Derailing the Carbon Drivetrain

Aug 28 2007

Sometimes, I find myself faced with crises of purpose. What am I doing here? Why can’t I figure out what I want to do with my life? Will I ever find something that satisfies me? It’s enough to really get me down sometimes. It’s a good thing I’ve got the boneheadedness of the bicycle industry to set me right again.

I suppose it was only a matter of time until some high-watt decided to apply the word “carbon” to drivetrains, and it’s a good thing the folks at Carbon Drive Systems did just that – otherwise I would have mistaken their “innovation” for a glorified fan belt. Anyway, it’s about time someone beefed up those flimsy polyurethane straps – they last a mere 60,000 miles while running in my car. With the glut of other unsuccessful beltdrive bicycles out there, it’s clear to see the addition of carbon fiber must do something to make this product newsworthy – perhaps by making it laterally stiff yet vertically compliant!

And really, isn’t a revamping of the single-speed drivetrain long overdue? I mean, it’s just so hard to maintain that single cog, single chain ring and chain. Sure, when it gives you 20, or even 30 gearing options, a chain drive is worth the painstaking process of applying a coat of lubricant, turning the crank a couple times, then wiping it clean. But when you’ve only got one gear, the reliability, adaptability and near-perfect efficiency of a chain drive simply can’t make up for the extra weight and apparent mud shedding issues.

One of the nice things about attending a college with an engineering school is that you get to dissuade people from pursuing a lot of really silly ideas. Occasionally, you you get to see something cool (though that’s not really how bike balance works) but for the most part, you just shoot down bad ideas. Overlooking than the general sensation of pedaling through sand, the belt-driven protoype I rode slipped under power at low revs, and derailed entirely at the cog around 100 RPM. Good thing none of these will ever be an issue on a singlespeed MTB

(report this ad)

9 Responses to “Derailing the Carbon Drivetrain”