Race Face Next SL crank set.

    Here are a few questions I have about the system:

    -Is there a drive ring compatible with the Next crank?

    -Are there different belt drive system options? If so which is better and why for my application?

    -Would a belt drive be better or worse than a chain for endurance races I would be doing? Why?

    -Does anyone have any experience with the Ibis Tranny 29 and a belt drive specifically? How easy is it to initially set the tension? How is rear tire removal and installation with the Tranny and a belt drive (I know it is easy as can be with the chain drive I am currently using)?

    -I would appreciate any other thought or comments (based on real world experience) you may have regarding belt drives.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    My best friend had a belt drive bike, a Spot singlespeed (their "semi-custom" frame) dressed in Chris Ka-Ching components including CK BB & hubs. He & I rode a lot, including epic rides with 8,000'+ gain. Unfortunately he died almost 2 years ago in a car accident, but before that happened, he really put that belt-drive bike through its paces.

    He broke a couple belts. High tension was required in order to keep the belt from skipping. This tension made wheel changes inconvenient. In order to drop the rear wheel, the belt would have to be detensioned, then once the wheel was replaced, the tension was renewed. He had to send his CK hub in because the bearings went south due to the excessive tension.

    Despite all this, he really liked the system. It was silent, lightweight and he never needed to oil a chain.

    After watching my buddy's experience with belt drive, I'm personally left feeling that belt drive is a solution looking for a problem. I still ride singlespeed (using a chain) and never, ever wish my bike was equipped with a belt. But that's just me. I think my friend liked the belt's uniqueness as much as anything else. He was also a very patient & tolerant person. Me, less so.
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  3. #3
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    On paper I think they're great. What's kept me from pulling the trigger is the tensioning/bearing issues (as mentioned above) and the fact that you'll need multiple belts for multiple gear ratios. Also the cogs/chainrings aren't cheap, especially the freewheel one.

    If I were to ever get one, it would have to be for a frame with Paragon toggle drops.

    If you're still inclined, you should be able to get the 104bcd 1x spider for the Next crank and use it with the Gates belt drive.
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  4. #4
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    I have done a number of conversions - I've been fiddling around with belt drive for over 20 years (in a haphazard amateurish way ).

    What I have earned from that is the bike needs certain design features for a belt to work efficiently.

    Laterally stiff chainstays are absolutely necessary. That can spoil that elusive quality of a good bike, ie feel.

    Also very accurate chainline is necessary - chain driven bikes don't need to be built to such exacting standards because chains can tolerate a lot of discrepancy.

    On the bikes it has worked on, it was brilliant. Quiet, clean, and light, but these were all road bikes.

    I didn't have much luck with mtb applications, mainly because there's more high torque situations, eg when you have to get over a rock. Stiffer frames may have made a difference. I also suspect the later version of the Gates belt, the CenterTrack will behave better with chainline variations.

    I found the best way to deal with the tension issue was to ignore Gates's recommendation and run with normal tension, but use a snubber pulley at the 7 o'clock position on the rear cog.

    There's no advantage to a belt if it means you are trashing your BB and rear wheel bearings regularly - actually that's a design feature needed for belts - more robust bearings front and rear.

    I wouldn't bother doing another conversion, but if I was buying a road bike, I'd happily get a belt drive.

    As for mtb, I'm not yet convinced.

    My current thinking on the perfect drivetrain is a reversion to the 1930s. Fully enclosed oilbath chaincase, hubgears. It should not be beyond the skills of the bike industry to build lightweight bikes like that these days.
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  5. #5
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    Sparticus,
    Very sorry to hear about your friend!

    I appreciate everyones thoughts, they basically confirm what I was thinking about the BD. I don't want to make a flat repair any more time consuming than necessary, nor do I want to chew up freehub and BB bearings.

    Thanks!

  6. #6
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    If I remember correctly, the recommended tension shouldn't be blowing out bearings. It sounds like a lot of people out there just tension the hell out of it and ride. There is actually an app that you can download on your phone to get everything set properly. It measures and helps tension based on sound feedback from plucking the belt.

    When I worked in a bike a shop I had to do this with the Raleigh 29 that used to come set up with a Gates system. I had a couple customers with this exact bike that used to come in and their belt would be insanely tight, usually from fixing a trail side flat and then re-tensioning without using the app.

    It's kind of a pain, but the Gates systems ride beautiful. You never realize how much tactile and noise feedback you get from a chain until you ride one.

  7. #7
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    Dualrollers,
    That makes sense, about the tension being below the bearings threshold. How is the Tranny with a belt to r&i the rear wheel?

  8. #8
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    That app sounds crazy! Not sure if I would believe it works, but...

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by jbell View Post
    That app sounds crazy! Not sure if I would believe it works, but...
    It works. It's just a pain. You have to get your phone in the correct position so its reading properly and don't move it. Usually takes 2 people from my experience.

  10. #10
    tfg
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    Here's my experience - I previously owned a Spot Longboard and now have a Spot Honey Badger, both belt drive. The Honey Badger uses the CenterTrack version which is a big improvement over the previous version, and the sliders/dropouts are a better design.

    Maintenance is next to nothing - I occasionally spray some silicon lubricant on the belt when it's dry and dusty to stop any squeaks, but other than not nothing. I've never had to replace a belt due to wear or failure.

    The Honey Badger has Paragon style sliders with vertical drops - flat repair is no different than with a chain, and the belt tension remains constant. I agree with the above comment that if the tension is correct, there is no issue with bearings.

    Drawbacks have already been mentioned - components are expensive, and new belts are required for different gearing. I've never broken a belt, but trail repair is impossible unless you carry a spare belt.

    I also have the NextSL crank, and to run the Gates system I use a 104bcd spider as I don't believe there is a direct mount sprocket available.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by jbell View Post
    Here are a few questions I have about the system:


    -Would a belt drive be better or worse than a chain for endurance races I would be doing? Why?

    -Does anyone have any experience with the Ibis Tranny 29 and a belt drive specifically? How easy is it to initially set the tension? How is rear tire removal and installation with the Tranny and a belt drive (I know it is easy as can be with the chain drive I am currently using)?
    I have had multiple belt bikes from steel road bikes to steel mountain bikes to an Ibis Tranny that I set up with a belt.

    I love the belt drive concept and when you get it right (aligned perfectly) they are so smooth.

    You do not have to blow out bearing with high tension. Yes, the app works, but so does common sense. It needs to be taught, but not super tight.

    Having said that, there are no advantages to a belt drive other than being different or possibly answering questions at the trail head.

    A chain is both simpler, easier to install and cheaper.

    With a belt, if you want to change gear ratios, you have to buy a new cog (expensive) of either extend your chain stays or buy a new belt as well.

    Regarding the Ibis Tranny. This was a fun bike and super lightweight with the belt drive. Mine was somewhere in the 19 lb range. However, getting to where the chain stays were as short as possible really limited the gear range. If you want it slammed it was next to impossible to get it set up. Changing the ratios made the back end hang to far out for my liking. And this goes back to the point I made earlier about buying cogs and belts. Not worth in in my opinion.

    Currently riding a Soma Juice 29er with a belt.
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  12. #12
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    Thanks for the experience Zerort

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by tfg View Post
    ...I've never broken a belt, but trail repair is impossible unless you carry a spare belt...
    However a complete spare belt is no heavier than a decent chainbreaker and spare bit of chain, ie what you would carry to repair a broken chain.
    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velobike View Post
    However a complete spare belt is no heavier than a decent chainbreaker and spare bit of chain, ie what you would carry to repair a broken chain.
    You could buy 10 chain breakers and a few chains for the price of one belt though...

    also you can't just tweak those belts in all different directions, you can destroy them if they're twisted a certain way. Which means shoving them in your bag loose will likely end up in a wasted belt.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velobike View Post
    However a complete spare belt is no heavier than a decent chainbreaker and spare bit of chain, ie what you would carry to repair a broken chain.
    Better have a large backpack - no folding the belts.

    Just bought a 111 tooth, a smaller one. The box it came in was 26" long. You need at least 17-18" of space.

    I guess you could strap it on somewhere, but that would look kind of silly.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by DualRollers View Post
    You could buy 10 chain breakers and a few chains for the price of one belt though...

    also you can't just tweak those belts in all different directions, you can destroy them if they're twisted a certain way. Which means shoving them in your bag loose will likely end up in a wasted belt.
    Agree about the price, but I was thinking about what you have to carry on the bike. Plus the fitting a new belt is cleaner than fixing a chain.

    You can fold the belts. Gates have instructions for that, you end up with a reasonably sized package that will fit somewhere in your kit. If you're capable of fixing your bike, you're smart enough to stow it properly.
    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velobike View Post
    You can fold the belts. Gates have instructions for that, you end up with a reasonably sized package that will fit somewhere in your kit. If you're capable of fixing your bike, you're smart enough to stow it properly.
    I'm not saying there aren't instructions to fold them, but why would they ship them in this huge box if they could be folded?
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Belt drive experience / recomendations-20170406_143754-compressed.jpg  

    Belt drive experience / recomendations-20170406_143802-compressed.jpg  

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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zerort View Post
    I'm not saying there aren't instructions to fold them, but why would they ship them in this huge box if they could be folded?
    Don't know, but at a guess it's done for production reasons. ie by not folding the belt it removes a task from the process of packaging the belt.

    Someone more up to date than me with production processes can confirm or otherwise.
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  19. #19
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    Belt drive user for the past 3 years

    The last couple of belts I got directly from Gates came in an envelope with the '3 coil' fold like a wood bandsaw blade.

    https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q...=0&FORM=VDMCNL

    What Gates doesn't want you to do is crimp the belt in any direction in a tight radius, the 3 coil method doesn't do that.

    Another tip along those same lines, is don't go with the smallest front sprocket to get your gear ratio. Move up a couple of teeth so you're not bending the belt in a tight radius, stressing the belt, and reduce a little friction, it also gives more teeth for better belt wear and less belt skipping due to tension. You can usually go with less tension, especially with the CDX Centertrack system, which IMHO is the only way to go. On my 29" SS IIRC I used a 46T front, which gives a pretty good ratio selection with available rear sprockets.

    For cleaning....at the beginning of the season (or after a nasty ride) I quickly go over the belt and sprockets with Simple Green and a toothbrush, let dry and put on a few drops of dry silicone to dry over night. Stays smoother longer with the silicone, and doesn't attract as much dust.

    And as others mentioned, get the beltline straight as possible, using a long straight edge or string.

  20. #20
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    Love my belt drive. Have had it since late June 2016 without any real issues. Average 80-100 miles a week.
    Running 46/24 with a 111T belt on my customized Carver ti420.

    The sprockets were only a few bucks more expensive than a Surly stainless chainring and Chris King stainless cog.
    I buy 3-4 chains at beginning of the year and rotate them out when chain needs a deep cleaning.

    Belt = $66
    3-4 chains = $40

    Ive had the belt make a little noise when its really dry and dusty. Rinsing it off usually solves the issue.

    Overall I am loving the no maintenance.

    -Aaron

  21. #21
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    I have a belt system on one of my bikes. No issues so far. Here is what I know.
    1. Centertrack is a must.
    2. App works fine for tensioning.
    3. Quiet as a church mouse.
    4. No maintenance. No grit attracting oil.
    5. Costs more than a chain. 10 dollar cogs on eBay for "finding the right setup" don't exist.
    6. Need to have a frame that is designed for it or be brave enough to cut your current frame.
    7. Don't tell anyone, but I put the belt back on like a dropped chain. No issues but it may come back to bite me.
    8. It is lighter than a chain.
    9. I have dropped the belt once. I have dropped a chain once on my SS. Both due to poor adjustment.
    10. You cant stroll into the LBS and expect to find any parts for it.
    11. It outlasts a chain.
    12. The bling factor is off the charts.

    BUT........
    I live on the gulf coast and we have sandy soil. It not attracting dirt is the biggest win for me.

  22. #22
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    My wife has a centerlock belt drive Spot Acme commuter bicycle. It has the Alfine 11 rear hub.

    She loves it! But she's not going to take it mountain biking. I offered to put some 41 knobbies on it, but no go.

    Anyway after at least 3 years of riding she got her first flat on the rear. I fixed it.

    I have to say that the Alfine's shifter cable makes tire and tube changes a minor PITA.

    But the belt did not post a problem. I am inclined to believe these would make great single speed drives. It runs so smooth and silently that it must be a pleasure to ride.

    Certainly, however, the advantages of a chain drive are many. I would not seek a belt drive SS.

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  23. #23
    EAT MORE GRIME
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    Belt is average 34.6 percent less efficient than a chain (amounts to about 1.5 watts)

    tension and stress on the hubs ?
    chain tension average is 2lb, Gates recommends a much higher preload tension of 85lb

    so...as said, it is a solution looking for a problem.

    all you get is quiet, and no need to lube, and a handful of problems chains don't have

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by 127.0.0.1 View Post
    Belt is average 34.6 percent less efficient than a chain (amounts to about 1.5 watts)

    tension and stress on the hubs ?
    chain tension average is 2lb, Gates recommends a much higher preload tension of 85lb

    so...as said, it is a solution looking for a problem.

    all you get is quiet, and no need to lube, and a handful of problems chains don't have
    This may be true for MTB, but for commuter bikes I have 2 words: road salt.

    Can't tell you how much I love my belt drive on my year round commuter. MTB I'm happy with the chain, not saying I wouldn't consider a belt, but it doesn't feel necessary to me.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by 127.0.0.1 View Post
    Belt is average 34.6 percent less efficient than a chain (amounts to about 1.5 watts)

    tension and stress on the hubs ?
    chain tension average is 2lb, Gates recommends a much higher preload tension of 85lb

    so...as said, it is a solution looking for a problem.

    all you get is quiet, and no need to lube, and a handful of problems chains don't have
    Yep, that pretty much sums up my hang ups / fear with the belt system.

  26. #26
    orthonormal
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    I have the current Spot SS design, the Rocker. The "Kobe Slider" dropouts stay in place when changing a flat, no need to re-tension the belt. Just remove a regular 148x12mm axle.

    Belt drive experience / recomendations-spot1.jpg
    The glass is twice as large as it needs to be

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by 127.0.0.1 View Post
    Belt is average 34.6 percent less efficient than a chain (amounts to about 1.5 watts)

    tension and stress on the hubs ?
    chain tension average is 2lb, Gates recommends a much higher preload tension of 85lb

    so...as said, it is a solution looking for a problem.

    all you get is quiet, and no need to lube, and a handful of problems chains don't have
    From the same study that produced the results you mention:

    "The unexpected portion of the results becomes apparent when the efficiency of the belt itself is analyzed in an apples-to-apples tension comparison to the chain, without preload," Smith said. 'These results show the belt becomes more efficient above 208 watts."

    So basically, I should have had a belt drive 15 years ago when I was fast and now I'd be better off with a chain.
    The glass is twice as large as it needs to be

  28. #28
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    That Spot is a sweet looking bike!

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by formula4speed View Post
    ... I have 2 words: road salt. ...
    I count myself lucky to live in a state where it's illegal to apply salt to highways. Not only because salt is corrosive to cars & bikes but because salt is a pollutant to streams, fish and everything else. Oregon: where smoking pot is legal, salting roads isn't, the word "mountain" truly applies in the term "mountain bike," trees grow big (really, really big) and rivers & lakes are pristine.

    Get here when ya can, but please go home once your vacation's done. Thanks.
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  30. #30
    EAT MORE GRIME
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    Quote Originally Posted by andy f View Post
    From the same study that produced the results you mention:

    "The unexpected portion of the results becomes apparent when the efficiency of the belt itself is analyzed in an apples-to-apples tension comparison to the chain, without preload," Smith said. 'These results show the belt becomes more efficient above 208 watts."

    So basically, I should have had a belt drive 15 years ago when I was fast and now I'd be better off with a chain.
    that's how I read it too. when I could just pedal hard constantly and didn't need to think about anything else. where were belts then ?

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by 127.0.0.1 View Post
    Belt is average 34.6 percent less efficient than a chain (amounts to about 1.5 watts)

    tension and stress on the hubs ?
    chain tension average is 2lb, Gates recommends a much higher preload tension of 85lb

    so...as said, it is a solution looking for a problem.

    all you get is quiet, and no need to lube, and a handful of problems chains don't have
    My hubs and BB have suffered no ill effects running 75lbs of tension. You are putting MUCH more stress/tension on the drivetrain going uphill.

    Also, 1 or 2 watts difference is laughable.

    120+ mile bikepacking days. 6 - 12 hour endurance races. I was skeptical at first, but the belt system has proven to be flawless. Especially during the wet n sandy Florida summer.

  32. #32
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    My Experience

    This thread is a little old but thought I should include it for future searches. I loved the belt drive. It is quiet and maintence free and the belts last a really long time. You dont get chain lipstick all over the place.....I have really enjoyed it. I am running a center rib on my Spot Rocker.

    HOWEVER!!!! As you can see in the pic, the stainless steel cog will cut right through the cassette. In full disclosure, I am a big boy@280lbs. This happened a few weeks ago. I started a pretty serious climb and heard a pop....and no go. Don't even ask how difficult it was to get apart without a whip

    The cog needs a bigger flange where it makes contact with the free hub body.

    If anyone knows where to get a WTB Laserdisk Single Duty cassette body, please let me know.......as I am now left trying to source the part which is evidently difficult to get.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Belt drive experience / recomendations-cog.jpg  


  33. #33
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    Attached a lousy photo from an evening ride of the rear end of my Spot Honey Badger which I bought used this August 2018.

    This comment is about the drive train.

    This single speed rides really nice. Compared to the other SS bikes in my collection its the most capable. The 100mm travel fork on it works fine. A 120 fork of higher quality would be better. But then increased slackness would probably hurt technical climbing, as this frame already manuals easily.

    Anyway, I've experienced a lot of belt noise while riding in dusty summer conditions here in the Bay Area. The dry adobe clay moon dust gets into the cogs it seems and makes a dry slightly squealy steady noise after a while, like say 5-7 miles. If I squirt water onto the belt during the ride it goes away, until another 5-7 miles go by.

    I'm going to have to clean the belt with a toothbrush and degreaser, and see how that goes.

    I should also try checking the tension with the Gates phone app. I've used the app ony wife's belt drive commuter bike with great success.

    I can tell the SS mtb is tensioned much higher. The app suggests higher tension for single speed performance riding. So it seems appropriate as the bike was delivered.

    I do not notice any reduction in efficiency riding this bike vs the chain drive bikes.

    I'll get back to this thread with more findings later. I'm going to ride it today and fiddle with it

    Love the bike though. I figure if the belt ends up being a PITA it can be replaced easily with a traditional drive train.

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  34. #34
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    To continue, I just cleaned the drive train using a mild degreaser spay from a spray bottle, clean rags, rinse water, and an old Sonicare toothbrush.

    The toothbrush idea is of course an old one, but I never thought of using an electronic one before. Had an old one under the sink. It really works great, and will use it for a lot of bike related things in the future.

    One thing I noticed right away was that sticky sap from tar-weed was permeating the belt. On a lot of the trails I have been riding the tar weed lines the narrow single track and gets munched into the belt.

    The belt was nearly black and had plant vegetation remains stuck in it, in the form of occasional flakes and fiber.

    Going out for a ride next.

    I also cleaned the chainring and cog with the toothbrush.

    The photos below show a bunch of screen shots from the Gates phone app.

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  35. #35
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    The noise from the belt came back after about 7 miles and 1000' feet of climbing.

    The belt didn't even get much dirt on it either.

    The hypothesis I had that the dirt and sap was creating the quiet yet annoying squeal may be wrong. Or it could be that my cleaning method didn't remove enough sap.

    It did ride quietly at first, including on the entire main fire road climb I did, which includes typical all-in SS mashing. And so for the start of the ride was enjoying a very quiet bike.

    The Gates phone app is impressive, but I'm still looking for ways to mitigate the noise.

    On the ride, I did squirt water on the belt as I rode, and that made it shut up. But I don't like the idea of having to waste water I planned on drinking.

    Maybe I'll look into some sort of belt dressing in the automotive department.

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  36. #36
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    I'm having some teething issues with my new cdx gates drive.
    My set up is paired with a rohloff hub on sliding dropouts and I'm tuning with the I phone app.
    My first ride when I slapped all the parts on was great. As advertised. Silent and smooth.
    Then came the clacking noise!
    Ok tightened every thing checked tension all good for the first 15 minutes then clack clack clack.
    This is not my low maintenance silent drive train dream.
    SO I tear down the drive train and rebuild, paying careful attention to the cog alignment which is dead on.
    Re assemble and now it's just a single click at the same point of the revolution of the cog. There is no visible culprit. I manage to tune it out by adjusting the sliding dropout on the opposite drive side.
    Anyway I can get this thing running smooth one day, put the bike away, and the next day its clacking like mad. I's as if the heat expansion of the metal frame is enough to throw the alignment out.

    I'm 2 weeks in and I'm just about ready to just put a chain drive on. It just seems so sensitive.
    What I have learn't is the bottom range of tension works best (30hz) as anything higher actually pulls the chainstay across and miss aligns the cogs.
    I went riding today and all was good until the belt slipped and I noticed the belt was really loose. How the hell does that happen. The previous day I had it tensioned in the 40hz and over night it was down to 20hz. The dropout bolts and tension screws were all tight.
    I'm starting to understand why Rohloff recomend using a snubber .
    What am I doing wrong? This frame was purpose built and I'm starting to thing it's not stiff enough. I also have a focus planet commuter with a belt drive and I've never had one peep out of it. It's the reason I went with it on this build. I expected some teething issues but this gates drive needs more attention than a derailleur bike. Any advice appreciated.Belt drive experience / recomendations-img_1462.jpg

  37. #37
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    Hmmmm. Full suspension belt drive. You must have just a small amount of "chain" growth with that bike.

    Sounds to me your travel is loosening your tension and thats why you've experienced slippage.

    Belts are tough to set up. I've been riding them for years ans it always takes a long time to get them right and stay right.
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  38. #38
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    ^^^^it is a URT design, zero growth
    "Put your seatbelt back on or get out and sit in the middle of that circle of death." - Johnny Scoot

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    Quote Originally Posted by 127.0.0.1 View Post
    ^^^^it is a URT design, zero growth
    Then there shouldn't be any tension loss.
    by Silentfoe
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  40. #40
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    I know 3 singlespeeders with belt drive. To me they're like fanatics of 80's lancias, or someone that can't quit a toxic relationship. They love the belt so much but it just betrays them over and over. The inital outlay means its hard to cut their losses.

    When its working it is so great, but from what I've seen it never seems to work for long. They are tragic and heroic at the same time. How many races ruined before you give it up?!!

    This is for riders in the PNW, no idea how it works in other parts of the country. One time I remember the belt broke because a piece of gravel flipped into it.

    I've got a sick sense of humor so while I'm complaining now I'll miss these tragic figures when they have all given up on the belt.
    the truth is always a gift because it offers the recipient of that information the chance to change the outcome - Grace Choi

  41. #41
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    Very well done^^^
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  42. #42
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    Getting the Spot Honey Badger with belt drive was one of many things about 2018 that I like. I had to find out for myself.

    Last night I bought a red spray can of CRC Belt Dressing. This is the product recommended by Gates.

    I'll ride this bike next weekend and get back to you.



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    Quote Originally Posted by eri View Post
    I know 3 singlespeeders with belt drive. To me they're like fanatics of 80's lancias, or someone that can't quit a toxic relationship. They love the belt so much but it just betrays them over and over. The inital outlay means its hard to cut their losses.

    When its working it is so great, but from what I've seen it never seems to work for long. They are tragic and heroic at the same time. How many races ruined before you give it up?!!

    This is for riders in the PNW, no idea how it works in other parts of the country. One time I remember the belt broke because a piece of gravel flipped into it.

    I've got a sick sense of humor so while I'm complaining now I'll miss these tragic figures when they have all given up on the belt.
    I'm not quite one of those guys. I've actually put a chain drive on it now as I'm time poor at the moment and just want to ride and not work on the bike. I Will give it another go when I have the time and inclination but I am starting to understand the "solution looking for a problem " view of the belt drive for MTB.

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Burns View Post
    Getting the Spot Honey Badger with belt drive was one of many things about 2018 that I like. I had to find out for myself.

    Last night I bought a red spray can of CRC Belt Dressing. This is the product recommended by Gates.

    I'll ride this bike next weekend and get back to you.



    Sent from my LG-H910 using Tapatalk
    I live in a dry dusty part of Australia. The silicone spray is a must for the belt squeaks. It does nothing for the clacks I was getting from my mystery alignment issue. Please let us know how you go with your belt experience.

  45. #45
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    Success!

    Despite the alleged unhealthy atmosphere here (NorCal smoke), the belt drive Honey Badger was ridden today.

    Upon airing up the slightly soft tubeless tires , and then given the suspension fork squish test, a quick spray of CRC Belt Dressing was applied to the belt.

    Spun the belt around once, and made only one quick pass with the aerosol straw closely aimed at the center track groove. The blue inside of the belt immediately brightened dramatically and gave instant indication of coverage.

    While the ride was only 17 miles and 1700' long, it was definitely long enough to see if the silicone silenced the belt. On the last ride, the belt was squealing when it was put away.

    The drivetrain was absolutely silent. Furthermore, it felt smoother, if than can be possible, because it felt very smooth before.

    Jack doesn't think a chain drive can feel that smooth, even in the best conditions.

    The only sound I would hear from the bike when climbing, apart from tire tread on the ground, was the occasional slight scraping sound from my SPD cleats.

    That's great, right? ( Happily the bottom bracket and cranks are in great shape still!)

    No idea what the lubrication interval ought to be. Just going to ride it until the belt requests attention.

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  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Burns View Post
    Success!

    Despite the alleged unhealthy atmosphere here (NorCal smoke), the belt drive Honey Badger was ridden today.

    Upon airing up the slightly soft tubeless tires , and then given the suspension fork squish test, a quick spray of CRC Belt Dressing was applied to the belt.

    Spun the belt around once, and made only one quick pass with the aerosol straw closely aimed at the center track groove. The blue inside of the belt immediately brightened dramatically and gave instant indication of coverage.

    While the ride was only 17 miles and 1700' long, it was definitely long enough to see if the silicone silenced the belt. On the last ride, the belt was squealing when it was put away.

    The drivetrain was absolutely silent. Furthermore, it felt smoother, if than can be possible, because it felt very smooth before.

    Jack doesn't think a chain drive can feel that smooth, even in the best conditions.

    The only sound I would hear from the bike when climbing, apart from tire tread on the ground, was the occasional slight scraping sound from my SPD cleats.

    That's great, right? ( Happily the bottom bracket and cranks are in great shape still!)

    No idea what the lubrication interval ought to be. Just going to ride it until the belt requests attention.
    Awesome! Happy to hear the belt is as maintenance free as the chain.
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    We get old because we quit riding.

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by eri View Post
    I know 3 singlespeeders with belt drive. To me they're like fanatics of 80's lancias, or someone that can't quit a toxic relationship. They love the belt so much but it just betrays them over and over. The inital outlay means its hard to cut their losses.

    When its working it is so great, but from what I've seen it never seems to work for long. They are tragic and heroic at the same time. How many races ruined before you give it up?!!

    This is for riders in the PNW, no idea how it works in other parts of the country. One time I remember the belt broke because a piece of gravel flipped into it.

    I've got a sick sense of humor so while I'm complaining now I'll miss these tragic figures when they have all given up on the belt.
    Eric, I love your analogy of a belt drive single speeder to an 80's Lancia fanatic.

    You're spot on, because I love Italian cars too. LOL, seriously.

    Need to find my Lancia photos!



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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Burns View Post
    Eric, I love your analogy of a belt drive single speeder to an 80's Lancia fanatic.

    You're spot on, because I love Italian cars too. LOL, seriously.

    Need to find my Lancia photos!
    Jack, I love the bar ends and I'm not kidding. All my mountain bikes are outfitted with them and I've got a few bikes. So sad bar ends fell out of vogue but whatever. Mine are on there to stay.
    Them that know, know they know. Them that don't know, don't know they don't know.
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  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparticus View Post
    Jack, I love the bar ends and I'm not kidding. All my mountain bikes are outfitted with them and I've got a few bikes. So sad bar ends fell out of vogue but whatever. Mine are on there to stay.
    Them that know, know they know. Them that don't know, don't know they don't know.
    =sParty
    Belt drive mountain bike single speeds, the 80's Lancia's of the cycling world. Not!

    Lancia's of that era have been seriously clapped out. In 2016 I took a photo of the Lancia grille when I was healing from a bike wreck. The dashboard was off inside the cockpit, and the wiring harness looked like spaghetti. Someone's night mare.

    Here's a pic I pinched from the web of a slammed late model with a roof rack. I geuss Lancia's and single speeds don't really coincide much.

    Hey Eri, sad to hear about your riding buddy who passed away. I'll think about him on my next ride on the Honey Badger.

    My search found an interesting vintage road race photo, which I insert a screen grab from. Link:

    http://www.classiclightweights.co.uk/time-trials.html

  50. #50
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    Do you guys experience any additional difficulty with log-overs and the like with a 46t ring?

  51. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by solo-x View Post
    Do you guys experience any additional difficulty with log-overs and the like with a 46t ring?
    It's a good question.

    Not yet, is the truth. But I have to say it's really a matter of when.

    Sort of like looking at an old drought dried forest and wondering if and when...

    The larger ring is good for optimal belt engagement, as someone said above.

    A chainring bashguard/ or skidplate would provide benefit. But I'm not going to do that... yet.

    One more thing to add:

    A couple of my friends found out I lubed the belt. One is a professional bike mechanic, and the other is a major bike nut, who has a fast light road tandem with a Gates belt.

    They both said don't lube it. Just wash it with soap.

    Told them too late.

    I'm not sorry.

    They both told

  52. #52
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    I ordered a Reeb Titanium single speed bike compatible with belt drive.
    Here some pictures.

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/davidg...57683077026326

    Bike ride amazing but belt drive after first moth, BROKE!!!


  53. #53
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    Wow, great looking bike. By the size of the frame, Im guessing you're a bigger rider with quite a bit of power.
    by Silentfoe
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  54. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zerort View Post
    Wow, great looking bike. By the size of the frame, Im guessing you're a bigger rider with quite a bit of power.
    Belt drive broke last day on 6 days of marathon bike race. I can't finish it.


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  55. #55
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    ^^^^^How much did your bike weigh?
    by Silentfoe
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  56. #56
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    80Kg= 180lb

  57. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by voodood-jab View Post
    80Kg= 180lb
    No, the bike.
    by Silentfoe
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  58. #58
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    Sorry, 11,3kg= 25lb with Maxxis Double Down Tires

  59. #59
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    Wow - Ive got a belt driven commuter with 7,000 miles on it and Ive always wondered if it would make it on the trails. Guess thats an answer.

    Maybe its a lemon?


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  60. #60
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    Which race? Just curious.

  61. #61
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    That's horrible to see a broken Gates belt! Hope it didn't make you crash or something too.

    Maybe I should find a rockring to help protect it. Not saying that's what made that belt break though.

    I wonder, did it give any warning? Or did it spontaneously come apart? Did it make any sound? Were you climbing at the time?

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  62. #62
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    800km (500 miles) with 20.000m of altitude


  63. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Burns View Post
    That's horrible to see a broken Gates belt! Hope it didn't make you crash or something too.

    Maybe I should find a rockring to help protect it. Not saying that's what made that belt break though.

    I wonder, did it give any warning? Or did it spontaneously come apart? Did it make any sound? Were you climbing at the time?

    Sent from my LG-H910 using Tapatalk
    Unfortunately, when belt drive broke I was climbing a very steep climb of 43% and jump like "Superman" and I stop the crash with my wrist.
    Six months later, they continued to hurt me.

  64. #64
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    [QUOTE=Jack Burns;13889056]
    Here's a pic I pinched from the web of a slammed late model with a roof rack. I geuss Lancia's and single speeds don't really coincide much.


    Isn't that a Honda Civic SI?

  65. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by voodood-jab View Post
    800km (500 miles) with 20.000m of altitude

    WOW what a place for a stage race. Ending in hondarriba... that route is a gorgeous part of the world. Forget bcbr.

    And great you were doing it on ss. Sorry this happened to you, not funny even to me.
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  66. #66
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    I use a Onyx hubs single speed boost and are 100% silent hubs.
    Here one video of the first use of my bike



    When I pedaling, belt drive start squicking. I ask to REEB guys about this problem and he recomend clean the belt to dust. I cleaned but after 5 minuts riding the sound reappeared.
    I send an email to Gates USA. They recomend use soap. I did it, but a few miles the sound reappeared. this solution does not work.
    From Gates USA dont recoment lube the belt but recomend use soap???? yes, the do!
    Finally I decide talk with Harley-Davidson bike shop here en Barcelona (Spain). He recomended use a silicon spray, warning me silicon spray works only first miles and the sound reappeared.

    At the end of every stage of the race I clean the belt and use soap to prevent noises (horrible), and in the race I use water. Every 5 miles need clean the belt...

    In other words, Belt drive doesnt work and I dont understand why gates continue selling this product. Maybe works on for road or commuting bikes but NOT to ride MTB.
    I ride MTB EVERY DAY!!!



  67. #67
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    Not a true SS'er but I feel I might chime in and be useful.

    I'm a big belt fan, I have three bikes with Rohloff/belt combo.
    Got the first one 4 years ago , my MTB , same belt since I've built it, never had any trouble (and it's a CDN belt)
    I've put Bash ring on both MTB and Fatbike , because of different spindle length/chainlaine/ etc... I had to put the bashring "inside" on the MTB.
    Does the job.

    The key is CDX center track , absolute perfect chainline , and a frame designed for it.




    https://www.gatescarbondrive.com/fra...l-instructions
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Belt drive experience / recomendations-img_2470.jpg  

    Belt drive experience / recomendations-img_2471.jpg  

    "There is a big difference between kneeling down and bending over" -FZ

  68. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by fokof View Post
    Not a true SS'er but I feel I might chime in and be useful.

    I'm a big belt fan, I have three bikes with Rohloff/belt combo.
    Got the first one 4 years ago , my MTB , same belt since I've built it, never had any trouble (and it's a CDN belt)
    I've put Bash ring on both MTB and Fatbike , because of different spindle length/chainlaine/ etc... I had to put the bashring "inside" on the MTB.
    Does the job.

    The key is CDX center track , absolute perfect chainline , and a frame designed for it.




    https://www.gatescarbondrive.com/fra...l-instructions
    Im use CDX center track too and belt drive and last one month

  69. #69
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    Me enjoying belt drive sound

    https://youtu.be/hsy5J14Q4AE

  70. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by voodood-jab View Post
    Me enjoying belt drive sound

    https://youtu.be/hsy5J14Q4AE

    What happens when you install a new belt? Is it silent? And for how long?

    Too me that sounds like the chain ring is not aligned with the rear cog.

    Belts are very sensitive and have to be aligned perfectly. 2mm will make a big difference.
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  71. #71
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    Belt drive experience / recomendations

    Quote Originally Posted by Zerort View Post
    What happens when you install a new belt? Is it silent? And for how long?

    Too me that sounds like the chain ring is not aligned with the rear cog.

    Belts are very sensitive and have to be aligned perfectly. 2mm will make a big difference.
    I recorded this video after one week of use with all new components.
    Belt perfect aligned and I checked the tension with app and toke my bike to Sea Otter Europe (Gates Carbon was and exhibitor) to check the tension.


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  72. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by voodood-jab View Post
    I recorded this video after one week of use with all new components.
    Belt perdect aligned and I check the tension with app and toke my bike to Sea Otter Europe (Gates Carbon was and exhibitor) to check the tension.


    Enviado desde mi iPhone utilizando Tapatalk
    Gates Carbon Belts suck for mountain bike then!!

    On a side note, here is my incredible and fast road bike with no noise.Belt drive experience / recomendations-belt.jpg
    by Silentfoe
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  73. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zerort View Post
    What happens when you install a new belt? Is it silent? And for how long?

    Too me that sounds like the chain ring is not aligned with the rear cog.

    Belts are very sensitive and have to be aligned perfectly. 2mm will make a big difference.
    When I drop water over belt sound disappear.
    Unfortunately after some miles sounds appear again.


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  74. #74
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    [QUOTE=solo-x;13898488]
    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Burns View Post
    Here's a pic I pinched from the web of a slammed late model with a roof rack. I geuss Lancia's and single speeds don't really coincide much.


    Isn't that a Honda Civic SI?
    Yeah, you're right! I felt bad about that, and figured someone would catch that. What a lame post that was.

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  75. #75
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    About that belt drive MTB squeak. Yeah I know what you mean.

    Since I used the CRC silicone spray the belt has been silent. But I haven't ridden it enough to be conclusive.

    Here's a screenshot from Gates phone app FAQ.


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  76. #76
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    [QUOTE=Jack Burns;13899905]
    Quote Originally Posted by solo-x View Post
    Yeah, you're right! I felt bad about that, and figured someone would catch that. What a lame post that was.

    Sent from my LG-H910 using Tapatalk
    I thought it was funny. Anyway, the folks I'm disrespecting don't like the awesome cool old lancias from the 60s, they had multiple rusted lancia beta scorpions. They might have one running and always on the lookout for another parts car. Was tragic. At the time you could get a cheap ferrari but these schmucks had incurable romance for the lancias. Tragic.

    Search for Lancia beta scorpion and then imagine it rusty and with a cracked windscreen, and the pale guy that's too in love to give up on it. To tie this back to belt drive - yep, that's the closest analogy I can come up with.
    the truth is always a gift because it offers the recipient of that information the chance to change the outcome - Grace Choi

  77. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Burns View Post
    About that belt drive MTB squeak. Yeah I know what you mean.

    Since I used the CRC silicone spray the belt has been silent. But I haven't ridden it enough to be conclusive.

    Here's a screenshot from Gates phone app FAQ.


    Sent from my LG-H910 using Tapatalk
    Repeat, spray disappears after a few miles.

  78. #78
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    I've been subscribed to this thread since the beginning and have found it fascinating.

    Voodood-jab, sorry to hear about your frustration over noise with the belt. I've been scratching my head about your situation, wondering why it's affected your bike while others have enjoyed a better experience. Then I read this thread on MTBR's Plus Forum about a very nice pinion/belt bike. Its owner loves the belt.

    Upon looking at the photos in that thread, I was surprised at the relative size of the rear belt cog compared to the size of the ring -- the cog seems nearly the same size as the ring. It occurred to me that a larger radius on both might make for a better belt engagement experience which might reduce or eliminate noise. Do you suppose there could be any benefit to the notion of increasing your cog & ring size?
    =sParty
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    We get old because we quit riding.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparticus View Post
    I've been subscribed to this thread since the beginning and have found it fascinating.

    Voodood-jab, sorry to hear about your frustration over noise with the belt. I've been scratching my head about your situation, wondering why it's affected your bike while others have enjoyed a better experience. Then I read this thread on MTBR's Plus Forum about a very nice pinion/belt bike. Its owner loves the belt.

    Upon looking at the photos in that thread, I was surprised at the relative size of the rear belt cog compared to the size of the ring -- the cog seems nearly the same size as the ring. It occurred to me that a larger radius on both might make for a better belt engagement experience which might reduce or eliminate noise. Do you suppose there could be any benefit to the notion of increasing your cog & ring size?
    =sParty
    With chain I running 32x23 and with belt drive I use 42x28, same gear ratio

  80. #80
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    Quote Originally Posted by voodood-jab View Post
    Repeat, spray disappears after a few miles.
    I was getting a decent amount of squeekless riding in with each application of silicone spray. I ride dry dusty Australia. The problem for me was that I was then lubing the belt more frequently than I would a chain drive which defeated the zero to no maintenance attraction of going belt drive.

  81. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by voodood-jab View Post
    With chain I running 32x23 and with belt drive I use 42x28, same gear ratio
    Uh, that is not the same ratio. Sorry
    by Silentfoe
    I'm satisfied knowing that what I wear during my "day" job makes me more of a man than you'll ever be.

  82. #82
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zerort View Post
    Uh, that is not the same ratio. Sorry
    Sorry, 39x28 with belt drive

  83. #83
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    Quote Originally Posted by shwinboy View Post
    I was getting a decent amount of squeekless riding in with each application of silicone spray. I ride dry dusty Australia. The problem for me was that I was then lubing the belt more frequently than I would a chain drive which defeated the zero to no maintenance attraction of going belt drive.
    That's what I am thinking too!

    A chain can run really close to dead silent. So there's not much advantage in the noise department about a belt drive.

    Another fact is it is expensive and limited to change ratios with a belt drive. Heck, at brand new retail, the belt and cogs cost as much as a new bike frame.

    So yeah, there's not enough positive about belt drive to switch.

    Add in that guy who experienced a broken belt, and it is apparent that chains are more reliable.

    One true positive is that a belt is lighter than a chain. But really, it's not a big deal.

    Still, I'm going to continue to enjoy riding the belt drive. It definitely rides nice and smooth on my set-up.



    Sent from my LG-H910 using Tapatalk

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