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Belt drive owners

Old 07-15-11, 03:26 PM
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Belt drive owners

If the novelty has worn off, do you feel like you made a good decision? I'm aware of the main pros and cons, but am still undecided- primarily due to their decidedly hefty price tag...
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Old 07-15-11, 07:57 PM
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Or put in another way- if you were to build up another bike, would you still opt for the belt or revert back to the chain?
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Old 07-15-11, 10:37 PM
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For me it depends on the bike; if it sees fair weather only then I have no problem with chains/dérailleurs. For adverse weather conditions nothing beats a belt-drive/IGH setup (IMHO). It's the lack of necessary regular maintenance that seals the deal for me.
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Old 07-15-11, 11:29 PM
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I love mine for commuting. It rains every day here this time of year. It has made my maintenance so much easier. I have put 2,000 miles on it already this year.
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Old 07-17-11, 07:43 PM
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I will not buy another belt-drive bike. It is great "in theory" because it is maintenance free "in theory" but I found it much more difficult to change a flat. (Others claim it is "not so bad once you get the hang of it" but I never could.) and I've had it back to the dealer for maintenance and warranty replacements 3 or 4 times.

also, unless content with a singlespeed you are stuck with an internal-gear hub, which unless you want to shell out big money (Rohloff or Alfine 12) has a limited gear range.

the novelty wore off pretty quickly for me. that said, I was more enamored with it when I didn't know how to adjust a derailleur
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Old 07-18-11, 02:59 AM
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Originally Posted by mtalinm View Post
I will not buy another belt-drive bike. It is great "in theory" because it is maintenance free "in theory" but I found it much more difficult to change a flat. (Others claim it is "not so bad once you get the hang of it" but I never could.) and I've had it back to the dealer for maintenance and warranty replacements 3 or 4 times.
also, unless content with a singlespeed you are stuck with an internal-gear hub, which unless you want to shell out big money (Rohloff or Alfine 12) has a limited gear range.
Is your issue to do with using non derailleur hubs rather than chain-vs-belt?
I use an Alfine hub with a chain. Would there be much difference compared to Alfine with a belt?
Is changing a flat with belt drive any different to similar system with chain drive?
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Old 07-18-11, 03:32 AM
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If you remove the rear wheel ti change a flat you have to re-tension the belt or else it starts to skip. I could never figure out how to do this without the special tool (who wants to carry that) so it was $20 at the LBS. I lived in fear of flats.

Note use of the past tense as I don't ride the bike anymore...was going to sell it but the the belt drive developed a creaK...or maybe it is the ugh, butbthe two are joined at the hipk...back at the shop fir warranty service again.

Never again
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Old 07-18-11, 03:36 AM
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Which model was it? Not every bike is the same. Many new bikes don't require retensioning when replacing the rear wheel, and the centertrack belt is supposedly a big step forward.
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Old 07-18-11, 03:41 AM
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the trek soho in my sig. I need to change my sig not to call it the "winter commuter" anymore because I don't use it. perhaps they will figure out a way to improve it over time ...

again, "in theory" it is a great idea. I used to brag to my derailleur friends that I never had to clean or oil a chain and how that was saving me time etc. now that I have a clue about bike maintenance, I realize that it's maybe 15-20m per week, not really that hard. plus, if I break a chain on a long ride I can fix it with a chain tool and a powerlink. maybe a belt is unbreakable but if I ever had trouble with it i'd be SOL
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Old 07-18-11, 06:09 AM
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I never want to go back to a chain. I've been riding a Soho DLX since May 21. 570 miles, mostly commuting, with zero complaints. The lack of chain maintenance b.s. is, for me, a huge benefit. If I ride in the rain, I just run a hose over the bike when I get home, then towel it off and put it away.
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Old 07-19-11, 12:36 AM
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Belt drive FTW!



Sorry about your luck, mtalinm. That's the chance you take as an alpha-tester, I guess. Plans for my bike include an upgrade to Gates' new CenterTrack system, and eventually the Alfine 11. While my bike hasn't been completely trouble-free, compared to my previous winter ride it's been a real gem.
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Old 07-19-11, 08:57 AM
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I ride a strida vs my old mtn bike and with the belt after around 6000km now all I do once a week is hose it down and dry it from the dust. It's still going strong after all that, no new belt needed. It will be hard when I do get a new folding bike and go back to chains (not too common). I borrowed a co workers dahon and it dirtied my pants a bit even though I strapped the pant leg.
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Old 07-19-11, 09:04 AM
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Can you run a belt on a fixed gear? i.e. can you stop the bike without a brake like you can on a chain driven fg?
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Old 07-19-11, 09:19 AM
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Originally Posted by scroca View Post
Can you run a belt on a fixed gear? i.e. can you stop the bike without a brake like you can on a chain driven fg?
Some people have converted their Trek Districts over to fixed. I've thought about it on mine.
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Old 07-19-11, 09:27 AM
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Originally Posted by mtalinm View Post
If you remove the rear wheel ti change a flat you have to re-tension the belt or else it starts to skip. I could never figure out how to do this without the special tool (who wants to carry that) so it was $20 at the LBS. I lived in fear of flats.

Note use of the past tense as I don't ride the bike anymore...was going to sell it but the the belt drive developed a creaK...or maybe it is the ugh, butbthe two are joined at the hipk...back at the shop fir warranty service again.

Never again
Maybe this is a problem with the Soho specifically. On my Trek District (grey/orange), I've only had one flat, but there was no belt re-tensioning needed, the belt slipped back into the sprocket, and the wheel slipped back into the dropout with no problem. It was actually far easier than doing the same thing on a traditional single speed bike with a track fork end.
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Old 07-19-11, 05:01 PM
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I actually had my first flat this morning. It took about 25 minutes to change. To me, it seemed pretty straight forward. I did not have to re-tension the belt. Since having done it once, i think I could get it down to 15 minutes.
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Old 04-16-12, 07:39 AM
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Hi, I wanted to revive this thread to see if any new owners can chime in. I am looking at the Soho DLX, but I'm still somewhat worried about the difficulties with changing a flat. I hear the 2012 Soho DLX has addressed some problems. What's the overall view of those who have had a belt-driven bike for a few months or even more?
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Old 04-16-12, 09:22 AM
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I've got a DLX. (~1350 miles now) I haven't done it, but I've seen video and am confident removing the rear wheel isn't hard. It's not much different than a "normal" bike. Nothing needs to be re-adjusted afterward. It's pretty well thought-out. The belt tensioners aren't touched during the process.

The only thing that's different is you have to unhook the brake and shifter cables, but once you see how this is done, it's obvious.

Some people think they have to unscrew, unbolt, and unthread everything they see back there, but you don't. It's just the two main axle bolts (like any other bike), and the cables.
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Old 04-16-12, 09:51 AM
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Changing a rear flat is just a little bit different with an IGH and belt.

I can do it in about 15-20 mins. It's really no big deal.

As far as the belt goes, I have ridden it about 750 miles, just around town.
That's why I bought it.
So far so good. The creaking bottom bracket is annoying at times.
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Old 04-16-12, 10:05 AM
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Have any of you (with the Soho DLX) mounted winter tires? The guy at the LBS said they probably won't fit.
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Old 04-16-12, 10:08 AM
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Originally Posted by JPprivate View Post
Have any of you (with the Soho DLX) mounted winter tires? The guy at the LBS said they probably won't fit.
I put a 32 Nokian on the front of a non-DLX Soho with no trouble. I didn't dare try the back wheel because it was such a headache to remove and replace the first time I did it. I'm sure other have mastered the art, but I never did and moreover didn't want to carry the extra tools to do so. Living in fear of flats is one of the main reasons I don't ride it anymore (the other being the awful, awful roller brakes on the non-DLX version). I have a Sturmey0Archer drum brake on a different bike, and it is a completely different animal.
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Old 04-16-12, 11:08 AM
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I'd like to do belt drive with a NuVinci hub. Anyone here try that yet?

A friend test rode a NuVinci equipped bike and he said it was absolutely addicting. He's an eBike guy so it wasn't worth it to him but he said if he was 100% pedaling he'd definitely go for it.
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Old 04-16-12, 12:56 PM
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Re: NuVinci and belt drive -

A couple days ago, in a different thread, someone mentioned they had the new Novara Gotham that is equipped with the NuVinci hub and Gates Center Track belt drive. They seemed to like it. Here is the most in depth review on that particular bike that I have seen so far: https://www.bicycletimesmag.com/conte...-novara-gotham

The time to buy the Gotham was before today though. I believe the 20% off REI member coupon expired today. With that coupon, the bike was just over a grand. That is a great price for a bike outfitted that well.
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Old 04-16-12, 04:06 PM
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I have the Novara Gotham. It has the NuVinci hub and Gates Center Track belt drive. For an all around, just get on it and go bike, I wouldn't go back to a chain. Tire changing is not a problem but I added Slime inserts anyway. Although I don't have to for changing a flat, belt adjustment is really simple with an eccentric BB. Disc brakes are another plus on this bike as is the Dyno hub/lights. It's upright and comfortable but still very nimble to ride. I thought it was going to be pretty slow, but was happily surprised at how well it goes for a heavy bike.
On my mountain bike, fast road bike and touring bike, I wouldn't go to an IGH. Too heavy for the mountaian bike and road bike and I like standard parts that would be easy to obtain while touring.
All that said, the IGH and belt are a fabulous combination for commuting and banging around. The price is not inexpensive but I will keep this bike for many years, so I consider it a really good investment.
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Old 04-16-12, 04:25 PM
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Originally Posted by hubcap View Post
Re: NuVinci and belt drive -

The time to buy the Gotham was before today though. I believe the 20% off REI member coupon expired today. With that coupon, the bike was just over a grand. That is a great price for a bike outfitted that well.
Thanks for that. I am not living in the fast lane, it won't bother me any to wait 11 months to buy a new bike. I'll consider it.
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