Here's the latest update I have on this technology and my take in relation to how The Chain performs.
|2013 Raleigh XXIX|
- Better "belt line" due to the Center Track has enabled Raleigh to return to the past XXIX geometry that was ahead of its time.
- Better (lower) belt tension has made for less stress on bottom bracket and free hub bearings.
- The Center Track is light years better than the older Carbon Drive versions.
The Center Track design has really been a boon to belt drive fans and designers wanting to employ a belt into their bicycles designs. It definitely works better, but can you really put all of your confidence in The Belt? Can you "stand and mash" with impunity without fear of snapping that high tech blackened strand?
This was always in the back of my mind as I rode the Sawyer. Sure, I'd stomped and pushed The Belt pretty hard, but I'd never had a ride where I felt I had put it to a severe test, not ever worrying about the chainless drive train, and had a good outcome.
On the first blast on the pedals going up the initial steep, I heard a loud "pop". I expected that I would be catapulted off the bike, but I wasn't. The Belt held, but what had happened?
It had "slipped", or in Belt Terminology- it had ratcheted. That is not a good thing either. I wasn't very impressed, or trusting of The Belt after that.
Fast forward to this past Interbike where I rode that XXIX. I hit the same steep up, but now, after five years of erosion and riders, it was way tougher and cobby going up than ever. I knew that if The Belt was going to fail- this was it. I hammered the pedals, slipped, lost traction, timed a few good hard strokes, mashed, mashed, and mashed, then I made it all the way up.
So The Belt has my trust back, but that isn't the end of the story. My partner, Grannygear was impressed by my story, but he has had "squeaky" issues with The Belt in dry, dusty conditions. I had never experienced that, but I had no reason to doubt his story.
Well, I would have to say that the dreaded "dry squeak" made a brief and intermittent appearance yesterday on the Sawyer. And you all know one of the selling points on The Belt is that it is dead quiet and doesn't need maintenance in the form of lubrication, etc.
In the dry, which it has been here for most of the year, it seems that The Belt can squeak. Kinda bums ya out, if yer a Belt fan, I know. Grannygear says he quiets his down with silicone spray. By the way, I've heard The Belt does this in really wet conditions as well. I have no basis to know whether or not that is true, but I have seen that reported.
We'll have to wait for some really wet weather to see about that. For now- it's one big plus and one minus for The Belt this time around.