Archive for category Belt Drive

Hagen Green’s Clean Machine

Alfine 11 drivetrain -- dig the snazzy red Gates belt!

Hagen's clean, clean build. Note how the cables are barely visible.

Our silver-plated, solid brass headbadge and TRO Orange paint.

We heard from a very happy Speedhound owner who sent us a link to his blogpost about his experience planning, building and riding his Only One. It’s definitely worth a read if you have any interest in putting together your own custom ride.  Hagen gives us an in-depth view of how he planned his bike and how pleased he is with the results. He had a few bugs to work through with his Alfine hub at first, but flushing and changing the lubricant and fine-tuning his Versa shifter set things right.  We love his impressions of the ride qualities of the Only One and how it compares with his other bikes.  Thanks, man!

A Sporty Alfine 11 Belt Build

Alfine 11 internal gear hub, disc brakes, belt drive -- this one's got it all.

Talented Speedhound customer, F.D., assembled this sporty belt-drive Only One with a Shimano Alfine 11 rear hub and Versa drop bar shifters.  Avid SL Road disc-brakes provide reassuring stopping power and the dark brown Brooks saddle and bar tape are an elegant contrast to the Ice Cream paint.


F.D. wrote to us: “Just wanted to let you know that I finished building out my Speedhound and took it for a test spin a couple of days ago…and came home grinning. Still got a few things I’m adjusting, but I’m loving this. I can’t get over how silent the bike is while riding. Still getting used to being able to shift at a stop, though. Thanks for all of your help from the initial purchasing decisions and for answering my questions along the way. This has been a great experience for me. It took me a little longer to finish than I had hoped, but I’m loving the final result.”

Take a look here for photos documenting the build process.  We think this Speedhound shows just how performance-oriented an internal gear hub and belt drive can be.

These Versa shifters are designed to work with the Alfine 11 speed internal gear hub. Drop bars give a rider a choice of hand positions and allow a low, athletic position on the bike.

At the customer's request, we painted the slider dropout to match the frame. Note the adjusting screw at the front of the dropout. This allows precise tensioning of the belt.


We’re Showing at NAHBS 2014

We’re exhibiting four Speedhound bikes at the North American Handmade Bike Show in Charlotte, North Carolina.  The show opens Friday, March 14 and runs through Sunday, March 16.  We’ll feature photos and show details soon.

The Soul of a Bicycle

I have a 1962 Raleigh Blue Streak in my stable. It’s a survivor, covered with over 50 years of patina, rust and grime.

The Raleigh's top tube. How many riders and how many miles created this patina?

Riding it takes me to a simpler place. For about 10 years, I had it set up as a fixed-gear, putting about 7,500 miles on it. I’ve got a TRO Orange Speedhound belt-drive for fixed-gear riding now, so I recently put the Blue Streak back to something like its original specification, as shown in a 1962 Raleigh catalog. I think of it as a sympathetic recreation, and even though I’ve used some new bits to keep it on the road, such as an alloy 27X1-1/4” rear rim, an alloy seatpost, and Kool Stop brake shoes, it’s still a Raleigh Blue Streak, from Nottingham, England. It says so right on the frame and it doesn’t matter what parts might adorn it.

The rear cog on my fixed-gear Speedhound ONLY ONE. It's a 50 X 20 with first generation Gates Carbon Drive componenets. That's a tensioner at the end of the dropout.

Messing around with the old Raleigh got me thinking about the essence of a bike’s identity. Yes, a bike is an assembly of parts, but it’s the frame that defines it. What would I get if I took the old parts from my Blue Streak and put them on a Speedhound frame? The result would be a Speedhound bike, not a Raleigh. That’s because the frame is the soul of a bicycle, its DNA, what it is. The parts an owner chooses for it will depend on his or her purpose – sport riding, commuting, gravel racing, or just getting around. It might have cantiliever brakes, dual pivot calipers or hydraulic discs. Single speed, internal gear hub, or 30-speed derailleur gearing. A belt or a chain, puffy tires or skinny racing slicks.  How about high rise handlebars and a banana seat? (I’ll have to try this sometime.) But no matter what, the bike you build on a Speedhound frame will always have that Speedhound soul. That’s the beauty in creating one for yourself. As we like to say, “Quavis velocitate” — go your own speed!

The Blue Streak's antediluvian Cyclo Benelux rear derailleur. The early 1960s were the end of the pull chain era. It shifts slicker than you think.



Mark S’s Belt-Drive Speedhound

Hiawatha Cyclery, a Speedhound dealer in Minneapolis, recently delivered a new Only One to belt drive aficionado, Mark S.  Mark had already logged over 4,000 miles of trail riding on his first-gen Gates belt-drive “Big Brand” bike.  He told us he was sold on the Gates belt system, but was looking for a frame that made it easier to adjust belt tension.  He also wanted the benefits of the new CenterTrack belt and sprocket design.  Working with Jim Thill at Hiawatha, Mark created his own custom single-speed around the Speedhound Only One frameset.

An excellent close-up of our headbadge, from Speedhound rider Mark S. The badge is silver-plated stamped brass. Antiquing brings out the contrast.

Here’s how he equipped his new ride:

Frameset:  58 cm Ace Red Speedhound Only One with slider-style dropouts

Headset:  Chris King 1-1/8” threadless

Cranks:  Shimano Tiagra 175mm

Bottom bracket:  Chris King external cup

Front sprocket:  Gates CenterTrack 55 tooth

Rear sprocket:  Gates CenterTrack 20 tooth (nine-spline)

Belt:  Gates CenterTrack 122 tooth

Pedals:  VO Grand Cru Sabot

Brake calipers:  Tektro R539 dual-pivot front, Tektro R536 dual-pivot rear

Brake levers:  Paul Canti-Lever

Handlebars:  Dimension 30mm alloy riser

Stem:  Dimension threadless 90 mm

Grips:  PDW Whiskey Grips dark brown leather

Saddle:  Brooks B17 dark brown leather

Seat post:  VO Grand Cru 27.2 mm

Hubs:  White Industries M15 (titanium freehub body) with Delta AxleRodz skewers

Rims:  H+Son TB14 700C 32H polished silver

Tires:  Schwalbe Marathon Supreme HD Speed Guard 700 x 32

With belt drive and the highest-quality sealed bearings available, that’ll be one long-lasting, low-maintenance machine.  After getting his new bike, Mark sent us the kind of e-mail we love to find in our in box.  Mark wrote:  “The highlights for me are the masterfully designed frame, perfect for the Gates drivetrain, the Ace Red paint job, Jim’s superbly built wheels, the Brooks saddle and leather grips, and the Chris King headset and bottom bracket.  This puppy is A number one!  Man, what a set of wheels!  I’m SO pleased with my purchase!!”  Mark also told us that, at 22.6 pounds, his new steel-framed Speedhound weighs the same as the aluminum-framed, belt-drive, single-speed bike it replaced.  And that’s sporting a Brooks leather saddle and sturdy, puncture-resistant 700 X 32 tires.  Mark calculated that with the Minneapolis made Speedhound frameset, the premium U.S. components, and Hiawatha Cyclery’s labor, his bike is 68% American made by dollar value.  Thanks for the feedback Mark, enjoy your new ride, and go your own speed!

Mark S's Speedhound out for a recent trail ride. Hiawatha Cyclery trimmed the fork steering tube to get the bars just where Mark likes them.


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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Notes from NAHBS 2013

The 2013 North American Handmade Bicycle Show drew to a close on Sunday, March 24. At least some things in our world are getting better:  the quality and creativity of handmade bikes! Can it be topped in Charlotte next year? Just take a look at some of the incredible machines on display — here are hundreds of photos for your viewing pleasure: manypix (Speedhound and yours truly appear on page 8 of the photoset). Coverage of the show is appearing daily — here’s some we found this afternoon: mtbr . Denver is hometown to Gates, maker of CarbonDrive belt components, but even so, we were amazed at the number of bikes running belt drive. I’d guess at least three dozen. Speaking of which, here’s the official NAHBS website feature on Speedhound: NAHBS . Yup, there are a few typos, and no, we don’t provide a front hub with the disc option, but we like the attention!  Hope to see you next year!

Speedhound ONLY ONE "Gun Metal" at NAHBS. The headlamp is an antique Luxor from France, rewired to run from a Shimano Alfine generator hub.

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Disc Brake Details

The Speedhound Dropout System now includes a disc brake option!  We’ve tested and refined our slider-style dropout and now have the production version ready to go.

Installing the dropout is easy.  If you’re using belt drive, you slip the belt through the slot in the frame receiver, so that it’s inside the rear triangle.

A Gates Carbon Drive belt on its way.

Then a backing plate bolts into the receiver with standard chainring bolts, just like the other types of dropouts in the Speedhound Dropout System.

The slider backing plate closes the slot in the receiver.

The last step is to attach the dropout and insert the tension adjusting screw.  The dropout has about a 16 mm range of adjustment, so it’s easy to dial in the proper belt or chain tension.

The screw at the nose of the dropout lets you adjust belt or chain tension. Tighten the two fixing bolts, and you're ready to roll.

At the left side, there’s a dropout with standard ISO mounting tabs for a disc brake caliper.  The beauty of this system is that the brake caliper and axle move together, so that the caliper is in constant alignment with the disc.  To increase belt or chain tension, the dropouts slide back in the frame.  There’s no need to separately adjust the caliper when moving the axle.

An Avid mechanical caliper and 140 mm disc rotor stop this Speedhound fast. That's a Nuvinci CVT hub with Gates CenterTrack belt.

The ONLY ONE frameset with the SDS slider dropouts and disc-compatible fork sell for $1,550.

Cooper approves.

Disc Brake Option!

You’ve been asking for it and now we have it — the disc brake option for the Speedhound ONLY ONE!  Now you can have the reassuring performance of front and rear disc brakes with the versatility that makes the ONLY ONE unique.  Our new slider dropout works with any rear disc hub with 135 mm axle spacing, including Shimano, Rolhoff and NuVinci internal gear hubs.  Of course you can also use derailleur systems and single-speed MTB hubs as well.  Because it’s part of the Speedhound Dropout System, the slider dropout also accommodates belt drive.  A disc-compatible fork with our fancy double plate crown rounds out this new option.

SDS Slider Dropout shown with Gates CenterTrack belt and NuVinci hub.

The disc brake option has ISO tabs and is compatible with a wide varitety of calipers.  Adjusters enable you to dial in precise chain or belt tension.

An Avid mechanical disc brake and 140 mm rotor scrubs off speed in a hurry. The fender stay attaches to a mounting point ahead of the caliper. This design also allows the use of a variety of racks.

The Speedhound ONLY ONE frameset for disc brakes is offered at the introductory price of $1,450, including free shipping to the continental U.S.  It will be available late November.

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:


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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