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Old 02-10-16, 04:17 AM   #1
Borgodoc
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Need some input on Alfine 11 speed + belt drive commuting bike

Hello fellow bike enthusiasts! I've been reading this forum quite a lot, but I've only registered just now because I have some specific questions that I haven't really seen answered.

I've decided to build my own commuting bicycle. I've had some experience with bicycle DIY in the past, so I'm not completely unaware of what possible pitfalls I might encounter in the process. However, the thing with pitfalls is they are everywhere. So, I'd like to inform myself as much as possible before I actually start ordering everything.

Here's what I'm thinking of getting:

- titanium frame from Nua, there's not a lot of information about it online but it meets all of my requirements (accomodates IGH, disc brakes, internal cable routing, and belt drive; and it looks amazing ); also, titanium means it should be stiff enough to handle the belt drive

- Shimano Alfine internal gear hub (11 speed): I had thought about getting a Rohloff, but for my purposes it doesn't seem worth the extra cost

- gates belt drive: preferably the CDC sprockets, been reading some bad things about the CDX; on top of that, the CDC sprockets should be cheaper (or so I've heard)

So, in short, the focus point of this bike is that I'd like an IGH, belt driven, on a titanium frame. Main reasons: reliability, ease of use, low maintenance.

One of the issues with the Alfine is, apparently, that there a risk for damage/breaking when used with a belt drive. How bad is this problem? Is it true that a high gear ratio will lessen this risk? How does that work exactly? I've also been reading some complaints about oil leaking from the hub: is this a widespread problem or not (it's known that unsatisfied customers are more likely to voice their opinion than satisfied customers)?

I'm happy to list the other parts I had in mind, but getting this right first is key I welcome all of your input!
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Old 02-10-16, 06:10 AM   #2
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As I recall, the CDC lacks the centre line. The problem with this was seen on the original Trek SOHO, the belt kept working its way off. I have a CDX (with the centre track) and do not know of the problems people claim to have with it. Mine is used daily, parked outside during the day, and has over 2500 miles on it. I have had to adjust the tension once.

You seem set on going without the center track; however, I would not recommend it.

Btw, the belt is on a Novara Gotham, Steel bike, with a NuVinci N360 hub.
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Old 02-10-16, 07:06 AM   #3
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Thanks for your reply! The reason I went for the CDC is that, based on tests from several different sources (for example, Dutch bike manufacturer Santos) the CDX parts wear out 2-4 times faster than the CDC parts. They speculate that one of the reasons Gates started with CDX was that the original CDC lasted too long; in other words, they were so durable that they didn't sell enough. This is the reason that Santos, to this day, has not adopted CDX yet: they don't want to sell an inferior product. But if it's true, like you say, that the belt comes off more easily on the CDC sprockets, than I would certainly have to rethink this; a belt coming off seems to be more of a problem than it staying on but having to replace it now and then
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Old 02-10-16, 07:28 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Borgodoc View Post
The reason I went for the CDC is that, based on tests from several different sources (for example, Dutch bike manufacturer Santos) the CDX parts wear out 2-4 times faster than the CDC parts.
I have a spare belt; but I have never considered putting it on. It sits on a shelf in my basement 'just in case.' The only person I heard of that was having trouble with belts was a person who was putting belt dressing (whatever that is) on his.

As far as selling more belts, I doubt that is the case simply because it is so hard to find a replacement belt. The fact that it is hard to find replacements is the reason I ordered a spare. At 2500+ miles my belt looks fine and, other than one adjustment, it is fairly maintenance free. I am pretty sold on belt drive at this point.
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Old 02-10-16, 08:24 AM   #5
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Not just the belts, the sprockets as well. I went and found the article in which they compare the CDC and the CDX line. It's in Dutch, so I'll translate and summarize the test results:

Durability

CDC: 2-4 as durable as a decent chain
CDX: about as durable as a decent chain, so wears out 2-4 times faster than CDC

Efficiency

CDC: runs as light as a decent chain; when the frame is stiff enough and the belt properly aligned, it will not touch the edges of the sprocket
CDX: runs less smooth because it runs over a middle ridge, between the teeth of the sprocket; the weaker the frame and less precise the alignement, the less efficiency

Maintenance

CDC: requires no lubrication; periodically blow clean with water; requires sporadic tensioning
CDX: requires no lubrication; periodically blow clean with water; requires regular tensioning, about as often as a chain

Aligning

CDC: interesting for high-end specialists; bike manufacturer has to stick to strict requirements (stiff and perfectly straight frame); consumer can check the alignment of the belt during riding and is able to correct it without special tools; when badly aligned, the belt can run off
CDX: interesting for mid-class mass producing; bike manufacterer can be a little less precise; consumer is unable to check and correct alignment without special tools; when badly aligned, the belt will be thrown by the middle ridge and break

Self cleaning

CDC: the sprockets push aside dirt and snow through the mudports to one side; like a chain, little stones and twigs that get in between, could break the belt
CDX: because of the middle ridge, dirt and snow gets pushed aside to both sides; like a chain, little stones and twigs that get in between, could break the belt; on top of that, the slit in the middle of the belt could get filled with grit and break because of the upwards pressure of the middle ridge on the sprocket

So you see why I'm confused
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Old 09-13-17, 07:07 PM   #6
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@Borgodoc, just wondering if you got the bike from Nua. I'm very close to ordering one with an Alfine 8 hub.
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