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Thread: Let's talk belts.

              
   
   
  1. #1
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    Let's talk belts.

    So, electric motorcycles are magical because of the quiet ride, right? The so-called magic carpet ride? Zero has it, my conversion doesn't. The chain is a lovely method for gas bikes to get power to the rear wheel, the noise doesn't matter thanks to the 4-cylinder noisemaker it's sharing space with. So I want a belt, to have the ultimate clean and quiet ride. Who wants to have a gas-free bike and OIL the chain every 400 miles?

    To me, it looks like this
    Chains
    Pros
    • Proven
    • High-capacity
    • Debris-resistant
    • Simple tensioning


    Cons
    • Require maintenance (with oil!)
    • Noisy
    • Heavier
    • Messier


    Belts
    Pros
    • Nearly silent
    • Maintenance-free
    • Lighter
    • Cleaner


    Cons
    • Less proven
    • Tensioning is complex
    • Lesser availability
    • Ted thinks they are ungentlemanly


    So how can we overcome the cons of belts and get into that sweet list of pros? Zero and H-D have done it, eliminating the tension problem by making the swingarm pivot coaxial with the motor/final drive shaft. Suspension compression doesn't change the distance from the shaft to the axle, presto, you're good! Those of us doing converting are not so lucky, and we generally need to take the Buell approach of adding a tensioner. Any other approaches anyone out there knows?

    How about designing and buying the belt drives? Well, the big player in the belt world, Gates, supplies Zero with its Poly Chain GT Carbon belts, and has a handy design manual. All the belts and sprockets can be bought from www.royalsupply.com. Zero uses a non-standard belt width, though, so we can't get the exact same thing- gotta choose belts slightly wider or narrower. These sprockets are generally meant for use in industry, and have TaperLoc hubs, plain bores, or the like, and are not conducive to being applied to motorcycle use without some custom fabrication.

    Unless you buy genuine Zero parts, which you can. The limitation, though, is in using the exact same ratios and belt lengths they use, though.

    I'd like to put a belt on my bike, but I'm not sure how to solve the tensioner problem or how to get a rear sprocket that isn't either Zero's exact one, or a heavy industrial cast-iron behemoth. Thoughts, comments, insight?

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  3. #2
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    This thread came along at the perfect time, I was just about to start my belt/pulley search. I have used gates belts in industrial machinery and they are well proven. The pulleys are expensive but last a long time. While I don't mind the sound of chain, in this application I'd rather not hear it.

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  5. #3
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    Couldn't agree more - shall be following this thread with great interest!

  6. #4
    Seņor Member podolefsky's Avatar
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    I've looked into Gates and the main problem is finding pulleys to make the correct ratio. You can go with 8mm pitch so the sprockets aren't huge. The problem is finding a rear pulley large enough that isn't a 20lb chunk of cast iron. Zero has one, but as you say it's a non standard belt size. You also need at least one flange on the rear sprocket, which is hard to find in the standard Gates pulleys.

    One possibility is to machine out the iron pulley and make an aluminum hub (medium difficulty). The other is to make your own (high difficulty).

    I'd love to see a simpler solution, so I'll be watching.

    Personally I like the chain noise. Sounds like a Tron light cycle. Not the point of the thread, I know, just saying.
    - Noah Podolefsky -
    The GSX-E

  7. #5
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    I have over 1,000 miles on my shaft drive, the air moving past me and the tire on the road are all that I hear.

  8. #6
    Senior Member JoeReal's Avatar
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    Let's talk belts.

    Ok. Let do this!

    So, rear sprocket. The cast iron ones are very inexpensive. I like the- reduce cast iron maximize aluminum approach.
    I think this is step 1. Find the appropriate rear pulley, keep the channel and as little of the cast iron supports as possible and attach it to an aluminum disk, which attaches to old sprocket mounts.

    Sorry for the very rough drawing on a paper plate. I'm eating breakfast at work. I hope it makes sense.
    ImageUploadedByTapatalk1434467506.672241.jpg

    This way the contact points are true.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  9. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ryland View Post
    I have over 1,000 miles on my shaft drive, the air moving past me and the tire on the road are all that I hear.
    Can we get an update on your shaft drive conversion project? Pictures?

  10. #8
    Senior Member JoeReal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ryland View Post
    I have over 1,000 miles on my shaft drive, the air moving past me and the tire on the road are all that I hear.
    Is that the shaft driven Ebike on instructables.com?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  11. #9
    Senior Member Stevo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Electro Flyers View Post
    Can we get an update on your shaft drive conversion project? Pictures?
    +2
    I thought about converting a shaft drive like a Honda Nighthawk or CX 500
    Original build: http://vorworxemc.wix.com/vorworx
    Current rides: '96 Honda Ohlins VFR, '03 Cannondale C440R, '03 Cannondale Cannibal, '06 Yamaha 450 Wolverine 4x4

  12. #10
    Senior Member Hugues's Avatar
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    IMG_20150613_114237.jpg

    Was riding a chain drive with 13 tooth sprocket before, now upgraded to belt, this is one of the best upgrade i made on my bike, i would never go back to a chain. One has to experience it to really feel the difference. Better than sex

    Got the belt from Gates, their new poly chain carbon, 21mm i think, or 23mm maybe, i forgot, pay attention to the minimum size of the motor pulley so it can handle all the power, and the minimum number of teeth in contact with the belt. I had my rear pulley machine out of aluminum, no cast iron here, the pulley and belt is lighter than my chain and sprocket before.

    I would definitely recommend both flanges on both pulleys as per recommendation of Gates,

    My motor is co-axial with my swingarm axis, this is the best. If motor cannot fit in there, then maybe use a jack shaft ? this way you have 2 pulleys and can reduce the size of the wheel pulley to get to high ratios. I have 6.2:1 on mine, a blast.
    Regards from Switzerland
    My 2.5 Upgrade Thread

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