Mechanical efficiency of chain drive vs roller drive

mifletz

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Aug 25, 2009
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I was told that chain drive will deliver c30% more practical power to the rear wheel than roller drive.

Is this correct?
 


K

kerf

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A chain drive would be more efficient than a friction drive, owing to tire deflection caused by the loading of the drive roller. As to the 30% figure, I feel this is an inflated number based on personal experiences with both drive systems. The biggest drawback to the friction drive is wet roads, which causes the roller to slip. On the other hand they are less expensive, much lighter and much quieter than chain drives.

I'm currently building another friction drive for my wife, she wants no part of a chain.
 

give me vtec

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A chain drive would be more efficient than a friction drive, owing to tire deflection caused by the loading of the drive roller. As to the 30% figure, I feel this is an inflated number based on personal experiences with both drive systems. The biggest drawback to the friction drive is wet roads, which causes the roller to slip. On the other hand they are less expensive, much lighter and much quieter than chain drives.

I'm currently building another friction drive for my wife, she wants no part of a chain.
Belt drive is best... friction drive is better than chain drive.

I hate chains.... they stretch and tend to jump off the sprocket.
 

Happy Valley

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There has to be loss of engine BHP with all drive configurations and tire deflection (or slipping if badly adjusted or wet) is certainly the main culprit with friction drives.
My thought has always been since most FDs are direct drive off the crankshaft, tire deflection pretty much accounts for any losses with a friction drive system though.

Most chain drives have to go through some kind of primary and secondary speed reduction. Gearbox gears, internal chains, belts each suffer losses and main drive chain and sprockets add to these losses as well.
 

mlcorson

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Jul 25, 2008
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I have both, and under ideal (dry) conditions, I haven't noticed a significant difference in power transfer. Both are 4 cycle R/S engines - A Staton chain drive and a friction drive. My friction bike was a lighter bike to begin with, and with the friction it is much lighter than the chain drive.
 

mifletz

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In ideal conditions, ceteris paribus, can one therefore not expect a significant difference (ie 10%<) in performance (in acceleration, top speed and steep hill-climbing ability) between chain and roller drives?
 

mlcorson

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Ceteris paribus, I have not noticed that much difference. As always, caveat emptor. But definitely carpe diem with either one. ;-)
 

Mountainman

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friction drive is better than chain drive.
don't think so -------------- but
I have been riding a friction for a while now
and truly do enjoy the little THING

but a chain drive is very hard to beat
especially in any kind of damp or wet conditions

I also have one Lady friend with a friction
she one day did not get the to the wheel roller adjustment just right
eat that tire -- she needed a new tire

as far as assigning a % as just to how much better
a chain drive is over a friction
Mountainman will take a stab at about --- 5 to 20 % better ?????

living in a mostly sunny place here -- closer to the 5 %
if it was wetter it would for sure be closer to 20 %

ride that THING
 

mifletz

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Aug 25, 2009
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I've just taken my Robin engine off its roller drive mount and tried it on a chaindrive bicycle, and there's definitely 15-20% more power at the wheel, which makes all the difference going up steep hills. And no slip in the wet. I'm now convinced about having to change to chain.

The customs tax in Israel being 100% which I'm not prepared to pay for a chainkit shipped from the USA, so the bike shop here are going to fabricate me a mount, them all being professional metal workers who have spent their lives welding Merkava tanks!
 
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