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.