Chainless bikes

sixseven

New Member
Trek is introducing bicycles that use carbon-fiber composite belts instead of chains


http://www.cnn.com/2008/TECH/11/19/chainless.bicycles.ap/index.html?iref=mpstoryview

I had a great experience at Rays last month on a GF singlespeed Mullet and have been thinking of getting a SS come spring. Wanting to go 29er as well...I love my current FS but feel like its overkill for most of the places I ride. I am drawn to the simplicity of it all as well and the belt drive idea is pretty seductive for some unknown reason.

I have been eyeing the Spot Longboard: http://www.spotbikes.com
but have read about tons of problems running the belt drive. Have not read too many glowing reviews regarding long term romance with the system.

Anyone know of any belt drive specific bikes that seem to be delivering on the promise of this new/old technology?
 

Spylab

New Member
It's a gimmick, in my opinion. Not only would parts be scarce, but you are looking at a HOST of parts - rear cog, front cog, crank assembly, belt etc. Doesn't look like it would be an easy fix if the belt broke on a ride, plus the most important question being, besides the fact that it is different from everyone else's bike, how is this markedly BETTER than the chain driven bicycle?
 

ellbiddy

Active Member
It's a gimmick, in my opinion. Not only would parts be scarce, but you are looking at a HOST of parts - rear cog, front cog, crank assembly, belt etc. Doesn't look like it would be an easy fix if the belt broke on a ride, plus the most important question being, besides the fact that it is different from everyone else's bike, how is this markedly BETTER than the chain driven bicycle?

Simple it makes you look like this guy that much easier:
2568911539_8670851bd3.jpg
 

tonyride

Don't piss off the red guy
I like the idea of a belt drive versus a chain but this system seems to require a frame designed for the Gates Carbon Drive system. Too bad there isn't a way to convert the existing chain system to belt.
 

MTBTyler

Well-Known Member
I knew it! say bye bye chains hello belts! You SS guys will like them cause they dont need lube which meens less maintenance.
 

kush

Active Member
Supposedly the Gates belt-drive system is

- lighter
- doesn't stretch
- is really really hard to break and has a longer life span than chain
- crushes small pebbles that get interjected
- no lube or maintenance
- looks sexxxxy
and
- has a ninja-like quiet ride

sliced bread imo.

the one limiter is if you need alternative gearing choices, apparently there are none - at the moment.

(biddy, dig the new avatar. is that your cat?)
 

alex_k

Well-Known Member
one more gimmick... let me ask how to change a rear cog to different one? a new belt or a front ring?

CHAIN forever!!!
 

sixseven

New Member
In the research I have done belt breakage is not an issue. Slippage and the belt coming off is the issue. Also it seems like the quietness that the system offers is compromised by dry dusty conditions. Weird squeaks are not cool.

We have all slipped/lost chains, broken chains etc...the belts on your car go for thousands of miles under huge amounts of torque and heat and don't fail that often. Motorcycles are mostly belt drive these days. Fixing a chain is a pretty simple affair...but you still end up doing it more than you would probably like to.

Sure it is a gimmick but so were carbon fiber components at one time. It's a moving part and if it's at the heart of your ride it has to work well and be as easy to work with as the chain is now. I have no idea why it appeals to me but it does.

I would be willing to try it out, just not on a road bike with tight black jeans and a square studded belt buckle without a helmet wearing a messenger bag on my way to an internship at mtv looking like a gaylord lost in myspace city.

Just looking for a SS 29er that has belt drive that works.
 

sixseven

New Member
one more gimmick... let me ask how to change a rear cog to different one? a new belt or a front ring?

CHAIN forever!!!

Different belt/cog/ring sizes. It will happen. A chain is how many dozen moving parts? (I can't believe I am saying this...I LOVE MY CHAIN!!! It is as though a power beyond me has taken control!!!)
 

tonyride

Don't piss off the red guy
Mountain biking at one time was considered a gimmick. Then a suspension fork was a gimmick, full suspension was a gimmick, 27 speed drivetrain was a gimmick, night riding was a gimmick, etc. There will always be skeptics but good ideas will never exist if we don't have optimists who are willing to give new ideas a chance. The belt drive might not be 100% right off the bat but what new technology was? Given the chance to mature I think it would be an excellent alternative to the much heavier chain.

I have a SS and I've been wondering about a belt drive system. I don't know about other SS riders but I have my gear ratio dialed in just the way I like it. Therefore I don't see a need to swap out sprockets or chainrings at all.
 

sixseven

New Member
Mountain biking at one time was considered a gimmick. Then a suspension fork was a gimmick, full suspension was a gimmick, 27 speed drivetrain was a gimmick, night riding was a gimmick, etc. There will always be skeptics but good ideas will never exist if we don't have optimists who are willing to give new ideas a chance. The belt drive might not be 100% right off the bat but what new technology was? Given the chance to mature I think it would be an excellent alternative to the much heavier chain.

I have a SS and I've been wondering about a belt drive system. I don't know about other SS riders but I have my gear ratio dialed in just the way I like it. Therefore I don't see a need to swap out sprockets or chainrings at all.

You nailed it with this post. :)
 

alex_k

Well-Known Member
Mountain biking at one time was considered a gimmick. Then a suspension fork was a gimmick, full suspension was a gimmick, 27 speed drivetrain was a gimmick, night riding was a gimmick, etc. There will always be skeptics but good ideas will never exist if we don't have optimists who are willing to give new ideas a chance. The belt drive might not be 100% right off the bat but what new technology was? Given the chance to mature I think it would be an excellent alternative to the much heavier chain.

I have to agree...

I have a SS and I've been wondering about a belt drive system. I don't know about other SS riders but I have my gear ratio dialed in just the way I like it. Therefore I don't see a need to swap out sprockets or chainrings at all.

Are you sure that a manufacturer knows what you want... I went from 18T to 16T and then back to 17T this year.
 

tonyride

Don't piss off the red guy
Are you sure that a manufacturer knows what you want... I went from 18T to 16T and then back to 17T this year.
I'm going to go on a limb here and assume the manufacturer knows that different riders will have different requirements so different configurations will be offered. Kind of like how there are different stem lengths and angles, handle bars, saddle shapes, helmet sizes, etc.
 

TonyC

Active Member
-Belt, cool idea. Anyone have a Spot Longboard in NJ?

I'd be interested if they made a retro fit belt that pieces together in order to fit standard chainstays.
 

ellbiddy

Active Member
I wish you didn't have to have a split frame to use those belts. Maybe one of those throwback frames that had thick chainstays and no seatstays would work well. Gives me some inspiration for the next frame I make :p
 
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