Sample chainless bicycles on eBay.com
The chainless bicycle has been around since Victorian times. Several earlier designs were so-called “dynamic bicycles”, including the infamous, gigantic penny farthing. Open bicycle gears were also used in place of chains in some 19th century cycles.
Fast-forward to the 21st century, and dynamic bicycles are once more an option for cyclists. They offer several advantages over a bike with a chain. Let’s find out more.
What is a Chainless, or Shaft Drive Bicycle?
As the name suggests, a chainless bike is any bicycle without a chain to drive the back wheels. The bicycle chain is replaced by a drive shaft, similar in many ways to the way a car or truck is powered.
While the shaft can still be damaged by you crashing your bike, or by debris getting inside it, it is far cleaner and more reliable than a conventional chain/derailleur (the derailleur is the little chain guide that moves the chain when you shift from one gear ratio to another).
Pros and Cons of Dynamic Bicycles
- Lower maintenance
- Better life expectancy
- Less choice available
- Harder to repair by yourself
- More expensive
- Around 10% less efficient
Why should I consider a dynamic bicycle?
Did you know...?
Did you know that in the long run, buying a chainless bike actually saves you money?
It may cost slightly more than a regular chain bicycle, but needs far less maintenance than traditional bikes. In addition, since it doesn't have a chain, any maintenance or repairs that it might require tend to be quite minimal and affordable. All this translates to lower maintenance costs and long-term savings.
- You won't get your bicycling shorts covered in oil or grease if you brush against the drive shaft on a chainless bicycle.
The drive shaft cannot 'jump off' as you're changing gears halfway up a steep hill!
- Shaft-drive bicycles have a better life expectancy; the chain is the most frequent cause of problems for cyclists
- Shafts are not exposed to weather and will not rust
- You cannot get loose cycling clothes, hair or fingers caught in the drive shaft
Can I add a drive shaft to my existing bicycle?
The simple answer is - NO!
Unlike the case of the single speed bicycles, where shifting from multiple bicycle gears to a single speed gear is possible, it's not possible to pull off the old bicycle chain and attach a drive shaft, as the system requires special bicycle frames.
Buying Chainless Bicycles
While a shaft-drive bicycle is more expensive than a regular equivalent, the difference will not be prohibitive for many buyers. A good all-round hybrid bicycles with drive shaft can be had for a little over $400.
Last Word About Chainless Bicycles
If the dreaded bicycle chain blues have been getting you down, isn't it time you treated yourself to a dynamic bicycle?