August 22, 2011

Comments (5)

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Experience with belt drive

This June, I switched to a Spot Acme for my daily commute, which is about 22 miles round trip on a wide variety of surfaces ranging from gravel roads to city streets. I've got to agree with Joe that after experiencing the silky smoothness of a belt, it's tough to go back to my older chain drive bike. Combined with the Acme's Alfine-11 hub, the bike is absolutely silent - the only sound you hear is the wind and your tires on the road.

After almost 3,000 miles, the belt looks new and has not needed re-tensioning or any other maintenance. Everyone should be aware that Gates has two different belt systems - a conventional one with side flanges on the cogs, similar to the larger motorcycle systems, and a center-drive that uses a slot in the center of the belt to keep it on. My bike uses a center drive system, which allows the cogs to be open on the sides and bottom. This design is really good at ejecting debris on the belt, and I've never had problems with small rocks getting wedged between the cog and the belt.

I've been riding for the last 40 years and it's unlikely that I'd ever go back to a chain drive for my commuter bike. Silence, cleanliness, and non-existent maintenance are a tough combination to beat.

Gary Helfrich more than 3 years ago

Not an early adopter

Will most likely wait for a used belt drive to come on Craigslist to buy one. Don't see the benefit for a proprietary product that is coupled with other proprietary components, like disc brake, wheels, forks. That all spells added weight. There are plenty of heavy bikes on the market. Whatever happened to simplicity? An older steel frame, center pull brakes and fenders weighs less than these new "innovations'. The rider that hasn't figured out how to keep their pants leg out of the chain just needs to roll up their pants. Belt drive bikes are essentially for a small group that has money to burn. The rest of us will just have to ride for the shear pleasure of riding.

bobleeswager more than 3 years ago

Durability over gravel?

Belt drives are used on motorcycles, but bikers are cautioned against riding on gravel, as stones that get lodged between the belt and the sprockets can destroy the belt. At least that's what I've been told by a Harley owner with a belt drive on his motorcycle.

Luis Bernhardt more than 3 years ago

Strida Folding Bike with belt drive

I bought a Strida Folding Bike with belt drive this year and I like it a lot. It is a single speed bike but you can get gears in the pedal hub like a schlumpf high speed drive. Love the look, sound and the cleanliness.

Eric more than 3 years ago

Belt Drive Impressions

I picked up my first belt drive this spring (Raleigh Alley Way). Though, like any component, it has it's issues, there is nothing like the buttery smoothness of a properly adjusted belt drive I'm sold and already shopping for my next one.

Joe Maki more than 3 years ago