Throwing in the towel, Belt drive.- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Throwing in the towel, Belt drive.

    After 3 years and 2 spot brand SS I am giving up on belt drive. I love the system when its working without noise. Lately though its been noisy. Its a pain to change cogs as well and belt tension is hard to get right. It was a fine romance while it lasted, but the honeymoon is over and I'm going back to the Chain.
    Any thoughts?
    "Once you have had a wonderful dog, a life without one, is a life diminished."...Dean Koontz

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by b2b2 View Post
    After 3 years and 2 spot brand SS I am giving up on belt drive. I love the system when its working without noise. Lately though its been noisy. Its a pain to change cogs as well and belt tension is hard to get right. It was a fine romance while it lasted, but the honeymoon is over and I'm going back to the Chain.
    Any thoughts?
    The concept always sounded great, but the reality always sounded the way you described it above.

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  3. #3
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    I have always been interested in the belt, but I would love to have it on my townie or commuter bike. I lacked to see the use on a MTB.

  4. #4
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    It's tough to beat the tried and true chain invention, not sure what the big deal is either. If your chain is clean and lubed, it is very quiet. I usually spray some degreaser on it after each ride, hose it off, relube and it's good to go. Off course if you don't have to be quite as anal as me, just ride, even if dirty, it's still hard to beat. Cheep too.

    Similar the the PF30 vs English BB comparision. I'm still o'l school with a lot of this stuff.

    Mojo

  5. #5
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    Yeah, reminds me of the Cannondale head shock experiment. I loved the idea of the head shock, but in practice is just didn't work out. Tons of problems.

    I guess it's similar with belt drive...

  6. #6
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    The new center track system is supposed to be better, requires less tension and actual tension isn't as critical. Also there's a frame flex tester to qualify if the frame is stiff enough to support belt drive. It's still a work in progress, hard to beat a chain.

  7. #7
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    Do you have the center track or the old style? Heard bad things about the old style, but this would be about the first major criticism I've heard about center track . . . if you have center track.

  8. #8
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    I have the older style, but my friend has center track. He snapped the belt the first month he had it.
    "Once you have had a wonderful dog, a life without one, is a life diminished."...Dean Koontz

  9. #9
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    I'm going on 3 years with a Longboard belt and using the same belt still. (live in the mtns so winter riding is not really happening) I believe in them. I have a friend who is working on his 2ed summer with the centertrack with no problems. I'm not of the belt is the best and only way to go crowd, but it has worked out well for me. If you take the time to figure out the right chain tugs to use as the stock Spot ones suck a** (I don't have the new sliders that make it even easier to adjust tension) and use a thru axle instead of QR your problems should be less than they are with a chain. My wife has been through 2 cogs and 1 chain on her SS and I'm still working on the same belt and cogs. I ride a XL frame and weigh 210lbs so maybe it's just the flyweights that are having issues.
    you can get passed a dog... nobody fuks with a lion

  10. #10
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    I have the Spot Rocker with the sliding drops, King Hub with fun bolts. The belt cog has to be run as far outboard as posable. So much easier than the old style, but still a big PIA! Belt tension and alinement has to be just right or the belt skips or makes noise. I have tried to stick with the same size cog always but some riding needs a higher gear. Chain drive is much easier to deal with and much less expensive.
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  11. #11
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    Awesome looking bike, but you have the old one. Not the center track.

  12. #12
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    Yeah I know. I have the newer frame with the sliding drops. As posted before I have the old style belt. My friend has the center track and has not been thrilled by it.
    Last edited by b2b2; 05-23-2012 at 04:31 PM.
    "Once you have had a wonderful dog, a life without one, is a life diminished."...Dean Koontz

  13. #13
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    I don't want to be "that guy", but I still think that belt drives are a solution to a non problem. A chain is cheaper, easy to adjust and setup, repairable and durable. Try a KMC Z610HX. Add a set of Surly cog and chainring and your're ready to go.
    Belt drive is an interesting idea, but just the setup alone makes me run away. IMHO, just too many downsides that overcome it's advantages over a chain

  14. #14
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    "Once you have had a wonderful dog, a life without one, is a life diminished."...Dean Koontz

  15. #15
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    breaking the frame to insert the belt was a bit of a deal breaker for me.

  16. #16
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    The belt limits your cog/chainwheel options, robs chainring clearance, is expensive as shizz compared to chains, and doesn't really bring any mind blowing benefits to the table. I never saw it as a compelling "upgrade" for a SS MTB. Townie SS or IGH bike? Now that's the niche for belt drives.
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  17. #17
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    I guess some people who initially saw belts as an upgrade never actually tried a setup like the one I specified on my previous post.
    Those steel cogs and a sturdy chain can last a long long time. And they are not that much sensitive to lubrification. Many riders, myself included, have riden hundreds of kilometers on this setup without nearly any oil left, without negative consequences.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ze_Zaskar View Post
    I guess some people who initially saw belts as an upgrade never actually tried a setup like the one I specified on my previous post.
    Those steel cogs and a sturdy chain can last a long long time. And they are not that much sensitive to lubrification. Many riders, myself included, have riden hundreds of kilometers on this setup without nearly any oil left, without negative consequences.
    Word. A good quality chain with good cogs/rings is pretty hard to be beat for simplicity, reliability, and repair-ability. It's easy to set up as well, cheap, and proven.

  19. #19
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    I've been running the snot out of my Center track system since late last year. I had to adjust the tension on the belt after my first serious trail ride and have not touched it since. The tension is much lower than the old system required and mine has not ratcheted once either. Its been very quiet too. I was at Brown County State Park over the weekend and put a hard 70 miles of single track on it . I'm giving it to the end of the year before I declare it a winner but so far it is.
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  20. #20
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    Just for curiosity, how's the behaviour of the center track with mud/rain/gravel and small rocks?

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by b2b2 View Post
    I have the Spot Rocker with the sliding drops, King Hub with fun bolts. The belt cog has to be run as far outboard as posable. So much easier than the old style, but still a big PIA! Belt tension and alinement has to be just right or the belt skips or makes noise. I have tried to stick with the same size cog always but some riding needs a higher gear. Chain drive is much easier to deal with and much less expensive.
    Don't know what to tell you other than your not doing something right. Yes the cog is on the outside of the freewheel, but I don't see how that is a PIA. Running the outside plate/guide could be hangin you up, also I run the larger chainring which I've heard helps with tension vs. skipping issues some people have. There are a lot of belt drives up where I live in CO. everyone I've seen is on a single speed. I've ridden mine in CB on 401 and Deer Creek as well as sections of the CO. trail out of Summit cty, and in Eagle with no issues at all. (knock on wood I guess) I run a DT Swiss 240 hub, the OEM cranks and BB (replaced stock bearings with Phil Wood ones) Chain ring clearance is fine and have no issues with alignment. On long rides where I wouldn't want to walk home from I carry an extra belt in my pack. It's just a light as a chain tool. Sorry it didn't work out for you, but at least you have a kick ass ride no matter how you set it up.
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  22. #22
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    I have 0 experience on belt systems but I can see what the benefits might be. Lets hear from those that live and in nasty climes. Mud, snow, slush, road grime, grit, sand. You know, the sh!t that destroys all drive trains in short order.
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ze_Zaskar View Post
    Just for curiosity, how's the behaviour of the center track with mud/rain/gravel and small rocks?
    How is the behavior? For me it's just been working as well as a chain does in the same environment. The Grand Finale to top off my year of MTB riding will be the 100 miler at the Brown County Breakdown this year. If I make past that I think I would say the Centertrack is a good option for the single speed.

    While not more expensive a typical year is wearing out two to three chains, adjustment time for wear and chain lube.
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ze_Zaskar View Post
    Just for curiosity, how's the behaviour of the center track with mud/rain/gravel and small rocks?
    I ride in the slop and chop of the north east and my belt handles the mud and winter time crap really well. my mtb is belt drive and my road bike is belt drive. like others have stated it does take some time and patience to set up. running the old system not the center track.
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  25. #25
    moe.
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    Been running a Center Track Belt on a Spot Rocker. Had some noise due to excessive dust climate. Gates Co. recommended spraying the belt with water and applying some silicon spray. I know if you have to use a silicon spray how is that better than a chain and lube. Its not its just different. Also I only had to apply the silicon spray once and it ha lasted many rides. Would I convert chain set up to belt? Probably not but given the choice between when starting from scratch I will take the belt. I should also mention the Spot Rocker frame is my favorite SS frame to date having been owned a Rig, Niner Sir 9, Ventana and Siren Trauco.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Juanmoretime View Post
    How is the behavior? For me it's just been working as well as a chain does in the same environment. The Grand Finale to top off my year of MTB riding will be the 100 miler at the Brown County Breakdown this year. If I make past that I think I would say the Centertrack is a good option for the single speed.

    While not more expensive a typical year is wearing out two to three chains, adjustment time for wear and chain lube.
    You really go through 2 or 3 chains? I am on the same rear cog and chain for 3 straight years. Had to change the front ring due to a crank arm that I broke. Just replaced the whole crank. Last year did 3500 miles , this year already 2500 all single track. FYI - chain has not grown in a really long time

  27. #27
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    Been running a Rocker SS for almost a year now with the Gates CenterTrack system. Not sure on mileage, but the belt has been nothing but a dream. I could not have run the old system. WAY too many issues and it was ugly too. The new stuff actually looks like it is made for bikes not my small block chevy engine.

    In poor conditions, it does great. Kind of cleans itself and pushes stuff out of the system to where it is a non-issue. Doesn't stretch, no "dead-spot" where a chain would hang etc. I have played around with different sprockets and belt lengths so have gotten quite good at the set up. Took some time to get used to. Now the set up isn't an issue.

    If you have ever been curious with the belt stuff, its a good time to try - the issues with the first attempt seem to have been addressed with the new edition. Chains are fine. They've been working well for a long time... but the belt works so much better. Luckily there is a frame (Spot Rocker) that has the 29er geometry figured out that I can run the belt on.

  28. #28
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    Got mine last month it was perfect I love it. Spot Brand is the best for customer support and quality bikes. Mine started to make crackling noises on my last ride, But Its most likely due to me (the user) not setting it up right. I tried a few things, but I'm a novice so I Will contact Spot/Gates and report for support, I'm sure its something stupid that they can address for me..
    Last edited by rob1208lv; 01-14-2013 at 10:37 AM.
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  29. #29
    moe.
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    Silicon is the solution

    Quote Originally Posted by rob1208lv View Post
    Got mine last month it was perfect I love it. Spot Brand is the best for customer support and quality bikes. Mine started to make crackling noises on my last ride, But Its most likely due to me (the user) not setting it up right. I tried a few things, but I'm a novice so I Will contact Spot/Gates and report for support, I'm sure its something stupid that they can address for me..
    After cleaning treating with silicon will last many rides. With a chain in my dusty desert conditions I would have to wipe doen and lube pretty much every ride. With the belt I can pretty forget about maintenance except cleaning the stanchion tubes on my fork
    "These people take a dump thatís a bigger difference than the a 5 Spot and a Blur LTc." DT

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by rob1208lv View Post
    Got mine last month it was perfect I love it. Spot Brand is the best for customer support and quality bikes. Mine started to make crackling noises on my last ride, But Its most likely due to me (the user) not setting it up right. I tried a few things, but I'm a novice so I Will contact Spot/Gates and report for support, I'm sure its something stupid that they can address for me..
    ******UPDATE******

    I called customer Support over at Spot Brand Bikes, Talked to Ian. Ian Hooked me up, we determined it wasn't the Belt at all, but something much more simple, A loose cog. After tightening that sucker up I went on a long 55miler and not a creature was stirring not even a belt.
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  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by rob1208lv View Post
    ******UPDATE******

    I called customer Support over at Spot Brand Bikes, Talked to Ian. Ian Hooked me up, we determined it wasn't the Belt at all, but something much more simple, A loose cog. After tightening that sucker up I went on a long 55miler and not a creature was stirring not even a belt.
    Woohoo glad to hear that there was a good fix. now enjoy the bike..
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  32. #32
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    Belt novice here. A buddy of mine ordered the ti rocker a few months ago still waiting... anyways I have read the belt can be damaged just by improperly handling it. How does that translate to on-bike trail use, especially on rocky and log-over strewn bash guard breaker trails? I have personally bent a few BBGs over the years in these parts. Is the gates chainring a larger diameter for a comparable 32T ring? thanks

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spinning Lizard View Post
    You really go through 2 or 3 chains? I am on the same rear cog and chain for 3 straight years. Had to change the front ring due to a crank arm that I broke. Just replaced the whole crank. Last year did 3500 miles , this year already 2500 all single track. FYI - chain has not grown in a really long time

    I only get about 500 miles out of a chain, which I change out out 75%. I ride about 2500 miles a year so I go through a lot of chains. Maybe I am doing something wrong, this is the reason I am reading this thread.

  34. #34
    blet drive
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    yes get a bash ring.. salsa makes a nice one that i have been smashing the snot out of the last 2 seasons on my belted ss..
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  35. #35
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    I've got the Spot Rocker with the center drive. Its been great so far....

  36. #36
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    I spent 3500.00 on a trek district carbon belt drive after 3 months thru the belt drive in the trash < It SUCKED BAD !!! chains are better

  37. #37
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    On a SS you can run the chain to a lot more wear vs. a geared bike. Depending on conditions I have gotten between 500 and 1500 miles out of chain. Based on conversations it sounds like others get far more. I replace when my Park CC-2 chain checker reads just past 1% wear. Beyond that point there is risk that the increase in chain pitch will damage the cogs plus there is increased risk of having the chain snap.



    I have also tested and confirmed reports that KMC chains last a bit longer then SRAM for single speed usage.

    Recently I have been using my monster chain a lot because in the winter there is lots of abrasive mud that increases chain wear. So far very little wear with this chain. The monster chain is overkill but that's the way I roll.


    Belt drive is interesting but not very well proven. Most if not all off road motorcycles use chains rather then belts. Also a chain will be more efficient in terms of power transmission and I like metal. Someday I might try out belt but I am not in any rush.
    Last edited by febikes; 01-31-2013 at 10:51 AM.

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