Monday, May 24, 2010

Gates Belt Drive - A Follow Up

A post in April was about some great customer service I received from the folks at Gates.  One (brutal) race in Michaux and several rides later, I thought a follow-up on the new belt was in order.

Armed with my new belt, tension gauge & some good info from Steve @ Gates I installed the replacement belt a few days before the Michaux Maximus. I had a little "shake down" ride in the shed with the fellas and the new belt worked great.  The popping sound was gone and I could crank up a hill without fear. 

Then came the Maximus and the drive system worked flawlessly over the rocky trails in Michaux.  Part of me (a very small part) wanted to test out the belt drive in "less-than-optimal" conditions like last year. However, that was not to be for 2010 and the trails were dry and fast.

This past weekend I did an incredible ride at Rattling Creek in Lyken's Pa. and once again the belt worked great.  The system was subjected to very tight single track lined with rain soaked mountain laurel and blueberry.  Everything got wet quickly and stayed that way the entire ride.  A roller pinned chain would require a nice lube bath once home. Not the case with my Gates belt.  It was getting cleaned and lubed the entire time. 

Several recent rides have confirmed the new belt's reliability and over-all I'm pretty happy with the system.  My only complaint has more to do with frame design and how it accommodates the belt drive. With two drive-side spacers on the bottom bracket, the front chain-ring rides dangerously close to the chain-stays. I added an extra half width spacer to the drive-side to give the ring some extra breathing room.  This meant the BB cup has fewer threads in the shell and I've already stripped one Endura BB cup on this side. I have a beautiful Phil, with stainless steel cups, sitting at home and that will make its way onto the Spot soon enough. I just think that these sort of things should be taken into consideration during the frame design process. Again, no fault of the belt drive. It's just that frame builders need to do more than put a split into a stay when they build a belt-driven bicycle.  If the bike were from any other builder, I'd chalk it up as a rookie mistake.  However, as a pioneer and earlier adopter of the Gates belt drive, Spot really should have this stuff perfected by now. 


Rob said...

That is suprising they haven't changed the setup/line for that or don't have some sort of custom extra long drive side BB setup for that reason.

Glad to hear that otherwise it's running smooth and quiet now!

pabiker said...

Another update may be in order.

pabiker said...

Another update may be in order.

Todd said...

True, an update is in order. I'll get on that today....maybe. ;-)