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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 07-05-14, 11:49 AM   #1
Robert C
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What happened to Belt Drive bikes?

Now that I am bck in the US I am looking for a commuting bike. To be frank, I am likely to go with a Motobecane Bistro 8V from bikes direct.

Bikes Direct

However, the one thing it lacks, that I want, is belt drive. I am looking but it looks like the Trek SOHO is now out of production along with most other belt drive bikes. The linked picture gives an idea of how I would like the bike configured:chain guard, fenders, racks, internal gears.

********************
Edited to add:

The REI Novara Gotham also looks like it might suit pretty well. It is a heavy bike; but, this bike is for riding to the train, then from the train to work. I like the idea of the NuVinci hub, and it is equipped the way I would like. It is a strong contender.
*********************

Other than riding off the sprockets, which was fixed by adding the centre track, is there any reason the belt drive seems to be fading away?
Can anyone recommend any belt drive commuter bikes?
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Last edited by Robert C; 07-05-14 at 12:13 PM.
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Old 07-05-14, 12:28 PM   #2
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I don't know why you don't see belt drives all that frequently, possibly they haven't sold well.

However, take a look at - Gates Carbon Drive Belt System to see who is still offering belt drives. You may be able to narrow your search down a bit that way.
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Old 07-05-14, 12:39 PM   #3
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Gates drive train parts are expensive. bikes direct stuff aims to be cheaper. Skips shop-services.

And the Frame has to open up to let the belt pass through ,

then be tensioned to a greater amount than any chain drive.

you will have to come up with more Dosh .. NB: the REI one is $1400

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Old 07-05-14, 12:46 PM   #4
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Gates drive train parts are expensive. bikes direct stuff aims to be cheaper.

And the Frame has to open up to let the belt pass through , then be tensioned to a greater amount than any chain drive.
No, I am not expecting to find a belt drive bike at BD. However, if I dont find a belt drive bike I like then BD may be the way I will go (however, the REI looks like a good choice; but both are mail order bikes for me). I also included the picture so to show how I consider a commuter bike to look. racks, fenders, and the like.

I was just surprised to see so few belt drives on the market. It seems that the number of belt drive models are declining.
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Old 07-05-14, 12:58 PM   #5
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IDK the SLC Marketplace .. Managers and owners of shops choose their inventory as they see their local buyers tend to want.

[NB: plugged in 84101 SLC & you have 2 REI's there] http://www.rei.com/map/store#84101
You can order the bike,shipped to the store, have it assembled there,
then take it home, ready to ride.

Here's another one Metropolitan premium stuff.

Trek Had one , sold thru their order shipped into their warehouse,fast,
before spring of that year ended .

High level management is above my pay grade ..

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Old 07-05-14, 12:59 PM   #6
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Novara sells a couple.
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Old 07-05-14, 02:45 PM   #7
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A friend got a perfect norco belt-drive commuter a couple years ago that doesn't seem to be offered any more. I hope they aren't fading away.
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Old 07-05-14, 06:14 PM   #8
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Well, I just made an impulse buy. I rode to REI (21mi round trip if anyone cares) and they had a 2013 model that was priced at $864. I actually wanted the generator driven headlight more than the new light. . . and it was in my size.
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Old 07-05-14, 08:23 PM   #9
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Well, I just made an impulse buy. I rode to REI (21mi round trip if anyone cares) and they had a 2013 model that was priced at $864. I actually wanted the generator driven headlight more than the new light. . . and it was in my size.
So, you rode there. On a bike? If so, how did you get the new bike home? And which model did you actually buy? Did you get a Gotham for that price? If you did, let us know what you think of the hub. All these questions.
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Old 07-05-14, 08:43 PM   #10
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So, you rode there. On a bike? If so, how did you get the new bike home? And which model did you actually buy? Did you get a Gotham for that price? If you did, let us know what you think of the hub. All these questions.
Yes, it is the Gotham with the Nuvinci 360 hub. I rode on a bike (. . . OK, a recumbent) , that means that I will have to take the bus there (probably be Monday evening before I can) and pick it up.
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Old 07-05-14, 09:06 PM   #11
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sounds like a great deal; it's pretty far into 2014, so I guess they really wanted to clear out the 2013 backlog. Enjoy it!
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Old 07-05-14, 09:39 PM   #12
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Yes, it is the Gotham with the Nuvinci 360 hub. I rode on a bike (. . . OK, a recumbent) , that means that I will have to take the bus there (probably be Monday evening before I can) and pick it up.
Great deal! I wondered if you actually got it home. Congrats and enjoy the new ride.
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Old 07-05-14, 09:42 PM   #13
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Breezer has a nice one..

Breezer Bikes - Beltway 8 - Bike Overview

- Andy
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Old 07-06-14, 04:26 PM   #14
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OK, I picked it up and rode it home today. As I discuss general impressions keep in ind that I normally ride a Bacchetta Giro 26att, a recumbent.

First off, this is definitely a five-mile bike. By that I mean that for anything over five miles I will reach for a different bike. It seems slow compared to my 'bent; the numbers show that it is about 2.5mph slower. It is not as comfortable as the 'bent.

What people want to hear about, the belt and the N360 transmission. It was extremely smooth. Further, there was no drivetrain noise at all (of course, the noise from the generator insured that there was no silence). My gripe with the drivetrain is that it is geared too high. I never used the highest position and I frequently used the lowest position. Soon I will look and see if I can source a slightly larger rear sprocket.

I know this dosn't sound like a lot of praise; keep in mind what this bike is for. This bike is for riding 2.5mi to the rail stop and then a couple of miles when I get off the train. This is not a bike to get excited about; however, it feels very utilitarian.
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Old 07-06-14, 04:28 PM   #15
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gimmick.
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Old 07-06-14, 04:52 PM   #16
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Well, I just made an impulse buy. I rode to REI (21mi round trip if anyone cares) and they had a 2013 model that was priced at $864. I actually wanted the generator driven headlight more than the new light. . . and it was in my size.
2014 doesn't have a dynamo. If it's comparable to the 2014, it seems really nicely equipped for that price.

Hmm...now I'm wondering. Does REI sell just wheels? I'm wondering if buying the wheel alone as a spare part would be cheaper than a normal dynohub wheel.
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Old 07-06-14, 04:58 PM   #17
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Hmm...now I'm wondering. Does REI sell just wheels? I'm wondering if buying the wheel alone as a spare part would be cheaper than a normal dynohub wheel.
I was thinking when these went on clearance that they were a great deal for just the wheels. I think there was a 7 or 8 speed chain IGH version too? Can't remember now.
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Old 07-06-14, 08:03 PM   #18
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Yeah, REI knows how to discount. Almost pulled the trigger on a couple very deeply discounted bikes. I want to support my LBS and all, but REI clearance+20% off code is damned hard to beat.
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Old 07-07-14, 08:49 AM   #19
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Yes, it is the Gotham with the Nuvinci 360 hub. I rode on a bike (. . . OK, a recumbent) , that means that I will have to take the bus there (probably be Monday evening before I can) and pick it up.
Those are great bikes! Good find!
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Old 07-07-14, 08:57 AM   #20
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Yeah, REI knows how to discount. Almost pulled the trigger on a couple very deeply discounted bikes. I want to support my LBS and all, but REI clearance+20% off code is damned hard to beat.
Usually the clearance items don't get the 20%...
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Old 07-07-14, 09:44 AM   #21
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Chain has less loss in transferring energy than belt, or shaft drive. When the engine has less than 1 horse power, that is important.
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Old 07-07-14, 10:18 AM   #22
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Just to add a bit of info, there is a video on changing the tire with the gates belt here. This page has the correct names and part numbers for the chain-rings and sprockets.

I will try the 50t for a while; but I think I will end up ordering a 46t.
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Old 07-07-14, 10:28 AM   #23
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OK, I picked it up and rode it home today. As I discuss general impressions keep in ind that I normally ride a Bacchetta Giro 26att, a recumbent.

First off, this is definitely a five-mile bike. By that I mean that for anything over five miles I will reach for a different bike. It seems slow compared to my 'bent; the numbers show that it is about 2.5mph slower. It is not as comfortable as the 'bent.

What people want to hear about, the belt and the N360 transmission. It was extremely smooth. Further, there was no drivetrain noise at all (of course, the noise from the generator insured that there was no silence). My gripe with the drivetrain is that it is geared too high. I never used the highest position and I frequently used the lowest position. Soon I will look and see if I can source a slightly larger rear sprocket.

I know this dosn't sound like a lot of praise; keep in mind what this bike is for. This bike is for riding 2.5mi to the rail stop and then a couple of miles when I get off the train. This is not a bike to get excited about; however, it feels very utilitarian.
If I had your posted requirement, a $99 Cruiser bike from BigBox store would better serve the purpose.

Belt drive "advantages", if any, would never surface in such use. The disadvantages of belt drive (availability, cost and lack of flexibility in gear changing) have already appeared for you on your first ride.
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Old 07-07-14, 12:59 PM   #24
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I looked into the belt drive option a few years ago when the Trek Soho first came out. After doing some research I finally decided it was a solution in search of a problem.

Chains on a bicycle are cheap, reliable and work well. Belts? Not so much.
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Old 07-07-14, 01:22 PM   #25
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I looked into the belt drive option a few years ago when the Trek Soho first came out. After doing some research I finally decided it was a solution in search of a problem.

Chains on a bicycle are cheap, reliable and work well. Belts? Not so much.
Belts don't rust. That's my primary reason for being interested in them. If all I did was summer riding I wouldn't care. They are also quiet and don't require periodic lubrication.
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