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Installing Gates belt system - any tips or tricks?

Old 01-13-24, 03:33 PM
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Installing Gates belt system - any tips or tricks?

Picked up a Gates kit to install on my Cannondale T2 from Precision Tandems. Bike currently has FSA Gossamer cranks and a Shimano 105 drivetrain.

Seems relatively straightforward, just have to find the time to get it done. Been awhile since I tinkered with an eccentric BB, so might post some questions here for wisdom when I get to it. And the PT folks were gracious in saying to reach out if questions as well.

If any fellow members here have done this in the past, I'd appreciate any tips or things to look out for.

Thanks.
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Old 01-13-24, 08:00 PM
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I did the same thing on both my T2 (same bike with the same components as yours) and a Cannondale 29er Tandem. Awesome upgrade on both bikes!

Most important thing is to make sure that your timing chainrings are PERFECTLY aligned. This may be tricker that it seems, due to imperfections with the construction of the frame--the BB shells may not be precisely 90 degrees from the boom tube. Use an aluminum straight edge against the new pulleys, and then add spacers as necessary. Also, due to where Cannondale installed the bottom bracket spacers, you may or may not need to move them around (I ended up with a spacer on each side of the BB, per spec, but the bike came with two spacers on the same side on the pilots BB). Due to less-than-perfect machining of the Gossamer's spiders, you may also need to add very thin shims to keep the pulleys "flat." It took be several tries to get everything aligned correctly and the pulleys flat. Obviously, your mileage may vary depending on how well machined the spiders are, and how well built your frame is. Could be a piece of cake, or several frustrating tweaks.

Last, but not least, I don't think that the belt tension needs to be as high as Gates suggests. The T2 frame is very stiff, so you're unlikely to need to apply enough tension to take up muck slack from frame flex. I have found that tension changes a lot with temperature, since the frame will expand and contract on warmer and cooler days. I generally try to tension it on an "average" day, and then tweak it if necessary when the seasons change. I MUCH prefer the Gates Cricket tool over the iPhone app for measuring chain tension.

OK, one more thing: Belts don't stretch at all--so you may forget to service your eccentric frequently enough--which can lead to it freezing up. Always clean and lube it at least once a year, or more if you ride in the wet often or wash your bike frequently.
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Old 01-14-24, 06:53 AM
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thanks!

Originally Posted by TobyGadd
I did the same thing on both my T2 (same bike with the same components as yours) and a Cannondale 29er Tandem. Awesome upgrade on both bikes!

Most important thing is to make sure that your timing chainrings are PERFECTLY aligned. This may be tricker that it seems, due to imperfections with the construction of the frame--the BB shells may not be precisely 90 degrees from the boom tube. Use an aluminum straight edge against the new pulleys, and then add spacers as necessary. Also, due to where Cannondale installed the bottom bracket spacers, you may or may not need to move them around (I ended up with a spacer on each side of the BB, per spec, but the bike came with two spacers on the same side on the pilots BB). Due to less-than-perfect machining of the Gossamer's spiders, you may also need to add very thin shims to keep the pulleys "flat." It took be several tries to get everything aligned correctly and the pulleys flat. Obviously, your mileage may vary depending on how well machined the spiders are, and how well built your frame is. Could be a piece of cake, or several frustrating tweaks.

Last, but not least, I don't think that the belt tension needs to be as high as Gates suggests. The T2 frame is very stiff, so you're unlikely to need to apply enough tension to take up muck slack from frame flex. I have found that tension changes a lot with temperature, since the frame will expand and contract on warmer and cooler days. I generally try to tension it on an "average" day, and then tweak it if necessary when the seasons change. I MUCH prefer the Gates Cricket tool over the iPhone app for measuring chain tension.

OK, one more thing: Belts don't stretch at all--so you may forget to service your eccentric frequently enough--which can lead to it freezing up. Always clean and lube it at least once a year, or more if you ride in the wet often or wash your bike frequently.
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Old 01-17-24, 10:54 AM
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If you haven’t seen it already, check out this thread where I solved an issue where our bike with gossamer cranks and a gates belt was eating bottom brackets.

Gates Carbon Drive timing belt eating bottom brackets?

i went down the rabbit hole using the dial indicators, however, I would recommend using the gates clicker gauge tool (sorry, I can’t recal the tools name, it should be in the thread). I agree that the belt does not need to be as tight as gates recommends and running it a little looser will save your bottom brackets,
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Old 01-17-24, 09:01 PM
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Plus one on the belt does not need to be as tight as Gate specs. As long as it doesn’t skip; it’s tight enough.

Would also add, Do not the roll the belt on like you would do a chain. While the belt is very strong, they will break if you twist them
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Old 01-18-24, 01:52 PM
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Another T2 team here, though ours came with the belt drive. Concur with both of Toby's points.

Originally Posted by TobyGadd
I don't think that the belt tension needs to be as high as Gates suggests.
We hit 10K miles last year and are on our third set of BB30 bearings - when we got the bike the LBS had cranked the tension up way too high.

Originally Posted by TobyGadd
OK, one more thing: Belts don't stretch at all--so you may forget to service your eccentric frequently enough--which can lead to it freezing up. Always clean and lube it at least once a year, or more if you ride in the wet often or wash your bike frequently.
Definitely release the belt tension and service both BBs yearly. The eccentric loves to freeze up. Also be sure to follow the removal procedure to the letter, it's easy to put an allen wrench on the wrong bolt when disassembling.
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Old 01-19-24, 10:39 AM
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Make sure to loosen off the belt side chain ring bolts at the tightest belt tension, then retighten to equalise the tension in the belt. This is the same for a chain drive, https://www.sheldonbrown.com/synchain.html I mark the belts direction of rotation as it tracks better.
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Old 01-19-24, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by mikemelbrooks
Make sure to loosen off the belt side chain ring bolts at the tightest belt tension, then retighten to equalise the tension in the belt. This is the same for a chain drive, https://www.sheldonbrown.com/synchain.html I mark the belts direction of rotation as it tracks better.
This is solid advice.
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