Thorn Cycles Forum

Community => Rohloff Internal Hub Gears => Topic started by: sd on January 08, 2018, 01:03:07 PM

Title: Thinking of Gates Carbon
Post by: sd on January 08, 2018, 01:03:07 PM
My aim is always to reduce maintenance. I have no interest in "fettling" . I have a inheritance coming and am thinking of buying....dare I say it....buying a new bike.....a bespoke bike even!! This would be the first bike I bought from new.
So Rohloff is a starter Gates Carbon Drive looks like the next move in reducing maintenance. Do they last as long as a chain? Anyone actually own one. Or no anyone who does? Thanks SD
Title: Re: Thinking of Gates Carbon
Post by: horizon on January 08, 2018, 02:04:28 PM
This is quite an illuminating take on the topic:

https://forum.cyclinguk.org/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=115826
Title: Re: Thinking of Gates Carbon
Post by: Danneaux on January 08, 2018, 02:08:31 PM
SD,

Enter "belt drive" and "Gates" [no quotes] into the Forum search engine to pull up some lengthy discussion on the pros and cons.

Best,

Dan.
Title: Re: Thinking of Gates Carbon
Post by: Pavel on January 08, 2018, 04:41:28 PM
I've never been lured by Koga bikes before but two things on that stand out for me - the sensible position of the bars, and of course the belt drive.  I may have to look a bit harder at newer options as the belt technology makes it's way to more and more touring products.  I'm no longer interested in any pro/con arguments about Gates carbon drives - I simply know that is the thing for me the same way I know that my heart is really only with Rohloff technology.  It's just how to get into a reasonable cost frame where I can simply move and adapt my current parts.

I appreciate every post on this matter, so thanks for the thread heads up horizon.  :)

I've never considered Koga as I've said, because I really value the Thorn brand, and steel is real.  I even like how they move slowly, though obviously that is what is causing my frustration at the same time. 

So one the one hand steel is real but on the other hand steel chains are real too. Real greasy or real rusty and a real pita always. 
Title: Re: Thinking of Gates Carbon
Post by: energyman on January 08, 2018, 05:35:42 PM
I have four bikes with Gates belts.  No more messy chains and oil on the shed floor, dead easy to clean a muddy bike with a watering can.  One Rohloff, 2 Alfines 11 and one Nexus 8.  So far no problems.
Title: Re: Thinking of Gates Carbon
Post by: macspud on January 08, 2018, 05:59:14 PM
I've never been lured by Koga bikes before but two things on that stand out for me - the sensible position of the bars, and of course the belt drive.  I may have to look a bit harder at newer options as the belt technology makes it's way to more and more touring products.  I'm no longer interested in any pro/con arguments about Gates carbon drives - I simply know that is the thing for me the same way I know that my heart is really only with Rohloff technology.  It's just how to get into a reasonable cost frame where I can simply move and adapt my current parts.

I appreciate every post on this matter, so thanks for the thread heads up horizon.  :)

I've never considered Koga as I've said, because I really value the Thorn brand, and steel is real.  I even like how they move slowly, though obviously that is what is causing my frustration at the same time. 

So one the one hand steel is real but on the other hand steel chains are real too. Real greasy or real rusty and a real pita always.

pavel, it seems that there have been some problems with the Rohloff splined carrier and gates cog.
Title: Re: Thinking of Gates Carbon
Post by: Pavel on January 08, 2018, 07:27:08 PM
I don't yet have the splined carrier on my Rohloff.  Then I noticed that there are two carriers, one "S" which only moves the chain-line 1mm and the other which is fatter and moves the chain-line out to 58mm.

I'm sure not going to run out and buy a Koga.  They are very well thought out it would seem, but I'm not going for Aluminum, and neither would I likely spend what they are asking.  But Kudos none the less for such an interesting expansion of choices.

What sort of problems have been discovered?

I remember about a year ago I was going to send out my RST for testing and would be fine with having the rear stay surgery done, but I ran into some road blocks and now I can't remember what they were.  Probably however I'd find it more cost effective to get a new frame instead.  It is a little sacrilegious to mess with such a fine and now unavailable frame as the RST is.
Title: Re: Thinking of Gates Carbon
Post by: mickeg on January 08, 2018, 07:59:08 PM
Do not own one, never have.  The two belt owners I talked to were both in Iceland when I was there in summer 2016.  One said that they carried a spare belt because you could not buy a belt anywhere in the country.  The other said that he thought that there was some efficiency loss, he had a bit of trouble keeping up with his friends and the way he said that I interpreted that to mean that he had kept up with them when he had a different bike.  One of them said that the chain line (or is it belt line?) has to be exactly right with a belt.

Apparently there have been two or maybe more generations of Gates belts.  Not sure what the differences were.

I prefer a chain because I use a different chainring for riding around home than I use for trips.  The ability to pull a few links out of the chain and swap to a different chainring size is important to me.

That is all I know, other than a belt needs a frame modification so you can install the belt, but I am sure you knew that too.

If you are going full custom, is a pinion under consideration too?  Or only Rohloff?
Title: Re: Thinking of Gates Carbon
Post by: Pavel on January 09, 2018, 01:42:20 AM
I've heard the same about the chain-line, that it has to be exact and I just today read on a blog that it can happen that the splined cogs can make it so that the Rohloff fails.  The person writing the blog is very obviously not an experienced cyclist but he has a terrible time.  He does mention that Rohloff said that it can happen in about 1% of the cases, and in this case it was on the Koga bike.  My theory is that the belt the way Koga sets it up, puts too much tension on the Rohloff.  I know that the tension on the belts is higher than on a Chain drive.  The service he got by Koga when trouble happened was a good reminder of how we should all appreciate Thorns "real" commitment to it's customers.  And Rohloff's too.

So that is something to consider if one is going to be in the middle of Mongolia with winter approaching.  That's not me however.  :) But still, as much as I like the concept of having a belt, it will probably be a good while before I seriously consider splashing that much money into the concept.  It's sort of frustrating but mostly I am disappointed that I've got what I consider the best brand of bicycle on the planet.  Gee, what silly excuses now for not hitting the road?

Rohloff only, for me, from now on. 
Title: Re: Thinking of Gates Carbon
Post by: Matt2matt2002 on January 09, 2018, 09:55:55 PM
Did someone mention oily chains?
Don't exist on my Raven.
Mr. Chainglider takes care of all that messy stuff.
Phew! And saved me buying a Gates set up, to boot!
Hee hee!
Title: Re: Thinking of Gates Carbon
Post by: John Saxby on January 10, 2018, 12:17:03 AM
With you there, Matt.

A tale from a conversation here in Aug/Sept on belts, chains, and Rohloffs, which I found interesting:

A very experienced cyclist friend north of Toronto put me in touch with some of his cycling buddies who wanted to move to touring bikes with Rohloff hubs. They are planning a supported cross-Canada ride in 2018. I referred them to Thorn's range, both Ravens and Mercuries, and gave them my positive review of the Raven-mit-Rohloff. (I did say that for their light loads, the Mercury might work better for them.)

As it turned out, they decided to opt for substantially more expensive custom bikes made by a builder north of Toronto, not far from where they live. He recommended the Gates carbon belt. My friend (and I) questioned the recommendation, essentially asking, "Is a chain a problem, especially with a 'glider?" And, "What about the other questions about the belt itself--tension, precise adjustment, lower efficiency, etc.?" The builder said that all those issues have been addressed by the latest versions of the belt.

This is very much an arms'-length story, FWIW -- but I'll be interested to learn how their bikes and their tour play out.  I hope it works out well for them.  Personally, I wouldn't pay the extra $$ for a custom bike, let alone the extra $$ for a carbon belt.
Title: Re: Thinking of Gates Carbon
Post by: Pavel on January 10, 2018, 12:39:28 AM
I'm starting to think that it's one of those things that has  to be experienced to be understood.  Sort of like steel versus Aluminum frames or 23mm vs 2.0 tyres on a bad road.  We met two dutch cyclists who were coming in the other direction and had done about 85 percent of the 5,000+ length of the Trans America trail - both on Rohloff bikes with a gates drive.  We talked and I rode the larger bike for a few minutes.  Wow.  Transformative.  But I guess words can't describe, it has to be experienced, sort of like a dutch bike versus and racer tuck over 8 hours, sort of thing.  Come to think of it, much like the dee rail your versus the Rohloff experience.

You all should try a Gates drive, before you use the numbers part of the brain. Seriously. You are not "getting it".

I've know I want one, since the experience of it.  It's the same with Rappahannock Oysters. Just try them - then talk - and then try going back.  ;)

The bicycle stone age is long overdue to be over. 
Title: Re: Thinking of Gates Carbon
Post by: Andre Jute on January 10, 2018, 03:30:15 AM
Apparently there have been two or maybe more generations of Gates belts.  Not sure what the differences were.

I haven't looked it up again, so I'm telling you from memory, George: When I looked into the Gates Drive about ten years ago or so, they were just switching over from a belt and pulleys that were smooth on the mating surface, to a system guided by a ridge and matching indentation in the centre of the mating faces, an additional reason to have a very straight driveline (chainline? beltline?). This leads to what those among us with roadie backgrounds (essentially everyone over 40, but not me) would consider a rather wide tread (Q-factor to the trendies). But, at least in theory, the guidance system on the Gates Drive may also allow Rohloff owners worried about falling into the 1% (mentioned by Pavel immediately above) to slacken the Gates belt a wee bit to protect their expensive gearbox. Of course, that might interfere with its claimed efficiency and probably also with its longevity (back then claimed to be 5000 miles per belt).

Personally, I wouldn't take a 1% chance of ruining my run-in Rohloff box (1) for the sake of a transmission that is likely to be less clean than my Chainglider.

(1) It is rather unlikely that I will have to buy another Rohloff box, but if I do, I will buy one that was only ridden to church on Sundays by a little old lady rather than a brandnew one, to get the benefit of it being run in.
Title: Re: Thinking of Gates Carbon
Post by: mickeg on January 10, 2018, 10:19:24 PM
...  Rohloff bikes with a gates drive.  We talked and I rode the larger bike for a few minutes.  Wow.  Transformative.  But I guess words can't describe, it has to be experienced, sort of like a dutch bike versus and racer tuck over 8 hours, sort of thing.  Come to think of it, much like the dee rail your versus the Rohloff experience.

You all should try a Gates drive, before you use the numbers part of the brain. Seriously. You are not "getting it".
...

I quite frankly can't imagine why a belt should feel different while riding it.  I would expect it to be quieter or maybe silent while a chain drive will have some noise (I know my chain needs lube when I notice the noise).  But otherwise I can't understand the difference in feel.

A friend of mine has a bike with a Shimano IGH (not sure if it is the 8 speed or 11 speed hub) and a belt drive.  He loves it, but he is an attorney, has no desire to learn anything about bike maintenance.  I think he can change a flat tube, but otherwise I do not think he can do anything.

I however do not mind a bit of maintenance.  I did an exercise ride yesterday, put on some chain lube before I started the ride and had a nice quiet chain drive for the ride.
Title: Re: Thinking of Gates Carbon
Post by: Pavel on January 11, 2018, 03:11:38 AM
silky smooth and no harshness, with a bit of shock absorption as well.  All these chain qualities we are used to without being aware of it, but much like white noise in a room, that's suddenly turned off, one thinks "ahhh, thats nice".  :)

It really is very much like the subtle but profound difference between an aluminum frame and a good steel Audax frame. If one has only ridden an harsh riding frame, one doesn't know how sublime it could be on something that has been engineered better. 
Title: Re: Thinking of Gates Carbon
Post by: Bill on February 04, 2018, 04:07:33 AM
I have a Rohloff with chain drive on my Raven Nomad and Rohloff with belt drive on my Jones Plus.

Both have worked well without any problems. If you have to make any changes, the chain drive is much simpler and cheaper. Changing cogs on the belt drive is expensive and you will need a new belt. Belt tension is complicated, a belt needs to be tight, but too much tension can damage the hub. You really need the Gates belt tension gauge to adjust it properly, Gates has a clever app on your phone that calculates the tension from the frequency of the sound made when you pluck the belt with your finger, but its pretty wonky. I ended up getting the gauge from Gates.

A friend had a Gates drive with the belt adjusted too tight, and ended up ruining the cog and wearing out the belt.  Her hub is okay so far.

I like the idea of not having to clean and lube the chain, and the belt has worked well for me, but I don't really think there is any big advantage over a chain other than that. Chains are simple and cheap and easy to change and adjust and you don't have to worry about tension.

I have to admit I haven't noticed any difference in ride quality.
Title: Re: Thinking of Gates Carbon
Post by: Pavel on February 04, 2018, 07:29:28 AM
This afternoon I was at a bike store in Raleigh and went to ask a mechanic about my hand pump.  We had a good conversation about bikes for a few minutes until I noticed he was doing a one year tune up on a customers Gates drive, Shimano Alfine bike, which she had custom built by the shop. I talked a good fifteen minutes about Gates drives and I noticed, and was surprised about the low tension on the belt. He said that he puts the belt on with 30-35 pounds of tension and that that is within recommended specs.  It was not at all what I was imagining.  I wonder if manye people are not putting way too much tension on this new toothed design?

He said that they only build a few a year, mostly for high end builds but he really liked them and rides on himself. 

I had the thought that the best analogy to be made is the Aluminum Versus steel frame differences. Some people can't feel any difference between the two, while most of the world doesn't care one bit.  Only a few "nuts" really into bikes will talk of the "sweet" ride of a well built steel frame.  Steel is real, is lost on most. Had Aluminum arrived first to the Philistines, steel would likely never have come into existence. 

Perhaps it's got something to do with the way I like to ride slow, pedaling along and enjoying the scenery in a languid fashion, but I find something in that sweet Gates ride. Philistines notwithstanding.  ;)
Title: Re: Thinking of Gates Carbon
Post by: Bill on February 04, 2018, 07:16:22 PM
28-40 lbs is what Gates recommends for internal geared hubs.

Its not hard to get that tension, in fact its probably easier to set it higher, it is on the lower end of Gates' recommended tensions.

The problem is you don't really know what it is unless you can measure it. I suppose if you were a mechanic dealing with belt drives all the time, you would be able to do it by feel.

I am going to ride both my Rohloff bikes, one after the other, and see if I notice a difference. Not for a while though, its midwinter and the streets are covered with snow and ice. I will report back in a month or so.
Title: Re: Thinking of Gates Carbon
Post by: Marlo on November 25, 2018, 01:55:04 PM
I rode a gates carbon CDX with Alfine 8 for 5500Km before breaking the aluminum frame.
  Then bought Nomad MK2 to be used as bomb proof commuter, fitted it with CoMotion shifter and now have the best commuter known to man thanks to Andy.

I have worn out chains, and sprockets on my daily ride with other bikes, while the components did not owe me one more Km they did wear out.

I will always miss the CDX belt drive, silent, zero slack in the drive, no wear in 5500km, stayed clean, in my world as a commuter riding on pavement Gates is clearly the best but the Nomad has so many other features that I need that the gates had to go.

I just hope that Andy does not figure out how to mate his beautiful frame with Gates. If he does it will dent my budget causing me to buy another due to lack of sleep dreaming about riding a Gates bike again.

Title: Re: Thinking of Gates Carbon
Post by: bobs on November 25, 2018, 03:50:42 PM
You only need to put a splitter in the drive seatstay. Any good frame builder could do it.
Title: Re: Thinking of Gates Carbon
Post by: mickeg on November 25, 2018, 05:09:56 PM
Decades ago I blew a fan belt on my truck.  Stranded.  But, any good sailer can do a long splice, so after about 15 or 20 minutes with a piece of three strand sisal line I had a rather low quality but adequate fan belt that got me home.

Unfortunately the belts you are talking about have teeth in them.  You can't make your own or substitute.
Title: Re: Thinking of Gates Carbon
Post by: Andre Jute on November 25, 2018, 06:22:04 PM
On the other hand, George, you have experience with the industry-standard S&S frame splitters on one of your bikes, and you can bring an engineer's knowledge and eye to your judgement. How would an S&S splitter, appropriately scaled, work in a drive-side seat stay?
Title: Re: Thinking of Gates Carbon
Post by: bobs on November 25, 2018, 06:38:31 PM
http://www.bobjacksoncycles.co.uk/belt-drive-splitter/
Title: Re: Thinking of Gates Carbon
Post by: Danneaux on November 25, 2018, 07:03:58 PM
Quote
How would an S&S splitter, appropriately scaled, work in a drive-side seat stay?
Been done...

Best,

Dan.
Title: Re: Thinking of Gates Carbon
Post by: mickeg on November 26, 2018, 12:12:09 AM
Interesting.  I had no idea that S&S made a tiny little coupler like that.  Cute.

But I am sticking with chains.  Since I use a different size chainring for around home riding than I use on trips, if I had a belt I would have to stick with one chainring to sprocket ratio for all uses.

If any of you remember how the Raleigh DL-1 was built about a century ago, one end of each chainstay was bolted to the frame.  I have no clue why it was designed that way, the rear triangle could not be removed.  Here is a photo of one that I found with a google image search. 
http://www.yellowjersey.org/gcdl1.html

So, if you really want to retrofit a bike to use a belt, look around for an old rod brake DL-1.  Horizontal dropouts in the back should give you the tensioning adjustment you need.  But you might have to re-tension the belt every time you change a tire.  I am not really serious here, there would be a lot more work than I cited here.
Title: Re: Thinking of Gates Carbon
Post by: martinf on November 26, 2018, 08:55:40 AM
I have worn out chains, and sprockets on my daily ride with other bikes, while the components did not owe me one more Km they did wear out.

I will always miss the CDX belt drive, silent, zero slack in the drive, no wear in 5500km, stayed clean, in my world as a commuter riding on pavement Gates is clearly the best but the Nomad has so many other features that I need that the gates had to go.

Not a belt, but IMO a good alternative for low maintenance and long component life is a Chainglider chaincase.

I have used a Chainglider on my old utility bike since 2011 without problems and with very little maintenance.

Some downsides are:

- the (slight) rubbing noise. I no longer notice this.
- the impression of friction. In my case I convinced myself that this is negligible, even with my less than optimum setup on the utility bike with a relatively thick TA chainring for 1/8" chain and wider than recommended 1/8" chain and sprocket. I did a series of back-to-back timed rides with and without Chainglider and noted no significant difference.
- the Chainglider is only compatible for a few chainring/sprocket combinations.

I have since fitted Chaingliders to nearly all the other hub-geared family bikes, including my Thorn Raven touring bike, on this bike I chose optimum components for a Chainglider - narrow Surly stainless steel 38T chainring, narrow chain and 16T Rohloff sprocket.
Title: Re: Thinking of Gates Carbon
Post by: Andre Jute on November 27, 2018, 02:25:46 AM
Thanks for the links and information, gentlemen.

I'm an admirer of Bob Jackson's work and attitude, but, eyeballing that removable section in Bob's link, I wouldn't be overly happy riding on it. It seems a bit too race-weight to me. The S&S section in Dan's link eyeballs more solidly, and S&S have built up a lot of trust over the years.

Hey-ho, I know a Raleigh like that DL a couple of houses away, which came to the lady of the house from her late father, and which she occasionally rides with me. The particular bike in George's link was advertised and sold by a fellow I've known for years on the net, Andrew Muzi of Yellow Jersey in Madison, Wisconsin, a town evidently from the photograph so dull that at 6pm every night they roll up the pavements, which doesn't stop Andy Muzi from being a dry wit and an expert on the better bikes from whenever.

I agree with Martin: the Chainglider is a sensible, solid alternative to the Gates. It is also superior in some ways. For instance, a Gates belt ridden in the wet or mud will transfer filth from both wheels to street trouser ridden without bicycle clips, and let the trousers be caught in the cogs too; I ride a Chainglider in street clothes and don't even own trousers clips because the Chainglider doesn't let my trousers bottoms get either dirty or caught in the cogs.
Title: Re: Thinking of Gates Carbon
Post by: martinf on November 27, 2018, 08:34:27 AM
I agree with Martin: the Chainglider is a sensible, solid alternative to the Gates. It is also superior in some ways.

Other advantages are:
- relatively cheap, if your chainring/sprocket sizes are compatible.
- completely reversible. If you don't get on with it, it takes less than 5 minutes to remove.

I don't need a belt drive for my full size bikes, but I might be interested in this for the family Bromptons, if it is durable enough to survive frequent folding:

http://www.kinetics-online.co.uk/folding-bikes/brompton/brompton-belt-drive/



 
Title: Re: Thinking of Gates Carbon
Post by: Andre Jute on November 27, 2018, 09:39:07 AM
About the advantages of the Chainglider in comparison with a Gates Drive conversion, Martin says,
- completely reversible. If you don't get on with it, it takes less than 5 minutes to remove.

This hadn't occurred to me. I just assumed that anyone who pays for a Gates conversion will at least have tried it extensively enough to be familiar with its quirks. Be awful, quite apart from the expense, if you have drastic surgery applied to a favourite bike and then discover you don't like the components which necessitated the surgery.
Title: Re: Thinking of Gates Carbon
Post by: John Saxby on November 27, 2018, 04:00:09 PM
+1 on "the 'glider rules".

It has another advantage, which I would never have guessed until I learned about it on my ride the Icefields Parkway a couple of years ago:

I pulled into a hostel at the end of the day, and went about my business with registration, laundry, etc.  I had leaned my Raven against a picnic table, with a group of riders d'un certain âge nearby.  One of them was intrigued by Osi's derailleur-less hub, and asked, "Is that a carbon belt?" I confessed that I was not nearly so avant-garde as that, tho' my 'glider was a whole lot cheaper and cocooned a simple old-fashioned chain.

"A virtual carbon copy of a belt," I could've said, but it's probably just as well I didn't...
Title: Re: Thinking of Gates Carbon
Post by: mickeg on November 27, 2018, 08:33:29 PM
...
Hey-ho, I know a Raleigh like that DL a couple of houses away, which came to the lady of the house from her late father, and which she occasionally rides with me. The particular bike in George's link was advertised and sold by a fellow I've known for years on the net, Andrew Muzi of Yellow Jersey in Madison, Wisconsin, a town evidently from the photograph so dull that at 6pm every night they roll up the pavements, which doesn't stop Andy Muzi from being a dry wit and an expert on the better bikes from whenever.
...

If you try to outfit that Raleigh DL-1 with a Gates belt, you would likely need a different crankset.  And being a cottered crank and bottom bracket, you would probably be shopping for a new bottom bracket too.  And that bike probably has a Nottingham thread pattern in the bottom bracket shell, so you are probably getting the bottom bracket shell re-threaded to a common thread pattern.  So, not as simple as I implied above.

The photo was on State Street, a short distance from a University campus with roughly 40,000 students.  About every third or fourth business along that street will sell you alcohol with your meal, so, no they do not close down the street at 6 pm.  The street is only open to mass transit and bicycles, so that is why the street looked pretty dull, and from no leaves on the trees it was probably late November when it might be below freezing temperatures.

I used to buy my spokes at Yellow Jersey.  I could bring in a rim and hub, they would measure it up, calculate the spoke lengths I needed, and then sell me enough spokes for the wheel with two spares for less money than any other store in town.  And the other stores would not calculate the spoke lengths for me because they felt that I was competing with their shop mechanics. 

But Yellow Jersey moved, no longer in Madison.  Now I have to calculate my spoke lengths myself. 

Title: Re: Thinking of Gates Carbon
Post by: Andre Jute on November 27, 2018, 11:27:27 PM
If you try to outfit that Raleigh DL-1 with a Gates belt, you would likely need a different crankset.  And being a cottered crank and bottom bracket, you would probably be shopping for a new bottom bracket too.  And that bike probably has a Nottingham thread pattern in the bottom bracket shell, so you are probably getting the bottom bracket shell re-threaded to a common thread pattern.  So, not as simple as I implied above.

I gave the Gates Drive serious consideration a few years back when it first became available. I decided that there were too many unknowns hidden behind the glib advertising copy, which was just as well because the thing shortly underwent a root-and-branch redesign with not a single component interchangeable between the various series, proving that they rushed an inadequate product to a market they didn't understand. I used to be in that business (marketing and advertising expensive niche products) and I'd call that incompetent engineering and marketing.
Shenanigans like that don't give you a lot of faith in the good sense behind the product.

When the second series of the Gates Drive appeared, my decision was partly driven by the acknowledged failure of the first series (if the maker totally revamps a new engineering product in short order, that's an admission of failure). I decided there were so many complications without satisfactory answers that it would be smart to convert an existing bike, that properly cautious behaviour if one had to have a Gates-equipped bike would be to buy a bike with the Gates as OEM equipment. Basically, this is the same decision the OP made, as described in the first post in this thread.

***
You might cavil that of course I approve of a poster who follows the same (sound!) reasoning I did, but it is worth saying that I'm often amazed at how little people know about expensive bikes when they buy them. I'm more like Dan, prepared to ask the same question over and over again in various forms and fora until I get a satisfactory answer, or at least enough opinion from proven sensible people to reduce the risk to as low as possible. Dan's interrogation of members of this forum who knew more about Rohloff gearboxes and associated components than he did then should be a model case study; when he ordered a Rohloff bike he probably knew more than most people who already owned a Rohloff. Far too many people think they will lose face if they expose themselves as ignorant on some point by asking questions about it. I take the view that ignorance is an opportunity to make a new friend when he answers your question.

***
I pulled into a hostel at the end of the day, and went about my business with registration, laundry, etc.  I had leaned my Raven against a picnic table, with a group of riders d'un certain âge nearby.  One of them was intrigued by Osi's derailleur-less hub, and asked, "Is that a carbon belt?" I confessed that I was not nearly so avant-garde as that, tho' my 'glider was a whole lot cheaper and cocooned a simple old-fashioned chain.

"A virtual carbon copy of a belt," I could've said, but it's probably just as well I didn't...

Probably smart. The form of the question proves that the riders were, as John so delicately put it, "d'un certain âge". Those a bit younger, or who've adapted to the howling mobs on the social media, know that just the mention of "carbon" ("Coke is a carbonated drink" is a troll version) will poison a cycling group for a month or two. The only worse swearword is h*l*e*.

***
Anyone notice the degrees of separation of cyclists in George's remarks? I don't know George from anywhere but this forum and had no idea he lives within striking distance of Madison. But George is basically one degree of separation between me and Andrew Muzi of the famous bike store Yellow Jersey who I've known for years in another forum. Cycling is an amazingly small world.
Title: Re: Thinking of Gates Carbon
Post by: Marlo on November 28, 2018, 01:18:52 AM

Bobs, sir as far as cutting and corrupting the Nomad, I could never cut that bike, Andy makes it clear that the durability of the Nomad is partially due the the symmetry of the frame, Even as far as no side stand.
   It is a fantastic bike and a master piece of Andy Blance, The wheels, frame, brakes, steering, racks, Rohloff, the fantastic Laquer and that greasy chain I love as it is, It would take away from one of those other fantastic features by cutting that frame.
Title: Re: Thinking of Gates Carbon
Post by: mickeg on November 28, 2018, 02:03:43 AM
When I was in Iceland I met three Rohloff owners that used the belt drive.  One had the older version, one had the newer version and one I do not recall.

One of them said that they carried a spare belt because you could not buy the belt anywhere in Iceland.  He and his girlfriend had one chain drive Rohloff and one belt drive Rohloff.  They liked them both.

One of them said that the belt seems to make the bike slower.  He had to work harder to keep up with his friends compared to when he used a chain, but I do not know if the chain was on a Rohloff or derailleur bike.

And one of the belt owners said that you had to have the chainline (or is it belt line) right on, that a chain was more forgiving of a minor error in chainline.

I know a guy (here in Madison) that has a belt drive on a Shimano IGH.  He said he went to the bike shop and said he wanted the closest thing to a trouble free maintenance free bike as he could get.  And that is what they sold him.  And he is happy with it.  I do not know what kind of belt it is.
Title: Re: Thinking of Gates Carbon
Post by: Bill on November 28, 2018, 03:17:07 AM
I'm not an early adopter type. I like to see something in use for a while before I buy it. I had a couple of friends ride cross Canada
on belt drive Rohloff bikes, thats 7500 km X2, zero problems with the belt drive. That was what sold me on putting the belt on my Jones Plus. As I mentioned up thread, it has worked well for me on the very rough southern third of the great divide route.
However, the expense and hassle of changing gear ratios with the belt is considerable as a new belt is needed, they are not cheap, they are some what tricky to transport when not on the bike ( you can't bend them the wrong way or twist them), makes me start to like the chain drive better.
Chains are cheap, reliable, robust , and easy to source. They are just messy and wear quicker.
I'm not going to change my Jones to a chain. But I am unlikely to get another belt drive and would recommend chain drive to most people. Although if you are really sold on the belt drive, go for it. They do work.
Title: Re: Thinking of Gates Carbon
Post by: martinf on November 28, 2018, 06:57:55 AM
Chains are cheap, reliable, robust , and easy to source. They are just messy and wear quicker.

As belts for bicycle drive aren't yet very widespread, "easy to source" is a good reason to use a chain rather than a belt on a long-distance tourer. This doesn't matter so much for a commuter bike.

With a chain case, the chain isn't messy, and I'm not sure if it wears quicker than a belt. An enclosed chain certainly lasts much longer than an exposed chain.
Title: Re: Thinking of Gates Carbon
Post by: John Saxby on November 28, 2018, 03:12:04 PM
Quote
However, the expense and hassle of changing gear ratios with the belt is considerable as a new belt is needed.

A friend-of-a-friend had just this problem with a Rohloff-mit-carbon-belt on a new bike on a cross-Canada ride this past summer.  Starting in Vancouver, she realized in the mountains that her gearing was too high.  They made it to Jasper, and eventually got a new belt and switched to a smaller chainring.  That all took time (several days) and money, but once done, the rest of the ride was OK.

That happened in 2017 with a couple of other friends, one with a Rohloff-mit-chain. They had to switch from a 44T ring to a 36, also in Jasper (if you're going to have this problem, that's a good place to have it), but that change took just an hour.

It can take a while to find the right gearing -- on my Raven, I changed from a 17 x 38 to a 17 x 36, but only after a season and a half, including a 1500 km tour that included some hilly Swedish sections.  I changed the front chainring on the Raven in 15 minutes; the more fiddly part of the changeover was getting the length right on the new, smaller chain.
Title: Re: Thinking of Gates Carbon
Post by: Bill on November 28, 2018, 03:40:48 PM
Chains are cheap, reliable, robust , and easy to source. They are just messy and wear quicker.

As belts for bicycle drive aren't yet very widespread, "easy to source" is a good reason to use a chain rather than a belt on a long-distance tourer. This doesn't matter so much for a commuter bike.

With a chain case, the chain isn't messy, and I'm not sure if it wears quicker than a belt. An enclosed chain certainly lasts much longer than an exposed chain.

I would agree with that.  I haven't used an enclosed case for a chain, they sound like they are a bit tricky to set up, but they certainly make sense.
Title: Re: Thinking of Gates Carbon
Post by: martinf on November 28, 2018, 05:36:56 PM
I haven't used an enclosed case for a chain, they sound like they are a bit tricky to set up, but they certainly make sense.

In general, chain cases are a bit tricky to set up without rubbing somewhere or making irritating noises.

For me, the Chainglider is an exception. It was quick and easy to set up on my bikes. But it only works if the chainline is not too far off and the sprocket/chainring combination is compatible. And on some frames there will be clearance problems that make it impossible or difficult to fit a Chainglider.

The main barrier that stopped me getting a Chainglider earlier was the fact that it sits freely on the chain, which I thought must be inefficient and cause friction losses and/or annoying noises. In practice, and after using Chaingliders for several years, I haven't noticed any significant loss of performance, and noise hasn't been an issue.

When I fitted a Chainglider to my wife's bike she didn't notice the difference until I pointed out that it was no longer necessary to use cycle-clips to keep trouser bottoms off the chain.
Title: Re: Thinking of Gates Carbon
Post by: mickeg on November 28, 2018, 06:28:47 PM
Quote
However, the expense and hassle of changing gear ratios with the belt is considerable as a new belt is needed.

A friend-of-a-friend had just this problem with a Rohloff-mit-carbon-belt on a new bike on a cross-Canada ride this past summer.  Starting in Vancouver, she realized in the mountains that her gearing was too high.  They made it to Jasper, and eventually got a new belt and switched to a smaller chainring.  That all took time (several days) and money, but once done, the rest of the ride was OK.

That happened in 2017 with a couple of other friends, one with a Rohloff-mit-chain. They had to switch from a 44T ring to a 36, also in Jasper (if you're going to have this problem, that's a good place to have it), but that change took just an hour.

It can take a while to find the right gearing -- on my Raven, I changed from a 17 x 38 to a 17 x 36, but only after a season and a half, including a 1500 km tour that included some hilly Swedish sections.  I changed the front chainring on the Raven in 15 minutes; the more fiddly part of the changeover was getting the length right on the new, smaller chain.

When I built up my Nomad, I decided before I even had the frame in my possession that I wanted to have two sets of gearing, one for around home with an unladen bike and one for touring.

The unladen bike around home, from my other bikes I knew what gears I liked to use down a couple of long shallow downhill runs for my highest gear.  And from a couple of nearby hills what I wanted as my lowest gear.  With that knowledge, I calculated what chainring I needed, which was a 44T to come pretty close to replicating the gears I wanted.  My stock Rohloff came with a 16T sprocket, not the more common 17T on most Thorns.  Occasionally I have thought about trying a 42T, but it is a low priority.

The touring gear, I concluded that I wanted the lowest gear I could have that would give me a cadence of 72 while riding the slowest speed I could ride while maintaining vertical and directional stability.  The cadence was selected as any slower and I fell that my pedal stroke is not very smooth, but 72 and higher feels like a smoother pedal stroke.  While riding up the steepest hill nearby I concluded that the slowest speed where I maintained stability was 3.5 mph.  So, a bit of calculations told me that I need a 36T chainring for touring.  There have been some long shallow downhills where I missed not having higher gears, but I would not give up the lowest gears to obtain anything higher.

I am an engineer (now retired), have done a lot of technical spreadsheets over the years, thus the calculations to go from gear ratios or from a slow speed to determine chainring sizes was not that hard for me.  But if you are a bit challenged by math, I can see where one of the on line gear calculators may help.

In my case with a 44 to 36 change, that is a difference of eight teeth, which becomes almost exactly four links on a chain.  So, when I am using a 44T chainring, I have two quick links on my chain, with three links between them.  Thus, I can remove one quick link and those other three links to quickly remove four links to change my chain length to accommodate the 36 chainring.