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Just Press Play
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17 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Thanks for all your great posts over the past few months, which have answered my questions and provided a huge source of motivation while I built up my new Spot Longboard 9 to provide some company for my Spot 'cross bike with the carbon belt drive.

Combined with the help of Jason and Zach at Sports Garage in Boulder, as well as Gavin and Jen at Spot, I couldn't be any happier with the way the bike turned out, how it rides and looks! I'm fired up to give it a good thorough "break in" next weekend at 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo as part of a 2-man team. If you happen to be there as well, come by the Spot Pits/ Trailer if you want to check it out!

Here are some specs:

  • Crossmax 29/ Hutch Python (run tubeless)
  • SRAM XO Shifter/ X9 rear der. 1x9
  • Race Face Deus Cranks/ Next SL Bars
  • Spank lock-on grips
  • Manitou Minute Fork- 100mm
  • Chris King Headset (pewter)
  • Thomson Elite X4 Stem- 90mm
  • Thomson Masterpiece post
  • Hayes Stroker Trail Brakes
  • Spot ring guard and guide
  • Crank Bros. Candy 2ti pedals
  • Spot steel frame- medium
  • Specialized Phenom SL saddle
  • Spectrum Custom Paint
  • 23.89 lbs.!
 

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Samsonite Tester
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3,993 Posts
What are the downsides to belt drive? What bugs are you needing to work out still?

A belt drive will be my only bike when they are as problem free as a chain drive SS.
 

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Just Press Play
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17 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Belt Bike Expanded...

Only a few days old and the new 29er 1 x 9 is already jealous of that Belt Bike!

I got onboard the belt-driven Spot 'cross bike in September and raced it 12+ times through CO States in the Cat 4 35+ against a field full of geared bikes, as well as at the Wednesday Morning World's in Boulder... a "casual" morning CX ride w/ 75-100 local of every ability. The Belt Bike always drew a crowd wherever I went, and it was fun hearing from the skeptics, then putting many of them behind me on course:) As I'm guessing most are already familiar w/ pros and cons of SS riding/ racing, here are some thoughts on how it compares with a chain:
  • Pros
    • Starts- The belt seems to engage a bit quicker than a chain, and at just under 17 lbs (w/ sweet steel frame!) the bike gets up to speed fast, then back up to speed super quick out of corners and after remounts. FYI- the gear ratio is equal to about a 34/17, which seemed a bit tall on paper, but just right over a range of courses.
    • Weight- I'm not sure of the exact savings, but the belts are feather light, and the sprockets don't weigh much either.
    • Noise- It is almost silent, except for a very low-pitched hum that I think sounds cool. Not exactly like riding a disc wheel in a TT, but the same kind of cool.
      • Note- As has been reported in this forum over the past few months, I also experienced some squeak emanating from somewhere in the drivetrain. At first it was limited to dry, dusty conditions, which went away immediately with a quick spray from the garden hose. Then, there was a period of time when the noise grew worse and more frequent, which the Spot guys attributed at the time to the as-yet-unfinished coating on the sprockets (which I believe has been significantly improved since September and will be spec'd on future bikes). However, since then the real noise culprit has likely been revealed to be related to the "belt line" and resulting simultaneous contact between the belt and both the rear and front sprocket flanges. Since setting up the belt line with the slightest gap between the belt and either flange, I've heard zero noise and have ridden in a full range of conditions.
      • Cleaning- With NO GREASE or lube anywhere near the drivetrain, the bike is super easy to clean and maintain.
      • Durability- I only have about 750 miles on mine, but I've seen some of their "lab" tested belts that are holding up well past 8,000 miles.
    • Cons
      • Noise- See "note" above.
      • Limited frame compatibility- My Spot bike has a keystone near the dropouts that allows the belt to slip inside the frame. I'm not sure what they have in mind as far as other frames, but I guess it is a non-issue if you get a Spot bike.
      • Availability- I'm not sure where they are as far as production, but I'd only seen a few others this fall. Their new ownership/ management team seems to be hitting their stride, so I'm sure they'll be delivering plenty of them this spring.
See more close-ups below and I'll post more feedback as I get more miles in this season:
 

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Registered
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235 Posts
Nice Quiver!

Nice setup(s)!!

I am more impressed with the cross bike but I think that is pretty obvious as to why. I didn't ride the Spot belt drive in Vegas but I saw that the booth was jamming at the dirt demo.

When comparing your bikes it seems to me that you saddle is too far forward on the 29 (if the saddle setup is spot on, on the cross). The saddle angle on both bikes looks scary on the boys..Ouch!

Also I would think that the front end is way too high on the mt bike. Especially considering the posture that you can sustain on the cross bike.

It might be fun going down hill but I would bet that the front end will feel light and loose on the climbs.

When i rode that fork in Vegas it felt loose and flimsy after demo-ing some lefty equipped 29ers. I would however like to try the thru-axle version at some point.

You have super bikes that should be a lot of fun.
 

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SpoK Werks Handmade Goods
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1,206 Posts
Really nice stuff. I wasn't sure that Spot was really in business anymore. I see almost no posts regarding their bikes/frames and the website hasn't worked (or worked well) in the last year or so that I've tried to access it.

Anyway, definitely love the CX bike. I have to agree about the high front end on the mtb though. Part of why I took off my Reba and put back on the Sycip rigid. I just don't like the high front ends with shocks. I also don't like the tendency toward the front-end to wander. That's just my experience though.

Enjoy. Oh... thanks for the extra info. on the CX Belt-Drive. Very informative.
 

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Just Press Play
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17 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for the feedback! Regarding my position on the new 29er; I'm coming off a Maverick ML7 that was pretty laid back, so the current Spot setup feels pretty familiar and comfortable. As this is my first 29er, I'm sure I'll learn as I go and make changes as needed. At this point, I can flip the stem down, or go w/ a flat bar, but otherwise I'll just have to be conscious of balancing my weight properly on techy climbs to keep the front tracking the way I want. As for the saddle angle, I've always run 'em tilted a bit upwards, so I guess "my boys" must like the way that feels:)
As for the clearance on the belt, I'd list that in the "pros" category as I've had zero issues while riding/ racing in mud, snow, ice, sand, etc. That's one reason why I included the above photos of the bike right after a particularly muddy race I did in CO in November. There were all kinds of blown derailleurs and broken chains that day, but my drivetrain was money w/o any skipping or jumping of the belt. Some of that is a SS v. geared bike advantage, but I think the belt proved even more reliable than a chain that day.
 

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Ride to the ride.
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360 Posts
Sweet bikes!

I've been keeping my eye on Spot since the Dirt Demo in Vegas. I DID get to ride one of the belt drive bikes, and of all the very cool bikes I rode those two days, the Spot was the one that put the biggest grin on my face.

I want to say it's all about the belt drive, since that's the most obvious difference. But I don't really know. I'm not a 29er rider (yet) and didn't have a singlespeed at the time, so...

One thing I did note is the "quick engaging" feel of the bike. Could totally be the belt, but I also took a look at a cutaway of the Chris King hub. That hub doesn't use standard pawls, but toothed plate system that makes the take-up a small fraction of the rotation of a standard freehub. Something that probably (at least) contributed to the feel. I note that your cross bike has this hub also. (And that the Longboard as listed on the Spot site does not.)

The Carbon Drive Systems (http://www.carbondrivesystems.com) belt drive parts (belt, "chainrings", "cogs") and split frame drop-out parts are listed by Quality Bicycle Products, which theoretically means that they're available at most bike shops. I haven't checked with QBP yet to see if it's actually in stock yet.

I do know that I want That Feeling again. I'm in the early stages of building a 29er and I'm considering going that way. (Except that it's a first for me, and could end up as a heap. And if it does, I'll probably have to come up with actual cash and buy a real one.)

--Greg
 

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Get out of town!
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1,442 Posts
Thanks for your insight. I just pulled the trigger on a belt-drive Longboard and should have it in a couple weeks. I rode one at Interbike on a few different trails and was really comfortable with it. I have heard a couple people experience some issues with the belt slipping but for me it was not an issue. I personally don't think there is a giant leap of faith going from a chain to a belt-drive system. I look forward to trying something a little different and we have not had much of a winter in NC so hopefully I can hit the trails soon!
 

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Self-defeatist
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965 Posts
Wow.

Nice bikes and nice write-up on the belt drive system. Thanks! The Longboard 9 looks great, and I'm truly jealous of your belt-drive 'crosser.

OT, is that a permanent outdoor bike repair stand?
 
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