20 August 2012

Rohloff-Equipped, Belt Driven Firefly Custom Titanium Dream Commuter

These photos of a titanium super commuter were submitted by Firefly Bicycles.  This bike has all manner of bells and whistles and an amazing level of component integration.  The guys at Firefly have nearly three decades of experience building top quality bike frames, but what really sets them apart is their amazing level of creativity and attention to detail.  The finishes on their bikes are often understated, but striking.  Small touches of color in minimalist graphics, logos, or head badges tie components color accents into the frame for an aesthetically pleasing package.  Browse their gallery to see more examples of their work.

Firefly came to us for the wheels, belt drive components, and gear ratio advice.  The Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14 had been chosen for the gearing system based on its reputation for ultimate durability.  The Gates Carbon Drive Center Track belt system is a natural partner for the Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14 as it offers a very long lifespan and almost no maintenance.  Together, you get a drivetrain that you never have to worry about, which is key when you rely on your bike for daily transportation.

Since most commuters end up on their bikes outside of daylight hours, any serious commuter bike needs lights.  Using a hub generator to power the lights means you'll never find yourself in the dark because you forgot to charge a battery.  The Schmidt SON dynamo hubs are made in Germany and are the best quality generator hubs on the market. Much like the Rohloff rear hubs, they are items that you can bolt onto the bike and have confidence that they will work whenever you get on the bike. For this build, the dynamo hub powers a pair of Supernova LED lights.

The gearing choice of 55/20 gives a primary drive ratio of 2.75:1.  We have found this gearing to work well for most commuting setups.  It provides gear options that let you pedal at higher speeds on moderate downhills or flat sections with a tail wind while also giving low enough gears to handle rolling terrain and moderate climbs with a load.  For mountain or heavily loaded touring bikes, we generally use gearing closer to Rohloff's  minimum 2.35:1 ratio, and for more road oriented bikes, we generally use a ratio around 3:1.

For the wheels, we laced the Rohloff and Schmidt hubs into Velocity Dyad rims using DT Swiss Competition spokes and brass nipples.  The Dyad rim is a very versatile model that gets a lot of spec from us.  We've used it for just about any type of bike, but mostly for commuting, touring, and XC mountain bikes.  While we stock and normally build with Sapim spokes, we can accommodate special requests for just about any parts, such as the DT Competition spokes on this build.  The Competition model is a standard double butted spoke that is almost identical to the Sapim Race model that we use most often.

Highlights on this frameset:
  • Titanium frame and parts won't rust, have no paint to chip, and are scratch and dent resistant
  • Internal cable routing for the brake lines, shift cables, and lighting wires on frame and fork
  • Integrated custom titanium rack with fender and taillight mounts and internal taillight wire routing
  • One-piece custom titanium bar and stem
  • Custom titanium headset spacers that transition cleanly from stem clamp to headset top cap
  • Rohloff-specific cable routing
  • Eccentric bottom bracket
  • Belt drive coupling

Build details:
  • Frame: Firefly Custom Titanium 
  • Fork: ENGIN Custom Steel 
  • Headset: Chris King NoThreadset 
  • Headset Spacers: Firefly Custom Titanium 
  • Stem/Handlebar: Firefly Custom Titanium 
  • Grips: Ergon GP1 for Rohloff 
  • Shifter: Rohloff 
  • Seatpost: Firefly Titanium 
  • Saddle: Brooks Swallow Titanium 
  • Front Hub: Schmidt SON28 2012 
  • Rear hub: Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14 
  • Spokes: DT Swiss Competition 
  • Nipples: DT Swiss Brass 
  • Rims: Velocity Dyad 
  • Tires: Schwalbe Marathon Plus 
  • Cranks: Truvatic Noir 1.1 
  • Bottom Bracket: Problem Solvers Press Fit30 Eccentric 
  • Chainring/rear sprocket: Gates Carbon Drive Center Track Pulleys 
  • Chain: Gates Carbon Drive Center Track Belt 
  • Brakes: Formula R1 
  • Rotors: Rohloff/Formula 160mm 
  • Rack: Firefly Custom Titanium, integrated 
  • Fenders: SKS P45 
  • Lights: Supernova E3 Triple & E3 Tail Light 
  • Panniers: Philosophy Bag Co