Author Topic: Split belt drive conversion kit  (Read 1528 times)

Danneaux

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Split belt drive conversion kit
« on: February 28, 2019, 11:17:12 AM »
Hi All!

This is an interesting belt drive development intended to work with existing frames. These special belts are by Gates and matching Rohloff sprockets are reportedly coming soon. I have no financial interest in the product, just find it intriguing as it is a different approach than a closed belt. The split design might also allow for more compact storage of a spare inside panniers. Current cost is about $350-$380 with the Shimano and Sturmey-archer compatible sprockets now offered. Drivetrain life is listed as "3x as long" as traditional chain components. That could be more or less costly depending on which components wear first. Sprockets are hardened and nickel-plated cromoly rather than stainless; rivets are stainless.

https://bikerumor.com/2019/02/27/veer-cycles-split-belt-pro-conversion-kit-offers-internal-hub-compatibility/?fbclid=IwAR2DjR3wvhg8SoIsrBhlU35oODH-nRx8TLr3sPAgn5Bladq8_crYdNEluvk

https://bikerumor.com/2018/04/24/soc18-veer-belt-drive-works-on-any-bicycle-frame-by-cutting-the-belt/

https://www.veercycle.com/

https://www.instagram.com/veercycle/

https://www.facebook.com/VeerCycle/

https://twitter.com/veer_cycle?lang=en

I'm guessing a non-contact (1-1.5mm clearance) snubber would be required for Rohloff applications. See:
https://www.gatescarbondrive.com/~/media/files/gcd/gates-carbon-drive-rohloff-manual-v2009-en.pdf?la=en&fbclid=IwAR3H6WKfKTzYRmAdNJWwxH7qZANHqi2JPaqe-kuYsMgmTjkVeegJI4z6TL0

Rohloff has a newly developed (August 2018) heavy-duty threaded lockring for the Gates-drive carrier, designed to better lock things in place with a belt drive and so reduce clicking caused by fretting of the sprocket on the carrier. See:
https://www.rohloff.de/en/company/news/news/splined-carrier-with-lock-ring-for-carbon-drive-speedhub-splined-sprockets/

Best,

Dan.

energyman

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Re: Split belt drive conversion kit
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2019, 12:22:50 PM »
Now that is an interesting development Dan. Thanks for the post.
Doubt if there will be a rush to convert existing bikes though.
Maybe I'll give it a try..........

Thomas777

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Re: Split belt drive conversion kit
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2019, 01:47:49 PM »
So am I understanding this correctly. As of now this split bet will not work with regular Gates sprockets?

Tiberius

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Re: Split belt drive conversion kit
« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2019, 02:04:03 PM »
Provisionally, I like it. Belt drive has always been a 'drip drip drip' of an idea inside my head....

I have read numerous articles/web site posts re the pro's and con's of belt drive and I don't think that I will be convinced, one way or the other, until I've actually tried it AT LENGTH myself...which I guess is obvious really. The fact that I can now try it without cutting/re-painting my Surly is a real bonus. I'm guessing that it should work well with sliding dropouts with (say) Tugnuts as well.

I like to keep my bikes really clean, but at times it's difficult as I ride all year round and in all conditions. I have recently started experimenting with waxing my chains, as opposed to oiling them, and it has been a revelation. The bikes are SO much cleaner and it's SO much easier to keep them that way. It seems to me that a belt drive takes 'keeping things clean' to the next level ?

Interesting stuff.

John Saxby

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Re: Split belt drive conversion kit
« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2019, 02:41:56 PM »
Thanks, Dan.  Interesting stuff indeed, and a clever fix for the issue of cutting the frame to install an endless belt.

But, from where I sit: If the cost would be close to the
Quote
current cost [of] about $350-$380 with the Shimano and Sturmey-archer compatible sprockets now offered
, that's a lot of chains. The most expensive chain I've ever bought is an SRAM PC 971, CAD 28.00 at MEC.

Cheers,  J.

mickeg

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Re: Split belt drive conversion kit
« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2019, 05:49:42 PM »
The hub in the first photo, I was sure it was a Rohloff until I realized that it had no shifter cables.  But there was some odd thing attached to the hub that might have had a control cable or wire.  And it was laced 3 cross.  I wonder what it is?

The first photo, interesting that they just use a horizontal dropout with no mechanism to maintain belt tension if you have to change a tire.  Or is there an extra tiny eccentric hiding in the bottom bracket shell?

I wonder how the brakes work?

The belt?  Looks interesting, but I am sticking with chains.

Nick Ingamells

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Re: Split belt drive conversion kit
« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2019, 08:42:05 AM »


I like to keep my bikes really clean, but at times it's difficult as I ride all year round and in all conditions. I have recently started experimenting with waxing my chains, as opposed to oiling them, and it has been a revelation. The bikes are SO much cleaner and it's SO much easier to keep them that way. It seems to me that a belt drive takes 'keeping things clean' to the next level ?

Interesting stuff.

https://moltenspeedwax.com/pages/waxing-your-chain
Check this out as an alternative to oiling chains. I've gone halfway (the cleaning but using another product - Squirt Chain Lube - without the cooking) and am very pleased so far. I fully intend to do the whole malarky soon!

Andre Jute

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Re: Split belt drive conversion kit
« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2019, 06:42:34 PM »
Well spotted, Dan.

With regard to the speculation about a "snubber" or a "tiny eccentric bottom bracket", a split belt would be a natural for Rohloff's own sliding block axle carrier design for their hub, for which they give the blueprints away free of charge. I don't see why an eccentric bottom bracket as on Thorn designs shouldn't work as well. After all, how much adjustment could you need? (Not a rhetorical question.)

GETTING THERE FROM WHERE WE HAVE ARRIVED
I'm not planning on being an unpaid (indeed paying, through the neck!) beta tester, though. The Hebie Chainglider does me brilliantly and I have my doubts about a belt with inclusions on the drive side being any cleaner than the smooth outside of the Chainglider.

It's possible that dried dirt could be easier to brush off the Gates Drive than from a chain, but the junction of the belt ends brings with it another place where dirt can gather. In addition, I view the much larger drive vanes of the Split Gates Drive with suspicion as dirt accumulators.

There is also the problem that the Rohloff is, by design, not a clean gearbox; if it were truly sealed, it would be atrociously heavy*. Seems obvious that the belt will carry oil "misted out" and expelled through its breather hole forward to your trousers or your legs, and right there you're back to daily or weekly cleaning. By comparison, I wipe my Chainglider down with a piece of kitchen tissue once a year when I change the gearbox oil and the chain, which I run for its entire life on the factory lube, and I cycle in street clothes, light coloured khakis in the summer, without any complaints from my wife about oil on my clothes.

So, in sum, the belt will probably be cleaner than a chain, but we already have a component, the Hebie Chainglider, which does the same job very well indeed, and most likely better. The Chainglider costs about 10% of the estimated price of the Split Gates Drive. You don't need a Scottish grandmother or a doctorate in economics to view that comparison leerily.

It is likely that the belt drive will look cool until everyone has one, but I'm not a fashion victim. And really, for that much money, it has to do better than outlast three chains (which is how far again? -- for me about 10k kilometres) or two Rohloff oil changes; they're not giving us a hard number because they want to keep open the option of discovering some masher who gets a thousand miles/1600km on a chain as I once did.

Someone has to take one for the team and, just in case I'm wrong, give this thing a thorough, extended test so we can decide if it is a high-functioning replacement for the Hebie Chainglider or merely bicycle bling to give the Cool Boys bragging rights... Yo, Energyman, are you still there?

Remember when shaft drive for bicycles was the next big thing? Except it wasn't.

Sorry to be a Jeremiah in the halls of the technofreaks, but I have decades of experience thinking about a minimum or zero maintenance bike, and testing components towards it.

*For those who don't know the history, the Rohloff was designed as a mud plugger along the lines of German agricultural machinery, intended to be passed on to your great-grandchildren. It was not designed as a luxury touring gearbox (and therefore permanently ultra-clean, no oil on the outside), or even as an offroad downhiller, but literally to survive racing in the mud, or even on a beach, because its inspiration was derailleur gruppos that died in the sand and wavelets on a beach near the hotel where the Rohloffs spent their honeymoon. The only reason it has even a niche market as a touring box is that back in the 1990's when the Rohloff was brand new, the iconoclastic German baukast (custom bike builder) Utopia tested the Rohloff and then fitted it to their aspirational touring bikes, including some famous circumnavigators, and later Andy Blance of Thorn fell in love with the Rohloff box as the answer to design problems in serious touring bikes. These are trendsetters, so in time others followed at first tentatively and then enthusiastically.

energyman

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Re: Split belt drive conversion kit
« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2019, 09:00:17 PM »
Yo, I'm still here.  My latest bikes have chains.  To me it's six of one and half a dozen of the other now and upon reflection I'm not cool any more.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2019, 03:38:08 PM by energyman »

mickeg

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Re: Split belt drive conversion kit
« Reply #9 on: May 20, 2019, 06:04:20 PM »
... My latest bikes have chains.  ...and upon reflection I'm not cool any more.

Me neither. 

Last night while working on my bike to prep it for my next trip I took off the 44T chainring I use near home and put on the 36T chainring that I use when touring.  And that means taking out a few links of chain because the chain is then two inches too long.  Fortunately I did not have to learn how to take out a few links of belt.

Andre Jute

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Re: Split belt drive conversion kit
« Reply #10 on: May 20, 2019, 11:10:34 PM »
Still, it's agreeable to hear about the new technology.

I'm a Third Wave Cool Boy. That is, I've learned to let the first wave of excitement pass me by, and the second, and if the third time a new technology knocks I'm still enthused, only then will I go to the effort of weighing up the benefits against the direct and indirect* costs.

*Taking out links to ready a bike for a tour is a perfect example of indirect costs: you can't do it with a continuous drive belt, yet it is something we all expect to do without any trouble or expense. Thanks, George.

John Saxby

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Re: Split belt drive conversion kit
« Reply #11 on: May 21, 2019, 02:44:39 PM »
Quote
I'm a Third Wave Cool Boy.

Yep.  There's a link here to Canajan attitudes to the weather:  "If you don't like the weather, just wait for a while."  Interestingly,  I once heard a guy from the Cape say the same thing.

I'm a bit late in getting back to Nick Igamell's post about wax for chains:  The elaborate drill for the Whole Nine Yards, c/w slow cooker, etc., seems way too time-consuming for me, the logical end game of exposed chains and derailleurs.

That said, I'd second his recommendation for Squirt lube.  MEC stocks this, and I first bought it because my city bike needed some lube and I saw that it's a SoufAfrican product. (Beyond the wine, obviously, there's not a whole lot of those on sale where I live, and the things I especially miss--Karoo lamb, 12-year-old Klipdrift brandy, and biltong--no retailer has ever heard of.  But I digress...)  The Squirt lube is pretty good stuff, esp in dry conditions.

Another waxing product is "Boeshield T-9", which starts out sounding like a SA product, but turns out to be made by some aircraft outfit in Seattle. This is valuable for protecting tools & small parts against creeping rust in places like basements and garden sheds. No reason why it wouldn't work on bike chains too. (But none of your jokes about "Wax to the Max", OK?)

Andre Jute

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Re: Split belt drive conversion kit
« Reply #12 on: May 21, 2019, 07:32:49 PM »
If you root around a bit, John, you'll find that Boeshield had bit of a vogue for spraying into bicycle frames for rust protection.

As for biltong, one of my local supermarkets sells sliced "beef jerky" as a "luxury lunch" in a 140gr packet. I haven't actually tried it, not because I look down on sliced biltong (I do -- well-bred people offer you their stick of biltong, which they made themselves, and their pocket knife to slice your own, and intelligent conversation to illuminate the social occasion), but because it has more salt than is good for my health.

However, since sliced biltong is in Aldi here (hung on the sandwich shelf), I suspect it will be in Aldi in the UK too, and tourer and longrange day-trippers might like to try it: at least it will taste better than those wretched power bars (their makers add evil tastes to force you to grasp how good their product is -- the fouler it tastes, the better it is for you) and biltong, which one chews for a long time, is instant energy and protein too. It's the emergency saddlebag food of the men of the two small republics who almost beat the British Empire at the peak of its power in the Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1902.

First I hear of Klipdrift brandy but I'll put it on the list of stuff I want sent from South Africa, just in case one day my cardiologist relents and lets me drink again.

John Saxby

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Re: Split belt drive conversion kit
« Reply #13 on: May 21, 2019, 10:51:51 PM »
Thought my digression into biltong might raise an eyebrow in Cork, Andre ;)

The salt's an issue, for sure.  There are South African emigrés/expats here in Canada, who make & sell biltong (pre-sliced, as you note), but it's crazy expensive, and a bit too--what? "refined","genteel"?--something like that.  Also, the, uh, raw material is different--too much time in feedlots for the poor critters.  (For comparable reasons, Nando's products don't make the translation very well.)

I do less canoeing now that I used to a few years ago, but sometimes for cycling tours I  still use a food dryer to make my own "jerky", flavoured with low-sodium soy & Worcester sauce and a dash of maple syrup.

Indigenous people and the coureurs de bois used to survive on pemmican, of course.

On the matter of power bars, though:  I make my own, using a recipe from Lorraine Nygaard, who used to post on crazyguy (and maybe still does?)  These are bloody good, not least 'cos you can know & control the ingredients.  Have attached that recipe, with my own notes.

Good luck finding the Klipdrift. (Here's an online supplier, BTW: https://www.bottleshop.co.za/klipdrift-premium/) I reckon you could take it by the thimbleful, or maybe just by a prolonged inhalation.  It's rarefied, and hence pricey.  Our bottle store near Groenkloof in Pretoria used to sell bottles which had a couple of turns of barbed wire around the neck. (I'm not making this up.) I didn't know if that was the retailer's adaptation, to discourage people from making a quick grab-and-dash, or the maker's, just for the hell of it.

Cheers,  J.

Andre Jute

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Re: Split belt drive conversion kit
« Reply #14 on: May 22, 2019, 01:54:40 AM »
Saved the power bar recipe, thanks; it sounds much nicer than the foul stuff you can buy for inflated prices. The Klipdrift "at home" isn't expensive by Irish standards (for twice that much here you can get Metaxas 7-year old, a fierce Greek brandy), where everything that can be taxed is very expensive indeed, but the carriage will be more than the brandy, and customs and excise won't be amusing either, altogether several multiples of the price of the brandy. Laughed aloud at the "couple of turns of barbed wire".

A chum  was having some dried sausage made. He bought all the meat and controlled to almost nothing the amount of fat to be included and the cleaned out the guts of sheep so there should be nothing artificial in these sausages, then took all this to a butcher to be minced and fed into the sheaths according to very strict instructions, including "Don't add anything beyond this little bottle of salt and ground black pepper." The butcher, who had a suspiciously low brow and a dismissive manner, said "Yes, yes. Yes, I heard!" -- and the minute my friend's back was turned put all kinds of E-mark preservatives in the meat. Apparently he'd never heard that dried meat preserves itself. I spat out the first bite I took, which was also the first time the poor fellow discovered that all the meat and all that work, and the anticipation while the sausages were airdried in his loft, was wasted. I was really looking forward to an airdried sausage on a ride, the authentic thing, and nostalgic too from childhood rides...