Posts Tagged internal gear hub

Happy Rider

Forward-thinking Speedhound rider Stephen Y. built out his 61 cm ONLY ONE with the disc brake option, Gates CenterTrack belt drive and a NuVinci hub.  With its New Black paint and all black components, it’s very stealthy, especially with that smooth and quiet belt drive.  Stephen wrote “Went out for the maiden voyage yesterday.  Wow, this drivetrain is smooth.”

Stephen Y's Speedhound 61 cm ONLY ONE in New Black

SRAM crankset with GXP external bottom bracket and a 55 tooth Gates sprocket. The Gates belt is carbon fiber reinforced polyurethane.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The  55 tooth front and 24 tooth rear sprockets give the NuVinci hub a very usable range of ratios for the road.  Low gear is 30.7 gear inches (equivalent to a 39 X 34) with a top gear of 110.5 gear inches (equivalent to a 53 X 13).  The hub is a continuously variable transmission (CVT), so it provides an infinite number of ratios between low and high.  “Bottom line – this whole belt drive, IGH, and disc brake setup is fantastic” Stephen told us in an e-mail.

The NuVinci N360 hub and our SDS slider dropout. The bolt at the nose of the dropout allows you to dial in the belt tension very precisely.

On the flip side, an Avid mechanical disc brake provides super stopping power in the wet. The caliper always stays aligned with the rotor, regardless of belt or chain length.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The brake caliper mount, fork tip and fender/rack eyelets are water-jet cut from a single piece of high-strength steel alloy.

Sometimes we get writer’s block at Speedhound HQ, so it’s great to have a Speedhound rider help us out.  “I could not be happier with the new bike, and I would heartily recommend SpeedHound Bikes to anyone who asks. I am equally impressed with the quality of your frame and your post sale support.  Count me as a fan.”

Thanks for the shout out and pix, Stephen!

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Speedhound vs. Big Brand

We recently received an e-mail from a rider interested in a single-speed belt-drive bike.  He had seen a Speedhound ONLY ONE frameset at a dealer and was stoked that it was made in Minneapolis.  Still, he was wondering why he should buy a Speedhound over a Big Brand factory bike.  He asked “What more am I getting if I spend double on a Speedhound?”  Here’s my word-for-word reply:

Hi XXXX,

Thanks for your interest in Speedhound Bikes.  You ask a great question, and we’re delighted to compare the Speedhound ONLY ONE to the Big Brand.  Here’s why we think the ONLY ONE is a great value compared to the Big Brand:

1.  We chose True Temper OX Platinum and Verus steel for our frame and fork for its resilient ride and toughness.  The Big Brand has an aluminum frame and fork.  Aluminum frames, and especially forks, are generally rigid and harsh.  The Speedhound has that steel “twang.”

2.  The ONLY ONE has the Speedhound Dropout System, which gives you the choice of track-style or vertical derailleur dropouts.  (You get both sets, so you can switch out anytime.)  Our design also lets you vary the spacing of the dropouts for different rear axle lengths.  The Big Brand has fixed vertical dropouts spaced at 130 mm.  It uses a concentric bottom bracket to adjust belt tension.

3.  The ONLY ONE is a really flexible platform.  You can set it up with derailleur gearing if you want.  The Big Brand doesn’t give you that option.  The ONLY ONE lets you run 700X32 tires with fenders.

4.  Because the ONLY ONE is sold as a frameset, you get to choose exactly the components you want.  (That’s a lot of fun right there.)  You get to pick crank and stem length, and your favorite saddle and style of handlebars. You’re not buying a cheap saddle and pedals you’ll want to replace. The bike will be uniquely yours.

5.  The Big Brand comes with the first generation Gates belt and cogs.  Your ONLY ONE could be built out with the new CenterTrack system, and you’d get exactly the ratio you want, not a stock ratio.

6.  The ONLY ONE gives you the option to use caliper brakes, cantilever brakes or V-brakes.  The Big Brand allows only calipers.

7.  You have eight color choices with the ONLY ONE.  The Big Brand comes in one color.

8.  The ONLY ONE is handmade in Mpls!  Most Big Brands are from China or Taiwan (not sure about the Big Brand you’re looking at, they don’t say on their website).

9.  With a Speedhound, you get the cachet of a boutique bike, not a mass-produced product out of a box.

Let me know if you’d like more info on the Speedhound ONLY ONE.  It’s a great riding bike.

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What Length of Belt Should My Bike Wear?

A lot of well-dressed bicycles are wearing belts these days.  They make a clean, crisp fashion statement on the runway, the road and the bike path.  Unlike a chain (or the belt on your pants), though, the length of a bike’s drive belt can’t be adjusted.  The length of the belt depends on the size of the front and rear sprockets, and the distance between them.

Gates Carbon Drive Belt Drive Belt Length CalculatorSo how does the well-heeled bicycle owner decide what is the right belt length for his or her bike?  Fortunately, our friends at Gates have created a handy belt length calculator.  It’s an easy to use Excel spreadsheet you can download to your computer.  You can find it here. Once you arrive at the Tech Info Page, select “Belt and Sprocket Size Calculator” under the heading “Technical Manual.”  (Skip the Carbon Drive Systems Calculator also appearing on that page – it’s not nearly as useful.)

If you are setting up a single speed, calculate which combination of front and rear sprockets will give the ratio you want.  In general, a smaller front sprocket will give better clearance with the chainstay.

For internal gear hubs, consult the manufacturer’s data on ratios.  Select a combination of front and rear sprockets so that you will have the low gear you want.

Make sure your combination of sprockets and belt length work for your bike’s chainstay length.  The calculator will give you the required range of adjustment to take up belt slack.

With the right belt length, your bike will be well-appointed and give you years of carefree riding.

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Speedhound and Belt Drive

Part 1 – The Basic Elements of the SDS

Speedhound Dropout System Components

Speedhound Dropout System Components

What makes the Speedhound Only One so versatile, and how does it work with belt drive?  The key is the Speedhound Dropout System (SDS).  The main components of the SDS are the receiver and the interchangeable dropouts.  The vertical dropouts include a derailleur hanger and are machined from aluminum alloy and then clear anodized.   The horizontal (track-style) dropouts are machined from stainless steel for corrosion resistance and to stand up to the clamping forces of axle nuts.  Conventional chainring bolts are used to attach the dropouts to the receivers.

 

 

Belt Drive Close Up

Speedhound Belt Drive Close Up

Unlike a bicycle chain, a drive belt is a closed loop – it has no master link or pins to separate.  It is a single moving part.  The rear triangle of a conventional diamond frame bicycle is also a closed loop, and will not accept a belt.

 

 

 

 

 

Unless you can work some magic, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cCNV8rRiMRA , you’ll need an opening in the frame for the belt to pass through.  Speedhound accomplishes this trick with a split in the receiver on the right (drive) side of the frame.  The belt passes through the split and then the horizontal dropouts are bolted to the receiver.  You’re ready to install the rear wheel.  As an added benefit, the SDS lets you remove and replace a chain without breaking it open.  Voila!

 

Interested in seeing more Speedhound Belt Drive photos?  Check out our Flickr set.

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ACE Red!

Recently, we built a beautiful ACE Red Speedhound with a Nuvinci internally-geared hub.  it’s a sweet commuter with some beautiful lines and curves.  Pictures of this beauty are up on our flickr stream.

See all the glamour shots here.

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Why belt drive?

Why Belt Drive?  It’s like a human-powered motorcycle!

Belt Drive CranksetThe unique Speedhound Dropout System takes the fuss and muss of chains, derailleurs and chain lube out of the daily commute by accommodating a belt drive.  The unique slot in the dropout receiver makes installation and removal of drive belts a snap.

Why would someone want a belt-driven bike?  There are good reasons, especially for commuters.

  • Low maintenance  - Belts do not rust and are more resistant to debris than chain drives.
  • No grease! – Lubrication is not required, making the bike ideal for commuters – no more pants straps!
  • Light weight
  • Durability
  • Smoother, quieter operation. A belt’s teeth completely engage into the system for decreased friction.

History of the Belt Drive

Bridgestone PicnicaThe Bridgestone Picnica belt-drive bicycle was introduced in the early 1980s. It used a tooth-belt drive like auto timing belts and Harley-Davidson drive belts, along with a novel two-part chainring that increased belt tension with increasing load. The Picnica was a folding bicycle, and part of the appeal of the belt drive was cleanliness. The Picnica was a small wheel bicycle, so belt tension may have been less than on a bicycle with standard-size wheels. The Picnica was apparently successful, but was offered mainly in Japan.

In 1984 and 1985, Mark Sanders, a designer who had earned his degree in Mechanical Engineering from Imperial College, London, designed a folding bicycle as part of his graduate studies in an Industrial Design Engineering program.  He collaborated with a design engineer from Gates Corporation to outfit his bicycle with a belt, rather than a chain.

Possibilities for belt-driven bicycles have widened as hub gears inside the rear hub, were applied. In lieu of a derailleur, the hub gear allows riders of belt-driven bicycles to shift easily. Major internal hub makers include Shimano (Nexus), SRAM and Rohloff.

Suggested belt drive build kit:

The late, great Sheldon Brown posted an excellent summary of belt drive systems on his site.  It’s worth a read.  Check it out here.

Belt drives recently “dropped” with some mainstream press in the NY Times, too.  Read the article here.

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Belt Drive Commuter Glamour Shots

Here are some elegant shots of the Belt Drive Commuter concept bike we profiled last week.

The Belt Drive Commuter concept bikeBelt Drive Crankset

See all the photos on our Flickr stream.

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