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Old 05-12-03, 07:34 AM   #1
shaharidan
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has there ever been a belt drive?

this occured to me the other night for some reason. has anyone ever used a belt drive on a bicycle? it might be difficult with gears, but would work for single speed bikes.
harley davidson uses a belt drive on there bikes, they claim the belts have a longer life then chains and don't stretch.
maybe there would be some slippage even on a belt with teeth that would make the system less efficient?
anyone ever seen or thought about doing this? it would probably wiegh less than a chain and avoid sprocket wear. i bet if people put some thought into it they could probably even make it work with gears.
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Old 05-12-03, 07:40 AM   #2
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Yes.

One of the Moultons featured a belt drive and I think a few folders flirted with it from time to time to address the cleanliness issue. David Gordon Wilson of Bicycling Science has experimented with them but they simply are not as efficient as chain drive. Plus, I think he had problems with slippage with smaller rear drive pulleys.

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Old 05-12-03, 07:44 AM   #3
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Unfortunately there has been. The Strida plastic bike used one. The bike is a total monstrosity in every way.

Maybe there are some composite materials which would be adaquate for a belt, used together with a hub gear system.
Motorbikes have power to waste on transmission losses, and the gearing is used to lower the revs from the engine, the complete opposite of bicycles.
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Old 05-12-03, 07:44 AM   #4
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ahh well i figured efficiency might be the issue, neat idea if they could work that out.
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Old 05-12-03, 08:01 AM   #5
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Originally posted by shaharidan
ahh well i figured efficiency might be the issue, neat idea if they could work that out.


OK.


Now what about SHAFT DRIVE?
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Old 05-12-03, 08:25 AM   #6
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definite efficiency loss in shaft drive, atleast if its set up like it is on cars and motorcycles. since its not direct drive from the pedal to the rear well you lose efficiency. with a belt it atleast be direct drive, the efficiency loss would occur with belt slippage.
i suppose a shaft drive that was set up similar to old steam locomotives would be direct drive, but im not sure how it could be done, i also imagine peddling might feel very strange also. and no idea if its effecient or not, be a neat experiment though.
wish i had a full service machine shop in my basement to try this stuff out

o a full service machine shop, and a ton more time and ability
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Old 05-12-03, 09:04 AM   #7
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Shaft drive was introduced in the late 1890s:
http://www.jimlangley.net/brake/columbia02.html
http://ah.bfn.org/h/pierce/pierce/

A few companies continue to pursue the design:
http://www.sussex.com.tw/se2.htm

Two brands being marketed with it:
http://www.amis-intl.com/bikeindex.html
http://www.chainlessbikecompany.co.uk/mainframe.htm
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Old 05-12-03, 11:08 AM   #8
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I have a shaft drive bike from the late1890's hanging in my shop. Belongs to the store owner.
By the way a toothed belt on a toothed pulley does not slip. They are also efficent and quiet. That is why just about any car built in the last 15 years uses one for a timing belt rather than chain or gear drive.
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Old 05-12-03, 11:12 AM   #9
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Jericho bicycles produces a frame that is compatible with both a chain drive and a belt drive. The rear triangle of the frame has a place at the dropout where the frame comes apart to slip the belt onto the system. It is only offered in their single speed setup but I have heard that it is pretty cool. Check it out here. http://www.jerichobicycles.com/html/..._leadfoot.html
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Old 05-12-03, 11:25 AM   #10
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Do you think it would be possible to create a metal free bike? I always thought the drive train would be the limiting factor. This belt drive seems to solve that.
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Old 05-12-03, 11:32 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by livngood
Shaft drive was introduced in the late 1890s:
http://www.jimlangley.net/brake/columbia02.html
http://ah.bfn.org/h/pierce/pierce/

A few companies continue to pursue the design:
http://www.sussex.com.tw/se2.htm

Two brands being marketed with it:
http://www.amis-intl.com/bikeindex.html
http://www.chainlessbikecompany.co.uk/mainframe.htm


Wow....funky. I was joking too!


Be worth buying one, just to confuse folk...
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Old 05-12-03, 11:34 AM   #12
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Ive thought about that for a beach and surf bike. You can get good teflon plastic bearings, but may have problems figuring out how to attatch things without metal threads.
You would also have to discard any metal-based sizing standards for components.
You could probably make a good low-performance fun bike, but nothing that would compete in a race.
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Old 05-13-03, 01:44 AM   #13
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You can still find belt drive bicycles in Japan. For commuters, they have another advantage of being clean. Tokyo commuters who bicycle to the train station and then to work, don't mess around with changing clothes after the commute. The wear their office clothes from home to work and back.

The belt drive doesn't use oil, thus reducing the risk of having clothing getting soiled from a greasy chain AND clothing does not get ruined in the chain/chainring if a belt drive is used.

Belt drives are used on single, three, five, and seven speed internal hubs.
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Old 05-16-03, 12:33 AM   #14
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Saw one once in a Mercedes dealers when I took my car in for a service. I was looking at it, and the salesman said take it for a ride around the lot. I did. Impressions? Total, utter sh1t. Mercedes should stick to what they do best, make cars. Maybe they had this bike made for them but wherever it came from, crap it was and crap it still is.

I enquired about the life of the belt. Reply? Not too long but we carry spares in stock.

Great sales pitch.
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Old 05-17-03, 03:55 PM   #15
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I saw someone riding a shaft-drive bike at the Liverpool Cycle Show a couple of years ago. EERILY quiet!!
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Old 05-17-03, 05:29 PM   #16
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Actually, the first recorded pedal bike was a shaft drive, if it can be called that, (It was propelled by either treadles or a hand crank) and was mentioned in the press in 1842. A man (believed to possibly be Kirkpatrick MacMillan) was arrested in Glasgow for driving on the sidewalk and knocking over a child, and he claimed to have come 40 miles.

Many old tricycles, bicycles and quadricycles attempted shaft drive with treadles.
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Old 05-17-03, 06:32 PM   #17
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check the american bicycle museum [run a search]you'll easily find there web site
I believe there was a belt drive in the late 1800's?even a shaft drive bicycle late 1800's
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Old 05-17-03, 08:16 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by captsven
Do you think it would be possible to create a metal free bike? I always thought the drive train would be the limiting factor. This belt drive seems to solve that.
Because of its metal (I assume) axles, the Strida (www.strida.com) falls just a few percentage points short of your stated goal. Michael W has already commented on it in this thread. It's a great bike if you don't do hills, don't cover more than a mile or two at a time, are not in a hurry, and don't weigh more than 165lbs/75kg. Alot of boat owners like them for cruising around the docks or for quick errands, and they probably make sense for some train or bus commuters, as well. It might be tough to trigger a traffic signal loop detector with one. At 10kg, I think I'll keep my Bianchi, instead.
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Old 05-17-03, 08:34 PM   #19
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In "The Bicycle" by Pryor Dodge there are some wooden and bamboo framed bikes. Still lugged with steel and there are other metal parts as well.
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Old 05-19-03, 01:08 AM   #20
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A BBC programme called the Antiques Roadshow interviewed the owner of one of the last remaining wooden frame bikes in the UK. The valuation given on the bike was a whopping 7000 or about $10000. It is still rideable.

As a work of art - it was incredible.
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Old 11-01-04, 12:37 PM   #21
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There has been a belt drive that works just as well as a chain - check out the new Space Savin iXi bike - www.ixibike.com
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Old 11-01-04, 01:36 PM   #22
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Do you think it would be possible to create a metal free bike?
Did y'all hear about how Audi was working on a way to make belt-drive more efficient. Belt-drives are what allow continuously-variable transmissions (CVTs) to work. (it's the only kind of transmission available on the toyota prius and is available on some other recent cars.) Audi apparently put a metal chain of some sort inside the belt used in their CVT. CVTs and belt drives in general are better suited to cars, though, because cars have more power and more loss of power in the transmission than bikes. Bicycle chains are quite efficient power-transfer devices and I don't think it's worthwhile in most bicycling situations to replace chains with something else. If you don't want a chain, you could always buy a highwheeler though.
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Old 11-01-04, 01:53 PM   #23
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A belt or shaft drive would work perfectly fine with an internally geared hub. Remember in a Harley the belt is not part of the transmission system. The belt only transfers power from the transmission to the rear wheel and does not change gears itself. On a bike, the chain is actually part of the transmission - it moves from one chainring to another or from cog-to-cog in the back. A chain is efficient because it does not stretch along it's long axis in normal use, but the joints between the links let it angle a little bit between rings and cogs (look at your chain when it's on the big ring in front and the biggest cassette in the back, for example). This would not work as well with a belt drive. Belts can be designed to not stretch - such as in a Harley motorcycle - but they would not allow much angle when changing gears. Also, there is no removable link in a belt - they are continuous. To get a new belt on a motorcycle you have to remove the pulleys on which the belt rests - a huge job. Cetainly one could design a belt to meet all the needs of a bicycle but it would probably be very chain-like! Why not use the real thing which is light, efficient, and can be removed without taking off your crank and rear cassette?
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Old 11-01-04, 04:26 PM   #24
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I wonder if an all-plastic bike would float...?
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Old 11-02-04, 09:33 AM   #25
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I wonder if an all-plastic bike would float...?
Probably. But the real question is, would it float well enough to keep the rider's head above water?

Personally, I want a bike that has those big swimming-pool-doughnut floats for tires, so I can ride on water.
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