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I’m building up a Soma Wolverine with a Gates Carbon Drive and Alfine 11 internal gear hub. The Gates literature indicates that the beltline should be 43.7 mm +/- 1mm.

I am trying to use an old crankset I have on-hand, a Sugino RD2, which has a 45mm chain line when using a 103mm bottom bracket. Obviously this is slightly out of spec with the Gates belt line requirements

My question is, can I use an adjustable Phil Wood bottom bracket to make up the 0.3-1.3 mm difference in beltline? Would it be better to have the bottom bracket built with an offset spindle, which it sounds like Phil Wood can do? Or best to just buy a crankset from Gates?

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  • I'm also looking to build up a belt-drive Wolverine with an Alfine 11. Did you ever find a solution? – Biking Viking Feb 26 at 10:51
  • Its been 10 months since this was posted - did you complete this project? You're totally welcome to add an answer of your own for future readers, and provides closure. And I'm curious to know how it went. – Criggie Feb 26 at 21:20
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    @BikingViking (and Criggie, who I can't @, apparently): Yes, I found a solution and have posted my answer. Hope it helps. – michaelmichael Feb 28 at 7:46
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+50

I did end up completing this project. I talked to several people, just calling up bike shops that sold or specialized in belt drive bikes and asking for opinions.

I spoke with someone—I think it was a fellow at Ben's Cycle/Milwaukee Bicycle Co.—who had lots of experience fitting belt drives to frames. He had even worked with Gates on building several belt drive-specific bikes. His take was that I was worrying about nothing. A 45 mm belt line was well within what he would expect to work without issue, even if it was specced for 43.7 mm. I even tried to let him talk me into buying a fancy Phil Woods bottom bracket or a Gates crank and BB set. He said it would not be worth it in this instance. 45 mm was close enough to work.

At that point I just went ahead and installed my 103 mm bottom bracket and the Sugino RD2 cranks. I finished the bike and have been riding it pretty much daily since. I don't think I'll go back to chains if I can help it. The Alfine hub shifts super smoothly. The whole setup is quiet and reliable. It's great not worrying about keeping a chain clean and oiled. I highly recommend it.

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    Congrats - have some bounty rep for coming back with completeness. – Criggie Mar 2 at 10:47

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