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I just bought a bike that has a Gates Carbon belt drive and am wondering what I will need do to remove the rear wheel when I get a puncture in my rear tyre away from home.

The dropout looks like this:

enter image description here enter image description here

The centre part of the dropout on this side of the bike (and not the left side) is clearly removable. The rear of this removable dropout has a triangular shape that wedges it in place.

My guess is

  1. Disconnect brake cable to allow room for tyre to pass them.
  2. Disconnect shifter cable from hub.
  3. Do nothing with the belt tensioner? Loosen it?
  4. Loosen nuts holding rear axle.
  5. Remove two recessed Allen (hex) bolts from removable dropout
  6. Pull the frame apart slightly so the dropout can move forward?
  7. Move the belt out of the way through the now open slot in the frame.
  8. Pull the wheel out rearwards.

I don't like step 3 a lot. I've read the belt tension is important and I'm not confident of getting it correct when replacing the wheel. But if I don't loosen the belt tension first, step 6 may cause damage.

Is this procedure correct?

  • You shouldn’t have to disconnect the brake cable, it should be possible to release/open the brake. – Michael Aug 4 '15 at 16:33
  • @Michael: Yes, that's what I meant, on my old bike with cantilever brakes you release a moulded button on the the inner cable from one side of the levers (caliper, whatever). On this bike's V-brakes I think you release the cable guide pipe from the levers. You don't have to unscrew the clamp holding the inner cable. I can't immediately think of a simple yet clearer wording to express this in my question. – RedGrittyBrick Aug 4 '15 at 16:44
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    3.Loosen the tensioner: yes! 4 yes! 5&6 no, don't touch, these are for changing the belt. 6 Slide wheel FORWARD to release the belt from the sprocket and move it to the outside. Pull the wheel back out. You may have to unhook the (gear-changing?) cable next to the sprocket. Reassemble in reverse and with (3) adjust the tension of the belt and the alignment of the wheel. Remember to re-hook the gear-cable. – Carel Aug 4 '15 at 18:08
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    Re: edit about not wanting to change tension: I don't think you really have a choice. You need to release the tension before removing the dropout, so doing that instead isn't an option, and you shouldn't be able to pop the belt off without that either. Also, you will need to release the gear change cable to remove the wheel. I would run a Marathon Plus tyre on the wheel to reduce punctures, and learn how to fix punctures while the wheel is still in the bike. That should make it rare enough that taking to a bike shop for a new tube isn't too unreasonable. – Móż Mar 16 '16 at 22:04
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It looks good except I think you will have to loosen the tensioner. You won't have to spread the frame. When the recessed allen head bolts are removed you risk damage to the very end of the threads due to the belt tension. It is unlikely you can reinstall the tensioning assembly with tension on the belt. Due to the complexity of this kind of flat repair you may want to consider some type of puncture prevention be it tires, tire liners etc. I have used a technique of repairing a puncture without removing the wheel. In this case a rider on my local trail had a flat, bolt-on wheels, and no wrench. You flip the bike upside down. Work one edge of the tire off the rim. Pull out the tube and patch and replace as usual. Instead of working your hands around the wheel you spin the wheel as you work your way around. It appears in the photo that you may not have to remove the shifter cable. There may be enough slack to work it around the frame and effect the repair.

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    +1: I think avoiding a flat, followed by instu repair method for on trail would be my choice - to the extend a tire that is easy to remove and install would be on my shopping list. Removing that wheel is not really a road side repair. – mattnz Aug 4 '15 at 0:20
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    Are you sure you need to remove the belt port (rear drop out) to remove the wheel? Release tension, drop belt off front 'chain ring', slide wheel back till it clears frame. – mattnz Aug 4 '15 at 0:31
  • Indeed a flat can be fixed without taking the wheel off the bike. On a bike with chain, I prefer the non drive side. On front wheels, the non-disc side. – Jahaziel Aug 4 '15 at 0:41
  • I hadn't thought of extracting the inner tube with the wheel in situ - that's definitely something to try. @mattz you may be right about not needing to remove the belt entirely. When the time comes I'll see if the axle can be manoeuvred past the belt without stressing the belt. – RedGrittyBrick Aug 4 '15 at 8:58
  • You can also buy linear inner tubes specifically for using without having to remove the wheel. They are often used for BMX where removing the wheel is more difficult, but you can find them in other sizes too if you look around online. – Stainy Sep 4 '15 at 18:46
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I don't have to break the chain to get the wheel off my single speed and you should not have to break the frame to get the wheel off a belt. Just loosen stuff up, slide it to the side, and work stuff out. That big drive on the front by the pedals - that belt can come off of that and it gives you enough slack.

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You don't need to remove the wheel from the frame (of any bike) in order to fix a simple puncture flat.

You can just pry off the tire with the wheel still attached (after loosening the rim brake if applicable), and patch the inner tube while it's still on the wheel.

The only reason you'd have to remove the wheel is if you couldn't patch the tube and would need to replace it.

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