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  1. #1
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    Gates belt for Trek T50

    I have a tandem bike TREK T50 and I would like to install a gates belt to replace my timing chain. The distance between the front and the rear BB (heart to heart) is 700 mm. The bike has the original eccentric (wedge type).

    Is there a fitting belt and sprockets to fit this? I can not find it on the drive calculator.

  2. #2
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    Not sure if the T50 is stiff enough for a belt but the 74 tooth chainrings should fit at 704mm. The drive calculator isn't for timing belts.

  3. #3
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    I asked Gates if the timing belt and 74T sprockets will do for my Trek with 700 mm between the brackets and they said yes. However, I read that the belt is on the right tension at 706 mm. I measured only 703 or704 mm with my eccenter to the max. Will this 2 mm difference make a difference between ok and no good?

  4. #4
    Nigel nfmisso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bezalel View Post
    Not sure if the T50 is stiff enough for a belt .......
    The T50/T100/T200 are extremely stiff, plenty for a belt.
    Nigel
    Mechanical Design Engineer

  5. #5
    Nigel nfmisso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bartel.michiels View Post
    I asked Gates if the timing belt and 74T sprockets will do for my Trek with 700 mm between the brackets and they said yes. However, I read that the belt is on the right tension at 706 mm. I measured only 703 or704 mm with my eccenter to the max. Will this 2 mm difference make a difference between ok and no good?
    Should be okay.

    We also have a T50. Frankly, I am amazed that someone would want to install a timing belt system that costs more than the whole bike is worth. In the USA, the T50/T100/T200 (same frame slight variation in components) go for $400-$700. I have done a number of upgrades to ours including: 40H Velocity Dyad rims on cartridge bearing hubs, 9 speed conversion (SRAM X.9 RD, 11-34T cassette, X.0 shifter), fenders and other minor things. We got ours used, and it came with 28-44-54 chain rings; now has a 26T granny. Some think that I am crazy for investing that much in the T50.

    Trek's first tandems (T50/T100/T200) are nice riding and very rigid. They are made of TIG welded True Temper butted Cro-Mo tubing, and have a large ovalized boom tube. They are not particularly light; but make up for that with very efficient delivery of power to the ground. It is very stable at high speed.
    Nigel
    Mechanical Design Engineer

  6. #6
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    In Belgium it's rather rare to find a Trek tandem and the price is between 800 $ and 1.000 $. Other second hand quality tandems are much more expensive and hard to find. Belgium is a small bike market with more conventional bikes or pure race bikes.

    To me a good frame (and I think the Trek has a good frame) is half the bike and I prefer steel frames. I only kept the frame and I replaced most of the components with pieces I already had in my garage.


    As there were some cracks in the rear wheel I bought new 48 spokes wheels with cartridge hubs. So now I have a good tandem for apr. 1.100 $. I will not find a second hand tandem with the same components and a good stiff frame. The only minor points are that the frame and fork are not adapted for disc brakes, the weight is rather on the heavy side and that it is not possible to retrofit s & s couplings due to the oval tube (or they have to replace the oval tube by a round one, what I do not want to do).

    As I have to lift the tandem often on and off the roof of my car I thought it would be much easier (and cleaner) If I had a belt instead of a chain. The price of two sprockets and a belt is apr. 240 euro what is a third of the price I paid for the bike and wheels.

    And most important, I like it very much to ride this bike.

  7. #7
    Nigel nfmisso's Avatar
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    A very good reason for changing to a belt. Go for it.

    Finding another tandem frame that is both stiff and nice riding is at a reasonable price is very difficult. Bill McCready of Santana has good things to say about the 1st generation Trek tandems

    I concur regarding steel; all of my bikes are steel, one is double butted Reynolds 531, one is hi-ten (low carbon) steel, and the balance are cro-mo alloy steel. I build or rebuild my bikes from the frame up, and I build my own wheels. Bicycle are a black hole hobby, not a business for me.

    Swapping the fork for a disc brake compatible one should not be a big deal - if your really want disc brakes. We have Avid SD5 linear pull brakes, which we find more than sufficient - we ride very few hills, and tend to keep it under 30kph, but we are a 500+lbs team.
    Nigel
    Mechanical Design Engineer

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