July 26, 2013

Trek District Chain Conversion

Bye-bye belt. Let me set the record straight. I loved the Gates Carbon Belt Drive. When I originally saw the Trek District during a Tour de France commercial back when Lance was clean as a whistle, it wasn't the belt that drew me to it. Yes, the belt was an added bonus, and as a person who studied MatSci in college, the polyurethane component represented the cutting edge in bicycle technology. If the original Carbon Belt Drive is aligned correctly and the tension is between 55 to 85 lbs, the drive train is whisper quite and supremely strong. However, and that is a big however, any misalignment or tension problems and you are in for a world of hurt. I personally shredded the splines on my rear cog, a piece that runs $80. And when they say the belt doesn't require much maintenance, they really mean that you will spend hours perfecting the belt and $40 on the tool to assist in that endeavor. Not to mention not many LBS have the know-how when it comes to belts. To make a long story short, I don't want to splurge on the upgrade to the new centertrack system that apparently resolves the alignment and tension issues with the first generation. For the parts I need, even getting them through a obscure store online would be $200. On the other hand, I converted the drive train to a chain for less that $50 (rear 16t cog and spacers from Wheels manufacturing [$22], front 46t chainring from Mojo [$17], and a 112 link orange chain from KMC [$8]). Note that the chain had to be 1/8" to fit the ring from Mojo. Here is the end result. Still quite, still pretty strong, still very matchy matchy. Someday I will go back to the belt drive, and the Gates folks did respond to my email about trade-ins for upgrades (no dice).   
2010 orange trek district bicycle with chain drive