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Gates Carbon Drive
Hi to all.

I've been making some good progress on upgrading my Softcruise bike and will post pics once it's road worthy again. I recently came across some videos of bikes that use a belt rather than a chain and have gotten interested in this new add-on. Most folks have a standard frame so installing a belt would mean some cutting and modifications that allow the rear frame to split apart (vs. a chain that can be separated). I also found at least a dozen bikes that are specifically designed for a belt drive.

I already have a bike with the potential for installing the Gates Carbon Drive (swing arm rear suspension) and a Nexus hub (Gates makes sprockets for the Shimano internal hubs) so I'm contemplating replacing my chain with a belt.

Gates doesn't advertise any prices for the needed parts and I've had no luck in finding a dealer. Cost is my biggest concern but I wanted to get some feedback from others in the forum regarding whether this is a worthwhile investment.

So, if anyone out there knows where the needed conversion parts can be purchased or has experience with this system please post any info and opinions.

Every product seems to be advertised as the answer to all problems but it would be good to hear from someone who can speak from experience.


“Striker, listen, and you listen close: flying a plane is no different than riding a bicycle, just a lot harder to put baseball cards in the spokes.”
Airplane (1980) – Rex Kramer (Robert Stack)

Check out this friend of mines blog site... http://meechcustombikes.blogspot.com/

Buried somewhere in there should be a belt-drive that he built last summer. I rode it and it was pretty sweet! Very quiet. If you can't find an e-mail contact on his site, I could PM it to you if he doesn't mind. I'll have to ask.

I'm not sure how that would work on a rear suspension, though? Unless your design has the BB below the main pivot so that the chain-line distance remains consistent.

Edit - I found it! http://meechcustombikes.blogspot.com/search?updated-min=2010-01-01T00%3A00%3A00-08%3A00&updated-max=2011-01-01T00%3A00%3A00-08%3A00&max-results=50
Wheelies don't pop themselves. (from a QBP fortune cookie)
Hi and thanks for the lead. I'll send him an email and get his feedback. I'm also hoping he can sell me the correct parts for the upgrade.

I've been reading that some bearing failure has resulted due to the high tension of the belt. This is something I'll have to look at more.

I've enclosed some pics of the Softcruise swing-arm. This design allows the crank to pivot with the rear frame when the suspension is compressed. I shouldn't have a slack issue.

I did read some where that it takes approximately $200 for the necessary parts. It's a cool idea but between possible bearing failure and the expense, it's a big gamble.[attachment=2680][attachment=2681]
The crank may be another issue. I'm unsure if I can simply replace my crank sprocket (splined) with another that permits the Gates sprocket to be bolted on. I have no idea what to choose if the entire crank will need to be replaced (the last crank I replaced was a solid "ole' skool" type). There's tons of measurements and styles for bottom bracket so I'm likely to buy the wrong crank. My cheapie crank works well but I doubt a splined crank center could be found to match the Gates sprocket. This would be a good time to upgrade with a better crank and increase effeciency.

“Striker, listen, and you listen close: flying a plane is no different than riding a bicycle, just a lot harder to put baseball cards in the spokes.”
Airplane (1980) – Rex Kramer (Robert Stack)

You are most welcome. I wish I knew more about belt drives but, I'm kinda old-school. Smile
Meech can sure give you some good thoughts. I did notice that his black beany hides his e-mail addy. I'll mention it to him.

It would be very cool if you invited Dimitri to this thread. I would love to see that man on BT!
Wheelies don't pop themselves. (from a QBP fortune cookie)
I recently read a discussion by some bike mechanics on the belt drive. Yes, it is nice and silent but the tolerances to set this up are really narrow (if you want to avoid premature wear / damage to the belt). Both have their own brands of bikes they construct (but let them build somewhere else). The guy using the belt drive did remark that about one third of the frames he gets from his frame builder are unfit for installation of the belt drive system (no problem since he also carries the traditional style of bikes). The main issue was that a chain can still work quite well when running not completely straight but a belt will get damaged very fast. The tension of the belt is also really critical. I need to see if I can find it again, though I believe it was not in English (so I don't know if it is of much help).

Yup, found it

Ich verstehe Deutsch.


“Striker, listen, and you listen close: flying a plane is no different than riding a bicycle, just a lot harder to put baseball cards in the spokes.”
Airplane (1980) – Rex Kramer (Robert Stack)


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