View Full Version : Frame Mods

02-11-2010, 03:14 PM
I am thinking of having my bike modified to use the new belt drive on the market. Does anybody have a suggestion for a good frame builder/ modifier out there. I want to have an S&S coupler installed on my seat stay to allow for the belt installation. Thanks.

02-11-2010, 05:04 PM
jamie...sorry, I don't have a lot of suggestion for you. Did you check out the list of 'Bike Builders' on bikeportland's main page? There's 30 of them there.

I wonder if you'd want to share why you're thinking of doing this rather than buying a new bike that's designed for belt drive? More economical? Doesn't seem as though modification including the cost of necessary parts, will be cheap.

Some time back, there was a fair amount of discussion about belt drive over at bikeforums. I've only seen a couple such bikes in use downtown.

02-12-2010, 07:54 AM
In my humble opinion (ok maybe not so) the belt drive is an ideal solution to a nonexistent problem. A while back I saw a person who modified their Surly 1x1 to use it. I can't remember where I saw it, but they cut the frame through the dropout between the seat & chain stays.

02-12-2010, 08:56 AM
Sorry, I don't have a recommendation for a builder in the Portland area. There's a bunch around so maybe hit up your LBS for suggestions on who does repairs and will add after market couplers. It shouldn't be too hard to find someone if it's a steel frame.

I do know that R&E in Seattle does that stuff, again assuming it's a steel frame, if you head out that way often.

Another option to adding an S&S coupler is replacing the dropout. If you look closely there is a split in the dropout.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3031/2826348686_b2e09a3466.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/singlespeedmaniac/2826348686/)
pic is clickable BTW

02-16-2010, 09:34 PM
"... belt drive is an ideal solution to a nonexistent problem"

As someone who came to non-recreational cycling in 1993 without a mentor or any other help I was reliant on info I could squeeze from mechanics at shops; mechanics are not usually the most friendly people. Worse yet was that the recommendations of the best chain lubricant and the proper maintenance were more often than not in complete contradiction to each other all around.
Long before I found bike info on the internet, remember we used to call it the "World Wide Web", I had come to the same conclusion that I have stolen from Sheldon Brown:

A Religious Question

Chain maintenance is one of the most controversial aspects of bicycle mechanics. Chain durability is affected by riding style, gear choice, whether the bicycle is ridden in rain or snow, type of soil in the local terrain, type of lubricant, lubrication techniques, and the sizes and condition of the bicycle's sprockets. Because there are so many variables, it has not been possible to do controlled experiments under real-world conditions. As a result, everybody's advice about chain maintenance is based on anecdotal "evidence" and experience. Experts disagree on this subject, sometimes bitterly. This is sometimes considered a "religious" matter in the bicycle community, and much vituperative invective has been uttered in this regard between different schismatic cults."

A beginning cyclist has no interest chain worship, lube supplication or incantations to the gods of No-Friction that their chain might last: they just want to get on it and go. This is what we have come to expect of cars. Certainly cars require more maintenance but proportionally the bike chain, and every part it touches, requires more continual attention than any part on a auto other than the gas tank.

Chain drive is more efficient under optimal situations but that situation is a sealed system in an oil bath; check out any timing chain in an internal combustion engine. Transmission of tensional energy by chain is a thing of elegant beauty when it is clean, a screaming symphony of inefficiency when any contaminants are introduced - which they always are on a bike.

This, and this alone, is reason enough for belt drive on American cycles: it would make a bicycle as easy and reliable hop on as we pretend it is. If we want mainstream America to adopt bikes as a desired form of transport then the mysticism of chain and bike maintenance must go and a bike must be easier to use than a hammer.

Otherwise we are just being elitist.

02-17-2010, 09:45 PM
Q`ztal...that was a fair bit of commentary. You didn't mention personal experience you might have had with bikes equipped with belt drive. I think people will need to hear more user impressions before they can start to understand whether this system really has some essential benefits for them. Especially with in-gear hubs, it seems that belt drive could meet all the needs that many commuter people would ever have. Maybe some mountain bikers too.

Chain lube is a funny thing. Years back, I used to use tri-flow. Works, but it certainly does conjure up a nasty mix when dirt gets mixed into it. I heard of a couple other formulations that are supposed to be much better: White Lightning is one of them.

02-18-2010, 10:45 AM
The same argument can be made for shaft-drive systems. They may be slightly less efficient & heavier, but they do require less maintenance. What happens though on your cross country tour when something on your belt or shaft driven bike breaks? And the thought of hack-sawing a frame and then coupling it back together just doesn't seem logical when a tried & true chain system already works with exceptional efficiently. People can get as esoteric with chain maintenance as they like, but for 99% of people a squirt of Triflow each time they hear a squeak is more than enough to get by.

Sorry, I'll agree to disagree and step away. If jaimehall63 decides to go belt-drive I'd love to hear 1st hand about the experience. Hey maybe it's the wave of the future?

02-18-2010, 11:10 AM
Belt drive has been around for awhile, yet it hasn't seemed to have particularly 'taken off'. That in itself probably says a lot about the future of this drive system.

Here in the bikeforums archives, there's a thread where shaft drive was discussed. My impression from comments in that thread...some pretty god technical insight was shared...was that shaft drive on bicycles has a lot more drawbacks than belt drive does.

People have mentioned the potential problem of a broken belt. Others have responded that belts don't weigh a lot if a person wanted to carry one. I see belts as being a potential target for vandals....easy to slice one with a knife...but I suppose the same applies to tires.

I'd like to see more people try this system out. That's the best way find what type of person and use it might truly have an advantage for over chain drive.

02-18-2010, 01:39 PM
I personally love the idea of belt-drive bikes for commuting and general purpose use. I'll definitely stick to my chain drive for group rides and centuries, but the thought of a maintenance-free belt-drive IGH winter bike really appeals to me. It's mostly a matter of the cost that's keeping me away; for a winter beater/errand bike I'd prefer to get something cheap and used.


Jeff Wills
02-23-2010, 08:00 PM
I personally love the idea of belt-drive bikes for commuting and general purpose use. I'll definitely stick to my chain drive for group rides and centuries, but the thought of a maintenance-free belt-drive IGH winter bike really appeals to me. It's mostly a matter of the cost that's keeping me away; for a winter beater/errand bike I'd prefer to get something cheap and used.


Yeah, me too. I'd like to afford something like Rob English's winter bike:
which is what you're describing.

02-23-2010, 10:37 PM
Jeff....that English bike with belt drive is a beautiful build. Rear stays/pannier rack look a little flimsy to me, but I can't claim any serious knowledge about this sort of thing. I imagine it's all been tested and works well. 29" wheels too! That should make rough pavement a little easier to bear. ;)

03-02-2010, 09:33 PM
jaimehall63, applaud your desire to convert to belt. There are quite a few people in the PDX area that may be happy to accommodate you. Just call any of the builders out there and ask.
There's also much debate about chain and belt and the mechanical wonder of each. The largest detractor I see is the black residue left behind whenever a chain is touched or touches something. Being a connoisseur of chain ring tattoos on shapely calves I know that the wearer typically cringes in fear of even touching an oily chain; or for that matter a wheel that's covered in road dirt and brake pad dust. Thank god for mechanics. So until the issue of black goop from a chain gets resolved the belt seems like a pretty good idea.