Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Electric Bikes
Reload this Page >

Chain or belt?

Notices
Electric Bikes Here's a place to discuss ebikes, from home grown to high-tech.

Chain or belt?

Old 10-22-20, 06:14 PM
  #1  
Telkwa
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 134
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 10 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Chain or belt?

Anyone have any thoughts about belt drive vs. chain in mild off-road conditions, like gravel rail-to-trail?

I like our e-mtn. bikes, but they're geared for singletrack. We're usually clipping along in the highest gears. I recently replaced both chainsets. The smallest cogs were skipping while the larger cogs were barely worn.

So I'm curious about some of these belt-drive bikes, like the Trek Allant+ 9S. Or the beautiful Riese & Muller bikes if money falls from the sky.
Telkwa is offline  
Old 10-22-20, 07:33 PM
  #2  
frizzen
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2020
Location: Santa Rosa, California
Posts: 35

Bikes: 1955 Hercules Royal Prince Fixed Gear

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5 Post(s)
Liked 4 Times in 3 Posts
Watch this:

Belts Are The BEST Bicycle Drivetrain Available (Epic Testing!)


The only downside is the price.
frizzen is offline  
Likes For frizzen:
Old 10-22-20, 08:02 PM
  #3  
Pop N Wood
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2020
Location: Maryland
Posts: 1,163

Bikes: 1982 Bianchi Sport SX, Rayleigh Tamland 1, Rans V-Rex recumbent, Fuji MTB, 80's Cannondale MTB with BBSHD ebike motor

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 552 Post(s)
Liked 433 Times in 286 Posts
Belt drives shine in gravel and off road conditions. Would love to have one for that type of riding.

But sounds to me that you don't need a belt drive so much as a larger front chain ring. Also realize nothing wears a cog faster than a worn/stretched chain. Make sure you check your chain for wear on a regular basis and replace often. If your cassette needed replacing at the same time as your chain than you waited way too long to replace the chain.

Always have to laugh when people say something is the "best" except for cost. Cost is always an issue. Often it is the deciding issue on what is "best", especially in the case of bicycle drives. Belt drives mean some sort of internal gear hub which can be expensive. Derailleur systems give a lot of performance for relatively low cost.
Pop N Wood is offline  
Old 10-22-20, 08:11 PM
  #4  
Alan Bikes
Banned
 
Join Date: Sep 2020
Location: Denver
Posts: 21

Bikes: cruiser, bmx,road

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Belt rings wear fast if ridden in wet/dirty conditions. There's no fix if something goes wrong with the belt.
Alan Bikes is offline  
Old 10-22-20, 08:37 PM
  #5  
veganbikes
Clark W. Griswold
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: ,location, location
Posts: 8,954

Bikes: Foundry Chilkoot Ti W/Ultegra Di2, Salsa Timberjack Ti, Cinelli Mash Work RandoCross Fun Time Machine, 1x9 XT Parts Hybrid, Co-Motion Cascadia, Specialized Langster, Phil Wood Apple VeloXS Frame (w/DA 7400), Cilo Road Frame, Proteus frame, Ti 26 MTB

Mentioned: 38 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2505 Post(s)
Liked 1,551 Times in 1,035 Posts
I would go Belt and Rohloff E-14. If I wasn't doing that Chain and at least 10 speed Deore but ideally 11 speed XT but of course I would need to shift as I would with a normal bike. A chain and cassette are silly if you aren't shifting and just sitting in your harder gears all the time and using the motor as your gearing. I would just then switch it to a single speed and get a nice hardened steel or titanium cog and maybe see if I can get a larger front chainring and a larger cog at the back to keep the gearing I want but prolong life.

It is tough to beat R+M, sure they are expensive but it is a long term bike and if you get it set up to your spec you will be golden. For me it is this bike but I personally would swap to a different stem and handle bar for my tastes (and because R+Ms new stems are just too crazy for me I get the idea but it isn't quite the right length for me and I don't want or need the minor adjustments and would upgrade to a Kinekt seatpost (nothing against Cane Creek, love their stuff generally but Kinekt does seatposts better).
veganbikes is offline  
Old 10-22-20, 09:15 PM
  #6  
skookum
cyclotourist
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: calgary, canada
Posts: 1,449
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 435 Post(s)
Liked 196 Times in 124 Posts
I have two off road touring analog bikes, one with chain and one with belt drive. I prefer the chain drive, as chains are relatively cheap, and cogs and chain wheels are relatively cheap to swap out and replace as opposed to belt compatible cogs and belt wheels. It cost several hundred dollars to get a lower gear on one of my bikes, by the time I replaced the front belt wheel and the belt. Plus the cost of carrying a spare belt on a tour. Belt tension is critical on a belt drive and while I haven't had any problems, a friend had some problems with her rohloff because the belt had too much tension. I dont know if there are any other considerations for a belt on an ebike
Chains are easy to find and to maintain, and on a IHG tend to last a long time, if properly maintained.

Having said all that, the belt drive has worked perfectly, no problems and of course zero maintenance (just watch that belt tension). so if you really love the idea, go for it.

The R+M bikes are beautiful, but yikes, look at the price! Even if I had the money I dont think I could make myself spend that much for a bike.
skookum is offline  
Old 10-22-20, 09:45 PM
  #7  
downtube42
Senior Member
 
downtube42's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 2,934

Bikes: Soma Fog Cutter, Volae Team, Focus Mares AL, Nimbus MUni, Trek Roscoe 6.

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 493 Post(s)
Liked 1,063 Times in 536 Posts
My commuter has a Gates carbon belt. Not typically used offroad but winter shoulder and bike-lane riding around Portland can be offroad-ish. I have done some trail riding and even one CX race using the belt drive. I love the idea of belt drive, but if I were to do it again I'd go with a chain. While the belt might be lower maintenance in theory, it doesn't take too many flats on the road before lower maintenance is surpassed by higher roadside effort.
downtube42 is offline  
Likes For downtube42:
Old 10-23-20, 10:50 AM
  #8  
2old
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: socal
Posts: 3,119
Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 593 Post(s)
Liked 375 Times in 280 Posts
At times, I'm too far away from civilization for a belt to be feasible (for me). I've only had a chain or derailleur problem a couple of times in many years of off road riding, and was able to repair the problem. A belt malfunction would mean a long walk.
2old is offline  
Old 10-26-20, 01:03 PM
  #9  
CargoDane
Not a newbie to cycling
 
Join Date: Oct 2020
Posts: 911

Bikes: Omnium Cargo Ti with Rohloff, Bullitt Milk Plus, Dahon Smooth Hound

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 356 Post(s)
Liked 319 Times in 197 Posts
Never going back to external gears, and unless completely unavoidable, I'm not going back to chain again ever. I much prefer belts, but you need a frame stiff enough (for the Rohloff) and with a way to separate the stay somewhere.

I use the Gates CDX:EXP system, if the type of belt matters.

Edit:
I don't get the "higher effort" another poster, well, posted. My bike is designed for it, so once adjusted, you can quickly take off the wheel and belt, and just as easily fit it after the puncture repair (it fits in the same place every time with no adjustment necessary).

Last edited by CargoDane; 10-26-20 at 01:07 PM.
CargoDane is offline  
Likes For CargoDane:
Old 10-26-20, 01:35 PM
  #10  
KennyFSU
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2020
Posts: 14
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
Liked 9 Times in 5 Posts
I guess the answer is, depends on where you ride.

Coming from motorcycles, I always preferred belt (or shaft) drive over chain; less maintenance.
KennyFSU is offline  
Old 10-27-20, 11:18 AM
  #11  
Bluesfrog
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
Posts: 163
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 32 Post(s)
Liked 19 Times in 18 Posts
I have wanted a Rohloff with belt drive for a long time. But I'm not sure how the belt would work on my Trek 520. Be Well, Bluesfrog.
Bluesfrog is offline  
Old 10-27-20, 11:36 AM
  #12  
2old
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: socal
Posts: 3,119
Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 593 Post(s)
Liked 375 Times in 280 Posts
Originally Posted by Bluesfrog View Post
I have wanted a Rohloff with belt drive for a long time. But I'm not sure how the belt would work on my Trek 520. Be Well, Bluesfrog.
Probably not well at all since you'd need to cut the frame in order to install it
2old is offline  
Likes For 2old:
Old 10-27-20, 10:48 PM
  #13  
alloo
Senior Member
 
alloo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Albuquerque, NM
Posts: 475

Bikes: 2020 Blix Aveny

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 171 Post(s)
Liked 119 Times in 91 Posts
I'm thinking about getting this because I'm sick of replacing chains, casettes, and lubing. Pretty affordable.

https://www.prioritybicycles.com/products/current
alloo is offline  
Old 10-31-20, 03:01 PM
  #14  
Pop N Wood
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2020
Location: Maryland
Posts: 1,163

Bikes: 1982 Bianchi Sport SX, Rayleigh Tamland 1, Rans V-Rex recumbent, Fuji MTB, 80's Cannondale MTB with BBSHD ebike motor

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 552 Post(s)
Liked 433 Times in 286 Posts
Originally Posted by alloo View Post
I'm thinking about getting this because I'm sick of replacing chains, casettes, and lubing. Pretty affordable.

https://www.prioritybicycles.com/products/current
that does look interesting. CVT hub.
Pop N Wood is offline  
Old 11-01-20, 09:38 AM
  #15  
MillCreek
BF Risk Manager
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Snohomish County, Washington USA
Posts: 906

Bikes: Road, mountain and folding

Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 21 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 3 Posts
Having owned bikes with chains for 50 years, the Gates belt was one of the factors to my recent purchase of a Tern HSD 8Si. So far, so good.
MillCreek is offline  
Old 11-02-20, 12:04 AM
  #16  
momsonherbike
Senior Member
 
momsonherbike's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 307

Bikes: All mine are electric bikes now

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 57 Post(s)
Liked 58 Times in 36 Posts
Belt drive. All the way.

Giant made a cheap belt drive for 2018-2019 - the LaFree E+1. A Class 1. Nothing special regarding the frame, it was considered an entry level commuter with no shocks and an old fashioned placement of the 400w battery on the rear rack. But the belt drive and IGH took it light years above anything else around its price range ($2,500). Already have over 3,000 miles of gravel road riding on my 2019 LaFree E+1, and its silence and zero care needed is...phenomenal. I've ridden a R&M and can honestly say there was little difference beyond the shocks and the number of gears offered (14 vs the LaFree's 8). The cost difference between the two bikes is massive. ($8-9k vs $2.5k). And Giant has excellent motors - silent and reliable.

I loath cleaning chains (even tho I do it religiously) and thus find that I only use my chain driven Turbo Vado on the clean paved roads because of the junk a chain will pick up. For any dirt or gravel or crappy weather conditions, the belt driven LaFree is my bike of choice. I'm going to jailbreak with a BadAss delimiter (already have it waiting to be installed) once the LAFree's motor warranty is up next May.

I have been looking at Giant's ebike lineups for 2021. The chain driven LaFree is listed, but not the belt drive. Wasn't listed for 2020 either. I'm guessing they aren't making it anymore. Shame because it's a great bike for gravel riding.

The Priority Current looks interesting but would like to know who makes the motor.

Last edited by momsonherbike; 11-02-20 at 12:19 AM.
momsonherbike is offline  
Old 02-04-21, 03:56 AM
  #17  
fireboy1337
Junior Member
 
fireboy1337's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2020
Posts: 10
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 1 Post
I used a chain for a long time, but then I switched to a belt. The belt snapped and I was back on the chain. That's it
fireboy1337 is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.