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Old 04-17-05, 06:29 AM   #1
yalrighty
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Chainless bikes!! Opinions please :)

Ok I have heard of these before but never seen them up close. Here is a website that sells them

http://www.dynamicbicycles.com/bikes/default.php

Has anyone ridden one? Are they harder or easier to maintain? Are they smooth, quiet and good performers??? My LBS doesn't have any
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Old 04-17-05, 06:36 AM   #2
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its about as good as getting a choper, just another gimik. It weights a lot more, theres lots of friction and i think a very limited amount of gears. Shaft driven is the norm for a car and other vehicles with 2 adjacent wheels on each side ie 2 or 4 wheel drive but even moterbikes use a chain, name a 2 wheeled veheicle that uses a shaft, its just rubish, its low maintance but when it needs maitance you probably need to send it off to the manufacturer.
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Old 04-17-05, 08:14 AM   #3
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Anyone here ever ridden one?
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Old 04-17-05, 08:37 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by titanium
just another gimik...but even moterbikes use a chain, name a 2 wheeled veheicle that uses a shaft
Many motorcycles use chains/belt drive. Many also use shaft drive, you should google it sometime, you might be surprised.

I think it's a gimic as well for bicycle application.
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Old 04-17-05, 08:45 AM   #5
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Major Taylor promoted this drivetrain style once:
http://www.bicyclemuseum.com/Html/bike5.html
scroll down to "1898 Orient Chain-less"



I have never ridden a bike of this style though, sorry.
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Old 04-17-05, 10:05 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yalrighty
Ok I have heard of these before but never seen them up close. Here is a website that sells them

http://www.dynamicbicycles.com/bikes/default.php

Has anyone ridden one? Are they harder or easier to maintain? Are they smooth, quiet and good performers??? My LBS doesn't have any
The reason most LBS won't have any to sell is that not many folk's know about this type of
drive for a bicycle so, there's little, if any, demand. Chainless is not the best way to drive
a bicycle due the the fact that the transmission (the gearing) must be rear wheel mounted
to save weight or spilt between rear wheel and the chainrings.

Powering a bicycle with a human being has got to be done in the most effecient
way possible because you're not even dealing with ONE horsepower!! Like it or
not a chain IS THE best way to transmit power from you to the ground. Period.

The main selling point for shaft drive on a bicycle is that imagined ease of (or
the imagined elimination of ) maintance. This ease of maintance can still be had
with the good 'ol three speed such as the Europeans ride yet today.
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Old 04-17-05, 07:19 PM   #7
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Some of them do look nice, like this Japanese folder. But they are heavy and inefficient.
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Old 04-17-05, 07:22 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by titanium
name a 2 wheeled veheicle that uses a shaft, its just rubish, its low maintance but when it needs maitance you probably need to send it off to the manufacturer.
all but one BMW motorcycle, several hondas, motoguzzi, etc
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Old 04-17-05, 07:34 PM   #9
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The bikes in the link I provided are not available until the middle of May .. but even though there seems to be a bad opinion about them here, I can't help but be interested in the mechanics of it
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Old 04-17-05, 09:41 PM   #10
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Shaft drive is realtively maintenance free and very clean. For some people this is more important than performance. I think they have a place in the market even if it is a niche. I also think they can only improve as the technology ages (alright they've been around since the earliest bicycles, but are only recently seeing a revival).
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Old 04-17-05, 10:29 PM   #11
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Yeah, I did that the other day! My chain was givin' me grief, so I pushed myself up to the LBS (eittin' on the saddle and pushing with my legs on the sidewalk). I'd really recommend a chain!
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Old 04-18-05, 08:18 AM   #12
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Wouldn't the ones sold today be a weee bit more efficient than the one listed up there from the 1800's lol ?????
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Old 04-18-05, 08:58 AM   #13
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Note that no one who responded has actually laid eyes on one of these bikes, let alone ridden one. These bikes seem to come around every few years, and when they're discussed on the forums they're always trashed, but I've never ever heard of anyone who even knows of anyone who's ridden one.

So in the name of science, valrighty, spend the $550, buy one of these bikes and settle this once and for all.

Since shaft-drive bikes pop up every few years, and never really catch on, I figure there must be some drawback, because the advantage in convenience is obvious. I don't think it's efficiency. I see inefficient bikes all of the time, with no lubrication, underinflated or inappropriate tires, or just an inefficient geometry. Yet people seem to ride them anyway.
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Old 04-18-05, 11:58 AM   #14
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These new bikes "dynamic" bicycles seem to be of better quality than the last distributor who basically put a shart drive on a department store bike. I spoke with Josh Hon (Dahon Bicycles) and his opinion was that they added too much weight to a folding bike.

The Nexus 7 hub is just about the most inefficient device I've ever used. I can just imagine how more inefficient it could be with a mechanical drive on top of it!
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Old 04-18-05, 03:34 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve
...The Nexus 7 hub is just about the most inefficient device I've ever used. I can just imagine how more inefficient it could be with a mechanical drive on top of it!
Why do claim the Nexus 7 hub is so inefficient. Is it based on objective information or more of a subjective feeling?
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Old 04-19-05, 08:18 AM   #16
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Problem is I'm broke lol .. if I buy one it will be after I buy a Catrike Speed!!!!!
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Old 04-19-05, 11:51 AM   #17
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I wouldn't use cars and other large vehicles to compare chains vs shafts. I believe they're primarily used in cars due to the fact that making a chain that can carry thousands of lb-ft of torque over a fairly long distance from the transmission to the wheels would be a ludicrous proposition.

Internally, however, (short)chains are often used. Front wheel drive transmissions very commonly use chains (or even belts). My uncle's 78 pickup has a chain drive in the transfer case, it's a real monster, over 3 inches wide and almost an inch thick. The actual linear length of the chain is probably shorter than a bike chain though.

Since a 300-lb guy standing on an 8-inch crank is still going to produce a mere 200 lb-ft of torque (compared to the 6000+ ft-lbs at the axle shaft of my Camaro for example) I don't think strength is really an issue for bicycle applications.

One disadvantage I can see in a shaft system for bicycles is that it has to change the direction of the power at least twice. It has to convert from rotating in one plane (the pedals turning) 90 degrees (driveshaft turning) and then 90 degrees back (wheel turning).
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Old 04-19-05, 02:02 PM   #18
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Eggplant nailed it, I think. Shafts are great in vehicle where you only have to change the direction of rotation once, like a car. Most cars have their crankshafts rotating at 90 degrees to the rotation of the wheels, hence, no matter what, you must have a transfer case to change direction. On a bike, we are lucky enough to have our power rotation on the same plane as the wheel rotation. Shafts are useful for changing direction once, but not so useful for changing direction twice. Chains are very efficient devices.

I suppose there could be a place for them, but I'm not sure what it is...

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Old 04-19-05, 07:10 PM   #19
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I've ridden one off and on for the last two years. They are ok, so let the guy buy one. It just another facet of cycling. Mine's lighter. Mine's heavier. Who cares! I have a sub 18lb. bike for club rides. I have a XC for when I want to go offroad. I have a tandem for when my daughter wants to tag along and not get dropped.

The shaft drive is great for when I need to do a quick trip. Nexus shifts great, no chain - just a clean cycling experience. I really like it when my dog and I are out together. She has a tendency to bite pant legs and stick her nose into the drive train. With the shaft drive I do not have this problem.
just my 2 cents.
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Old 04-19-05, 09:26 PM   #20
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Heh ... thanks idoxlr8 -- I just think they look cool. I would enjoy seeing how they work because I know they certainly look neat. As for weight, I don't really care. As long as the frame and wheels are not steel I am happy ... The one I am looking at is aluminum frame and alloy rims, the same as my two schwinns -- once you are rolling, I don't find the weight of the bike to be a factor anyway until you hit a giant hill that is ..
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Old 04-19-05, 09:27 PM   #21
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Still saving for a Catrike Speed though ... my local dealer finally has the '05 Speed !!!
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Old 04-20-05, 09:22 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DCCommuter
So in the name of science, valrighty, spend the $550, buy one of these bikes and settle this once and for all.
Someone on the Icebike list (winter cycling forum) did just that. We are waiting to hear his results and conclusions. The only comments he has made so far is that it feels much smoother than does a chain drive and that the drive mechanism is less protected from the elements than he had hoped.

We'll see. I'm still convinced that a chainguard/chaincase is a better solution to the problem. On the other hand, bikes with these are difficult to find here in the States. On the other hand, the spider on my bike turned itself into scrap metal on the way to work last week, something that would have been avoided with a shaft drive.

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Old 04-20-05, 09:42 AM   #23
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I also thought it was neat that you can shift even when stopped ... practical application would be if you were in high gear and had to stop quickly ... you can shift to a lower gear to get started off again ..
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Old 04-20-05, 07:10 PM   #24
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I got mine new on Ebay. $235 shipped. Here are the specs.

Frame: ProMx Lightweight Aluminum
Drivetrain: Incline Direct Glide Shaft Drive System, Shimano Nexus 7 speed rear internal hub (21 speed range!) and Nexus 7 speed Twist Shift, Shimano Forged Aluminum Crank Arms
Suspension Front Fork/Seatpost: Zoom Quest Series 160 55 mm travel front fork (Disc brake mounts), adjustable rebound elastomers/Alloy suspension seat post with 1 travel and Velo Plush comfort seat
Wheels/Tires: Weinmann 6061-T6 Aluminum 700c Rims, Stainless Steel 14/15g spokes/Kenda K-Shield 700c x 1.95/2.25, Puncture Resistant Tire Casing tires
Components: Avid Single Digit 3 Linear Pull brakes, Dual compound pedals, Slip resistant grips, Quick Release skewers: front wheel and seat post for height adjustment, Mirco adjustable stem and threadless A headset, 2 sets of water bottle and pump frame mounts
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Old 04-20-05, 07:15 PM   #25
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Here's a pic
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