Frequently Asked Questions and Answers about the Shaft Drive Transmission System and Chainless Bicycle
Question: How reliable is the drive system?
Answer: The shaft drive system is simple in design and hence very reliable. The drive uses chrome molybdenum bevel gears front and rear all fully encased in a lightweight aluminium housing, hence no dirt can get into the system to create additional wear.
Question: How does the drive work without a chain, crankset and the rear derailleur sprocket gear system?
Answer: The main drive mechanism is similar to that used on shaft drive motorcycles. The bicycle shaft drive system uses bevel gears front and rear with a Nexus Shimano or Sturmey Archer internally geared 3 and 7 speed hub. The shaft drive replaces the traditional chain and crankset, and the internal hub gears the derailleur sprocket system.
Question: How efficient is the shaft drive system?
Answer: The performance of the shaft drive system ranges from 90 to 95 % efficiency. In comparison, the efficiency of a good clean chain may be up to 98.5% efficient. Due to exposure to dirt and the elements however, the efficiency of a chain drive will reduce more dramatically over time than the shaft drive system.
Question: What are the advantages over the traditional bicycles?
Safe: no chain to fall off, no chain bite on pants or skirts.
Clean: axles and gears enclosed - no grease/oil exposure.
Low maintenance: durable bevel gears remain true year in and year out. Quiet and smooth ride: less loss of power due to better efficiency.
Simple: no complex derailleur/ chainwheels; use internal gear/speed-shifting system.
Question: Can my existing bike be fitted with a shaft drive unit?
Answer: No. The shaft drive system needs a wider and shorter bottom bracket shell and special dropouts.
Question: How does the gearing compare to a chain and sprocket system?
Answer: With the Nexus hub, the gear ratios are designed for commuter and trail riding, and hence give you typically 85% the range of a 21 speed equivalent system. The table below gives further gear ratio details.
As a service to those of who ride bicycles with chains, WebBicycle
would like to offer you this 'how to' article on chain maintenance.
How to repair a bike chain
Learn how to repair your bike chain with these simple easy to follow
The chain on a bicycle absorbs more punishment than any other bicycle part.
This is one of the biggest expenses besides having to replace tires. You want
to make sure you take care of your chain. Although chains rarely snap, they do
become worn and loose. To lessen this wear, wipe the chain with a solvent-
soaked cloth whenever dirt builds up on the links. Several times a year remove
the chain for cleaning and lubrication. Always store your bike in a garage and
out of the rain. Rain will cause it to rust, causing you to replace it faster.
Periodically check the chain tension on one and three speed bikes. You can
tighten a loose chain at the rear wheel. If there is no more room for
adjustment at the rear axle, the chain has worn and stretched. Fit a new one
whenever this happens. Always check to see what condition your childs chain is
in. Failure to do so can cause injury if the chain should slip off, and there
is the possibly your child can get their pants leg stuck in the loose chain.
If the chain clatters or grates as you pedal, inspect it for wear. Sound links
should fit firmly between the teeth, not ride up on them. If the chain
constantly falls off after adjusting it many times, replace it. Locate chain
connector and, with pliers, disengage clip or other fastener holding side
plate in place. Remove side plate. Pull connector free to release the chain
ends. Remove chain from bicycle. You can buy chains in stainless steel and
The aluminum bicycle chains are lightweight and designed for racing bikes.
Stainless steel chains are good for all terrain bikes, won't rust and are
stronger than aluminum alloy.
Test chain by pulling on any two adjacent links with your hand. If there is a
lot of play, replace the chain, if not, clean it. Loosen rear wheel nuts and
move wheel forward as far as possible in its slots. Holding it there, replace
Pull chain tightly over both sprockets. If necessary, shorten chain by
removing the proper rivet. Center the rivet over the hole in a small nut and
drive it out with a punch. If rivet is hardened, grind off its head.
Replace the chain, connector and side plate. Crimp fastener in place. Its
closed end must face direction of travel. Slide wheel back until chain has
only 1/2 inch of play and tighten wheel nuts. Be sure axle is even or wheel
To clean the chain, remove it and soak it in kerosene for one hour. Clean off
any residue with a stiff wire brush. When the chain has dried, install it.
Then, drip chain oil into the links as you turn the chain through two complete
cycles. Be careful not to get any oil on you while spinning the wheel. The oil
can get in your eyes, so wear protective glasses while performing this action.
By taking care of your bicycle, you can enjoy if for many years to come.
Happy Riding! Your WebBicycle Team