Author Topic: Bike for winter riding - Internal Hub / Belt-Driven - Yay/Nay?  (Read 6964 times)

Gmullz

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I've started looking for a bike that will be good for the winter. A couple of months ago I ran into a guy riding a 2009 Trek Soho, and he was raving about it. He loved that it was belt-driven, as well as the internal hub. He said there was next to no maintenance, even in winter riding.

One of these just popped up on Kijiji (Canada's Craigslist) - do you guys think it's worth picking up? I've noticed that the most recent Trek Soho's, like the 2011 and 2012, are no longer belt-driven. This concerns me a bit. Maybe belt-driven isn't the way to go?

Chaplin

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Re: Bike for winter riding - Internal Hub / Belt-Driven - Yay/Nay?
« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2014, 02:35:52 PM »
Nothing to add really, except that someone where I work commutes daily on one of these and it looks really interesting.

myrax

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Re: Bike for winter riding - Internal Hub / Belt-Driven - Yay/Nay?
« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2014, 03:03:52 PM »
I can't speak to the belt-drive, but I looooove my internal hub. I live in a city where drivers don't use turn signals and there are far too many stop signs, so it eliminates some of the complexity of navigating traffic during my commute, compared to my road bike with down tube shifting.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Bike for winter riding - Internal Hub / Belt-Driven - Yay/Nay?
« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2014, 06:08:41 PM »
No personal experience with them, but as far as I know the belt drives are pretty damn durable. I think it's more of a marketing difficulty, as they're very uncommon in North America.

If you're in a very hilly area, the internal hubs often don't have as much gear spacing as a standard cassette.

Specialized sells a few Gates carbon drive designs still, but they're $$$.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Bike for winter riding - Internal Hub / Belt-Driven - Yay/Nay?
« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2014, 07:33:10 PM »
Actually..

Might be worth reading this article and the comments:

http://waterloobikes.ca/2010/12/20/review-trek-soho-dlx-fail/

Gmullz

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Bike for winter riding - Internal Hub / Belt-Driven - Yay/Nay?
« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2014, 08:42:17 PM »
Wow, that's crazy! No wonder the 2011 and 2012 versions have chains.

I just don't understand now why this guy I was talking to about his Soho had such a hard-on for it. He loved it - including the belt, even for winter biking. That sounds like a nightmare.

My quest to find a good winter bike continues. Maybe a 2011 or 2012 Soho is the answer...

Russ

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Re: Bike for winter riding - Internal Hub / Belt-Driven - Yay/Nay?
« Reply #6 on: August 16, 2014, 09:22:33 PM »
no. absolutely awful.

a) they clog up with snow (most important if you're buying it for WINTER riding)
b) tension is finicky: too low = skipping, too high = hella drag
c) under 250 watts (which is far above the power of the average commuter) they are less efficient than a chain
d) the required internally-geared hub is not designed with belt tension in mind; belt drives significantly shorten hub lifespans
e) really sucks to change a flat with them
f) far more difficult to source parts
g) shit's fucking expensive

there is a reason we've stopped speccing bikes with them, until there is a better option than Gates (even their 3rd gen. Center Drive isn't great)

also lol at the guy who thought he could get a full refund from the manufacturer for buying the wrong bike

Russ

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Re: Bike for winter riding - Internal Hub / Belt-Driven - Yay/Nay?
« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2014, 09:34:04 PM »
OP, proper winter bike maintenance is as follows:

1. ask yourself, "is my drivetrain already sort of worn out?", if yes skip to 4, if no continue at 2
2. buy cheapest chain and cassette you can find, maybe also rings
3. install
4. beat the crap out of it. flood it with lube if it starts to squeak
5. purchase or reinstall nice chain, cassette, cables, maybe also housing and rings, once everything's been thawed for a week

there is no magic winter commuter. as long as it will fit proper tires it will work

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Bike for winter riding - Internal Hub / Belt-Driven - Yay/Nay?
« Reply #8 on: August 17, 2014, 05:45:31 AM »
OP, proper winter bike maintenance is as follows:

1. ask yourself, "is my drivetrain already sort of worn out?", if yes skip to 4, if no continue at 2
2. buy cheapest chain and cassette you can find, maybe also rings
3. install
4. beat the crap out of it. flood it with lube if it starts to squeak
5. purchase or reinstall nice chain, cassette, cables, maybe also housing and rings, once everything's been thawed for a week

there is no magic winter commuter. as long as it will fit proper tires it will work

Heh, I haven't gone that far (replacing the cassettes, etc) but winter definitely takes a toll. I had the biggest problem with corrosion on my shifter and brake cables. A local mechanic I picked brains with recommended using a lightweight silicone lube on the cables and periodically blowing air through the cable shrouds with an air compressor and a small nozzle to remove gunk. Claimed his all-weather bike hadn't needed new cables for 5+ years using that method.

drg

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Re: Bike for winter riding - Internal Hub / Belt-Driven - Yay/Nay?
« Reply #9 on: August 17, 2014, 01:26:10 PM »
The Shimano Nexus internal geared hubs are nice, but they have some fiddly external components that might not hold up to snow and ice.  Particularly the shifter mechanism.  If you want to go with an internal geared hub, I'd think something with a Sturmey Archer 3 speed or 5 speed (with a drum brake braking system, like http://www.sturmey-archer.com/products/hubs/cid/3/id/14.html) might be more robust.  They are known for being long-lasting and low maintenance as well.  My daily commuter has a SA 3 speed hub from 1988 (tho not the brake model) and it runs like a champ.

You might be able to get a second hand wheelset on ebay for not too expensive.
« Last Edit: August 17, 2014, 01:28:24 PM by drg »

GuitarStv

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Re: Bike for winter riding - Internal Hub / Belt-Driven - Yay/Nay?
« Reply #10 on: August 18, 2014, 07:50:40 AM »
OP, proper winter bike maintenance is as follows:

1. ask yourself, "is my drivetrain already sort of worn out?", if yes skip to 4, if no continue at 2
2. buy cheapest chain and cassette you can find, maybe also rings
3. install
4. beat the crap out of it. flood it with lube if it starts to squeak
5. purchase or reinstall nice chain, cassette, cables, maybe also housing and rings, once everything's been thawed for a week

there is no magic winter commuter. as long as it will fit proper tires it will work

^ More or less agreed . . .

I rinse the salt and crud off my bike after every commute in the winter, and reapply lube to the chain, brake pivots, derailleur pivots . . . this keeps them from getting as rusty as they otherwise would.  You want to keep your rims clean if you have rim brakes, and you'll want to take your brake pads off to pick out the bits of metal and rock than get lodged in there once a month.  Keep the cables going into your rear derailleur housing well lubricated and the bike will shift like a champ all winter.

If you check your chain wear every week I find you can go two chains to a cassette.  A chain lasts me about one winter, and a cassette about two winters.  Cables need replacing each year.

I like the idea of IGH for easier maintenance, but it's not really critical . . . and I haven't been able to justify the cost myself.