ASK ROB: NuVinci and Gates combo

[EDITOR’S NOTE: The bell has rung, it’s time again to take your seats and listen up as Bike Friday Head Designer Rob English holds class. Today’s topic springs from a interested Bike Friday customer who wants to know why he can’t combine the Gates Belt Drive technology on the Carbon Drive tikit with a NuVinci hub. Rob, take it away:]


Hi Michael,

We haven't yet offered the Gates Carbon Drive with the Nuvinci 360 hub.
Initially it was because the date of the cog's available kept getting pushed
back (although it sounds like, after over a year, it is
finally done!). Secondly it was because the gearing ends up very low on the
tikit's 16-inch wheels.
However, in review it is actually not any worse than
the 60x22 Alfine 8-speed. The Nuvinci runs from a 0.5 reduction to a 1.8
overdrive. So with 60x24 drivetrain this gives 20 to 72 inches.
It's not ideal, but useable (I had a tikit with 53x18 and the 8-speed for a while -- which
gives 25 to 76 inches. This was fine for around town on the flat). If we
could persuade Nuvinci/Gates to do a 20T sprocket at some point that
would be ideal (24 to 86 inches). But the last time I spoke with them they
were clear that it would only be a 24T.

The Future's tikit has 80x25, which gives 27 to 83 inches on the 8-speed hub. I
don't yet have enough miles on that c-drive belt to give a good opinion
compared to the Gates (on which I have 7000+ miles), but it is
definitely aimed at the recreational rider as opposed to the performance
rider with the Gates.
We are using it for a clear reason -- to give customers a lower priced
entry point for a belt driven bike, the frame of which will support an
upgrade to a Gates system in the future if desired. Incidentally,
shortly all our Gates bikes will be center-track.

I would say that if the gear ratios will work for you, then the
Gates+Nuvinci would be a reliable, durable solution, and knowing that
the cog is available we can certainly build it for you.
 Rob English

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