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Tandem Cycling A bicycle built for two. Want to find out more about this wonderful world of tandems? Check out this forum to talk with other tandem enthusiasts. Captains and stokers welcome!

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Old 07-11-10, 12:47 PM   #1
Carbonfiberboy 
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Squeaky Gates belt?

We've been having one of those tandem noise issues. Something to do with pedaling. Sounded like it might a a BB, but they're new FSAs and seem solid and free on the stand with belt and chain removed. Same sound whether sitting or standing. Usually appeared about an hour into a ride and never on the stand. I changed captain's pedals, no help, changed stoker's pedals, no help. I finally applied paraffin to the edge of the belt that contacts the rim of the timing ring. Seems to have fixed it. About 1000 miles on the belt, which does seem to press more tightly against the rim than it did when new. Belt tension does not seem to have changed with use.

Anyone experience this or similar?
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Old 07-11-10, 06:19 PM   #2
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Perhaps add some wd40? I know its simple...but sometimes people forget!
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Old 07-12-10, 12:49 PM   #3
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I posted about this on another thread. Ours started doing this around 4-5000 miles, and I moved the eccentric to the left twice, then later flipping the belt and recentering the eccentric. So far so good.
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Old 07-12-10, 01:14 PM   #4
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I posted about this on another thread. Ours started doing this around 4-5000 miles, and I moved the eccentric to the left twice, then later flipping the belt and recentering the eccentric. So far so good.
OK, thanks. I'll try that.

How much tension are you using? I backed off on the tension on mine after measuring the crank drag with drive chain removed, with and without the belt. When I push down on mine in the middle, it comes to kind of a stopping point where it stops stretching. That's about a 5/8" - 11/16" displacement. I don't notice any wear or stretch, nor has it slipped.
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Old 07-12-10, 02:59 PM   #5
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Parafin on a Gates belt?
Heck, been lubricating regular chains dipped in liquified parafin for over 3 decades . . . no squeaks, no chain tattoos.
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Old 07-12-10, 03:34 PM   #6
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Quote:
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Perhaps add some wd40? I know its simple...but sometimes people forget!
WD40 was formulated for usage with metal and metal parts. I'd avoid contact with plastic and rubber parts. The chlorinated solvents can cause stress cracking in parts of some types of plastic.
Paraffin as Zona suggested, would be a safer choice.
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Old 07-13-10, 02:10 PM   #7
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Maybe silicon like you would use on the dashboard of your car?
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Old 07-13-10, 02:55 PM   #8
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Soap and water.

Ours has made noise occassionaly. It seems to come and go. Its been quiet for a good while now (knock wood.) The Web cyclerly people say that dirt can make it a bit noisy. IIRC correctly they recommended mild soap and water.

Also, I don't think it's suppossed to "press against the rim" Co-Motion says it should run from Zero to .5mm from the outer wall of the sprocket. Zero would be against the wall, but again I'm not sure it should be "pressing" into it. So you might check the belt alignment.
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Old 07-13-10, 03:00 PM   #9
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Also, this from Gates:

My drive is squeaking or making noise, what’s the cause, and how do I fix it?


The belt can make noise when forced to run hard against the flanges on the sprockets. This can be due to sprocket misalignment, wheel misalignment, or run out in the drive caused by damaged components. Spraying water on the belt may quiet the drive for a few minutes, but the permanent solution is to correct the alignment or replace the damaged components. Another possible source of noise is a loose front sprocket. Using thread lock on the sprocket bolts alleviates this problem.
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Old 07-13-10, 04:49 PM   #10
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"Press hard" is maybe too strong. Touches enough to make noise sometimes, for sure. Alignment seems OK. No visible wear on the belt. The paraffin fixed it, so I'll just apply some from time to time. Was curious to know if this was something unusual. Thanks, folks. If it becomes annoying again, I'll try flipping the belt.
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Old 07-13-10, 09:35 PM   #11
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Is it touching on both rings or just one? If just one, I'd cosnider moving that crank half a mm out, or if both, moving both cranks half a mm out.
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Old 07-13-10, 10:39 PM   #12
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It touches both rims exactly the same. And I just figured out the problem.

You may recall that this is a retrofit on a 2003 Speedster. CoMo says this may not work because the axes of the BBs may not be parallel. In our case they are not exactly parallel. Very close, but not exact. The two axes seem to converge in a horizontal plane on the belt side of the bike. So what's happening is that at the extreme ends of the beltline, the inside of the sprockets are carrying the belt teeth further outboard than they should be on both the captain's and the stoker's sprockets. This causes the belt to touch the flange at the top and bottom of both sprockets. It's not much and I didn't notice it until I used a very accurate straightedge just now. Both sprockets come out of plane with respect to the belt plane by maybe .005". The LBS that did the work didn't notice it either. Of course they used a straight edge to get the shims right for the two BBs. Use a straight edge fairly casually and they look perfectly aligned.

Basically I don't care, now that I know what the problem is and that paraffin is an OK palliative. Last group ride we were on, another bike dropped their chain at an inopportune moment. Belt is good. And I haven't gotten grease on any body parts or clothing recently.

Going OT, I tried wax on my chains years ago, but never really liked it. Too much time fussing and my chains didn't last as well as I would have liked. Maybe I didn't do it right. Latest chain potion is Finish Line Pro Road Ceramically Reinforced gump. I'm getting great chain life on the bike with this stuff.
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Old 07-21-10, 12:32 AM   #13
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We've been away for a while (touring the French Alps on the tandem) so just saw this thread now.

Last year, we had quite a bit of worrying noise coming from the Gates belt drive after re-assembling the bike after flying with it. I discovered that I had installed the belt in the opposite orientation to what it had been before - flipping it around completely stopped the noise.

The belt now occasionally starts making a noise after riding on wet roads / in the rain. After the water has dried, it makes some noise for a while, but if we keep riding it seems to clean itself off and then is back to being silent again quite soon. I've occasionally tried cleaning the belt with soap, water, and a sponge or brush in these situations, but I was never very successful, and continuing to ride it seems to be the best way to clean it - the open design of the belt-ring seems to work very well.
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