24 June 2014

Tech Talk: Belt vs. Chain Drive

Belt drive on a modified Surly Pugsley
Chain drive on a stock Vassago Verhauen

Belt drives are one of the most exciting innovations in bicycle technology in recent years, as they have helped expose more cyclists to the advantages of internally geared drivetrains. A belt drive paired with a Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14 or Schlumpf Drive creates one of the most reliable and low maintenance drivetrains available.

The entire belt drive system consisting of a belt and front and rear
 sprockets weighs nearly half of a standard chain

09 June 2014

Vassago Verhauen with Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14

We put together this Vassago Verhauen with a Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14 to showcase a 29er hardtail made in the U.S. from premium True Temper steel. With a butted, heat treated tubeset that is light and strong, this frame offers the lively ride that steel bikes are known for. Traditional cross country geometry makes the Verhauen right at home on tight, twisty singletrack, and paired with a SPEEDHUB, it is sure to satisfy riders looking for a fun, minimal maintenance mountain bike.

Vassago is based in Phoenix, Arizona, and hand builds their Black Label frame models right here in the United States, including the Verhauen. By using True Temper's OX Platinum tubing and frame parts from Paragon Machine Works, Vassago is able to offer a completely US-made frame. The inclusion of Paragon's sliding dropouts makes the frame compatible with a wide variety of drivetrains and axle interfaces, including a clean SPEEDHUB installation. True Temper's OX Platinum tubing is made from high strength modern steel that is shaped to provide more material in high stress areas and less material in low stress areas to save weight.

The Verhauen frame offers the same quality as meticulously built frames from the most renowned small frame builders, but at a price that is much more approachable than these artisan frames.  Along with the Verhauen, Vassago also offers the titanium Optimus Ti and TKO models as part their Black Label series. Additionally, the company offers imported frames for those looking for a much lower pricepoint, including the Jabberwocky and Fisticuff.  All of these frames are well suited for use with a Rohloff SPEEDHUB.

For the wheels, we started with Stan’s NoTubes ZTR Flow rims, which are a light, trail-oriented option with a medium width. We then added Sapim Race spokes and brass nipples to lace up a black Rohloff SPEEDHUB rear hub and Toxaholics front hub. After the wheels were built, we mounted Schwalbe’s Smart Sam tires, which have low center knobs that roll fast in hard-packed dirt as well as taller side knobs to grip in loose conditions.

While many cross country-oriented bikes prioritize light weight, they often do so at the expense of being delicate. Light components can be desirable for racing, but they are often not designed to last more than one season and typically need regular maintenance to keep running smoothly. The combination of the Rohloff SPEEDHUB and lightweight steel Verhauen frame gives this bike the responsive feel of a lightweight race bike, yet does not need a mechanic's special touch after each ride. Quality steel frames are known to last for more than a decade, and the SPEEDHUB has an undefined lifespan with the only routine maintenance being a recommended annual oil change.

To finish off the build, we used a selection of high performance, yet durable components including a Rockshox SID fork, Magura MT8 hydraulic disc brakes, Salsa Bend 2 handlebars, ESI latex foam grips, Thomson stem and seatpost, and Race Face Turbine cranks. With these race-worthy yet reliable parts, this Verhauen is a fast and fun build for nearly any trail style.

If you are looking a trail bike in the same style as this Verhauen, contact us to start a conversation about a Vassago bike of your own.

Build Details:

• Frame: Vassago Verhauen
• Fork: Rockshox SID
• Headset: Cane Creek Forty
• Stem: Thomson Elite X4
• Handlebar: Salsa Bend 2
• Shifter: Rohloff
• Grips: ESI foam
• Seat post: Thomson
• Saddle: WTB Valcon
• Seat Clamp: Vassago
• Front Hub: Toxaholics
• Rear hub: Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14
• Spokes: Sapim Race
• Nipples: Sapim Brass
• Rims: Stan’s NoTubes ZTR Flow
• Tires: Schwalbe Smart Sam
• Cranks: Race Face Turbine
• Pedals: Shimano XTR SPD
• Bottom Bracket: Race Face
• Chain ring: Race Face Single
• Rear Sprocket: Rohloff
• Chain: Wipperman Connex
• Brakes & Levers: Magura MT8
• Rotors: Magura Storm