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Old 09-12-08, 07:19 AM   #1
HandsomeRyan
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Belt Drive Question

On belt driven bicycles, how do you change the belt since it passes through the rear triangle? Chains are easy to 'break' and put back together but I would thing that a belt needs to be one solid piece?

I'm sure there is a simple answer but I can't figure it out from looking at pictures of belt driven bikes.
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Old 09-12-08, 09:03 AM   #2
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From http://www.carbondrivesystems.com: "In order to retrofit a Carbon Drive System to a frame, you may need to modify the rear triangle. The belt cannot be broken and reattached, so for a standard rear triangle, you’ll need a way to get the belt through the frame." When they say "modify" they mean "cut". In the PDF that's linked to in their FAQ on changing the rear wheel, one photo appears to show a drive-side rear-facing fork end which is open clear into the rear triangle. (The text just says "Open rear triangle (methods may vary by manufacturer).) It's unclear whether the black bike in their big photo is like this, but there is an odd large round piece on the end of the axle which could perhaps be a device to restore strength at this location, somehow.

On http://www.cycledrive.com/ you can plainly see that the rear right-side lower stay on their unique bike has been engineered up and out of the way of the belt altogether, as is done on some shaft-drive bikes.

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Old 09-12-08, 12:44 PM   #3
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I'm trying to figure this one out:



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Old 09-12-08, 01:32 PM   #4
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From the lower picture it looks like there is a seperation (split) in the rear part of the triangle, behind the axil nut?
It is a seamless belt right? (sounds like a stupid question I know)
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Old 09-12-08, 04:25 PM   #5
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To quote SB... http://www.sheldonbrown.com/gloss_ba-n.html
"Belt Drive

From time to time the use of toothed belts is proposed as an alternative to chain drive. The major advantage touted for this system is that it is cleaner than a chain.


There are serious disadvatages to this approach, however:
  • Belts can't be opened and re-closed as chains can, so it is not possible to fit one to a standard diamond frame, unless you cut the frame open, because the belt has to be looped through the triangle formed by the right chainstay, right seatstay and seat tube.
  • Belts can't be lengthened/shortened as chains can, making it difficult to customize the gearing by going to a different sprocket/chainring size.
As with shaft drive systems, all of the benefits touted for this system are also attainable with an enclosed chain drive. "
That doesn't address how to do it but whether its worth it.
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Old 09-12-08, 04:45 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by HandsomeRyan View Post
On belt driven bicycles, how do you change the belt since it passes through the rear triangle? Chains are easy to 'break' and put back together but I would thing that a belt needs to be one solid piece?

I'm sure there is a simple answer but I can't figure it out from looking at pictures of belt driven bikes.
Belt drives're almost always fitted to bikes with rear triangles that can be split in some way on the drive side.



Occasionally they're fitted to "cut and shut" bikes where the builder has cut open the rear drive side, fitted the belt and then welded it shut.

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Old 12-07-08, 12:44 AM   #7
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I guess soon you can go to your LBS and look for yourself. Trek has two models of belt drive coming out this month and next.
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Old 12-07-08, 01:12 AM   #8
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I agree with Sheldon, why bother? Chains can have a very long life if protected from the elements and kept lubed. I have never been able to understand the American dislike for chain cases on utility and commuter class single speed or gear hub bicycles. Chain cases are practically universal in continental Europe on such bikes. Protects the riders clothes and greatly enhances chain life.

Also, as Sheldon noted the belt is going to limit gearing changes as I would expect only a limited number of lengths will be available.
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Old 12-07-08, 09:56 AM   #9
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I agree with Sheldon, why bother? Chains can have a very long life if protected from the elements and kept lubed. I have never been able to understand the American dislike for chain cases on utility and commuter class single speed or gear hub bicycles. Chain cases are practically universal in continental Europe on such bikes. Protects the riders clothes and greatly enhances chain life.

Also, as Sheldon noted the belt is going to limit gearing changes as I would expect only a limited number of lengths will be available.
Since the Europeans ride bikes as everyday tansportation the bike is viewed as one person car.
Whatever makes their 'car' easier to care for is going to be on that bike.

Here in America the bike is more of a toy and chain cases add an old granny look to the bike so
the are left off to increase the toy apperance and weight advantage.
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Old 12-08-08, 12:31 PM   #10
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An alternative to split rear triangles is to mount the axle below the rear triangle altogether as many full suspension bikes do.
Modern belts seem to work well in the kind of sticky mud we get over here. They are also a good match for the kind of lightweight folding bike you ride in a business suit and for very occasional use bikes that never get the maintenance they need.
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