This is shamelessly copied and pasted from a Facebook post I did a month ago so anyone who hasn’t seen that can have a look at my “Ultimate Towpath commuter!”
This is my self built Cotic Simple commuter. Mainly built from 2nd hand parts from Ebay. It came about as an idea I had when I was towpath commuting 4 years ago before my job went tits up!
Tow path pedalling is in my opinion the ultimate bike killer, mud, sand, grit and Goose shit all conspire to be the best grinding paste known to man. Brake blocks wear the rims, your transmission will die and the paste destroys bearings. All of which means you need to stay on top of your maintenance!
What I needed was a low maintenance bike, who has the time to thoroughly clean your bike every weekend?
The 2 main areas of wear are the transmission and brakes. So hydraulic disc brakes and hub gears then. It was around that time I saw a program about a bloke pedalling stupid distances on various global adventures using something called belt drive. I did a bit of googling and came across Milk Bikes.
Their bikes use a carbon fibre belt from a company called Gates, This seemed the answer to chain/transmission wear along with a 8 speed Shimano Alfine Hub.
As you’re pedalling along the cut which at its worst is just a bit bumpy, you don’t need suspension forks, anyway, that’s just something else to wear out! I had a set of On-One carbon forks that would do the job.
I gathered together all of the parts, Mark from Milk Bikes was brilliantly helpful as he got the belt drive system for me and I sourced the rest of the parts from Ebay.
The frame was the problem. As the belt cannot be split you need to have a means of fitting the belt. This is the reason I chose a steel frame. A top quality Reynolds 531 frame off a Cotic Simple from Ebay. I found a frame builder, Lee Cooper over in Coventry and he fitted the necessary frame splitting bracket in the seat stay, modified the chain stay and sprayed the frame my favourite metallic grey.
The main trick was getting belt alignment correct as the belt is pretty stiff. Once that is done it’s just a matter of bolting the bike together, which if you know your way around a tool box is pretty easy.
So here she is, the ultimate low maintenance commuting bike, thought up and self built by yours truly after a few years of experience tow path commuting. I can’t tell you how glad I am to be back pedalling to and from work down the cut!
As for maintenance, a quick hose down occasionally!
Oh, and a quick thanks to Daz Court for the “Simple” graphic that Cotic couldn’t supply, but they did a great job getting the “Cotic” decal for me!
A few photos for the detail.
The Cotic Simple Belt belt drive
Frame Splitting Bracket