Belt-driven bicycles are becoming more and more appreciated. This can be understood from the fact that most of the electric bicycles that are becoming popular on the market have a belt instead of a chain.
The numerous advantages of the belt drive are convincing more and more people to prefer it over the traditional chain. And this choice is of particular interest to those who buy an urban or cycle touring bicycle.
But what are these advantages and what are the disadvantages? In this article, we will explain everything you need to know about belt transmission! Then you can evaluate if this type of transmission suits your needs.
What is belt transmission?
A belt drive is a type of transmission in which a carbon fiber-toothed belt replaces the traditional chain. The belt is supported by special gears, installed in place of the sprocket and front chainring.
Looking at a belt-driven bicycle, you will immediately notice that the gears have a different shape instead of the classic chainrings, you will find a sprocket. This is because they must house and allow movement of the belt through the teeth, the sprockets also have guides that act as barriers on both sides of the gear to ensure that it does not slide outward and that the belt remains well aligned.
Even though the belt drive for bicycles has not reached its peak, this is actually nothing new. In fact, this system has already existed and has been used for some time, but the costs have always been too high for people as well as the cycling market. Despite the advantages, buying a bicycle with a chain drive was therefore the most cost-effective choice.
Today, the belt drive has become relatively cheaper, and the price difference with the chain units has reduced considerably. In addition, it offers numerous advantages that allow you to save on the costs that the good old chain requires. Let’s see them together individually and find out why the belt drive is widely used for urban and cycle touring bicycles.
It does not require maintenance
The first major advantage is the savings both in maintenance costs and time. Unlike the chain which requires specific and constant maintenance, the belt has no particular needs from this point of view.
For example, you won’t have to worry about buying specific lubrication products, since the belt doesn’t need this treatment. As a result, you won’t risk getting dirty with chain grease, as often happens with a chain drive! This is one of the reasons why the urban cyclist, who uses the bike to go to work and usually wears elegant clothes, much prefers the belt drive.
Speaking of cleaning, maintenance is effortless. You will only have to remove the dirt residue simply with soap and water, using a sponge if necessary. Our suggestion is to always clean the belt, especially when the journey involves dirt roads or paths outside the city, where the presence of dirt or mud can be greater.
It is more resistant than the chain
The chain is subject to wear and after having traveled a certain number of kilometers, it must inevitably be replaced. If we do not do it in time, we risk compromising the other components of the transmission, increasing the costs needed to fix the system.
The belt is extremely more durable and can travel up to 25,000 km, compared to 3,000 km (on average) for a chain, before it will need to be replaced. The main reason is due to its reinforced material made with carbon fibers, so it will consent not only to be lighter than a chain but also more resistant!
It is silent and simple to use
One of the most sought-after advantages is undoubtedly the noise, which is none! Whether you are cycling surrounded by greenery or in the traffic of the city, thanks to the silence of the belt you will be able to enjoy and hear all the sounds of the surrounding without any interference of a metal clang. This translates into a ride feeling more peaceful and more secure.
The belt is made up of a single ring and is extremely simple to use. In the case of a single-speed drivetrain as in Urban NOKO models, there will be no shift and derailleur levers, making everything less complex.
You won’t have to adjust the tension
Unlike the chain, the belt always remains in tension and does not need to be adjusted. However, it is a good rule to always check that the belt is in the correct tension before going out.
There are also some models on the market equipped with a belt tensioner, such as the VEER Split Belt Pro belt chosen for NOKO bikes. This small device keeps the belt in constant tension and in the right alignment, and it facilitates the removal of the rear wheel.
What are the disadvantages of belt drive?
A belt-driven bicycle needs a specific frame. Most of the belts on the market do consist of a closed ring. In general, in order to position the belt, it is, therefore, necessary to have an opening in the frame. An open frame is less durable than a closed frame, and this is one of the first drawbacks. However, there are exceptions, such as the VEER™ Split Belt Pro open belt which is mounted on NOKO e-bikes. We will talk about this innovative product in detail in the next section.
Of course, by being a single-closed ring, in case of breakage, the belt cannot be repaired, and you will have to buy a new one. But this is a rather rare event, albeit possible.
Another disadvantage is that it is not possible to use a belt with a derailleur system, so there is no possibility, currently, with a belt to increase or decrease in gears, which will allow variation of usage in case of inclination. Most belt-driven bikes are single-speed or will have an internal gearbox integrated into the hub, which will increase the weight of the bike but allow for more variability.
VEER™ Split Belt Pro
NOKO has chosen for its e-bike models, NOKOFORZA and NOKOTEMPO, what we believe to be the best product currently on the market. We are talking about the Split Belt Pro, produced by the California company VEER™. Currently, it is the only manufacturer that produces a bicycle belt-drive system with the “split-belt” concept, making it an innovative and versatile product.
In fact, unlike most common belts on the market consisting of a closed ring, the Split Belt Pro can potentially be installed on any frame. Therefore, it will not be necessary to create an opening in the frame, weakening its structure, to install the Veer™ split belt. Once positioned on the gears, it is closed with stainless steel rivets, perfect to guarantee a strong closing of the belt.
Thanks to its composition in H-NBR rubber and carbon fiber component, the VEER™ belt is ultra-resistant and durable. As mentioned, beforehand a belt-drive system does not require regular maintenance or lubrication. Additionally, thanks to the belt tensioner it will not be necessary to adjust the tension, you just have to think about relaxing and pedaling, making it a stress-free journey!
The advantages of the belt drive system are indeed valid and can bring great benefits to your outings. It is also important to take into consideration, especially for the everyday commuter cyclist, with a belt-drive system, you can relax and lighten yourself from the weight of the tools necessary for an emergency chain maintenance since you won’t be needing to carry them with you. This is definitely a great advantage in terms of comfort and ease of mind!
If you are looking for a bike that guarantees you a smooth, responsive, and above all, carefree pedaling experience, we suggest you take a look at the NOKOFORZA and NOKOTEMPO models. We are confident that with NOKO you will spend more time relaxing and less worrying!