Is it generally possible to convert a drivetrain on a bike from a chain to belt drive? What exactly is involved with this task?

  • 4
    Belt drive frame needs an openable rear dropout or a removable plug in the seat stay to pass the belt through. Hacking a piece out of your seat stay is probably ill advised if you're not already accomplished in frame building! – Affe Aug 16 '19 at 0:15

Generally no, for the simple reason that unlike chains belts are continuous and can't be split, so belt drive bikes need a split chain or seat stay, or a removable dropout.

If you had a single speed or internally geared hub chain drive bike with a removable dropout, at a minimum the rear sprocket, chainring and chain would have to be replaced.

  • Do you have by chance any drawings/picture to help visualize it? – L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica Aug 16 '19 at 5:23
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    @L.Dutch The chain goes around the chainrings and the cassette. The chainrings are outside the chain stays but the cassette is between them. This means that the rear triangle and the chain intersect: you can't separate them without cutting one or the other. With a chain drive, you "cut" the chain, but belts can't be cut, so you need to "cut" the rear triangle instead. – David Richerby Aug 16 '19 at 9:22
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    It's also possible on a bike with elevated chainstays but those aren't very popular. – Kibbee Aug 16 '19 at 13:03

Traditionally you would need a split in the rear triangle to fit a belt drive.

There is a company named Veer that offers a split belt for with supporting sprockets for several internal hubs such as Rohloff and Shimano Alfine. https://www.veercycle.com/collections/all/products/split-belt-pro

With a belt drive you will need an internal hub or go single speed.

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