NAHBS 2011 – Black Sheep Cycles’ Belt Drive Full Suspension 29er, Monster Cross and 36″ Mountain Bike

nahbs 2011 black sheep bikes gates belt drive full suspension 29er mountain bike

Normally, one wouldn’t put a Gates Belt Drive system and full suspension together. And one especially wouldn’t think of it without using some sort of tensioner. And one really, truly wouldn’t think of doing so using a pivotless suspension design that doesn’t unify the rear triangle in some way so as to prevent any “chain” growth (like the Kona we saw at Interbike last year).

But Black Sheep Cycles threw all that out the window and put together the Highlight ST: a titanium, pivotless full suspension bike with a Gates Belt Drive, sans any sort of tensioning device. Shown above, it uses a flat ti section directly behind the bottom bracket to flex, and the curved seatstays flex a bit to let things move properly without needing a pivot near the rear axle. The short travel design feeds into a rocker link and Fox shock to control the motion. Simple, right?

Detail photos, plus shots of their Monster Cross Cyclocross/29er hybrid and 36″ wheeled singlespeed mountain bike behind the jump…

nahbs 2011 black sheep bikes gates belt drive full suspension 29er mountain bike

The chainstays bolt to the ti flex plate, which also provides the frame break to let the belt drive into the rear triangle. The holes for the bolts on the plate are slotted to allow for fore-aft positioning to adjust the belt’s tension before screwing them down tight. Note that this is Gates’ new CenterTrack system, too.

nahbs 2011 black sheep bikes gates belt drive full suspension 29er mountain bike nahbs 2011 black sheep bikes gates belt drive full suspension 29er mountain bike

The rear brake hose runs cleanly under the top tube and above the shock. At right, there’s plenty of tire clearance for running as big a tire as you can find. The suspension design provides 95mm of travel, quite a bit for a pivotless design that needs to maintain a constant wheel arc throughout its movement in order for the drivetrain to work properly.

The side benefit to this design is that the rear triangle can be unbolted and removed, which makes it easier to travel with the bike.

nahbs 2011 black sheep bikes gates belt drive full suspension 29er mountain bike nahbs 2011 black sheep bikes gates belt drive full suspension 29er mountain bike

The bike is $6,900 as shown. Frame is $3,700 with any BB or head tube. 21lbs as built here with the Lefty and their own massively wide handlebar/stem, which, like everything they build, is titanium. Oh, and it’s $550 and weighs about 285g.

nahbs 2011 black sheep cycles highlight ht hardtail mountain bike

They also do a hardtail version called the Highlight HT.

nahbs 2011 black sheep cycle monster cross cyclocross 29er hybrid bicycle

Black Sheep’s Monster Cross is built to be geared and can run full size 29er tires or skinny ‘cross tires.

nahbs 2011 black sheep cycle monster cross cyclocross 29er hybrid bicycle

Frame is $3,250, $550 for the fork. The internal cable routing ports look cool, but we’d probably want to plug them with something to keep water and crud out.

nahbs 2011 black sheep cycle monster cross cyclocross 29er hybrid bicycle nahbs 2011 black sheep cycle monster cross cyclocross 29er hybrid bicycle

On their singlespeed and belt drive bikes, Black Sheep uses their own design chainstays with ridged sliding sections. Check out their bikes from the 2010 show to see more on this (and some totally awesome bikes that are quite different from what they brought this year!)nahbs 2011 black sheep cycles 36 inch wheeled singlespeed mountain bike

When 29er wheels just aren’t enough, there’s this. Thirty six inch wheels should roll over just about anything the trail may throw at you.

Lastly, check out Max’s post to see their award-winning Stellar, built to race the Continental Divide race later this year.

Comments

Chris Jensen - 03/11/11 - 10:41am

ok, so a flexing member isn’t going to keep tension because the distance between the BB and rear axle will change slightly without a pivot.

[...] NAHBS 2011 – Black Sheep Cycles’ Belt Drive Full Suspension 29er, Monster Cross and 36&#… [...]

Dan - 03/11/11 - 6:45pm

There will be a chain tension difference, but it will be so slight that it will not matter. The variance in the roundness of a chain ring would probably be about the same.

Stevil - 03/16/11 - 10:21am

Just because it can be done, doesn’t mean it should be done.

nick - 03/19/11 - 4:56am

I think you guys are missing the point….

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