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Anybody own a belt drive?

Old 04-09-21, 10:08 PM
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Anatolia
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Anybody own a belt drive?

I'm thinking about purchasing a new bike. Traditional chain rings vs. belt drive. Personally, I have never ridden or tried a belt drive but I hear/read they shift very precise and can last up to 19,000 miles. That could be BS but I find it intriguing nonetheless. Anybody? I'd love to hear/read your experience.
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Old 04-09-21, 10:47 PM
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General Geoff
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Shifting on a belt drive bike is entirely dependent on the type of gears it uses. Belts are not laterally flexible so they can't be used with derailleurs, so you need some sort of IGH or bottom bracket gearbox (like the Pinion). They would shift just the same as if they were used in conjunction with single ring chain.

They do last longer, are quieter, and tend to be less maintenance than a chain.
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Old 04-09-21, 11:08 PM
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Originally Posted by General Geoff View Post
They do last longer, are quieter, and tend to be less maintenance than a chain.
This is what I'm looking for. Thank you.
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Old 04-10-21, 01:29 AM
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I never know what I might come across in the future. But it is probably cheaper for me to replace the chain and freewheel every time they wear out, than buy a belt drive.

If belt drive bikes become less expensive, I would probably get one.
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Old 04-10-21, 08:14 AM
  #5  
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I have 2 a single speed and a 3 speed IGH, the belt is cool but a pain to do anything with .
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Old 04-10-21, 01:00 PM
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I have a belt drive and I love it. No maintenance and if you figure in the cost to replace chains over the life of a belt you'll break even. My bike is silent and for me it does seem to glide as I pedal. Another benefit is it won't rust in wet weather. I wouldn't go back to an old fashioned chain.
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Old 04-10-21, 01:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Aussie_Cyclist View Post
I have a belt drive and I love it. No maintenance and if you figure in the cost to replace chains over the life of a belt you'll break even. My bike is silent and for me it does seem to glide as I pedal. Another benefit is it won't rust in wet weather. I wouldn't go back to an old fashioned chain.
Yeah, I live part of the world where the chains wear/rust out. I hadn't really thought of this angle before so thank you.
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Old 04-10-21, 01:39 PM
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Belt drive bikes I have seen have removable frame pieces to get the belt off, are they still this way?
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Old 04-10-21, 03:45 PM
  #9  
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I have a belt-drive bike with an 8-speed Nexus in-hub gear. I have grown to absolutely love it despite its limited gear range and slightly heavier rear end. The bike has fenders too, so I use it whenever I ride in the rain (which is very often!). Not having to constantly be futzing around with drive-train maintenance has been an absolute game-changer for me.

I'm finding lately that I use this bike more than any of my other bikes. You know that feeling you get when you're riding a single-speed and the gradient happens to be just right for the single gear you're forced to use? Well, riding my bike is like having eight different single-speeds beneath you. That's because of the in-hub gears rather than the belt, but it's all part of the equation. Sure, I'd prefer 12 or 15 gears, but I haven't got the money (yet!) for a Pinion gearbox or Rohloff hub.

Biggest hassle for me is fixing a rear-wheel flat. I still have to learn how to remove the back wheel .
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Old 04-10-21, 06:37 PM
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I have one on order with a Rohloff E-14 hub and I can't wait.
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Old 04-10-21, 07:18 PM
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Check out Ryan Van Duzer on YouTube. His divide trip series is done on a belt drive bike.
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Old 04-10-21, 09:01 PM
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Iíve had two belt drives, on the same bike. The first was a ďCĖdriveď which was a regular timing belt with a snubber. I think the company has gone under or moved on, I donít see them around anymore. It worked fine, but after a wheel truing, I had a hard time getting the tension and the snubber adjusted right again. I got a Gates Center Drive belt from the manufacturer as a beta test for their next generation. It was good. I still have the C-Drive parts around here somewhere. It went on a regular 104bcd hybrid crankset and Shimano IGH. The frame break on that bike was held together with chain ring bolts, which I thought was clever.

Your bike must have a pretty stout rear triangle and tensioners. I can see how you might manage without but it would be hard.

In both cases I could feel a little give from the belt teeth when starting up and a little drag in the pedaling.

Tandem riders like a timing belt because it replaces pounds of chain with ounces of belt, and they already have a built in tensioning system in the captainís BB shell.
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Old 04-12-21, 01:21 PM
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Not a fan of belt drives personally at the present time. However, timing belts in infernal combustion engines have annihilated timing chains so who knows what the future holds.
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Old 04-12-21, 02:20 PM
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Originally Posted by fredlord View Post
Biggest hassle for me is fixing a rear-wheel flat. I still have to learn how to remove the back wheel .
I know how to do it now! But I still have to come to grips with using the Gates app and "plucking" the belt like a guitar string to figure out if the belt is the right tension. It feels right to me.

Removing and re-installing the back wheel is more of a hassle than on a bike with a chain. I've been thinking about trying some Tannus Aither 1.1 solid rubber tyres or the less extreme Tannus Armour "inserts" which go between the tube and the tyre. Might start a new thread about those.
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Old 04-30-21, 08:58 PM
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I have a belt drive for reliability with drop bars for speed. recommended

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Old 04-30-21, 10:48 PM
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I've ridden a couple, including the sublime Spot Wazee. While I can't personally speak to the durability, I've heard from several long-distance tourers that the Gates stuff is fairly indestructible.
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Old 05-01-21, 01:34 AM
  #17  
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I work on belt drive bikes all the time and find them very acceptable as an alternative to chain drive. They are nice and clean, quiet, and smooth. The only disadvantage is the coupling to IGH. Internally geared hubs have drag to them not found on external geared bikes and a PIA to change a flat. Not insurmountable, but a PIA compared to a regular derailleur system. Would not hesitate to use one for commuting as long as the rear tire was very flat resistant.
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Old 05-04-21, 03:09 PM
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I have a Rohloff hub with a Gates carbon drive. It is a 2013 model. I use Schwalbe tires and a dyno hub. I have had one flat since I bought the bicycle and don't notice any difference in friction over the previous bike. Because the belt is always in perfect alignment it stays clean and sheds dirt and sand. It is as efficient or better than most bicycle drivetrains. Maintenance is greatly reduced. The problems I hear people talk about are mostly due to how their particular IGH mounts to their bicycle.
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Old 05-04-21, 03:37 PM
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Originally Posted by TiHabanero View Post
I work on belt drive bikes all the time and find them very acceptable as an alternative to chain drive. They are nice and clean, quiet, and smooth. The only disadvantage is the coupling to IGH. Internally geared hubs have drag to them not found on external geared bikes and a PIA to change a flat. Not insurmountable, but a PIA compared to a regular derailleur system. Would not hesitate to use one for commuting as long as the rear tire was very flat resistant.
And that is the same with a chain driven bike with an IGH.
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Old 07-11-21, 10:29 PM
  #20  
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Originally Posted by biker128pedal View Post
Check out Ryan Van Duzer on YouTube. His divide trip series is done on a belt drive bike.
I love Ryan Van Duzer and his YouTube channel!

​​​​​He has just posted two episodes about the belt drive and it's important viewing for belt drive people like us here.

To cut to the chase, it turns out his belt snapped on his penultimate section on the Great Divide in New Mexico! Whammy! What a bummer.

Ryan Van Duzer made a follow-up video about the broken belt with a video conference with someone from Pinon bicycles. It's very informative.

Ryan wasn't carrying a spare belt, and ended up hike a biking back to a highway, scooting, and hitchhiking.

The conference call breaks down what happened.

What I gathered after viewing it this morning over breakfast is that Ryan had dropped the belt (it came detailed from the belt-ring) a couple of times, and had rolled it on, in a manner like you can do with a chain.

I have a single speed mountain bike with a belt. My wife has a Alfine hub city bike with belt drive. We ride these bikes a lot. So I have a lot of experience with the Gates Center Track Belt Drive system.

I didn't know anyone could drop a belt or re-rail one!

I'm pretty sure that's what they said though. And both are not allowed for these belts! If any of these actions happen to a belt, it's curtains for sure.

They showed close up images of the broken belt which attest to the abuse.

In addition to that Ryan at some point on the long ride on the Divide had encountered the worst kind of mud. Video of the mud shows the kind of condition that renders regular chain drive absolutely useless. It seems as though he was able to rinse and scrape enough mud off to keep grinding onward. The belt lasts nearly all the way to Mexico.

I haven't watched that episode yet. ( I haven't followed his Great Divide Tour, but I must catch up with it.)

All that said, it's pretty cool that Ryan Van Duzer has really punished and broken a belt so that we can learn about it.

Here's a photo of my Spots Honey Badger single speed belt drive.

I have just bought a new belt for my Honey Badger and I took a photo of the page showing what not do with the belt to put on the record here.

​​​​​​My experience with my belt drive hasn't been perfect. It has not broken, but it hasn't been silent, and I'm hoping changing it will silence it. However, I still need to inspect the sprocket and chainring to make sure they aren't worn too much. I hope they aren't! If they are too worn I'll be bummed, because it's expensive.

Reading the manual that came with the belt tipped me off on the drive gear inspection requirements which I hadn't taken into consideration. It was after watching Van Duzer's episodes that I became more critical of my upcoming belt change. Previous, I didn't consider that the cog and belt-ring could be worn too much, probably incorrectly thinking that a synthetic belt wouldn't wear down the machined aluminum parts. However, upon consideration, dirt in the belt will wear the metal down. This would be exacerbated by my use of CRC Red Silicone spray belt dressing to silence the buzzy belt.



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Old 07-14-21, 06:00 AM
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I had one on a Maruishi 3 speed bike. The shifting was no more precise than on a chain-driven 3 speed bike. But it was clean, quiet, and needed no maintenance.
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Old 07-14-21, 12:43 PM
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I have a Spot Ajax belt drive with 8-speed Alfine IGH that I use as a commuter/city bike. I don't have a ton of miles on it though because I moved my office and don't commute very often by bike. I like the belt drive for this application because it is quiet, low-maintenance, and you never get grease on your pants. And I'm never that far from home or an Uber ride in case I have a problem (so far, I've never had a single mechanical issue with the bike) I have flat-resistant tires on it that I've never had to change so far. I don't think I would use a belt drive for a road or touring bike only because the IGH is heavy (my bike weighs 28 pounds!) and has more friction and maintenance is more difficult than a traditional chain/derailleur system.
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Old 07-15-21, 07:33 AM
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yeah i'd like it too
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Old 07-15-21, 09:02 AM
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I have a Spot Ajax belt drive with 8-speed Alfine IGH that I use as a commuter/city bike. I don't have a ton of miles on it though because I moved my office and don't commute very often by bike. I like the belt drive for this application because it is quiet, low-maintenance, and you never get grease on your pants. And I'm never that far from home or an Uber ride in case I have a problem (so far, I've never had a single mechanical issue with the bike) I have flat-resistant tires on it that I've never had to change so far. I don't think I would use a belt drive for a road or touring bike only because the IGH is heavy (my bike weighs 28 pounds!) and has more friction and maintenance is more difficult than a traditional chain/derailleur system.
My Co-Motion Pngea Rohloff has a gates belt. No derailleurs and chain makes for reduced maintenance. The itsy bitsy friction that I constantly hear abut is only a thing if the complainer has a well lubricated clean virgin chain on a fixed gear or internal geared bicycle. Let's talk about weight. The shop were I bought my bicycle, had two Co-Motion Amricano's. One with derailleurs and one with the Rohloff drivetrain. They weighed each stock bicycle. The Rohloff weighed 17 ounces more than the bicycle with derailleurs. If you want a good low maintenance bicycle for touring, road, gravel, cyclocross or most any purpose a belt drive is the way to go.

I saw the Ryan Van Duzer video on how not to break a gates belt. I have had my bicycle over 7 years. The tension on my belt has never changed.
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Old 07-15-21, 09:21 AM
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What kind of belt lube is best?
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