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  1. #1
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    What's wrong with belt drives?

    Say you have a road bike that was made to accommodate a multiple-gear internal hub, and it uses a belt instead of a chain.

    - tougher to get parts in a store
    - first gen belts will clog in snow

    What other problems are there with belts? Why are more people not using them if they're supposedly lower maintenance, lower friction, lower weight?

  2. #2
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    Weight for the total combination would be higher I would guess, but belts have been used on motorcycles for years reliably. On a fixed gear bike it could work easily, still probably a weight increase though.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by jfd986 View Post
    .... What other problems are there with belts? Why are more people not using them if they're supposedly lower maintenance, lower friction, lower weight?
    I have wondered about this myself. Couldn't the bottom bracket be replaced with a non free-wheeling 3 speed hub, and the rear hub replaced with a normal 8 speed hub? Making a cog-less 24 speed.

    But then.... why use a belt when a direct drive [shaft] could be used (Shaft drive bicycle | Flickr - Photo Sharing!). Hasn't all this... already been tried.

  4. #4
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    Weight and efficiency

    Quote Originally Posted by jfd986 View Post
    Say you have a road bike that was made to accommodate a multiple-gear internal hub, and it uses a belt instead of a chain.

    - tougher to get parts in a store
    - first gen belts will clog in snow

    What other problems are there with belts? Why are more people not using them if they're supposedly lower maintenance, lower friction, lower weight?
    Geared hubs are very heavy, very expensive, and very inefficient. Other than that it's a great idea. And people have been trying to get shaft drive to work for about 100 years. Technically possible but all the same problems of internally geared hubs. In motorcycles where you have power to spare people don't mind so much. When YOU have to supply all the power people are going to reject something that might be 90% (or less) efficient compared to the 98% efficiency of chain drive.

  5. #5
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    I am definitely considering a belt drive on a NuVinci N360 hub for a commuter bike. The hub is about $400, so not particularly expensive, though they are heavy. My wife has one on her Breezer and loves it.

  6. #6
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    I think I'd hate the efficiency drop too much. lubing and cleaning the drivetrain takes me 5-10 minutes, and I can get faster at it. Would rather do that than push harder for less.

  7. #7
    wim
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    Quote Originally Posted by jfd986 View Post
    I think I'd hate the efficiency drop too much. .
    Well, it's not that bad. Most geared hubs are close to 98% efficient in the middle gear. Their efficiency drops incrementally as you go towards the lowest and the highest gear to about 90% at the extreme ends of the gear range.

    /w
    Last edited by wim; 10-13-2012 at 05:49 AM.

  8. #8
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    Belt drive? too quiet. You will soon be forced to ride with playing cards clipped onto your stays so your bike makes more noise. (it's a safety feature!)

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by wim View Post
    Well, it's not that bad. Most geared hubs are close to 98% efficient in the middle gear. Their efficiency drops incrementally as you go towards the lowest and the highest gear to about 90% at the extreme ends of the gear range.

    /w
    That's a pretty big damn drop. People pay extremely large amounts of money to gain smaller fractions than that.

  10. #10
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    Swapping wheels and fixing flat tires sucks royally with internal hubs as compared to a derailleur set up. That makes them a pretty bad idea for most road cyclists. I'd also much rather just buy a different cassette over an entire, expensive, wheel when if I want to get different gears.

  11. #11
    wim
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    Quote Originally Posted by nhluhr View Post
    That's a pretty big damn drop. People pay extremely large amounts of money to gain smaller fractions than that.
    They do, but those are people who wouldn't be caught dead riding a bicycle with a geared hub for reasons that have nothing to do with mechanical efficiency.

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