Noisy bike or belt? You're in the right place. In this article we will be going over all aspects of the belt drive and how to maintain it. If your belt sounds like this video link, check out section three first!
This article will be broken down into the following sections:
- How to remove the rear wheel
- Belt tension and installation
- Maintenance and Belt Lubrication
Quick Reference Specifications On Belt
- Stock Belt: Top Trans -11M-1287mm (Length) x 12mm (Width)
- Recommended Belt Tension: 45-50 lbs of tension/ 65-70Hz in Gates App
- Axle Nut Torque Spec: 30nm
- Frame Nuts Torque Spec: 10nm
- Recommended Belt Lubricant: CRC Heavy Duty Silicone Spray
Prefrace: Noise Checklist
If you are having noise from your drivetrain this checklist can help. Often times people like to blame drivetrain noises on the motor however the Roadster motor is almost never the issue. By checking the following items you can eliminate most noises.
- Tighten the crankarm bolt to 38nm - You can read more here about noise from crank arms
- Tighten the chainring bolts equally to 10nm
- Tighten the rear cassette/ cog lockring to 30nm
- Lubricate the belt using the CRC silicone spray
If after checking these items, move on to section two to establish proper belt tension.
Section One: How To Remove The Rear Wheel
Removing the rear wheel on the Roadster is a fairly simple process however it is slightly more involved than our other models. The steps below will go over how to remove the wheel and disconnect the belt. This information will also be pertinent when adjusting/ installing a belt. As with all ebikes, pay special attention when working around the rear wheel as to not damage the motor cable exiting the hub. Damage done to this cable by the rider is not covered under warranty.
- Disconnect the motor cable and cut the zipties.
- Carefully loosen the 19mm axle nuts on either side of the rear wheel. Be careful to not damage the motor cable when doing this. (See pictures below)
- Loosen the 4mm tensioner bolts to relieve tension from the belt. (See pictures below)
- Lift belt off rear wheel and set top of belt on the frame above rear wheel.
- Open the brake caliper using the small lever located where the cable enters the brake caliper. By flipping the small black lever up it will separate the brake pads and allow the wheel to pass through.
- Remove the rear wheel by sliding it backwards out of the dropouts. The axle does have two flat sides on it. It is important to note the orientation of these flats for easy reinstallation.
For reinstallation of the rear wheel simply reverse the process and then see section two on setting belt tension.
Section Two: Belt Tension and Installation
If your belt is too light or too loose, you will hear noises, and may prematurely deteriorate your belt or parts of your drive train.
If your belt is too loose, you will likely hear a loud noise in high torque situation, if this rarely happens, it likely does not need adjusted.
If your belt is too tight, you will likely hear another noise. Additionally, if you lift your rear wheel off the ground and spin the tire, you will see the belt and crank arms pulse like this. This is too tight and will cause damage to the free hub body and/or bearings of the rear cog.
With a single speed belt drive system establishing proper tension is critical to the performance of the bicycle. A properly tensioned belt will not skip under load and will last much longer than one that isn't properly adjusted. The process of adjusting the belt tension is done by using the two tensioner bolts located on the rear axle. These tensioners push on the axle and the back of frame at the same time. This translates to:
- Turn the 4mm tensioner bolt clockwise to move the rear wheel back in the frame. This ADDS tension to the belt.
- Turn the 4mm tensioner bolt anticlockwise to move the rear wheel forward in the frame. When doing this, apply light pressure on the back of the wheel. This REMOVES tension from the belt.
- The left and right tensioner bolts also serve a secondary function to center the rear wheel in the frame.
- When a belt is too tight it add excess wear to the system along with making a clicking sound as the teeth travel over the gears
- When a belt is too loose it may skip under heavy load or when starting to pedal from a stop.
With these basics in mind we can begin to make the adjustments. The belt will have to be retensioned after the rear wheel is reinstalled or after a period of time where the drive system components have worn. There are two ways to establish proper tension beyond "feel". One can either use the Gates Carbon Drive Krikit tool as shown below, or one can use the Gates Carbon Drive app. For greatest accuracy the Krikit tool is recommended. Note: Ride1UP has tested our belt with these tools to determine our own recommended values. These may differ from the values recommended for another brand belt. The steps to establish correct tension are as follows:
- Ensure that both 19mm axle bolts are loose before attempting to set tension. Adjusting the tensioner bolts with the axle nuts still tightened will damage the tensioners. This damage is not covered under warranty.
- Double check that the belt is properly seated on both the front and back gears. The teeth of the belt should be resting in the notches on the gears.
- Tighten the 4mm tensioner bolts evenly to establish a baseline tension. By hand one should not be able to move the belt up and down more than half an inch.
- Tighten the 19mm axle nuts and check the tension using the Kirkit tool. As seen in Figures 1 & 2 below.
- Check the tension three or more times, rotate the crankset 90 degrees between readings to establish an accurate average.
- Repeat the process of reading the value and adjusting the tensioner bolts to achieve a tension of 45-50lbs.
The Gates Carbon Drive Krikit is the most accurate way to tension the Roadster belt. While using this tool is the most accurate way to establish tension one can also use the Gates Carbon Drive app available for Android and iPhone. This app uses the the phone's microphone to determine the pitch of the sound generated when the user plucks the belt like a guitar string. Detailed instructions can be found in the app however if one uses this method to establish tension we recommend a setting of 65-70Hz for the stock belt.
Link to app: https://www.gatescarbondrive.com/products/tools
Section Three: Maintenance and Lubrication
From our experience we have found that belt tension makes up 90% of the maintenance that a Roadster rider can expect to perform on the drivetrain. However in some riding conditions adding a silicone lubricant can be beneficial. One can tell if their belt needs lubrication when it begins to make a dry creaking sound. From experience we have found that lubricating the belt will solve almost all noise issues customers reach out to support department with. The steps of lubrication are as follows:
- Clean the belt with fresh water. The belt may be on the bike for this step, all our bikes are waterproof to non pressurized hose washing.
- Dry the belt with a rag or allow to air dry.
- Spray CRC Heavy Duty Silicone lubricant onto the teeth portions of the belt. (see picture below)
- Pedal the belt backwards while spraying for two full revolutions to fully coat the inside of the belt.
- Repeat the process when noises occur.
Should your belt ever get broken or worn out and you are in need of replacement Ride1UP does have the stock belts in house for purchase. Alternatively we have tested belts from Gates Carbon Drive. These belts can be sourced through local bike shops along with online sources. While there is no belt length that directly matches up to ours, we have found that the 115 tooth in both the CDN & CDX line, will fit our stock system however are very challenging to install. The 118t is a tiny bit long, it can be used but will require tensioning by hand/ without tensioners.
To replace a belt, follow the steps in section one and then:
- Loosen both 5mm frame bolts and remove the bolt and backing nut.
- Spread the frame to remove belt. This step is easier with the wheel removed. (see image below)
- Insert new belt into frame, reinstall 5mm frame bolts and backers. Tighten to 10nm
- Reinstall rear wheel.
- Establish proper tension using techniques demonstrated in section two.
Thank you for reading. If you have any further questions on your Roadster please reach out to on our Contact Us page