How does the Dimension Edge system work?

Discussion in 'Friction Drive' started by TWalker, Feb 10, 2009.

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  1. TWalker

    TWalker Guest

    I don't own one but I am about to buy one of the more expensive kits, GEBE maybe.

    But the DE does have the cutting edge friction systems.

    They are super light weight
    They can disengage on the fly
    They have a tensioning system
    and other features....

    Why would this better or worse than GEBE? You tell me.

    I'm not a lover of friction but it sure has advantages.

    I'll probably buy a GEBE Robin Subaru. Why would I go with a DE? I have nothing but hills/mountains here.

  2. SirJakesus

    SirJakesus Guest

    Friction drives won't stress your spokes.
    Friction drives are easier to install and are more universal with practically no clearance issues.
    Friction drives can be totally disengaged in a few seconds for drag-free pedal only riding.
    Friction drives do not use a proprietary belt that will need to be replaced eventually
    Friction drives allow for easy removal of the rear wheel. Gebe does not.
    Friction drives by DE have quickly swappable rollers for gear ratio changes
    Friction drives cannot use knobby tires on the drive wheel
    Friction drives will slip while wet unless special wet weather rollers are used.

    Gebe can use knobby tires
    Gebe will perform better in wet weather
    Gebe riders have to limit jackrabbit starts and hard acceleration or belt life will suffer, possibly leaving you stranded.

    I own 2 friction kits and 2 chain kits. I've never considered the GEBE because I personally think it's a weak system in its current form. If you're looking for simplicity and the lightest system available go with a friction kit. If you want greater flexibility and wet weather/off road performance go with a chain drive. As far as belt drive MB's go I would trust a Whizzer in a heartbeat.
  3. Happy Valley

    Happy Valley Active Member

    You'll find satisfied customers for both systems, but their are trade-offs like most things.

    SirJakesus I think covered the +/- both pretty thoroughly and accurately considering the two drive type choices.

    A couple further observations I'd make are:

    Your comment about the terrain you ride being hills and mountains would have me ask if you'll be riding off-road on dirt or all pavement? IMO belt or chain is better off-road.

    Also, the DE system promotes the advantage of being able to swap out roller type/size easily yet that feature is engineered so that only one end of the spindle ends up with load bearing support.
  4. pumpbuilder

    pumpbuilder Member

    Back in the early 90's the first DE kits used stock PTO shafts that come with the engines and the engines only lasted about 1-3 years depending on if it was a daily driver.

    Since then Rob has made his own PTO and discarded the stock units and that combined with his self adjusting tension device means that two load bearing spots on the drive shaft are not needed.

    That's also why folks have failed at trying to retrofit his driver parts to others kits, they don't fit because they are larger.

    As far as the off road deal goes I would have to say a chain drive might be best for that, while you can use the wet weather driver its going to wear tires and I would guess you would want knobbies for that. I think a chain would take the flexing and beating better then belt.
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2009
  5. augidog

    augidog New Member

    message received, and removed :cool:
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2009
  6. uncle_punk13

    uncle_punk13 Guest

    Having had many of the different drive systems, I can tell you NO motoredbike should be 'Jackrabbit' started from a stop. ALWAYS pedal assist your take offs, it's easier on the engine, the bike, and related components. I like 'em all, but I believe friction to be outdated technology, though some great advances have come to the friction set ups (heck, I still run the p'diddley outta mine...), I am sold on the newer advances in belt technologies.
    I've had a few discussions on the GEBE set up, and having a few miles in the saddle I can speak from experience here. The belt may look flimsy. It is not- provided it is aligned properly. I personally know riders with 4,000+ miles on the original belt, it is a Kevlar belt that is tough as nails. Furthermore it is a 'toothed' belt with teeth on the sheave as well, so unlike my Whizzer, there hass NO slippage in the rain thus far.
    Many have commented on the (so called) "plastic" belt sheave- it is not plastic as such, but rather a composite developed for use in the aerospace industry; again, tough as nails in my experience. The one thing debated between friction and belt (or chain) drive is the stress on the spokes. Again I re-iterate the above. NO motoredbike should be started from a dead stop without pedal assist. If one wants to do that go buy a real motorcycle, or a moped. And ANY motored bike should use a MINIMUM of .105 spokes.
    Again I'm not denying the friction drive, or any other drivetrain for that matter, and I really dig DE's 'rain roller' concept, it's just that I think it's an outdated mode of powering a bike and for the cost, the GEBE is a better system IMHO. I'm not kn ocking any other companies, or their products, I own and ride many different drivetrains on my M/B's.
    Again, I speak from experience- I'm not just blowin' smoke here; this ain't my first ride at the rodeo...
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 11, 2009
  7. pumpbuilder

    pumpbuilder Member

    100% with you on the jackrabbit.
  8. TWalker

    TWalker Guest

    Ok lets say Im a mountain biker and i want to get my ride up to the trailhead and remove the engine and ride trails engineless. How hard is it to remove the DE?

    It seems the GEBE takes a few minutes to get off and leave the brackets on?
  9. pumpbuilder

    pumpbuilder Member

    A basic MB Install for an Encore system takes about 30 minites from start to finish so I expect removal is close to the same. Nearly all of it I think would have to come off... I am trying to remember how hard it would be to disconnect the throttle cable from the engine and just pull off the engine with its four mounting bolts.

    I just street ride these days, last time I went off road nobody cared if I had an engine. I would suggest you call both companies and see what they recomend for that.
  10. pumpbuilder

    pumpbuilder Member

    I will try to answer the top Question, How does the Dimension Edge Friction Drive system work.

    Its actually a fairly simple setup. The kit works from a series of pivit points. The eyelets on the frame, and as an example on a MB the "upside down V" behind the bike seat are the only two spots the engine portion of the kit touches the bike frame. Springer flexing frames are fine. If you have no eyelets he builds some for you to attach to your bike. The legs of the kit have an angle that you set and with a spacer set the "no drag" pedal power distance. At that point you just tighten all the 1/2" nuts or bolts, place the cables where you want them and the bike is ready for fueling.

    To use the non centrifical clutch kit you don't even have to start the engine with the pull starter. Get the bike up to 5-10 mph pedaling, move the spring loaded engagement lever to the operation position and the engine will start, move the throttle to the desired speed and your off. When you are aproaching a stop sign or stopping point you simply release the throttle to idle, raise the engagment lever and stop. In the event you have an emergency stop the system is designed so that the standard brakes will still stop the bike and kill the engine so no worries about having to disengage the engine. While at the stop light or sign you can use the kill switch to stop the engine and "bump" start it again or leave it idling. If you leave it idling, [non clutch model.], then you must pedal up to about 5 mph before engaging the drive system. In any event you can pedal with the engine whenever you want and clutch or not you can always switch to just pedal power with zero drag by disengaing the system.

    If you choose to go "automatic" with a centrifical clutch the only difference is you must pull start the engine to begin your ride and leave it running all the time unless your willing to pull start it again. You can also start from a stop with engine power and never need to pedal ever.

    Personally I like the "manual" so I can chat with the car drivers at the light with the engine off. One nice thing about the design is the self adjustment factor. I set my kit with a 1.5" driver. This allows me to change to a 1.25" or 1.75" with out changing the leg settings. Changing sizes or to the wet road drive sytem takes about 1 minute.

    I hope this answers the question about how does it work/operate.
  11. Happy Valley

    Happy Valley Active Member

    If that's a literal question it's moot, and why I asked upthread if you were planning on dirt riding, friction drives are not going to perform well with knobbies.

    If you were asking the question for general on road use and specifically about the DE system I think you already got your answer.

    Another question I continually ponder though and probably not an abundant amount of interest in this question here since much of the point of this board is about the machinations people go through just to complete a one-way transformation of a working MB is:

    What drive system least impacts the functionality of a good bicycle in regard to compromises of that functionality and with matters like weight and ease of swapping out or returning to pure pedal mode?
  12. uncle_punk13

    uncle_punk13 Guest

    You know what? THAT is an EXCELLENT question!
    I'd have to say that a rack mount (front or rear) friction system- like the DE, Island Hopper, Bike Bug, etc.- is the answer to that one. I like that question and it brings to mind of keeping some things basic, pure and at it's root core. I had somehow passed that by in my motoredbike bliss...
    This is now firmly implanted in the files of my mind and will keep me in check with these builds I like to do. In fact, it gives me an idea...
    Good on ya' for that!
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 13, 2009
  13. loquin

    loquin Active Member

    That's a good point. It only took a couple of hours to remove the Staton friction drive from my old bike AND install it on the new bike.
  14. Happy Valley

    Happy Valley Active Member

    Apologies to TWalker if this veered off topic but thanks as well for the opening to raise the point. I'm being somewhat of an opportunist piggybacking here 'cause frankly I wouldn't think it could carry it's own thread.

    Thanks for the eye to recognize it.
    I love the pure sweet functionality of a well tuned bicycle and I still want the exercise and to pedal it.... but having a touch of gray....just not all the time. :D
    Let's not forget, Mosquito, Firefly, Solex...and others......

    Not sure how complicated your bike specific mounts are but with mine on MTBs I'd say swaps are 40 minutes or less, 15 off and 20-25 on.
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2009
  15. pumpbuilder

    pumpbuilder Member

    Ah yes Grasshopper, I missed the Knobby tire point, :dunce: while friction drive will technically work with knobbys, they don't stay very knobby after 100 or so miles. So if your using knobbys best use something different or go thru a lot of tires.
  16. SirJakesus

    SirJakesus Guest

    This is why I love the friction drives. They don't alter the bike any more than a simple bike rack does.

    I disagree about friction drives being obsolete. They may have been one of the first ways to power a bicycle but you just can't get past the beauty of their minimalism. In fact, if the majority ever saw the multitude of benefits the MB offers what kind of kit do you think average Joe and Jane would be able to install and maintain easily?

    As far as jackrabbit starts goes... I didn't mean engine only starting, just hard starting and jamming on the throttle rather than rolling on it.
  17. pumpbuilder

    pumpbuilder Member

    Well stated. With the exception of knobby tires there really is nothing a friction drive cannot do, also I have taken them off road with other tires anyway. My love of the friction drives comes down to their simplicity, light weight, and being nearly foolproof while requiring only a tire upgrade if you have cheap tire.

    Simple stuff.
  18. uncle_punk13

    uncle_punk13 Guest

    Well fellas (and dolls) Due to this question I pulled my old Island Hopper kit off the shelf, an old huffy ladies 24" atb frame, and a rear coaster wheel in order to build a rider for my roomate who is an older lady that thought she might try this whole strangeness that I am into. sometime in the next few weeks I will dust off the engine, tear it down to clean it up and check the components; I will then build a very basic bicycle with rear rack mount friction drive set-up. Thank you for the inspiration to go back to the basics and my roots of all this...
    Sorry for going so far off the original topic with this.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 16, 2009
  19. TWalker

    TWalker Guest

    If anyone has deatialed pictures of a DE set up or links to same I sure would like to see em.

    The main thing thats holding me back from considering the kit is a lack of understanding how it works and what it looks like.

    One really irritating thing is when Staton, GEBE, DE and others show all pics from a side view especially the right side and on friction drives.

    This is very misleading as to how far some systems stick out on the right side.

    Also a Staton gear or Nuvinci set up take more power to run than a straight GEBE. Wonder how much a friction roller eats up power VS. a GEBE?
  20. pumpbuilder

    pumpbuilder Member

    Here is a link, the engine on the left looks to me to be with a cent clutch so it hangs out a little more.

    The trick as I understand it to eliminate extra power loss is proper adjustment, since the DE is self adjusting its pretty efficient.

    I will try to get some photos done tonite of my set up.