Friction Drive

Discussion in 'Friction Drive' started by Super64, Feb 11, 2012.

  1. Super64

    Super64 New Member

    First post: I am nearly ready to buy my first motored bike kit. I have done my homework but I have a couple of questions:

    If I commute on a crushed stone trail, should I be concerned about small gravel in tire tread causing roller wear or vibration?

    The trail is sometimes damp with morning dew, should I be concerned about slippage?

    I want to run at 80 psi on 700s, any issue?


  2. motman812

    motman812 Member

    moisture makes it slip

    I'm a very happy owner of a Stanton friction drive, but ANY amount of moisture makes the drive slip. Not much of a problem here in so Cal but I leave it in the garage even when the only moisture is dampness on the pavement from the ocean fog.
  3. Super64

    Super64 New Member

    Thanks for the response. I am really happy that there is so much info about friction drives in this forum. I'm leaning toward a Staton and Subaru.
  4. Happy Valley

    Happy Valley Active Member

    I agree with motman812's observation, steel rollers will slip when damp. For example, in the late fall here riding on otherwise dry pavement the steel roller will slip in places if wet leaves cover the road. It regains traction immediately when the tire dries out but one such place I ride is on a hill so a lot of pedaling there will sometimes result.

    Tires picking up stones are not a problem for me but I use slicks with no tread. IMO, friction drives work best on dry pavement with slick tires. You can use them on dirt trails as long as they are dry but they tend to pick us a lot of dust and don't work as well and I also think increases wear on all components. Of course slicks are not the best on dirt either, so you see the connection.

    I have used FDs on 700c x 38 tires with satisfactory results and the higher psi is not a problem, in fact any tire used with FD should be inflated near it's operating max for the best performance.

    Staton and Robin are two of the most dependable names in components so I'd be surprised if you were dissatisfied with them. IMO, FDs are great overall for a lot of reasons but they do have certain drawbacks but so does any system you chose, some more than others. For simplicity and dependability what you are leaning toward is hard to beat. As motman812 once said to me years ago:
    "Everything in life is a trade off, the trick is getting what's right for you at any particular time and place." ;-)
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2012
    MotorBicycleRacing likes this.
  5. motman812

    motman812 Member


    Thanks, Happy Valley. You made this retired professor's day!
  6. Happy Valley

    Happy Valley Active Member

    A good lesson is well remembered prof. Cheers!
  7. loquin

    loquin Active Member

    You can use an inverted tread design, like the Continental Town & Country or the Serfas Drifter; both have a smooth center portion that your roller will run against, for good FD performance, and which has decent performance on gravel/dirt. (you'll get a little less traction in turns on pavement, where you lean enough to get the recessed tread against the pavement, than a slick would have, though.)

    Attached Files:

  8. happycheapskate

    happycheapskate Active Member

  9. Happy Valley

    Happy Valley Active Member

    Friction drives 'work' in the rain but inherently any and all of them that use steel spindles will slip and suffer reduced efficiency.
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2012
  10. Nice blog Happy valley
  11. Esteban

    Esteban Active Member

    Geax Streetrunner tires also work well with friction drives .
  12. happycheapskate

    happycheapskate Active Member

    I agree. I have one on my wife's bike for the drive tire. It works very well, but the tire has very little puncture protection. I installed the thickest tube possible, and use a foam Amerityre on the front. The foam / polyurethane tires do not work well with the friction drive.