Got chains? screw belts! - 3D model of flywheel sprocket mount for 04B30T sprocket

Salutations riders!

I´ve been riding on belt drive since day one aaaaand…f*#k it - time for some metal. I had belts that were good, some were bad and some failed after a short period. My last belt drive was decent but I was curious enough to try out a chain drive.

WHAM! I finally got it working yesterday 2am in the middle of the night. Took it out to commute and my board feels a hell of a lot more responsive. Brakes - oh my oh my oh my. I was already impressed with how the VESC manages braking but braking at higher speeds caused my belts to slip (even though I had good tension on the belt). Re-occuring slips wore down my motor pulley which resulted in even more slips and the drive deteriorated slowly but surely. Hell, the 3D printed wheel pulley looks pristine compared to the motor pulley.

My chain drive is still not perfect yet - I need to modify my motor mount to properly adjust the chain tension. As for now, the chain is a bit loose but it´s good enough. It´s more audible than a belt drive but I´m sure the noise can be reduced to a minimum with proper chain tension.

Sure, I could use wider belts and all (and I already had a pretty reliable belt drive on my first board) but I´m almost certain that a chain drive will ultimately be the mor reliable and cheaper option in the long run. Time will tell. I don´t care too much about noise and maintenance as much as I care about safety and reliabilty so at the moment it´s very clear to me - I need some metal to hit the pedal

Now oblivious cyclists will think it´s just another cyclist behind them when they hear the chains only to find out they´re getting owned by a lazy esk8er. Oh the fun I´ll have lol…



Can you post some pics? :slight_smile: sounds fun as hell

I too love chain drive! Metal ftw

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Sure, here you go. It´s nothing too fancy. I´m really digging it! Even though the chain is pretty loose I rode hard accelerating and braking - just the way I like it. I´m going to re-work that aluminum mount and try to reduce noise when I get some time on my hands.



Agree! It opened my eyes similarly like the VESC did when I first tried it. By the looks of it I´m sticking with chain drive.

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Then you will one day try direct drive and say fuck chains :slight_smile: at least according to @fliess

Were you using an idler pulley with your belt drive? Its kind of a necessity. I also like chains, but they need so much more maintenance and they are rather dirty pieces of equipment. Cheap tho. Its a real back and forth between chains and belts imo. Then someone comes with a gearbox and everyone gets screwed :slight_smile:

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my belt drive has an idler so belt tension was not the problem in my case.

The motor pulley wore down and let the belt slip despite having an idler. Belt stretch contributed to the problem. I hope you can see the wear on the drive pulley.


The 3d printed wheel pulley looks great in comparison. IMG_20180811_131923

Here’s a belt that failed despite having steel reinforcement wires that couldn’t deal with the load.IMG_20180811_131635

Here’s my last belt that lasted quite a while but if you look closely you’ll see a steel wire loop poking out of the belt. Probably contributing to the wear on the aluminium drive pulley.

edit Look at the teeth - see the wear ? Notice the steel wire reflecting light between the teeth?


And the overall condition of the belt was getting worse with every ride. IMG_20180811_131725

Sure, I could get better belts, print new pulleys etc…but honestly, I don’t want to waste any more resources on belt drives. It’s just not reliable enough for my taste.

I really don’t want to ever have to repair or replace anything on my drive train when I’m out riding. I’m hoping that a chain drive will solve that for me.


Looking at your pictures it seems you were using a trapezoidal tooth profile and your motor pulley has very few teeth, from what I can tell…12?

Trapezoidal profiles are supposedly having a higher load capacity than the more popular HTD profile, but they do tend to skip teeth way more. And the higher load carrying capacity is offset by your motor pulley being too small, the fatigue loading was quite severe on your belts. To be honest all belts would suffer with a 12 tooth pulley. Chain on the other hand will only have a severe linear speed variation with a small sprocket (vibrations), not as bad since it wont be a catastrophic failure (it will just tend to get streched faster than intended), but still, wear is increased significantly.


yeah, good observation…motor pulley has 12 teeth.

I was trying to keep my build as small as I could and I decided to use a sk3 5065 236kv. To ensure good torque I went with a 12:36 (1:3) ratio (and help the motor cope with the load)

I do have a 168kv 6347 SK3 sitting in the drawer but I dont feel like using it atm. maybe on my next build…

thanks for elaborating. I’ll keep this in mind for my next build.

Just make sure you get some bike chain lube and keep that thing oily.

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Got belts with idlers screw chains :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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Some bikes use carbon fiber sprockets (and chains???); maybe that’s a good way to reduce chain drive noise.

yay! more chains for me! (probably wont need it though :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:)

Chains are good, but be prepared for often oiling and cleaning. And getting oil slung on you if you don’t have a cover.

Salutations riders!

I looked at how cyclists prepare their chains to keep them efficient and clean. It seems that dipping the chain in melted paraffin wax is one of the preferred methods by cyclists. It´s supposed to keep dirt and gunk away (dry lube). The method seems to be worth a try but perhaps for another time. I chose to go with the easier option and bought some “Squirt” chain lube.

Here´s a video on the “Squirt” chain lube. What do you guys think? Could a chain drive be more efficient than a belt drive? I already hear a difference with the lube applied to my chain - it´s more quiet.

First things first - a clean chain. Before applying “Squirt” the chain must be free of dirt, gunk and factory grease.I let the chain soak overnight to get rid of any factory grease and dirt. I found a small plastic bottle which was perfect for the job. The alcohol dissolved a lot of factory grease and there was a fair bit of very fine dust that washed out of the rollers (brand new chain - just ca. 6km ride on it prior to cleaning)

that´s what I washed out of a brand new chain !:scream:

aaaahhh - nice and shiney. that´s more like it.

an image of the 04B 30T sprocket mounted on my 83mm Trampa Stickies, the chain and a bottle of “Squirt”

a good look at the aluminium motor mount - pretty “standard” design.

motor mount mounted…

and the complete drive ready to get lubed :grinning:

Can´t wait to test the new motor mount (now I can adjust the chain tension) with the “Squirt” lube. The drive train should be noticeably quieter now that the chain has proper tension so it won´t be slapping around. I was getting roughly 12-13km on my belt drive so I´m excited to see if a chain drive really is more efficient. There are a bunch of cyclists swearing by this product and they feel the difference (since they actually do the work) - so my hopes are high…

let you guys know what I find out.


Very excited to hear your experience. Chain drive really seems to be a very practical option!

where can i pick up a motor/wheel sprocket to try this out with? i’ve been fighting belt skip since day 1 over here

I got my stuff from Conrad but I made the mistake of buying the wheel sprocket with an 8mm bore (you don´t have any other option from Conrad). I thought it would be easy to drill a bigger hole to fit a caliber hanger but it was impossible for me to do it at home with my tools.

I suggest you get the wheel sprocket from Gears and Sprockets and choose a custom bore size of 25mm. They´ll ship you a sprocket that will already have 25mm hole that will fit a caliber hanger.If you want to save shipping then you could just buy everything from Gears and Sprockets. Just make sure you choose the right bore size for your motor sprocket (I´m using a SK3 5065 - so I have a 6mm axle).

they also have all kinds of chain sizes. Make sure you get the chain links that go with your choice. Unfortunately, I only discovered Gears and Sprockets after I already bought a 04B chain and sprockets. I´m pretty sure it will be fine but I´d go for at least a 05B in hindsight specially if you´re heavier or you ride hard and you man handle your board.

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I´m not using “wet” lube to avoid the mess. I got a wax based lube called “Squirt”. It´s supposedly a great product.

I’m pretty lightweight but 5b is still juuuuust narrower than my currently-installed 9mm belts, so that’ll do nicely. For the chain, the price listed/ an order of “1” is for 1 meter of chain, right?