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Belt Drive Dumb Questions

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Belt Drive Dumb Questions

Old 07-14-11, 02:29 AM
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Belt Drive Dumb Questions

The belt drive concept is very fascinating to me.

From what I've read about belt drives here on BF, a belt drive can make a lot of sense for a commuter bike, but not so much for a road bike. The motorcycle analogy seems to come up a lot. Cruiser bikes like Harleys use belts while sport bikes use chains.

How much of a supply chain (pardon the pun) issue would it be if belt drives were the norm on most utilitarian/cruiser/commuter bikes? Do different frame sizes require different size belts, or because of the tensioners can one belt be used across a range of frame sizes?

Because the belt cannot be disconnected--at least I have not read about any belts which can be disconnected--then there was to be a break in the frame somewhere. Does that significantly affect the stiffness of the frame and thus absorb some of the peddle action?
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Old 07-14-11, 03:54 AM
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Belts come in a small variety of tooth sizes. I guess if they become mainstream, more variations will be made.
Currently, most bikes all use the same length of chainstay throughout the size range; XS to XXL, its all the same length.
You cant use a sprung tensioner with a belt, you need sliding or horizontal dropouts or eccentric bottom bracket.
The analogy with motorbikes is not correct, motorbikes use chains, belts or shafts , they all have internal gearboxes so the choice is up to the designer. Racing bikes can't use hub gears or internal gears because of the weight/efficiency so they have to use derailleurs and chains.

Belt drive frames need to have very stiff chainstays. The break in the rear triangle doesnt seem to be an issue. I dont think anyone has designed the perfect belt-drive frame yet.
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Old 07-14-11, 09:13 AM
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The main problem with belt drive bikes are that the "chainline" and tensioning have to be absolutely spot on. If the alignment is off, the belt will hop/pop on the cogs. Same if tension is too low. If tension is too high, you will burn out your rear hub bearings. Also, belts are quite expensive and there is a limited number of sizes of cogs. That might not seem like a big deal until you get a flat tire and have to remove the rear wheel and then get everything perfectly aligned/tensioned on your own.If you break a belt, you need to be carrying a spare or you are SOL. Also, belt lengths are limited. Unlike a chain where you can add and subtract links as needed, with a belt, you have to make sure your chainwheel/cog combo and chainstay length will work with the belt length you chose. Cogs are also expensive, so not very economical to change out your gearing.

The consensus seems to be they are good for a commuter bike, but the belt system is just not dependable enough/ convenient for other applications at this point.
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Old 07-14-11, 10:18 AM
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When I saw them, I thought it a Perfect combination with a fully enclosed chain case..
enclosing a roller chain makes it easy to ignore oiling it.

Exposed belt likely still eats trouser cuffs on a regularly dressed rider.

Thus combining the 2 seems perfect .. an enclosed service free drive train..
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