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  1. #1
    DTG
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    Carbon drive or Chain?

    I'm still in the process of trying to find the right winter commuter. I thought I had it narrowed down to the Spot Acme but being on these boards I came across another 11 speed IGH which happens to be the Raleigh Cadent I11. The Spot Acme has a carbon drive while the Raleigh has a chain. Question I have........Is the chain just as good as the carbon drive or does it really not matter since they are both IGH?

  2. #2
    http://www.538.nl acidfast7's Avatar
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    i don't see the benefit of a belt-driven drivetrain or a chain-driven drivetrain.
    Movimento 5 Stelle (M5S)
    Rohloffs seen on the commute: 3

  3. #3
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    reports are, the wear is transferred to the cog wheels with belt drives,
    by environmental grit on their surfaces.
    as they have chosen lighter, softer materials for those..

    and they are considerably higher priced, to replace.
    Last edited by fietsbob; 02-06-13 at 10:38 AM.

  4. #4
    http://www.538.nl acidfast7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    reports are, the wear is transferred to the cog wheels with belt drives,
    by environmental grit on their surfaces.
    as they have chosen lighter, softer materials for those..

    and they are considerably higher priced, to replace.
    I also heard reports that the alignment/tension has to be perfect when the rear wheel is moved/removed?
    Movimento 5 Stelle (M5S)
    Rohloffs seen on the commute: 3

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    Senior Member tjspiel's Avatar
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    I would love to try a belt drive for use in winter. Lubricating and managing corrosion of a chain are a PIA. If it is true that cogs wear down inordinately fast that would definitely be a strike against them though.

    Note: It's only because of the amount of salt that gets used on the roads here that I would consider a belt drive. If it's just moisture then I don't think it's as much of a problem. Things have improved for me with rust resistant chains and an IGH.
    If you're not riding with a psychedelic gecko on your shirt, you ARE having a substandard experience.

  6. #6
    born again cyclist Steely Dan's Avatar
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    one thing to consider: a bike designed for use with a belt-drive can be retrofitted with a chain-drive. but a bike designed for a chain-drive likely can't be retrofitted with a belt-drive because there won't be a break in the rear triangle to thread the belt through.

    i know this because i bought a 2011 Scott SUB 10 which is a chain-drive IGH bike. a year later when the 2012 model of my bike came out, it featured a gates carbon drive. i thought that maybe it would be worth exploring if i should upgrade my bike accordingly, but alas, my bike has no frame break, and thus no ability to mod a belt-drive.

    as to the pros and cons of each, i'll let those who've used both tackle that.
    The first rule: if you're riding a bike and not having fun, then you're doing it wrong.

  7. #7
    http://www.538.nl acidfast7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tjspiel View Post
    I would love to try a belt drive for use in winter. Lubricating and managing corrosion of a chain are a PIA. If it is true that cogs wear down inordinately fast that would definitely be a strike against them though.

    Note: It's only because of the amount of salt that gets used on the roads here that I would consider a belt drive. If it's just moisture then I don't think it's as much of a problem. Things have improved for me with rust resistant chains and an IGH.
    I really wanna hear more about the belt tension issues.

    Until the higher-end trekking bikes convert, I'm going to assume it's less durable and harder to get parts.

    edit: it does seems that some higher-end bikes offer Gates drive/Rohloff combos. but i still haven't seen enough long-term tests.
    Last edited by acidfast7; 02-06-13 at 10:58 AM.
    Movimento 5 Stelle (M5S)
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  8. #8
    Senior Member tjspiel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by acidfast7 View Post
    I also heard reports that the alignment/tension has to be perfect when the rear wheel is moved/removed?
    I think the newer "CenterTrack" design addressed that problem.
    If you're not riding with a psychedelic gecko on your shirt, you ARE having a substandard experience.

  9. #9
    lowlife bottom feeder BassNotBass's Avatar
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    The R&D for bicycle belt drives is still in it's infancy so there are issues that still need to be addressed to make it more set&forget user friendly and cost effective. So at this stage in the game I think it boils down to whether the user feels it's advantageous to spring for the higher cost but benefit from lower maintenance, silence and cleanliness that a belt drive offers vs the cheaper tried and true chain drive.
    I plan on living forever... so far so good.

  10. #10
    http://www.538.nl acidfast7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BassNotBass View Post
    The R&D for bicycle belt drives is still in it's infancy so there are issues that still need to be addressed to make it more set&forget user friendly and cost effective. So at this stage in the game I think it boils down to whether the user feels it's advantageous to spring for the higher cost but benefit from lower maintenance, silence and cleanliness that a belt drive offers vs the cheaper tried and true chain drive.
    I didn't realize how silent they were. That does sound promising.

    Movimento 5 Stelle (M5S)
    Rohloffs seen on the commute: 3

  11. #11
    lowlife bottom feeder BassNotBass's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by acidfast7 View Post
    I didn't realize how silent they were. That does sound promising.


    Since you honed in on that one characteristic that can be perceived as an advantage among other cyclists, I'd have to assume that you're not familiar with the concept of "silence being golden".
    I plan on living forever... so far so good.

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    The chain drive system has pretty much been perfected, why change from it? I used to commute all winter long, and aside from the weekly drive train overhaul and daily chain wipe down, the chain drive was never a point of hassle. If the motocrossers ain't using belts, neither am I.

  13. #13
    PatronSaintOfDiscBrakes dynaryder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tjspiel View Post
    Note: It's only because of the amount of salt that gets used on the roads here that I would consider a belt drive. If it's just moisture then I don't think it's as much of a problem. Things have improved for me with rust resistant chains and an IGH.
    BioLogic_FreeDrive.jpg

    This is Tern's new idea. A friend did the same thing with his polo bike years ago. It's just wire conduit wrapped around the chain. Put in some waterproof grease and it should work pretty good.

    C'dale BBU('05 and '09)/Super Six/Hooligan8and 3,Kona Dew Deluxe,Novara Buzz/Safari,Surly Big Dummy,Marin Pt Reyes,Giant Defy 1,Schwinn DBX SuperSport/Qualifier,Dahon Speed Pro TT,Brompton S6L

  14. #14
    Senior Member tjspiel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TiHabanero View Post
    The chain drive system has pretty much been perfected, why change from it? I used to commute all winter long, and aside from the weekly drive train overhaul and daily chain wipe down, the chain drive was never a point of hassle. If the motocrossers ain't using belts, neither am I.
    For me a daily chain wipe down and weekly drive train overhaul constitutes a hassle.
    If you're not riding with a psychedelic gecko on your shirt, you ARE having a substandard experience.

  15. #15
    Senior Member tjspiel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dynaryder View Post
    BioLogic_FreeDrive.jpg

    This is Tern's new idea. A friend did the same thing with his polo bike years ago. It's just wire conduit wrapped around the chain. Put in some waterproof grease and it should work pretty good.
    Grease gets pretty gooey once the temp dips below zero but it's an interesting idea.
    If you're not riding with a psychedelic gecko on your shirt, you ARE having a substandard experience.

  16. #16
    In the right lane gerv's Avatar
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    I'm going to wait until the carbon belt price is equal to a chain. By that time, we should have forks and frames made from carbon nanotubes.

  17. #17
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Put in some waterproof grease and it should work pretty good.
    except for the dirt that quickly imbeds in the grease.. ..

  18. #18
    Senior Member canyoneagle's Avatar
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    I've used both.
    I was an early adopter and took a chance with the first generation (pre center-trac) belt/cog designs. In general, I LOVED it for grimy, slushy, wet conditions and had no desire to use a chain. I later sold that bike after accepting the fact that the geometry was all wrong for me, and went back to a regular chain/IGH.

    For my current environment - essentially high desert and rocky mountains - with less than 12" of rain/snow per year, I'm fine with my chain. If I lived in a wetter climate - particularly with snow - I'd have no hesitation using a belt.

    Either one with an IGH is a far better choice (IMO of course) than a derailleur when the snow begins to fall. Here's a shot of my current drive train (chain/IGH) after a relatively short 12 mile jaunt on snowy roads in near zero (F) temperatures. It ran smooth as can be. I've seen people (including myself) cursing their derailleurs on days like that.
    Last edited by canyoneagle; 02-07-13 at 04:19 PM.
    Currently one bike: Singular Gryphon do-it all bike with Nuvinci N360
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  19. #19
    DTG
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    Quote Originally Posted by canyoneagle View Post
    I've used both.
    I was an early adopter and took a chance with the first generation (pre center-trac) belt/cog designs. In general, I LOVED it for grimy, slushy, wet conditions and had no desire to use a chain. I later sold that bike after accepting the fact that the geometry was all wrong for me, and went back to a regular chain/IGH.

    For my current environment - essentially high desert and rocky mountains - with less than 12" of rain/snow per year, I'm fine with my chain. If I lived in a wetter climate - particularly with snow - I'd have no hesitation using a belt.

    Either one with an IGH is a far better choice (IMO of course) than a derailleur when the snow begins to fall. Here's a shot of my current drive train (chain/IGH) after a relatively short 12 mile jaunt on snowy roads in near zero (F) temperatures. It ran smooth as can be. I've seen people (including myself) cursing their derailleurs on days like that.
    Thanks for not only your experience but the picture as well.

    Question...........how often do you lube your chain up?

  20. #20
    born again cyclist Steely Dan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DTG View Post
    Question...........how often do you lube your chain up?
    if i ride through snowy, sloppy, slushy glop such that my chain looks like the above photo, i wipe down and lube the chain after every ride.

    it's really more about the conditions i'm riding through than any set amount of time or distance traveled. i've had winter weeks where i've lubed the chain everyday. conversely, i've also had dry spells in winter where i've gone weeks without needing to lube.
    Last edited by Steely Dan; 02-08-13 at 10:15 AM.
    The first rule: if you're riding a bike and not having fun, then you're doing it wrong.

  21. #21
    Senior Member
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    gates carbon fiber belt drives have been widely used on motorcycles for many years.

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    I have a pre-centertrack belt bike (Trek Soho) and dread having to fix a rear flat because it's such a PIA to get the tension just right. It seems like the tension "sweet spot" exists within a very narrow window. If the belt is a little too lose, it will skip under heavy loads, and if it's a little too tight, it'll squeal like a stuck pig. The good thing is, once you do get it just right, it's care free (at least until your next flat). It's strictly a personal preference, but I'd much rather deal with tensioning hassles every now and again, rather than having to clean my chain every other week. Plus, I've racked 3000 miles so far on my belt without any significant wear, whereas I used to have to replace my chain and cassette every 2000 miles (mostly because I was not very good about cleaning the drivetrain, even after riding it in rain and snow). My only regret is that I didn't wait for centertrack...

    Quote Originally Posted by tjspiel View Post
    I think the newer "CenterTrack" design addressed that problem.

  23. #23
    Senior Member canyoneagle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DTG View Post
    Thanks for not only your experience but the picture as well.

    Question...........how often do you lube your chain up?
    I wipe it down and re-lube perhaps twice a month, but I gauge it based on conditions and use. If it is particularly wet out (not common here) I will dry the chain with a towel and give it a very light oiling before putting it up
    Currently one bike: Singular Gryphon do-it all bike with Nuvinci N360
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  24. #24
    http://www.538.nl acidfast7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spare_wheel View Post
    gates carbon fiber belt drives have been widely used on motorcycles for many years.
    and? (und/y?)
    Movimento 5 Stelle (M5S)
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  25. #25
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Note Much wider belt .. because exploding petrocabons have more stored energy.

    and they dont have the gram couning market to satisfy compelling choosing light
    weight, and sacrificing wear lifespan ... back to more HP from motors , than legs..

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