Belt Drive Touring Bike

Amy approached me late last year with interest in a unique bike. She had done her research and had a list of attributes that she wanted in her new bicycle: belt drive, Rohloff 14 speed hub, lights, fenders, and a rear rack, among others. Amy also had her own fit data on hand from a Retül fitting that she had done locally. After months of planning, design, fabrication, and assembly, I am pleased to present photos of her new bicycle!

The bike is great. We went for a ride yesterday and it rode like a dream. ...

The build process was a wonderful collaboration experience for me. I feel really fortunate to have stumbled upon your web site.

Thanks for the kind words, Amy!

Though the bike looks like it has been painted black in lower light situations, Amy picked out a really sweet, subtle metallic color that reveals itself in bright sunlight. The color’s full name is, “Malbec Black Metallic.”

The bike has 26” wheels, custom 155mm crank arms, and a slew of other custom features. A small pump, painted Malbec Black Metallic to match, fits nicely behind the seat tube.

The Gates belt drive is quiet and clean, and it never needs to be lubricated. Amy chose a set of highly efficient LED front and rear lights by Busch and Müller, powered by the Schmidt SON generator front hub.

Amy’s rear fender was deliberately shortened so that she can “wheelie” the bike around in tight situations when not pedaling. The bike will be ridden in a city environment where tight spaces make the wheelie a necessary move to get on and off trains, into tight parking spaces, etc.

Though it looks like a lot is going on in the pic above, the underlying design is still pretty simple. “Rocker” style dropouts allow belt tension adjustment with the help of a pair of PDX Ti Rockerbones. A Gates “snubber” wheel sits behind the belt and cog just to prevent the unlikely event of a skipping belt. The rear light wire passes through the chainstay and into the rack tubing itself, where it is routed to the rear light. The frame has a split in the rear triangle to accommodate belt installation and removal, and you can see that here as well.

Custom built wheels will accommodate heavy touring loads and the inevitable encounters with city potholes. Multiple bosses on the fork allow all sorts of rack and bottle cage options.

The non-drive view shows the shifter cable box and its interface with the Rohloff hub. All cables are cleanly routed underneath the down tube, and all feature full housing to keep dirt and water out.

I love the look of the the silver parts on Amy’s bike! The polished hub shells look great.

Check out a complete gallery below. It was a true pleasure working with Amy on her new bike!

Feel free to ask questions or leave comments below. Or, you can get in touch with me directly.

Long Overdue Spring Update!

It’s been a busy year so far, not that you could tell from the activity on this blog! As the sole proprietor here, I am often juggling many projects at once, and as so often happens with blogs, this one was neglected a bit.

In an effort to remedy the recent lack of content, I have a few photos to share from various projects around the shop, and a full photo set of a recent build is coming up within the next few weeks.

First up is a 650b conversion that I did for a friend’s old Trek 660:

With apologies for the dark exposures, this was a really fun project. The frame and fork were slightly modified with a few new braze-ons, powder coated orange, and then a fresh build kit was added to breathe new life into a well-made steel frame and fork. The wider tires and triple gearing are well-suited to VT roads, and the new bar and saddle setup are made for comfort and cruising.

I don’t get to work on projects like this very often, but they can be really satisfying! Knowing that an older frame set is now being enjoyed in a whole new way is pretty rewarding.

Next up are a few shots from around the workshop. Really, I’m just looking through my camera’s memory card from the past few months and picking out the good ones. ;)

Above is a nice front wheel build, using the excellent Schmidt SON 28 dynamo hub, for disc brake and thru-axle. Below is the venerable Rohloff 14 speed rear hub. These two hubs form the basis for a wheelset that belong to a new belt drive touring bike (pics forthcoming!).

Above are some cleanly brazed water bottle bosses on a down tube. I like to use the little 4-pointed “star” reinforcements on some builds. It’s super satisfying when brazing goes this smoothly and doesn’t require any clean-up with emory cloth, files or scotch brite… that doesn’t always happen though!

Head tube welds. Reynolds 853 tubing, which is some of my personal favorite for TIG welded frames.

Finally I have some teaser pics of a really cool cross/gravel frame. Stainless steel couplings by S&S machine were installed to make this frame travel-ready. It splits into two halves that allow the whole bike to fit into a large (airline-friendly) suitcase. This particular frame also features adjustable rear dropouts and belt drive compatibility.

That’s all for now, thanks for reading!