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  1. #1
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    Belt driven Touring bike

    I'm planning on having a custom bike built for me using a Rohloff hub and I'm really considering using the belt drive system from this company.

    On paper it looks great. What do you guys and gals think of this idea?

    One bike I was considering was having Spot Brand bikes custom build me one of their Highline's with touring provisions and rohloff droputs.


  2. #2
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    If you need spare parts while on tour, can you get them?
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  3. #3
    the uncarved block openmindedgent's Avatar
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    I have no idea about the technology but I can imagine the lack of a chain would make for a very smooth and quiet ride, I would love to test ride a bike with this system. They look pretty professional but glitz and glamour doesnt prove anything, I want to hear some real feedback about this product.

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    Quote Originally Posted by StephenH View Post
    If you need spare parts while on tour, can you get them?
    They say the belts are near impossible to break. At Interbike this year they had a Harley Davidson being suspended in the air by one of the belts.

    I don't think I could imagine one of the cogs or rings breaking or wearing from a belt, they look very burly.

    However, if something were to break, or you need replacement belts, QBP is going to be one of the distributors.



    http://reviews.mtbr.com/interbike/sp...-system-bikes/

    They're also just as efficient as a chain.

    Recommended replacement of the belt is over 10,000 miles, there's no oiling, it's much quiter and probably smoother and stiffer under hard accelerating.

  5. #5
    Bike touring webrarian
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    What about racks?

    Ray
    Visit the on-line Bike Touring Archive at www.biketouringtips.com

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by raybo View Post
    What about racks?

    Ray

    They would build the bike how I wanted it with all the provisions such as rack eyelets.

    Carbon Drive system's also sell the dropouts alone so you can have a frame builder build you a custom frame however you want it.

  7. #7
    Senior Member DuckFat's Avatar
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    I'd be concerned about getting the belt wet and dirty and then have it wear out fast in the boonies. If you get that thing covered in slimy mud will it slip under high torque? Does it expand or contract when really wet?

    The automotive world is moving back to chains for the timing belts and when you see belts in a car they are usually covered with a plastic cover. If you had such a cover for the belt on the bike I'd feel better but I still wonder what the belt would do in high humidity. I bet it's quiet but reliability has to be your #1 concern.

  8. #8
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    My take on it is that both the rohloff and the belt drive are solutions to problems that don't exist. Different strokes though.

  9. #9
    Senior Member DukeArcher's Avatar
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    The Rohloff is not a solution, staephj1, it's an alternative. A good one, too.

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    My Harley is belt drive. They say the belt will last 100,000 miles, need little maintainence etc. I broke mine in 18,000 miles. A close inspection revealed I had picked up a small sharp rock in the rear pully that acted like a knife against the underside of the belt. The belt works good on a motorcycle, smooth and quiet. I'm sure it would be the same on a bicycle. I will however, never buy another belt drive motorcycle (or bicycle for that matter). A chain can be fixed on the side of the road with simple tools if it breaks. When a belt breaks, you need a new belt. I would check the cost of replacements too. It was almost $200 for my motorcycle belt.

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    Senior Member Nigeyy's Avatar
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    That's only one half of the equation; another question would be "is this technology reliable enough so that the probability of getting stranded is small enough to be acceptable?"

    Granted you want to be able to get spare parts, but it's better not to need spare parts in the first place (for anything).

    Quote Originally Posted by StephenH View Post
    If you need spare parts while on tour, can you get them?

  12. #12
    cyclopath vik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert_in_ca View Post
    I'm planning on having a custom bike built for me using a Rohloff hub and I'm really considering using the belt drive system from this company.

    On paper it looks great. What do you guys and gals think of this idea?

    One bike I was considering was having Spot Brand bikes custom build me one of their Highline's with touring provisions and rohloff droputs.

    I haven't looked at the specs of the system you are considering or the Spot bikes so these are just general comments to consider:

    - I wouldn't want to be pioneering any concepts on my touring bike. I would only be interested in using proven components that are readily repairable/replaceable. Parts break all the time for reasons no one could foresee so assuming you'll have no problems is overly optimistic. The question is what will you do when you do have problems?

    - if you are going custom make sure the company building your bike is heavily into touring. A really nice custom touring bike isn't a cross bike with extra braze-ons or a mtn bike with longer chain stays. Get someone who knows what the bike will be put through and who understands what makes a great touring bike to build it for you. If not take your money to a company like Thorn that builds high end production bikes specifically for Rohloff hubs.

    - if you want to try the belt drive out just make sure your bike can be easily retrofitted to a chain drive if things don't pan out.

    Enjoy your new bike. I hope the belt systems works great...
    safe riding - Vik
    VikApproved

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    I like the idea. On motorcycles one of the problems with belts is the super power aftermarket motors that are being developed for harleys. These have proven to be belt breakers, and are somewhat responsible for the return of chains. Of course the cool thing about bike chains is that they are lifetime oiled and sealed, which doesn't seem to a bike miniturizable concept yet. But I guess the issue would be whether on this scale there are any similar problems 250 pounds guy tearing into a hill with 100 pounds of gear, "snap"? I doubt it if it is designed for mountain bikes.

    The only part that looks open to tragedy with this system is the belt itself, and that would be light and easy to carry and replace on the road, so it would be a mater of whether it's a once in a lifetime problem or an every 50 miles problem that the belt gets cut with a stone chip. I have enough excitement of that type with tires.

    Efficiency is my main concern. Something that lightens the rotating load on a Rohloff would b a great pitch against the already easier running deraileur system.

    Then there is the cost, it can't be cheap? There is also the belt length, how many options is it a delco item or only in a few places on earth. I'm betting on MSC.

    Sure looks better than that lifetime lubricated chain in a chaingard option.


    The break in the chainstay is going to take a litte thinking over....
    Last edited by NoReg; 02-14-08 at 11:02 AM.

  14. #14
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    The problem that Rohloff/belt drive solves is off-road riding in wet muddy condition. Clay-based mud is really sticky and will soon clog up a derailleur system and add 4 lbs of weight.
    The system is also useful for all-weather, low maintenance commuting.

    The belts look light enough to carry a spare if you are touring far from courier services.

  15. #15
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    Pros: very clean, very low maintenance. Fairly easy to carry 1-2 spare belts on tour.

    Cons: Belts are less efficient than chains; Rohloff is less efficient than derailleurs. You won't get spares on tour, ordering through QBP could take a very long time. Expensive.

    I think it depends on where and how long you're touring. 2 weeks, no problem. Maybe even a few months. However, I can guarantee that no matter how "unbreakable" the chains are, not only will it break, but it will break at just about the worst possible time.

    I recommend you do some research on Strida folding bikes, which use belt drives and internal hubs. Check the Folding forum for feedback forthwith....

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    Quote Originally Posted by DuckFat View Post
    I'd be concerned about getting the belt wet and dirty and then have it wear out fast in the boonies. If you get that thing covered in slimy mud will it slip under high torque? Does it expand or contract when really wet?

    The automotive world is moving back to chains for the timing belts and when you see belts in a car they are usually covered with a plastic cover. If you had such a cover for the belt on the bike I'd feel better but I still wonder what the belt would do in high humidity. I bet it's quiet but reliability has to be your #1 concern.
    Round tooth belts rarely slip, even with low tension. Works very much like a chain and probably grips better. If you have a plastic guard on you car's belt drive you should remove, IMHO, it just traps dirt. Hose it down with carb cleaner now and then. I work on equipment with belt drive components and they do last quite a while. Though I believe they are used in place of chains because they do not require lubrication, and in those situations you wouldn't want a chain throwing lube on the rest of the machine. Especially in food or medical equipment.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by DuckFat View Post
    I'd be concerned about getting the belt wet and dirty and then have it wear out fast in the boonies. If you get that thing covered in slimy mud will it slip under high torque? Does it expand or contract when really wet?

    The automotive world is moving back to chains for the timing belts and when you see belts in a car they are usually covered with a plastic cover. If you had such a cover for the belt on the bike I'd feel better but I still wonder what the belt would do in high humidity. I bet it's quiet but reliability has to be your #1 concern.
    Any mud or dirt would be pushed through the gear, they have openings between the teeth.

    The belts don't really stretch, they are carbon impregnated and are super strong.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe View Post
    Pros: very clean, very low maintenance. Fairly easy to carry 1-2 spare belts on tour.

    Cons: Belts are less efficient than chains; Rohloff is less efficient than derailleurs. You won't get spares on tour, ordering through QBP could take a very long time. Expensive.
    This test shows belt being as efficient, if not a little more efficient than a chain.


    I think it depends on where and how long you're touring. 2 weeks, no problem. Maybe even a few months. However, I can guarantee that no matter how "unbreakable" the chains are, not only will it break, but it will break at just about the worst possible time.

    I recommend you do some research on Strida folding bikes, which use belt drives and internal hubs. Check the Folding forum for feedback forthwith....
    An extra belt weighs less than a tube, and probably packs just as small.

  19. #19
    the uncarved block openmindedgent's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert_in_ca View Post
    This test shows belt being as efficient, if not a little more efficient than a chain.




    An extra belt weighs less than a tube, and probably packs just as small.
    boo ya

    I was waiting for real statistics... no more arguing about which one is better, they both weigh each other out. So the real debate is about personal preference. Personally I love the idea, chains are hella old school and this belt drive seems like it would feel so good to ride with. But then again I am a starving artist and can only dream of such a thing while lubing and cursing at my clunky chain drive.

  20. #20
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert_in_ca View Post
    This test shows belt being as efficient, if not a little more efficient than a chain.
    I would be just a bit skeptical since it seems to be pretty crudely done and probably not by an unbiased observer.

  21. #21
    the uncarved block openmindedgent's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
    I would be just a bit skeptical since it seems to be pretty crudely done and probably not by an unbiased observer.
    Yeeaa, it does kind of have the "Carbon Drive" logo on the bottom right of the page... What do I know though, I am just like every other American. Put a graph in front of me and I am happy with whatever the results are, even if it is bull. Sad for me.

  22. #22
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    Using data gathered from the manufacturer doesn't really prove anything.. that's like believing your used car dealer when he promises you got a great deal.

  23. #23
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    Looks pretty good to me, how else are you supposed to measure this but by the way it was done? It was also done by an independent laboratory, not by Carbondrive Systems.

  24. #24
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert_in_ca View Post
    Looks pretty good to me, how else are you supposed to measure this but by the way it was done? It was also done by an independent laboratory, not by Carbondrive Systems.
    Well they didn't have the same ratios on the two. They used a constant speed motor of unknown rpms so we have no idea of whether it was done at a relevant speed. Depending on the specifications of the motor there are unknown levels of error in how much energy actually got to the crank. None of the three critical things (motor, Powertap, and magnetic resistance trainer) are known quantities and it is not know whether test conditions were specifically selected to give a bias to the belt. Further we don't know how well the chain was lubed and with what nor do we know the quality of the chain and sprockets.

    Do you think that someone other than Carbon Drive hired them to do it?

    Edit: I am not even saying that they are definitely inaccurate findings, but it certainly seems reasonable not to trust testing that was almost certainly commissioned by the manufacturer either directly or indirectly.

  25. #25
    Senior Member gregw's Avatar
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    The touring community has always been a bunch of naysayers, they still think bar-end shifters and cantilever brakes are greatest inventions of all time.

    I posed this same combination of belt and Rohloff hub in a thread a while back and got the same kind of response. Just disregard the whinny old school mentality and move forward.

    I think it would be a great combination! How much better is it than a regular derailleur system? Well considering the cost, no Rohloff hub system seems to make much sense, but what a cool set-up it would be. The best part, I think would be how quiet if would be, almost worth it just for that factor.

    Sorry old school die hards, I know I always tick your guys off on subjects like this, but someone's got to do it.

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