Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Rust-Free Belt

Last week, I wrote about belt-driven singlespeeds, having seen Lynskey's new commuter at Gran Fondo (a.k.a., the Greatest Bike Shop in the World). Nortonville Phil then pointed out that I would have to do some cutting on my Salsa Casseroll to retrofit it with a belt drive, and that got me thinking.

And thinking is hard for RandoBoy, although inserting links is (obviously) too easy.

But since it's been so cold around here lately, I have cut down to less than 200 miles per week, and I have a lot of free time. Which means I either ponder things bicycle in nature, or I clean my various bicycles with chemicals that are destroying our beloved Mother Earth, or I take a bicycle completely apart and then have to figure out how to get the spring back in an Ultegra caliper brake, or I take spin classes and sweat all over the YMCA floor. Pondering is the lesser of these evils.

Besides, the allure of that belt drive is more than I can bear. I've been looking forward to Paris-Brest-Paris 2011, thinking it would be wonderful to ride that on my single-speed, and a belt drive would make it even more worry free. No need to lubricate, no grease on the leg, and a quiet drivetrain as I ghost through the French hinterlands ... c'est magnifique!

And then the voices in my head begin naysaying. "What if it breaks? With a normal chain, you can fix it and be back on your way before you say 'Jacque Robinson.' Wouldn't it be easier to just carry a small bottle of chain lube and some GoJo? Go get a Snickers bar from the snack machine ..."

I hate those voices. Particularly the fat one.

So, being the problem-solving Martian that I am, I have been trying to figure out how to retrofit my Casseroll with a belt drive in such a way that would quiet the voices. I like Phil's suggestion regarding cutting the seat stay and installing an S&S coupler, but I don't think they make an S&S coupler that would work for this. Most S&S couplers are pretty beefy, as you typically install them on the top tube and down tube. Since most research has shown that the couplers are at least as strong as the rest of the tube, if there is one that would fit, that would be great.

But it would also be expensive, and I hate to spend money. So, I am challenging the bicycle belt-drive manufacturers of the world (for I know that they are legion): Find a better way. There's got to be some kind of two-part expoxy stuff that you could use to just slap on a fresh belt -- something so easy that even a very sleep-deprived RandoBoy could do it in the French hinterlands at 3:38 am in the rain.

Hear me, oh bicycle belt-drive manufacturers ... and yes I am talking to all of you. Until you find a way to easily install your wares, that lucrative single-speed and fixed gear randonneuring market will continue to elude you, costing you tens of dollars of profit per anum. Can you really afford that in today's market?

No comments:

Post a Comment