Dynamic Bicycles - shaft drive hybrid bikes, commuter bicyclesNext generation shaft drive bicycles
Hybrid Bicycles, Commuter Bicycles, Chainless Bicycles, Shaft Drive Bicycles

Common Questions

Shaft Drive

What are the advantages of shaft drive bicycles versus chain bicycles?
How long have shaft drive bikes been around?
How durable is the shaft drive?
How much do shaft drive bikes weigh versus chain bikes?
How will the shaft drive effect or enhance riding performance?
Can existing bikes be retrofitted with a shaft drive?
How do Dynamic's shaft drive bicycles compare to other shaft drive bicycles?

Gearing

Where are the gears?
How many speeds do chainless bicycles have?
How do you shift gears?
What are the gear ratios for your bikes?
Do all the bicycles use the same shaft drive?
How fast are your bikes?

Ordering

Where can I test ride the bikes?
What is the right bike size for me?
How does Dynamic Bicycles package and ship its bikes?
What assembly is required when I receive the bike?
How are Dynamic Bicycles guaranteed?
Can I buy the shaft drive by itself?
Is is safe to buy on-line?

Care and Maintenance

What maintenance is required for the shaft drive and internal gears?
What happens if I have a problem with the shaft drive?
Where can I get the bike serviced if needed?
How do you remove the rear wheel if you get a flat tire?
What if the gears are slipping - how can you adjust the gears?
How do I adjust the brakes?


Shaft Drive

What are the advantages of shaft drive bicycles versus chain bicycles?
Easier to operate: Simple twist grip shift is convenient, responsive and operates independent of pedaling so you can shift gears anytime, even at a complete stop.
Safer: No chain to fall off; no chain bite on clothing.
Cleaner: Axles and gears are fully enclosed - no grease/oil exposure to get on hands or clothing.
Lower maintenance: Fully enclosed, durable bevel gears are protected from impacts, debris and the elements.
Smoother ride: Fluid shifting and mesh gearing combine to create smoother pedaling and shifting.
Easier to transport: Easy loading and unloading without getting chain grease on hands and clothes.
Lower cost of ownership: Increased durability and drastically decreased maintenance schedule means fewer service and repair costs.

Also see Top 10 Reasons Shaft Drive Bicycles are Better

How long have shaft drive bikes been around?
Shaft drive bikes actually date back to the early 1900's, when riders such as Major Taylor won historic races on a shaft drive bicycle. However, at this time, although shaft drive bikes were popular due to their clean, safe operation and smooth ride, they were only single speed bikes. With the introduction of chain and deraileur systems, shaft drives fell out of favor in exchange for the versatility that gearing provided.

Fast forward to 1991. This is when our factory - Sussex Enterprises Co. Ltd, based in Taichung, Taiwan - introduced the modern shaft drive transmission system. Sussex is considered the pioneer of the modern shaft drive. It was the first to introduce spiral bevel gears into the shaft drive system, which made the gearing smoother and stronger. Sussex was also the first to develop the interface to Shimano's advanced 7-speed and 8-speed internal gear hubs, giving its bikes incredible versatility and performance. We are currently on our third generation shaft drive.

In truth, it was really Shimano's development of the internal hubs that became the catalyst for the renaissance of the shaft drive system more so than the engineering advances of the shaft drive itself. Without these hubs, the shaft drive is a single speed transmission. By combining the shaft drive with the internal hub, our bikes deliver the best of both worlds - clean, low maintenance operation, as well as the versatility of a wide range of gearing.

How durable is the shaft drive?
Our shaft drive system uses CNC machined spiral bevel gears made from hardened chromoly, as well as sealed cartridge bearings, and cast aluminum housings. The shaft drive system was designed to last 6,000-8,000 miles; however, this range can vary greatly depending on how the bicycle is ridden. More aggressive and heavier riders, and riders on hilly terrain will get a shorter life from the gears and bearings; more recreational riders on rolling terrain will get a longer life. The life expectancy of the shaft drive system should far surpass that of a chain/derailleur system under comparable riding conditions, and the shaft drive system is far less expensive to replace than chain/sprocket/derailleur components. Our shaft drive is assembled by hand in our own factory, and has been rigorously tested for strength and durability. Our shaft drives are made with:

The shaft drive is also resilient to impacts and is weather resistant for all-season use. Its sealed design makes it better protected from adverse conditions such as sand, dirt, water, salt and grime than any chain bike ever could be.

How much do shaft drive bikes weigh versus chain bikes?
Our bikes range in weight from 24-32 lbs. depending on the model. Most people who ride our bikes comment how light our chainless bikes feel, especially compared to other internal hub bikes. In fact, our bikes weigh less than one pound more than a traditional chain bike of the same configuration. In other words, if our same bikes were configured with a chain and sprockets instead of our shaft drive, our shaft drive bike would be less than 1 pound heavier than the chain bike. That means for all the added advantages of our chainless bikes including a smoother ride, smoother shifting, less maintenance, fewer repairs and greater safety, the trade-off is less than 1 pound!

How will the shaft drive effect or enhance riding performance?
Testing has shown that the efficiency of our shaft-drive system is about 92%-94% without tune-ups or adjustments. According to Dobrovolsk and Others' "Machine Elements Textbook", the peak efficiency of very expensive chain systems ranges from 95% to 97% (single-speed configuration, chainrings in same diameter, chain in perfect alignment and chain in permanent ideal tension). However, typical multi-speed chain-derailleur bikes range in efficiency from 75% up to 85%, and require periodic adjustments and tune-ups to run at this level of efficiency. This means that for every pedal stroke, shaft drive bicycles will perform more consistently and shift gears more smoothly than a chain bike that is not meticulously cleaned, adjusted and lubricated. This translates into more consistent performance without worrying about adjusting chain tension, aligning chains and derailleurs, and regularly cleaning and lubricating the chains and chain-rings.

Can existing bikes be retrofitted with a shaft drive?
No. The shaft drive requires a specially designed frame. All of our bicycle frames were designed specifically for use with the shaft drive, ensuring the highest levels of performance and reliability.

How do Dynamic's shaft drive bicycles compare to other shaft drive bicycles?
Dynamic's shaft drive bicycles are superior in several ways:

Gearing

Where are the gears?
We use Shimano's advanced Nexus and Alfine internal gear hub. The gears are all neatly tucked away inside the rear wheel axle. These types of internal gears are called inernally geared hubs. Because all the moving parts are sealed inside the hub, there are no external moving parts to maintain, adjust or clean. Shimano's hubs are sealed and lifetime lubricated to provide many years and many thousands of miles of worry-free riding.

How many speeds do chainless bicycles have?
Dynamic Bicycles uses the Shimano 8-speed and 7-speed internal gear hub technology. However, don't let the number of speeds mislead you. With Shimano internal hubs, our bikes provide bigger "steps" between the gears, so a single gear change on our bike is like changing 2-3 gears on a chain bike. In turn, our 8-speed bikes provide the same gear range as 21 gears on a chain bike, and our 7-speed bikes offer the range of 18 gears. This gives you a very wide range of gearing for climbing hills or cruising streets without all the messy, noisy, clumsy external gear components. In essence, internal hubs just eliminate all the redundant, unused gears inherent in chain bikes and provide you with much simplified, more consistent and more reliable gearing. Plus, these hubs are virtually maintenance free.

Want a bit more techie? Read on. With chain bikes, changing gears is done by moving derailleurs to manipulate the position of the chain on both the front and rear sprockets. By changing the position of the chain on the sprockets, you change the gear ratio (i.e. the number of rotations of the rear wheel for each rotation of the pedals). For instance, in 2nd gear on a 24-speed chain bike (chain is on the small front sprocket with 28 teeth, and on the 2nd to smallest rear sprocket with 26 teeth), the gear ratio will be about 1.1, which means that for every one full revolution of your pedal, the rear wheel will turn 1.1 times. In 21st gear, the gear ratio is 2.9 (48-tooth front, 14-tooth rear), which means that for each complete revolution of your pedal, the rear wheel will turn 2.9 times. The downside of gearing on bikes with chains and deraileurs is that in order to create the range of gearing for both climbing hills and cruising along on flats, you end up with mostly redundant gears in between. This is why you often times have to switch 2, 3 or 4 gears at a time, and manipulate both shifters in order to feel a difference in pedaling. Also on a chain bike, if you want to know what gear you're in, you have look down at the position of the chain on the sprockets, which is awkward and dangerous.

With Dynamic's shaft drive and Shimano's internal gear hub, we have a more natural separation between gears so you get a very wide gear range without all the superfluous gears as on chain bikes. Each gear change on our bike provides you a smooth transition to the next speed. We also provide plenty of gearing for climbing hills, cruising on flats and many gears in between. The gear shift indicator tells you what gear you are it at all times, and the single shifter makes it much easier to operate that having to fumble with multiple shifters on each hand.

With shaft drive bikes, one gear change is like changing 2-3 gears on a chain bike. Our 7-speed models offer the range of 18 gears of a chain bike and our 8-speed models offer the range of 21 gears. The 7-speed gear range is our recreational range, giving you the ability to ride rolling hills on paved or packed surfaces with ease, while giving you the high end range to cruise at about 15-20 mph. With the 8-speed, the gear range is expanded, especially on the low end for tackling steeper hills. For a detailed comparison of our gear ratios to that of a chain bike, view our Gear Ratio Chart.

How do you shift gears?
The gearing on our chainless bikes is simpler to operate than a chain bike. All the gearing is controlled with a single shifter on the right hand. Most of our bikes come standard with either the twist grip shifter or a rapid fire shifter. The gear indicator tells you what gear you are in all the time - no more guess work or looking down at your chain to see what gear you are in. Plus, with our bikes, the shifting is independent of the pedaling, so you can shift at anytime - while pedaling, coasting or even at a complete stop. Our bikes offer a much easier, faster and safer way to adjust for changing terrain or respond to road situations without worrying about dropping a chain.

What are the gear ratios for your bikes?
Dynamic's bicycles use the Shimano 7-speed and 8-speed internal hubs to give them a surprisingly wide gear range from a very compact space. Our bikes can offer a gear range comparable to 20 gears on a 24-speed chain bike -- a gear range wider than most traditional 10-speed bikes. For a complete gear ratio chart, please view our Gear Ratio Chart.

Do all the bicycles use the same shaft drive?
Dynamic Bicycles shaft drive is available in 2 different fixed gear ratios: Sport (2.07) and Speed (2.38). These fixed gear ratios combine with the Shimano internal gear hub to create the final gearing of the bicycle. The Sport shaft drive provides the best gear range for street/path riding with moderate to hilly terrain. The Speed shaft drive provides a bit higher gearing for faster speeds on flat to rolling terrain. Most of our bikes are equipped standard with the Sport (2.07) shaft drive. Ther Sidekick, due to its smaller 20" wheel diameter, is equipped standard with the Speed shaft drive to compensate for its smaller wheel size. If you would like to order your bicycle with a different shaft drive than what is standard on the bike, please call us - on most bike models we can make this change for a small additional charge.

How fast are your bikes?
Dynamic chainless bicycles offer quick cruising speeds for fitness and exercise riding, commuting, and recreational touring. On our 700C hybrid bikes, a rider pedaling at 60-70 rpms on flat ground will cruise at 18-20 mph. Faster pedaling can yield speeds over 25 mph.

Ordering

Where can I test ride the bikes?
Dynamic Bicycles sells and ships its bikes direct to its customers, so our bikes are not readily available in bike shops for test rides. However, if you have questions about our bikes such frame sizing or model selection, please call to speak with one of our sales consultants.

What is the right bike size for me?
Dynamic's bicycles come in different frame sizes to accommodate riders of different heights. Frame sizes are based on the length of the seat tube – measured from the center of the bottom bracket (where the pedal crank attaches to the bike) to the top of the seat tube. All of the other dimensions of the bike are proportioned based on this measurement, ensuring that the rest of the bike will be properly proportioned for your body size. In addition, many of our bike models are designed with multiple points of adjustment - including the seat (up/down, forward/back, and pitch angle) and the stem/handlebar (up/down and angle). This adjustability gives you the ability to set a riding position that is most comfortable to you.

How does Dynamic Bicycles package and ship its bikes?
When you receive the bicycle, it is 90% assembled in its shipping carton. All you need to do is attach the front wheel, handlebar, seat, pedals, and any accessories. Average assembly takes less than 20 minutes. Dynamic Bicycles ships all of its bicycles by UPS Ground. All shipments are insured and ship from our warehouse in RI. Shipping times within the continental US are between 2 and 5 days. The package weighs approximately 35 pounds and measures 52"L x 9" W x 30" H.

What assembly is required when I receive the bike?
Before we ship the bike to you, our production team professionally tunes and inspects your bicycle. We will true the wheels, set the brakes, inflate the tires, tighten all bolts, and inspect and adjust the gearing. So when we ship it to you, it is already 90% assembled in the box. Final assembly takes about 20-30 minutes. When you receive the bike, you will need to attach the pedals, attach the handlebar (handlebar already has brakes and shifter attached), insert the seat post (quick release lever) and attach the front wheel (quick release lever). Setting up the bike is a great way to admire and get familiar with your new bike. Your bicycle comes with a multi-tool, so the only tool you will need for setup will be a 15mm wrench (to tighten the pedals). For more detailed assembly instructions, click HERE.

How are Dynamic Bicycles guaranteed?
Dynamic Bicycles is committed to your satisfaction. This is why we offer a 30-day Courtesy Return for bikes shipped within the continental US. If within the first 30 days after you receive your bicycle, you are not satisfied with your bike, call us to explain your situation. We will be glad to assist you and make every effort to address any issues you are facing. If your bicycle is operating properly but you would still like to return it within the first 30 days, we will be happy to issue you a Courtesy Return Authorization and a refund of your purchase price minus shipping charges plus a 10% restocking fee. No Courtesy Returns will be offered for bikes sold on close-out, bikes residing outside the continental US, or for bikes kept over 30 days after receipt.

If within the first 30 days after you receive your bicycle, you are having a technical issue that we are unable to correct to your satisfaction, we will offer to exchange your bicycle, or offer you a full refund. Dynamic Bicycles will pay for all shipping charges to address technical issues. For bicycles residing outside the continental US, customers will be responsible for any shipping and handling charges including duty, customs, brokerage and related taxes to return the bike. Bikes returned for technical reasons will be inspected to verify technical issues. Bikes returned with a technical issue that cannot be verified or duplicated by our production department will be treated as a Courtesy Return.

Can I buy the shaft drive by itself?
The shaft drive is only available for sale by itself for warranty or replacement purposes. It is not available for sale by itself for other purposes. The shaft drive requires a special frame, so it cannot be retro-fitted onto a frame not made specifically for our shaft drive. The shaft drive is also only designed for its current application. It is not designed for use in any other application. If you would like to work with us to design a shaft drive system for use in a commercial product you are developing, please contact us at 800-935-9553.

Is is safe to buy on-line?
Purchasing on-line from Dynamic Bicycles is very safe. We use the latest security protocols and standards to ensure the safety of your personal and credit card information. This includes 128-bit encryption and a variety of security and transaction processing checks. We also do not store any credit card data from on-line transactions, ensuring your data can never be compromised. Click HERE for details on our Secure Shopping.

Care and Maintenance

What maintenance is required for the shaft drive and internal gears?
Our bicycles require less maintenance than any other bikes on the market. The Shimano internal gear hubs we use are sealed and lifetime lubricated, so they do not have any scheduled tune-ups or maintenance. For our 2013 and later bike models using the 4th generation shaft drive, these bike models come with the lubrication you will need for the first 5,000+ miles. Small 5ml bottles of special grease are added to the shaft drive when you receive the bike and last for thousands of miles. The rear gears can be periodically lubricated to keep them running smooth and quiet using any available gear/bearing grease. Our bicycles use sealed cartridge bearings in the BB, headset and wheel bearings to virtually eliminate bearing maintenance. So the only "maintenance" we recommend on your bike is to periodically check your brakes (pads and/or disc rotors for wear), tire pressure and cables (for stretching). These adjustments are easily made at home - most without needing any special tools or knowledge.

For our bikes using the Sussex 3rd generation shaft drive, this shaft drive will require periodic lubrication. More aggressive riders and heavier riders may need to add grease every 1-3 months (300-500 miles), while more recreational or occasional riders may only need to add grease every 6-12 months (500-1,000 miles). Grease is added to the front gearbox through a standard grease nipple (zerk fitting) on the underside of the gearbox using a grease gun. Grease is added to the rear gearbox simply by removing the rear plastic dust cover and applying grease right to the gear teeth. Typically, greasing the shaft drive takes less than 1 minute each time -- without getting grease on your hands or clothes. As a rule of thumb, use the least amount necessary to do the job. Note that the front gearbox ia not packed in grease; you only use enough grease to keep the gears lubricated. Extraneous grease only adds friction/drag. For best performance, we recommend Green Grease (www.greengrease.net) which is what we include with our Grease Gun Kit, or Finish Line Synthetic grease with Teflon (tan color) which is available in most local bike shops. You might also have good success with Park Tool Polylube 1000 or similar greases made for heavy duty applications (look for greases with a high 4 Ball EP rating - 500+). The better the grease, the higher its strength rating, and the longer the period between regreasings. The rear gears still need periodic lubrication to keep them running smooth and quiet.

What happens if I have a problem with the shaft drive?
The shaft drive is likely the most durable component on the bike. It only requires lubrication to keep it running smooth, efficient and quiet. However, if you believe there is a problem with your shaft drive, call us first. If we cannot help you readily correct it over the phone, we can offer you repair or replacement parts. The shaft drive is covered with a limited lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects. A replacement shaft drive costs $89.95 - which is often less than the cost of any one chain component - such as a derailleur, crankset or rear cassette. Plus, the shaft drive can be replaced by non-mechanics in about 30 minutes with just two tools (a crank puller and an Allen wrench).

Where can I get the bike serviced if needed?
Since 95% of the components on our bikes are exactly the same as on every other high quality bicycle, our bikes can be serviced at any reputable bike shop. Aside from the shaft drive, every component on our bike is industry standard - from the brakes, tires, spokes, rims, seat and handlebar to the Shimano internal gear hub. So if you ever need service done such as brake adjustments, repairing flat tires or adding accessories, rest assured you can go to your local bike shop for help. If you feel there is a problem with the shaft drive on your bicycle, please call us at 1-800-935-9553.

How do you remove the rear wheel if you get a flat tire?
In many ways, changing a flat tire on our chainless bikes is easier than it is on a chain bicycle. You simply remove the black dust cover from the rear gearbox and loosen the axle nuts on both sides of the rear wheel. The wheel slides straight off the back of the bike. You disconnect the shifter cable (quick-pull lever) and the wheel is completely free of the bike. To put the wheel back on, you reverse this process; re-attach the shifter cable, and slide the wheel right onto the bike. The washers on the axle are keyed so they only go on one way - this ensures that when you tighten the axle nuts, the gears and wheel are aligned. No special tools or skills are needed. For complete instructions on removing the rear wheel or fixing a flat rear tire, watch our Removing the Rear Wheel Video on the How-To Videos page.

What if the gears are slipping - how can you adjust the gears?
Shimano hubs do not need any adjustments for many, many years. If the gears are "slipping" - meaning it doesn't feel like the gears are shifting correctly or consistently - this typically means that the shifter cable has stretched (which is normal - all cables stretch over time). You can make this adjustment yourself without tools and without needing to touch the hub itself. To compensate for this cable stretch, you use the barrel adjuster on the handlebar where the shifter cable connects to the shifter to tighten to the cable and compensate for this cable stretching. For complete instructions on using the barrel adjuster to adjust your gears, watch our Gear Adjustment Video on the How-To Videos page.

How do I adjust the brakes?
Most of Dynamic Bicycles bikes come standard with high quality linear-pull brakes (sometimes called V-brakes). This style of brakes are standard across the bicycle industry because they provide excellent stopping power and are easy to maintain. Linear-pull brakes work using independent brakes arms on either side of the rim of the wheel. When the brake lever is squeezed, the brake pads on each side of the wheel squeeze against the rim together to stop the wheel. If the brake pads are not squeezing evenly or if one pad needs to be adjusted, you can do this yourself using a screwdriver in just a few minutes. For complete instructions on brake adjustment, you can download our instructions for Adjusting Brakes.

Some of our bikes also come with disc brakes standard or as an option. Although all styles of brakes (linear pull, caliper or disc) have to meet the same US CPSC standards for braking performance and stopping distance, disc brakes can provide improved stopping performance in wet, icy and muddy/slick conditions. Some of our models are available with front disc brake, rear disc brake or both (dual disc brake). Disc brakes work much like brakes on your car, using a stainless steel rotor attached to the wheel and a caliper with metallic/ceramic brake pads that squeeze onto this rotor to stop the wheel. See bike model specifications to see if disc brakes are available on the model you have chosen. Note that 60%-70% of your stopping power comes from the front brake, so be sure to use both front and rear brakes simultaneously for the best braking performance of your bicycle.