Shaft drive and non-chain bicycles
I'd be interested in hearing from anyone who uses a bike with a shaft drive or with a rubber belt instead of a chain. I'm interested in how it's performed, day-to-day, over the months, even year-in/ year-out. I.e:
- how it's coped with winter months?
- has it been mechanically reliable?
- how easy has it been to get parts/ service/ repairs done, if required?
One day, when finances allow, I might get myself a shaft drive bike. Belt drives look interesting also. The reason is simply practicality and low maintenance. For an everyday bike, chains are a goddam nuisance and after 14 years of cycling I'm fed up with them. Messy, oily, dirty, high maintenance.
One reply I often get is to look at a fully covered chain case with hub gears, like a Dutch bike. This is a good point as I'm comparing it to a hybrid with derailleur gears. It will have to be an option if shaft drive bikes prove difficult to obtain, as the choice of commercially available models is very limited, and the one supplier in Bristol, Zero bikes, seems to have disappeared.
If I win the lottery I might even get a special frame built for a shaft drive, but I can dream.
The other reply I get is how shaft drive is less efficient than a chain, but for all practical purposes this is nonsense. Theoretically they are less efficient but look at a typical bike and the chains are so squeaky and dirty, if not completely rusted, that talk of efficiency is laughable. (I know you can clean a chain but it's clearly not the answer in many cases.)
So, SHAFT! Who uses one?
This post was edited by philiploy at 6:18pm 20 November 2012.