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  1. #1
    Certifiable Bike "Expert"
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    LOSE THE GREASY CHAIN! Delta C-Drive @ Performance ($430, free bag)

    Ok, we've talked plenty about shaft-drive bikes. Here's a belt drive bike that is being sold at a major marketer:



    Price is not too bad. I like the rack, fenders, front disc, belt drive, 3-speed hub.

    I won't buy one, because I prefer a high performance machine. But basically, I think this belt-drive wonder is pretty kool. What do you think?
    I don't even use the offensive term "Fred." -- Sheldon "All Cyclists Are My Friends" Brown (1944-2008)

  2. #2
    Fattest Thin Man Az B's Avatar
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    Belt drive makes a lot more sense than shaft drive. It's nearly as efficient as a chain, and only slighty heavier.

    The only downsides are that you can't bend the belt sideways like you do with a chain and derailleur, so you'll have to use a geared hub. Also, they're not as strong, but that's probably not an issue with most people.

    Personally, I have no issues with a chain, but for those that do this may be a great option!

    Az

  3. #3
    not a role model JeffS's Avatar
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    I don't know how strong these belts are, but belts are used for all types of things, such as engine timing, motorcycle drivetrains, etc, so it could be as strong as the designer wanted it to be.

    When I first saw this bike at performance, I immediately wondered whether replacement belts were available now - and whether they'd be available in two years, five years, etc.

  4. #4
    Back after a long absence joelpalmer's Avatar
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    I've seen them on motorcycles and wondered when someone would move it to bikes. Guess I'm opposed to change, even with internal hubs I'll be sticking to chain. After all, with an internal hub and chain guard there isn't much 'greasy chain' to worry about.
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  5. #5
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    Belt drive worked fine on my Harley. I am considering a chain drive Triumph. I would be very interested in taking a BD bicycle for a test ride. I DO oil/maintain my chain, and it would be nice to not have to fuss with it!

  6. #6
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    One thing that might be bad on this bike is that the front disc looks a little cheesy. But I suppose if it caused any issues, you could step up to a BB7 without much trouble or expense. I have seen a lot of cheap bikes - department store bikes - with disc brakes, and I wonder if the brakes are good.

    If I were given the task of designing a practical commuter bike, and I had something like this for the result, I would be proud.

    You don't *have* to buy the bike from Performance, either. I was just impressed that the Big P had decided to carry a belt-drive machine. If I see one at a local store, I'll ask for a test ride.
    I don't even use the offensive term "Fred." -- Sheldon "All Cyclists Are My Friends" Brown (1944-2008)

  7. #7
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    On an apples-to apples comparison, eliminating chain lubrication would seem to be the only benefit of a belt, that and less mess for a rider, but at the expense of having no options for shifting except an internal hub. A chaincase could remove the biggest negative of an exposed greasy chain without eliminating options for derailleur shifting.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Jeffbeerman2's Avatar
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    I am very curious. I just switched to a Nexus 8 along with a chainglider (chaindragger). I'm not convinced that the chainglider isn't robbing valuable power from my pedaling. Belt drive is a very appealing idea to me.

    Browsing the site of the belt system manufacturer, it doesn't look like it will work with frames not specifically designed for chain drive. I'm definitely looking into this in the future. I would be willing to try it if it would work on my crosscheck
    Last edited by Jeffbeerman2; 08-22-07 at 12:52 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeffbeerman2 View Post
    Browing the site of the belt system manufacturer, it doesn't look like it will work with frames designed for chain drive. I'm definitely looking into this in the future. I would be willing to try it if it would work on my crosscheck
    It's not going to work with any bike where the chainstay goes through the loop of the chain, because the belt is continuous and not made to be broken. See the elevated chainstay (beltstay?) on the Delta. I suppose if you had something like a Proflex 857 (I had one), you might be able to do a belt-drive conversion.
    I don't even use the offensive term "Fred." -- Sheldon "All Cyclists Are My Friends" Brown (1944-2008)

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by CHenry View Post
    at the expense of having no options for shifting except an internal hub.
    Yes, but if you buy, for example, a Bianchi Milano, you have no options for shifting except an internal hub. I'm talking about a bike here, not just a technology in the abstract. And for a practical commuter on fairly level terrain, an internally geared hub is not a bad idea at all.

    Probably no belts at the local criterium any time soon, though.
    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 CHenry View Post
    On an apples-to apples comparison, eliminating chain lubrication would seem to be the only benefit of a belt, that and less mess for a rider, but at the expense of having no options for shifting except an internal hub. A chaincase could remove the biggest negative of an exposed greasy chain without eliminating options for derailleur shifting.
    How many bicycles are there that have chaincases and external gears? (-especially front and rear gears-)....

    I'd agree that technically one could build an enclosure around the entire front and rear derailler system of a bicycle and see some maintenance benefits, but I've never seen anyplace doing it....
    ~

  12. #12
    cyclist/gearhead/cycli... moxfyre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffS View Post
    I don't know how strong these belts are, but belts are used for all types of things, such as engine timing, motorcycle drivetrains, etc, so it could be as strong as the designer wanted it to be.

    When I first saw this bike at performance, I immediately wondered whether replacement belts were available now - and whether they'd be available in two years, five years, etc.
    The issue with belt drives is TORQUE. If you just put a smooth-belt drive on a bike, it'll work fine at high RPMs, but it'll slip at low speeds, for instance if you stand up to mash on a hill.

    Cars and motorcycles don't have this problem due to a more complicated (and much heavier) transmission, as I understand it.

    It looks like the Delta C-DRIVE uses a toothed belt, which I'm sure can support a lot more torque that a smooth belt.
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  13. #13
    Extra Medium Member redtires's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffS View Post
    I don't know how strong these belts are, but belts are used for all types of things, such as engine timing, motorcycle drivetrains, etc, so it could be as strong as the designer wanted it to be.

    When I first saw this bike at performance, I immediately wondered whether replacement belts were available now - and whether they'd be available in two years, five years, etc.
    I would imagine that the belt they use is not so specific in size and design that you would not be able to get a replacement from a shop that sells all types of belts. But..........

  14. #14
    Grumbly Goat Bushman's Avatar
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    most toothed belts are 5 ply with incredibly strong "strands" running the length of the belt. They can handle enormous torque loads, far more than any cyclist will put out.

    one benefit of belt drives is that they are silent and there is no bouncy chain syndrome when riding over big bumps etc.

    Some guy in Vancouver has a stretch cruiser lowrider about 12" long, with a 6' long belt drive. Looks pretty damn cool with the billet aluminum toothed pulleys.
    You ride a bike, we GET IT, no need to rant about it or look down on others....its JUST A BIKE...get over yourselves.

  15. #15
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    I'm totally intrigued with this goofy little bike. I normally commute in full-on sweet road bike mode (high-performance clipless pedals, spandex, etc.) and just throw on a messenger bag to carry my work stuff. My ~30 mile round trip commute is just too long to be comfortable in street clothes and tennis shoes, so I'll continue to use the road bike for that.

    But... the road bike is incredibly annoying for around-town trips, since it'll mess up my pants, I'll have to carry a second pair of shoes, I have to fear it being immediately stolen, etc. This bike might be just the ticket for grocery-getting. I was looking at Breezers, but they're overkill, twice the price, and weigh even more than this beast.

    Has anyone actually ridden one?

    - Warren

  16. #16
    Newbie Extraordinaire
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    BTW, I've never even heard of Sturmey Archer, and that makes me a little leery. At least the Breezers come with Shimano stuff, which I consider a generally pretty reliable name. Hrm. Decisions, decisions.

    - Warren

  17. #17
    cyclist/gearhead/cycli... moxfyre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chroot View Post
    BTW, I've never even heard of Sturmey Archer, and that makes me a little leery. At least the Breezers come with Shimano stuff, which I consider a generally pretty reliable name. Hrm. Decisions, decisions.

    - Warren
    You've never heard of Sturmey-Archer? They're probably one of the best-known and oldest bike parts makers in history (though now bought-up and moved to Taiwan as of 2000 ). The Sturmey-Archer 3-speed hubs powered basically every 3-speed English bike made from the early twentieth century on. Many of which were very much designed for practical commuting use for many years and thousands of miles with low maintenance. Sheldon Brown is a fan, too: http://sheldonbrown.com/english-3.html#sturmey

    The old Sturmey-Archer three-speed hubs are somewhat large and heavy, but verrrrry reliable and can shift when standing still, which is great in traffic.

    I don't know of any significant differences in reliability between internal-geared hubs from Sturmey-Archer, Shimano, SRAM, or Rohloff (which I believe are the four manufacturers today). I bet Sheldon Brown, or someone else who has built a lot of internally-geared bikes, could provide more information there.
    Last edited by moxfyre; 08-22-07 at 05:49 PM.
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  18. #18
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    Awesome! Thanks for the info moxfyre!

    - Warren

  19. #19
    cyclist/gearhead/cycli... moxfyre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chroot View Post
    Awesome! Thanks for the info moxfyre!

    - Warren
    You can no longer claim to be a Newbie now that you've heard of Sturmey-Archer
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  20. #20
    Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped. BarracksSi's Avatar
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    That's neat. I'm sure there's been a toothed belt drive somewhere before, but it's still good to see. I can think of a few FS MTB frames that a belt drive could slip into, too.

    (after Googling a bit)

    Cool, it's more pervasive than I thought. Here's a folding belt-drive bike from Europe:
    http://www.strida.co.uk/

  21. #21
    Senior Member Ziemas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CHenry View Post
    On an apples-to apples comparison, eliminating chain lubrication would seem to be the only benefit of a belt, that and less mess for a rider, but at the expense of having no options for shifting except an internal hub. A chaincase could remove the biggest negative of an exposed greasy chain without eliminating options for derailleur shifting.
    They are quite popular in the beach areas of Lithuania. No grease, no sand build up to destroy parts, and no rusty chain.

  22. #22
    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    This belt-drive bicycle is nothing new. They are sold in Japan in the MILLIONS and have been for nearly 20 years. Some "genious" just decided to bring them stateside. The bike you see before you is a Japanese commuter bicycle (without the front basket).

    The question of if will work or not has already been answered by the millions of people that ride them every day. In Japan, of course, the loads are not intense. People get on them and float between home and train station at unimpressive speeds and unspectacular loads. Very few riders weigh more than 150 lbs. and you will rarely see a rider standing on the pedals mashing up the torque or the rpm.

    They seem to work well under those conditions and the belt drive helps keep the rider's clothes clean. No more pants cuffs or skirts blackened with chain goo.
    Mike

  23. #23
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    did anyone notice the geometry? the chain and seat stays are above the bottom bracket.

  24. #24
    Recumbent Evangelist
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushman View Post
    most toothed belts are 5 ply with incredibly strong "strands" running the length of the belt. They can handle enormous torque loads, far more than any cyclist will put out.

    one benefit of belt drives is that they are silent and there is no bouncy chain syndrome when riding over big bumps etc.
    A well-lubed chain coupled with an internally geared hub is virtually silent, too.

    If the belt does break while on the road, how do you repair it?
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  25. #25
    Plays in Traffic 1ply's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeff-o View Post
    A well-lubed chain coupled with an internally geared hub is virtually silent, too.

    If the belt does break while on the road, how do you repair it?
    You put on your spare. Much lighter to carry than a chain

    I'm sure that the belt itself will be a periodic maintenance kind of item - ie replace every 3 years or 20,000 km. Same as on a motorcycle or car, whether you need it or not.
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