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  1. #1
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    Carbon Belt Drives for Recumbents

    Has anyone looked into whether the new Gates belt drive technology will be available for recumbents that use long chains? I'm pondering the idea of using this in conjunction with a Schlumpf and Rohloff for a truly cutting edge drive train. I think it would be counter productive to have to link two or three short belts with transfer sprockets to make the reach.

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    Senior Member PaPa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scrapser View Post
    Has anyone looked into whether the new Gates belt drive technology will be available for recumbents that use long chains?
    I suspect not - just too many different belts lengths to deal with. Gates designed a propriority system with the C-Drive. The pitch is an odd 11mm and they currently only offer 5 belt lengths:

    1243 mm
    1265 mm
    1298 mm
    1342 mm
    1375 mm

    The only other option that I'm aware of, requires custom pulleys. Phil Wood seems to accommodate that issue, but be prepared to spend some serious green.

    http://www.philwood.com/products/bdrive/bdsprock.php

    And lastly, synchronous belts require precise alignment and very specific tensioning. Under high torque applications (such as hill climbing) your chosen frame MUST be stiff enough to prevent misalignment. This criteria alone eliminates many manufactures'.

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    I suspected as much. Hopefully they will open up to making longer belts down the road. I think their new belt with the centerline ridge should help alleviate the strict allignment requirement since the belt is essentially captured on the sprocket. Not sure if the new sprockets that will work with the new belt design will be employed on both the crank and the rear hub but it seems like that would be best.

  4. #4
    Senior Member PaPa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scrapser View Post
    Hopefully they will open up to making longer belts down the road.
    Gates isn't dumb, they obviously targeted the largest and most profitable audience,.. uprights. Why should they risk manufacturing a dozen or more additional belt lengths for less than 2% of the remaining HPV market? I'm not implying they never will, but I certainly wouldn't loose any sleep 'hoping'.
    Quote Originally Posted by scrapser View Post
    I think their new belt with the centerline ridge should help alleviate the strict allignment requirement ....
    Got a link to this 'new' belt?

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    I can't find it on the Gates website but here's a link with pics from BikeRumor.

    http://www.bikerumor.com/2010/09/15/...rtrack-system/

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    Senior Member PaPa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scrapser View Post
    I can't find it on the Gates website but here's a link with pics from BikeRumor.

    http://www.bikerumor.com/2010/09/15/...rtrack-system/
    Interesting, thank you.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaPa View Post
    Gates isn't dumb, they obviously targeted the largest and most profitable audience,.. uprights. Why should they risk manufacturing a dozen or more additional belt lengths for less than 2% of the remaining HPV market? I'm not implying they never will, but I certainly wouldn't loose any sleep 'hoping'.
    Got a link to this 'new' belt?
    There's no doubt in my mind that it will come, my only question is "How soon?"

    I think that recumbent riders tend to be "early adopters". They are more willing to try out new ideas than people who ride traditional bikes. Partly because of that recumbent manufacturers tend to be pretty small companies. Since the belt length and the bike frame have to be designed at the same time but by different companies, it may take a while.

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    I hope it's not too long. The Slipstream has a removeable rear triangle so fitting the belt on the frame is not an issue. Plus, all the other components already exist. It's all waiting on the belt. I sent the Gates representative company in Colorado an email asking if they could give me any information two days ago. I have not heard back from them. I will post whatever they say if they do.

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    Opt-in Member GreenGrasshoppr's Avatar
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    it could be done with a Moving Bottom Bracket (MBB) front wheel drive recumbent

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    I received an email from Gates today on carbon belts.

    Quote:

    "Currently we are not making a belt long enough for a recumbent. It is cost prohibitive to open a mold of that length at this time. It may be a possibility in the future if we open new molds for tandem."

    Sounds promising at least. Hopefully between recumbents and tandems there will be a market.
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  11. #11
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    Tandems don't use recumbent-length chains (belts.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by PaPa View Post
    From who? If your inquiry was sent to someplace other than a their Denver location, then it went to an ignorant party. You can try fscurlock@gates.com , but unless you're a manufacture, you'll likely be ignored.

    This is bogus information.

    First; Gates already makes a belt long enough for most ANY recumbent - I have two such belts in my possession. However, the catch is, the belts I have will NOT fit the Gates proprietary, 11mm pitch pulleys.

    Second; Gates already makes a belt drive system for tandems. Here's the P/N's:

    Tandem Parts:

    Part Number Teeth Location Mounting Type
    08695AA10 69 Tandem 5 bolt 130mm BCD
    08745AA10 74 Tandem 5 bolt 130mm BCD

    (note: I've heard rumors that the 69t pulley has been discontinued - also note, that the tandem system does NOT accommodate ANY pulleys for hubs - only for the 2 cranks)

    Tandem Belt

    Part Number length
    8M 250T 2000mm

    Please note, that the single drive systems are NOT interchangeable with ANY of the tandem parts. The pitch is different between the two systems.
    Sorry I didn't provide the full email details (What was I thinking?). But since it seems to be so critical, the quote I provided was from Steve Pardoe at Gates and I did send my question in an initial email to the same address you included in your post. Below is his signature from his reply to me so you can phone and confirm his response.

    For some reason he includes an email account different from that which I used to send my question but please take note the phone number has a Colorado area code.

    Steve Pardoe
    Gates Corporation
    spardoe@gates.com
    303-278-3955


    I'm just someone interested in a carbon belt drive for my Slipstream.

    Peace
    Last edited by scrapser; 10-05-10 at 09:39 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
    Tandems don't use recumbent-length chains (belts.)
    I would think it depends on the design but admittedly I'm no expert on tandems (or recumbents for that matter). And if as Gates claims they need a broader market base to make it economically feasible, then it will also depend on which tandem design(s) are selling in high quantities.
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    Opt-in Member GreenGrasshoppr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scrapser View Post
    I would think it depends on the design but admittedly I'm no expert on tandems (or recumbents for that matter). And if as Gates claims they need a broader market base to make it economically feasible, then it will also depend on which tandem design(s) are selling in high quantities.
    I'm pretty sure the following bikes use standard lenghts:

    http://www.zockra-factory.com/index....d=70&Itemid=74

    http://www.python-lowracer.de/pics/gallery/index.html

    http://www.cruzbike.com/

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    I thanked Steve for his first reply and today received the following statement.

    "I'm hoping we might have some options in the next 12 months."

    So maybe it will happen after all. This sounds like it's at least on the table for discussion at the company.

    This is a genuine conversation I have been having. Again, if proof is needed all you need to do is call the man at his number.
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    Update on belts from schlumpf/gates

    I HOPE THIS HELPS YOU; I FOUND THIS WEBSITE THAT LISTS BELTS FROM 994 TO OVER 4400 (UNITS ARE PROBABLY MM), SO THAT WOULD BE 39 IN. TO 14 FEET, I BELIEVE. HERE IS THE LINK: http://www.schlumpf.ch/hp/zr/zr_engl.htm . YOU MAY HAVE TO COPY AND PASTE IT TO YOUR BROWSER. ALSO, I AM GOING TO THE RECUMBENTCYCLE-CON EXPO NEXT WEEKEND OCT.23 TO ASK THE SCHLUMPF REP. PERSONALLY WHICH RECUMBENTS/MANUGACTURERS ARE ABLE TO ADAPT SCHLUMPF DUAL-DRIVE/BELT DRIVE SYSTEMS TO THEIR BIKES. WILL GET BACK TO YOU ON WHAT HE SAYS. HOPE THIS HELPS, BYE FOR NOW.

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    Thanks for the info. Longbikes currently has an option on the Slipstream for the Rohloff Speedhub and will also do the necessary work to fit a Schlumpf dual drive as well. All that's left is the Gates belt (the Slipstream has a removeable rear triangle so a carbon belt could be installed without any frame problems). If you can, please ask about Longbikes. They make tandems as well as recumbents.
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    Another solution in desperate search of a problem........

  19. #19
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    It seems a couple counter shafts and separate belts to span the length needed ,
    are required at present.
    double crossover to an IG hub , via a total of 3 BB's.. for a LWB,
    maybe 2 for a SWB.

  20. #20
    Senior Member PaPa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlexZ View Post
    Another solution in desperate search of a problem........
    Really? Care to detail your suppositions?

  21. #21
    Senior Member PaPa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scrapser View Post
    Thanks for the info. Longbikes currently has an option on the Slipstream for the Rohloff Speedhub and will also do the necessary work to fit a Schlumpf dual drive as well. All that's left is the Gates belt (the Slipstream has a removeable rear triangle so a carbon belt could be installed without any frame problems). If you can, please ask about Longbikes. They make tandems as well as recumbents.
    The Schlumpf drive is apparently designed around the 14mm industrial pitch belt. The Rohloff belt option, IIRC, employs the 11mm pitch Gates C-Drive - the two are obviously, not compatible. In other words, you cannot use a 14mm pitch belt on 11mm pulleys. Dunno if Schlumpf will/does offer a 14mm pulley suitable for the Rohloff IGH.

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    Gates now shows their new "Centertrack" belt drive on the website which I had mentioned previously in this thread. I see they now have belts for tandems with the largest being 2000mm. They mention several hub manufacturers including Rohloff (but curiously not Schlumpf).

    Schlumpf offers an alternative drive system with what appears to be gears made up of a set of plates that sandwich together and topped off with a "capture" plate on each side holding the belt from slipping off. Oddly they do not mention Rohloff in their material online. They do have a 4000mm belt available though which puts it close to what I believe could be used on something like the Slipstream.

    I really hope the two companies don't start a carbon belt drive war and hold Rohloff hostage between the two.

    Schlumpf appears to be just getting started with their product (and webpages) so hopefully they will have more information regarding the support of Rohloff in the future.

    I think if either or both companies made their products "a la carte" they would not have to worry so much about a market. The really big problem for belt drive systems is the bicycle frame...most have a closed rear triangle (sorry if that's the wrong term).
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  23. #23
    Senior Member PaPa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scrapser View Post
    Schlumpf offers an alternative drive system with what appears to be gears made up of a set of plates that sandwich together and topped off with a "capture" plate on each side holding the belt from slipping off. Oddly they do not mention Rohloff in their material online. They do have a 4000mm belt available though which puts it close to what I believe could be used on something like the Slipstream.
    Yes, I've seen their odd looking pulleys. At first glance, it's not clear how they successfully match the belt - that is, until one realizes that they only employ the loading side of each tooth, meaning they only need half tooths because there is no tooth loading when back pedaling. The mud relief cutout below and between teeth also adds to the confusion. Looking closely at the loading side of the tooth face, you'll see that it matches (or nearly so), the tooth profile of the Gates 14mm Poly Chain. Which BTW, comes in belt lengths of 944-4400mm (which recumbentbubba previously mentioned). Checking the Gates catalog, I see that the 14mm Poly Chain will accommodate up to approx. 30 HP - which is par for a belt which is 20mm wide, but IMO, is massive overkill for cycling apps. However, it's relatively easy to slice a synchronous belt lengthwise, resulting in two usable belts - which then would be rated at about 15HP each.

    One issue not previously mentioned...

    The Gates Poly Chain profile is patented, and Gates is very sensitive about infringements. I strongly suspect this is why we don't see a variety of pulley manufactures' eager to replicate one of Gates highly protected products.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Dchiefransom's Avatar
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    I must be missing something. I see no "$" concerning this issue. How much will these belts and components cost, and can they be cost effective in replacing current technology in reality. Are carbon belts the Tesla or the Triac 2.0 of bicycle technology?
    Silver Eagle Pilot

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dchiefransom View Post
    I must be missing something. I see no "$" concerning this issue. How much will these belts and components cost, and can they be cost effective in replacing current technology in reality. Are carbon belts the Tesla or the Triac 2.0 of bicycle technology?
    Since carbon belts can't work on a derailer, it goes without saying an internal gear hub and/or planetary drive will be necessary components if you want more than one speed. This will put carbon belt based systems in a niche market for now. At least two companies are now offering the drive system on a "line" of bikes...Trek being one of them. Like all new tech items, it must go through the adoption curve.

    If I was able to put a full system on my slipstream right now...it would cost more than what I paid for the bike. The Rohloff hub alone is about two grand.
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