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    direct drive?

    Anyone here ever actually ride one of those chainless direct drive bikes? Lots of us here are fans of internal hubs (no muss, no fuss) and totally enclosed chains (no dirty pants). Direct drive seems like a logical extension of that philosophy. Anyone had any recent practical experience with such an animal?

    thx

    -gb

    p.s. still waiting for my 07 breezer

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    I think belt drive is a better solution.

    But, no, haven't ridden either.
    I don't even use the offensive term "Fred." -- Sheldon "All Cyclists Are My Friends" Brown (1944-2008)

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    Cigar Smokin' Cyclist Travelin' Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gbrandt
    Anyone here ever actually ride one of those chainless direct drive bikes?
    Yes.

    Momentum is my only friend.

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    500 Watts kill.cactus's Avatar
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    I have. What many criticize them for is that they usually add a ton of weight and also it is mechanically less efficient.

    I think Sheldon Brown said the mechanically less efficient thing, so it is probably something to consider.

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    Gone, but not forgotten Sheldon Brown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gbrandt
    Anyone here ever actually ride one of those chainless direct drive bikes? Lots of us here are fans of internal hubs (no muss, no fuss) and totally enclosed chains (no dirty pants). Direct drive seems like a logical extension of that philosophy. Anyone had any recent practical experience with such an animal?
    Direct drive has been obsolete since the 1890s when the chain drive came in. With direct drive, you need a huge front wheel to get any sort of reasonable "gearing." These bikes were very dangerous mainly because the rider sat so high off the ground.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kill.cactus
    I have. What many criticize them for is that they usually add a ton of weight and also it is mechanically less efficient.

    I think Sheldon Brown said the mechanically less efficient thing, so it is probably something to consider.

    What's been your experience with it vs. a chain drive bike?

    Weight is relative. My commuter has fenders, rack, kickstand etc. I'm not trying to win a stage or a century, just get around town without hassles, having to change shoes & dirty pants...

    -g

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    Until you crash, a prone position with direct drive on the rear wheel could be fun, and fast! Like a 'bent only the other way...

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    Not to throw off the OP but I was wondering if you may have meant the shaft drives, rather than direct drive?

    Something like the ones manufactured by

    Sussex

    and marketed in the states by someone like

    Dynamic


    From my understanding, you lose quite a it of energy because you are translating the force from turning the cranks twice. Once perpendicularly to the shaft and a second time perpendicularly to the cassette. Works just like the drive shaft on a car, but a car can afford to waste the energy because it's not running on granola bars, if you get my drift.

    Probably a good idea for simplicity, if you really need that over efficiency, but it can only be added to a bike custom built for it.

    Here's a couple of links on Wikipedia. I remember they did a short piece on the shaft-driven bicycle on the Today show about a year back, but I can't find a copy anywhere. It was the typical fluff / marketing piece, so I doubt it would do much good for actual hands-on feel.

    Shaft-driven bicycle
    Belt-driven bicycle

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sheldon Brown
    Direct drive has been obsolete since the 1890s when the chain drive came in. With direct drive, you need a huge front wheel to get any sort of reasonable "gearing." These bikes were very dangerous mainly because the rider sat so high off the ground.

    Sheldon "Chain Drive Is Best" Brown
    Maybe we're not talking about the same thing? Here's an example: http://www.dynamicbicycles.com/. Not sure what you mean by "too high off the ground". Or maybe I was too vague - "shaft drive" is also another way I've heard these bikes being described.

    Sorry if I caused any confusion.

    -gb

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    A few words in General recently: http://bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=191150

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    Quote Originally Posted by gbrandt
    Maybe we're not talking about the same thing? Here's an example: http://www.dynamicbicycles.com/. Not sure what you mean by "too high off the ground". Or maybe I was too vague - "shaft drive" is also another way I've heard these bikes being described.
    That is NOT direct drive any more than a chain drive is. Shaft drive has only been obsolete since about 1900.

    See: http://sheldonbrown.com/gloss_sa-o.html#shaft

    Don't get suckered in by this snake oil.

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    What about belt-driven?
    That seems pretty cool, if not totally required.

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    Senior Member Sci-Fi's Avatar
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    I've only seen shaft drives on display. One would think just adding a chain case or a simple chain guard would address most concerns over getting pants dirty or snagged.

    Don't know how easy it is to change a flat either on a shaft drive system.

    Personally I would rather stay with the traditional chain system. It's cheap and easy to maintain, plus you can change the gearing (cassette or freewheel) or sprocket (internal hub) or chainwheel/chainring to better fit your terrain/requirements.

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    I heard that belt drive and shafties are popular among the stereotypically fastidious Japanese.
    I don't even use the offensive term "Fred." -- Sheldon "All Cyclists Are My Friends" Brown (1944-2008)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sheldon Brown

    Don't get suckered in by this snake oil.

    Sheldon "Chains" Brown

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

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    the thing with all this nonsense is none of it comes close to being as efficient as a good old well oiled chain. if it did companies would jump all over it...

    you think they ain't riding the tour de france on the best most efficient equipment currently made?

    as for maintenance, if you go singlespeed all your worries go out the window. air up the tires oil the chain once a month and your good... don't see how you can make it much simpler than that.
    - the revolution will not be motorized -

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    OK ok...how about a shaft-drive bicycle with airless tires? How totally retro-in an 1895 sort of way...

    Tony

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    Quote Originally Posted by mastershake916
    What about belt-driven?
    That seems pretty cool, if not totally required.
    A couple of problems with that:

    Won't work with a conventional frame, because the belt can't be opened and closed to fit it through the rear triangle.

    You can't customize the gearing by installing a different size sprocket.

    Seems to me like a "solution in search of a problem."

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    I think belt drive would work pretty good for SS and internal hubs. As for opening/closing the belt,I'm sure they could make some kind of tape/glue solution for this. There are emergency repair kits for Harley Davidson belt drives. If they can make something to handle the stresses of a high-torque motorcycle engine,handling the stress of a human-powered drivetrain shouldn't be a problem. Another solution might be to build a bike frame with a removable(bolt-off) chainstay section,or even a frame without a righthand chainstay or rerouted chainstay. Ducati has fielded motorcycles with single-sided swingarms for years,a comparable bicycle frame shouldn't be that hard to create.

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    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dynaryder
    I think belt drive would work pretty good for SS and internal hubs. As for opening/closing the belt,I'm sure they could make some kind of tape/glue solution for this. There are emergency repair kits for Harley Davidson belt drives. If they can make something to handle the stresses of a high-torque motorcycle engine,handling the stress of a human-powered drivetrain shouldn't be a problem. Another solution might be to build a bike frame with a removable(bolt-off) chainstay section,or even a frame without a righthand chainstay or rerouted chainstay. Ducati has fielded motorcycles with single-sided swingarms for years,a comparable bicycle frame shouldn't be that hard to create.
    If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
    Unless it's engineering for engineering's sake, then why bother messing with an already great design?
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainCool
    A few words in General recently: http://bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=191150
    I certainly don't want to be the one to disagree with Sheldon but, from some of the responses in the thread referred to above, the Dynamic bikes don't seem to be getting many bad reviews.

    Going back to the point of the OP, people seem willing to accept a slightly heavier, slightly less efficient internally geared hub for the sake of simplicity and easy maintainance. Why then, would they not consider a slightly heavier, slightly less efficient shaft-driven bicycle for the same reasons?

    Having never ridden one, it seems like it would be great for low-maintainance commuting.

    Jalopy

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    I picked up a Dekra D-Drive recently to check it out for myself--under the pretense of getting it for my wife. Didn't want to invest as much as a Dynamic and the Dekra came in at about half the price. The quality was better than I expected, but it seems these days the "department store quality" bikes continue to get better. The bike employs a helical geared shaft drive coupled to a Shimano nexus 3spd internal hub; after reviewing the instructions it appears that removing the wheel for truing and patching will be far easier than I had expected. No involved procedure just remove the shifter and unbolt the wheel; the wheel and "pinion" gear slides free of the chainstay/driveshaft housing combination. Dekra's drivetrain warranty is lifetime as I read on the website--I quess they assume most of the bikes will see a majority of their days hanging in the garage. Their loss; my gain. Performance isn't terrrible, and is comparible to my 16" Dahon folder with a 3spd hub despite the fact that shaft-drive bike is heavier with terrible low pressure mtn tires and power-robbing, bouncy front suspension fork. Overall, it was a worthy addition to the collection. In the near future I intend to install an electric assist, basket, and panniers to turn it into a work bike for around town.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jalopy
    I certainly don't want to be the one to disagree with Sheldon but, from some of the responses in the thread referred to above, the Dynamic bikes don't seem to be getting many bad reviews.

    Going back to the point of the OP, people seem willing to accept a slightly heavier, slightly less efficient internally geared hub for the sake of simplicity and easy maintainance. Why then, would they not consider a slightly heavier, slightly less efficient shaft-driven bicycle for the same reasons?

    Having never ridden one, it seems like it would be great for low-maintainance commuting.
    As I wrote on my Website, the internal gear hub issue is a red herring.

    As to shaft drive vs totally enclosed chain drive, there is zero advantage to the shaft system, and it makes maintenance harder due to the difficulty of removing the rear wheel. That's why this system was abandoned over 100 years ago.

    You're adding weight and decreasing efficiency for no benefit whatsoever.

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    Last edited by Sheldon Brown; 02-28-07 at 02:30 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sheldon Brown
    A couple of problems with that:

    Won't work with a conventional frame, because the belt can't be opened and closed to fit it through the rear triangle.

    You can't customize the gearing by installing a different size sprocket.

    Seems to me like a "solution in search of a problem."

    Sheldon "Chains" Brown
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    |                                --Elbert Hubbard       |
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    If you get the chainstay up so that it doesn't go through the belt, you're OK. Ixibike folding belt drive:

    http://www.ixibike.com/

    "Lose the greasy chain"

    or a more "normal" option:

    http://www.deltacycle.com/product.php?g=69

    I like it, but I'm also happy with The Greasy Chain...
    I don't even use the offensive term "Fred." -- Sheldon "All Cyclists Are My Friends" Brown (1944-2008)

  25. #25
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sheldon Brown
    A couple of problems with that:

    Won't work with a conventional frame, because the belt can't be opened and closed to fit it through the rear triangle.

    You can't customize the gearing by installing a different size sprocket.

    Seems to me like a "solution in search of a problem."

    Sheldon "Chains" Brown
    Code:
    +-------------------------------------------------------+
    |     It is better to be victimized occasionally,       |
    |    than to go through life filled with suspicion.     |
    |                                --Elbert Hubbard       |
    +-------------------------------------------------------+
    Let me just add.

    You need a special tool to join a detached belt. Big and Heavy compared to a chain breaker. Or any bike tools.
    Bending all that rubber around a corner all the time takes a lot of power.

    It's tough to get the tension you need to keep the belt working by just pulling on a wheel on the bike.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

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