Belt Bikes

Bikes, trikes, personal mobility and getting to/from the event - this is the place to discuss general transportation issues.
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XXIII
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Belt Bikes

Post by XXIII » Thu Jun 29, 2017 1:30 pm

Had this idea a while ago. Thought I'd bring it forward. In lieu of a chain/gear system that is vulnerable to dust, why not convert a bicycle to use a pulley/belt drive system? Belts are available in a myriad of sizes, as are pulleys. Probably wouldn't take much fabrication expertise to build one..

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EGAZ
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Re: Belt Bikes

Post by EGAZ » Thu Jun 29, 2017 2:15 pm

Given the dust being basically silt, I suspect there would be some slippage at take off. Along with build up over time as you would never have enough torque to really get the belt to bite and clean the surfaces thoroughly. Assuming you mean V-belt. Now a cogged belt might be the answer. Like a timing belt only thinner. It can be done. And I am betting Elliot has either seen one or has built one. :mrgreen:
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DoctorIknow
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Re: Belt Bikes

Post by DoctorIknow » Thu Jun 29, 2017 8:09 pm

In production by many now:
belts.JPG
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Elliot
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Re: Belt Bikes

Post by Elliot » Thu Jun 29, 2017 8:31 pm

Yup. Gilmer (cog) belts work fine.
Forget V belts! Huge friction loss.

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motskyroonmatick
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Re: Belt Bikes

Post by motskyroonmatick » Tue Oct 03, 2017 10:12 pm

Bring a replacement belt. I've got replacement chain but no replacement belts and this year we had someone come in to the shop looking for a replacement belt.
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Captain Goddammit
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Re: Belt Bikes

Post by Captain Goddammit » Wed Oct 04, 2017 10:24 am

There are also completely enclosed multi-speed shaft drive bikes. I had one, sold it.
Probably shouldn't have. That's the ultimate playa bike drive.
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spacetime
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Re: Belt Bikes

Post by spacetime » Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:36 am

I ride a Priority bike for commuting and it is a belt drive. I have never seen anyone else riding them in the cities I've lived in with it, they are quite rare. Randoms enjoy remarking on their oddity, bike shop people tisk-tisk at their unfamiliarity.

These things are pretty tight and I don't think dust is going to cause them to slip off. I can see it being less vulnerable to being gunked up by playa than a regular chain, too. Particularly given they are normally paired with in-hub gearing like the Shimano Nexus series. As in, there is less exposed mechanics that can go wrong.

After this past year, I think the major issue to be concerned with out there is bottom bracket service.

That said, if you know enough to build a bike with wide enough tires for be sensible for the playa and can customize it such that you also have a belt drive--you probably are going to have your main mode of transportation in cherry enough shape to make it through the week. Fancy, funky chain or not.

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Canoe
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Re: Belt Bikes

Post by Canoe » Thu Oct 05, 2017 8:43 pm

motskyroonmatick wrote:Bring a replacement belt. I've got replacement chain but no replacement belts and this year we had someone come in to the shop looking for a replacement belt.
What?
It's the playa.
No pantyhose?
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motskyroonmatick
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Re: Belt Bikes

Post by motskyroonmatick » Fri Oct 06, 2017 12:42 pm

Canoe wrote:
motskyroonmatick wrote:Bring a replacement belt. I've got replacement chain but no replacement belts and this year we had someone come in to the shop looking for a replacement belt.
What?
It's the playa.
No pantyhose?
Didn't think of that. Do Pantyhose work well in high torque low rpm situations on notched pulleys?
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Canoe
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Re: Belt Bikes

Post by Canoe » Fri Oct 06, 2017 2:01 pm

If you get a Clydesdale stomping on it, not a chance.
Someone wanting to get from A to B, knowing they have to be gentle, (leg push to start?), and I bet enough of it tight enough...
Question is: for how long?

The other question would be, what can joint across the broken ends temporarily. I'd be tempted to see what plastic rope can be bonded/melted across the break. Might even be able to sew some fishing line, dental floss or such across, much like joining leather belts of old. Or sew the rope across the break to the belt. Pain to do, but if you haven't a belt?

There's a 'for rubber' crazy type glue with some type of rubber in it, but I haven't had as much success with it as the ad videos show, even with crazy prep, with easy or nasty solvents.
Video games are giving kids unrealistic expectations on how many swords they can carry.
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highwing
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Re: Belt Bikes

Post by highwing » Tue Jun 12, 2018 4:37 pm

I was thinking about getting a Priority Coast for the burn. Do you have any tips or suggestions about maintenance / extra parts / etc? Thanks!
spacetime wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:36 am
I ride a Priority bike for commuting and it is a belt drive. I have never seen anyone else riding them in the cities I've lived in with it, they are quite rare. Randoms enjoy remarking on their oddity, bike shop people tisk-tisk at their unfamiliarity.

These things are pretty tight and I don't think dust is going to cause them to slip off. I can see it being less vulnerable to being gunked up by playa than a regular chain, too. Particularly given they are normally paired with in-hub gearing like the Shimano Nexus series. As in, there is less exposed mechanics that can go wrong.

After this past year, I think the major issue to be concerned with out there is bottom bracket service.

That said, if you know enough to build a bike with wide enough tires for be sensible for the playa and can customize it such that you also have a belt drive--you probably are going to have your main mode of transportation in cherry enough shape to make it through the week. Fancy, funky chain or not.

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Re: Belt Bikes

Post by DoctorIknow » Tue Jun 12, 2018 4:47 pm

highwing wrote:
Tue Jun 12, 2018 4:37 pm
I was thinking about getting a Priority Coast for the burn. Do you have any tips or suggestions about maintenance / extra parts / etc? Thanks
They are expensive, but if you "go there," I see from their site that not all of their bikes have a 3 speed hub.

I use my 3 speed internal hub gears ALL the time: plow thru soft playa, go as fast as possible on hard playa... I need both.

highwing
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Re: Belt Bikes

Post by highwing » Tue Jun 12, 2018 4:49 pm

Good to know. I was thinking about going with the single speed. Maybe the 3 speed is a better option.. Thanks!

jaybatson
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Re: Belt Bikes

Post by jaybatson » Fri Feb 22, 2019 5:22 am

As a lover of working on bikes, and a sometimes-mechanic at Playa Bike repair, I've looked a bit at this solution for burner-friends. Here's my thoughts without having actually worked on one. I note there is a decent Wikipedia page outlining the general benefits / drawbacks of a belt drive.

My own analysis of suitability for the playa:
  • Chains & belts must go through the rear triangle. Chains link pins can be removed to thread a chain through the triangle; but most belts are whole, with no break, which means a need for a break in the frame, There are only three ways for this to happen: a) At manufacturing time, before the rear triangle is welded, b) retrofit via cut / re-weld of the frame to insert the belt, or 3) retrofit via specialty products. This means retrofitting your existing burner bike is non-trivial - maybe impossible.
  • They are durable. Belts must essentially be "forever" drivetrains. The dominant manufacturer of belt drive bike components is Gates, which makes a wide variety of excellent belts for industrial & automotive use. (Your car probably has several.) Gates bike belts are carbon-reinforced, and designed to last a lifetime (modulo extraordinary traumatic damage that breaks the belt). Bringing a spare belt to the playa would be useless, because there's no way to put it on the bike without a frame cut / weld, and because it's unlikely to break.
  • Many bike brands use the Gates belt drive system. Indeed, it's "cog" style belt has clearly won in the market vs. other belt drive designs.
  • The Gates bottom-bracket system appears quite serviceable. De-playifying is possible; the cranks appear removable with a standard crank puller (not something a typical camp would have, but Playa Bike Repair & other bike camps are likely to have them), and the spindle is likely fairly easy to clean. I don't know what size / type the bearings are (and can't find an answer in a brief Google search), but based on photo inspection they look to be a standard-ish type / size.
  • The hard part on-Playa is belt tension. it is important, and somewhat tricky, to get correct. Gates sells various tensioning tools (meters, phone apps, etc.) to assist mechanics in this. So, if the rear wheel on a Playa bike is removed for transport to the Playa, a non-mechanic burner is unlikely to properly tension the belt during re-assembly on-Playa, and the bike may not actually be usable. It is also unlikely various bike camps will have proper tensioning tools, though some (pro) mechanics may be able to approximate sufficiently to get through a burn. I note that most belt-driven bikes use a rear wheel dropout that is rear-facing, in the manner of "track bikes", so that tensioning can be done via tensioning screws. A forward-facing dropout may be difficult to keep properly tensioned, and would certainly require the axle bolts (/skewers) to be cranked down VERY tightly.
  • There is an aftermarket solution for retrofitting. The Veer Cycle product provides a novel split-belt solution. The kit alone is about 4/5 the cost of a complete Priority Coast bike.
All in all, the Priority "Coast" model seems to be a good choice for a burn, with the drivetrain likely staying quite effective through multiple burns. If I were buying, I'd stay away from any belt-driven bike with a multi-speed rear-hub & stick with the simplicity of single-speed. #playadust is proven to be a challenge for multi-speed internal-gear hubs.

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Captain Goddammit
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Re: Belt Bikes

Post by Captain Goddammit » Fri Feb 22, 2019 6:00 am

I’ve got something way better, a “Dynamic” shaft drive bike. The whole mechanism is fully enclosed.
But it’s too expensive to be a burner bike. Hell I don’t ride it at all... I just tend to collect bikes I think are cool.

But seriously, if you can find a deal on one, it’s got a 7-speed internal hub, it’s efficient strong and pretty much impervious to dust.
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unjonharley
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Re: Belt Bikes

Post by unjonharley » Tue Feb 26, 2019 6:35 pm

Here we go again.. Killing gnats with a sledge hammer .. Get a single speed bike .. Change to a smaller sprocket, off a kids bike .. The speed limit is 5 mph .. The smaller sprocket allows you the ride at walking speed .. For multi speed bikes.. Set your cassette to the size of a single speed and the ring on the small sprocket. Tape over your shifters .. Easy to ride at walking speed.. A.K.A. 5 mile an hour ..

Do not oil your chair or derailer .. Oil collects playa dust .. Makes a mess .. Dry dust is a good lube .. Clean with a rag ..
Next... How to F up a bike..

When riding through lose playa dust/sand ... With your 200 plus fat ass .. Stand up and power right through that soft spot .. You will be able to stretch the chain, pull the rear out of line, break off some sprocket teeth, snap a pedal off and or bust up the cassette ratchet .. The come whining to me to fix it
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jaybatson
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Re: Belt Bikes

Post by jaybatson » Tue Feb 26, 2019 6:53 pm

@unjonharley I’m in absolute agreement about optimal choice.

I’m just providing an armchair analysis for those who wish to experiment.

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