I know Orange had a couple of prototypes kicking around at the shows the other year, and Spot and Norco are apparently using them on production bikes – Longboard and Judan (I know Trek do, but they're on hybrids)Posted 8 years ago
Have any other manufacturers taken the plunge? Are there any sneaky prototypes hiding in sheds?
Has anyone on here ridden one? What are they like?
And can I have a go on one please?
I really like the idea of something like a Singular Swift with belt-drive and cable-discs for even more maintenance-free commuting than my stainless fixie, but fun aswell, maybe with the potential to Rohloff it one day….simons_nicolai-ukMember
It's not had any real use yet but my impression so far is that you have no idea you're riding a belt drive – it feels just like a normal bike, only quieter. Which really is as good as you're going to get.
We can now offer Gates drive for Rohloff, Alfine or singlespeed/fixed.Posted 8 years agoMoongluMember
We only rode it round the shop but it was super smooth and silent. Not sure what your application will be, I can't comment on its likely off road performance but there are more and more guys using Alfine set ups for off road use. I guess as long as you don't get the belt caked in mud and grit it should continue to be relatively smooth and silent.Posted 8 years ago
I read somewhere the Orange had put a bit more development into keeping the belt clean/clearing it than our american friends.
ajr – sound sgood, but its still more American companies.
I presently run a Rohloff on a thorn, so I'm all for hub gears.
Any demo bikes around?Posted 8 years agoSamMember
I'm still at a loss to find a real benefit to belt drive for a regular mountain bike. The only benefit I can see is cleaniness, which is a kinda nice to have, but not really that helpful if your bike is caked in mud anyhow. Other than that, what does it do a normal single cog chain setup won't? Add to that you need a frame designed specifically for them, possible issues with different belts required for different gear ratios, and some hassles designing chainstays to accommodate chainline (or belt line). I see a whole bunch of difficulties and not many positives. I've also heard reports that the tension required on the belt to stop it skipping can reduce bb/freehub/hub bearing life. I'd also be curous to hear how well the belts and cogs wear over time.
That said, from the short spins I've had on a couple (admittedly on brand new set ups or close to it) they are indeed very smooth and quiet. I can see them working well for city/utility bikes where the cleanliness is a benefit and ratio changes are not likely to be regular. But for a regular 'mountain' bike, I struggle to see an answer to 'why' unless you are just drawn to new/unique/funky – not that there's anything wrong with that…Posted 8 years agoV8_shin_printMember
With an internal hub and a belt the maintenance required should be greatly reduced. (Based on car timing belts over timing chains etc)Posted 8 years ago
The biggest restriction is that the belt length is fixed so they can't be used with full suss bikes. I wonder how much tension the belt needs to be under? Maybe with something like a spring loaded chain guide the tension can be maintained but yet have a variable belt length. Full suss also means existing frames can be used as many designs don't put the chain through the rear triangle.
There is a belt driven bike for sale in alpine bikes in edinburgh, i must go and have a closer look…epicycloSubscriber
PikeBN14 – Member
I'd love to try it on my 853 Niner SIR 9 as it is an awesome bike, but without getting my hacksaw out, there is no way!
I've hacked a few bikes to fit belt drive – it's not too hard so long as you get all your measurements worked out first. Best bikes are those with plenty flat metal around the dropout – eg On-One – just make up a plate to rejoin it.Posted 8 years ago
I guess as long as you don't get the belt caked in mud and grit it should continue to be relatively smooth and silent.
exactly! The exact condition of my bike a lot of the time!
they are indeed very smooth and quiet.
things I would like in my camera but which are not in the least important on a bike which is going to be ridden over rocks and through filth, when noise is a useful indicator to other trail users of my approach!Posted 8 years agoavdave2Member
Look at the Van Nicholas Zion Rohloff in belt drive and conventional drive and the belt drive appears to offer significant weight savings. I'm another Thorn / Rohloff owner who has no intention of going back to dérailleur's but I would like something that would reduce weight. I'm not too worried about the maintenance benefits as currently all I do is wipe the chain occasionally and reapply some GT85 and the last chain lasted 3 years before I decided on a precautionary change.Posted 8 years ago
CaptainFlashheart – Member
Already in the mainstream as well, as Trek have a belt drive commuter out this year.
Sorry CFH, you're a little behind the times there: Trek had two belt drive commuters out last year…
I'm yet another Thorn/Rohloff user and after several years of hub gear ownership I am totally converted. A belt drive seems to make sense but a chain is really not a lot of maintenance, if we're honest. As has been said, they're easy to shorten/lengthen and cheap to replace.
The belt was not that noticable, but engagement seemed quicker.
Interesting… That can't possibly be due to the difference between a chian and a belt, so most likely down to the hub.Posted 8 years agoTandemJeremyMember
Roadside repair is not really feasible and in theory they are more susceptible to stones getting trapped and damaging the belt. However they do have a good record of longevity on motorcycles where they have been used on Harleys and BMWs. The BMW 650 used them on the road models but reverted to chain for the off-road models due to concerns over trapped stones and damage. I have never heard of one snapping tho. Motorcycle rear suspension tends to give a difference in length as the sus moves and this has been solved on these motorcycles. I don't know how however. There does not appear to be a tensioner on the BMWPosted 8 years agoepicycloSubscriber
I reckon the trapped stone thing is a myth. It's just a likely to happen on a chain and force your links apart. Can't remember ever coming across that in all my years cycling.
I have ridden extensively offroad in Oz on my Harley with belt drive and never encountered a problem apart from mud – and that's only a problem if you're riding in near 40 degrees, park the bike, go to the pub, and get up late – by which time the sun has dried the mud to concrete 🙁 A few hours with a screwdriver fixed that, but it would be no problem on a bicycle.
I have never met anyone who broke a belt, but there's lots of friends of friends of friends type anecdotes.Posted 8 years agoNorthwindSubscriber
"I'm still at a loss to find a real benefit to belt drive for a regular mountain bike. The only benefit I can see is cleaniness, which is a kinda nice to have, but not really that helpful if your bike is caked in mud anyhow. Other than that, what does it do a normal single cog chain setup won't?"
Lighter and lasts longer. And quieter. And not as jaggy should you stupidly insert a body part into it.Posted 8 years agoNorthwindSubscriber
"how much lighter ? Surely the sprockets need to be wider ? "
From Bikeradar- "Weight for a typical Gates drivetrain — including belt, cog and chainring — is 280g, less than that of a standard 9-speed chain."
So the whole lot is less than the chain alone. The belt is 80g and the sprockets don't have to be big lumps of steel as there's no metal-on-metal.
"1) you have to break the chainstay to remove/fit a belt
2) you then have to reassemble under tension – which I imagine will need some kind of frame brace… "
With a bike designed for it, you just make an oversized "dropout" so that you can remove part of the frame, slip the belt in, reassemble. No tension required at all. Tension adjusts in the exact same was as a singlespeed or motirbike- fore and aft slide in a horizontal dropout.
Posted 8 years ago
1) you have to break the chainstay to remove/fit a belt
2) you then have to reassemble under tension – which I imagine will need some kind of frame brace…
1. Bikes designed for belt drives have some very easy to use and ingenious ways of opening the rear triangle, my favourite being a very beautiful S&S coupling fitted into the seatstay.
2. The belts aren't really under a huge amount of tension. When working on some of those Trek city bikes with belts I tried to derail and refit the belt, just for laughs. It was as easy as on a 'normal' singlespeed/IGH bike.
Sorry to piss on your bonfire, BTW… 🙂Posted 8 years ago
Which hub gear did you use, out of interest? I first had a Rohloff on a mountain bike and it was ace (the rubbish Orange P7 sliding dropouts let it down…)
I had an Alfine for a while but never got around to taking it offroad, it was also ace though.
Not trying to shoot you down in flames, but what issues did you have?Posted 8 years ago
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