2012 Spot Brand Coyote Belt Drive Review

Spot builds bicycles—not baseball bats, ski bindings or golf clubs—just bicycles. So when the Spot Coyote Belt-Drive Bike arrived at our office, we knew we wouldn’t be let down; in fact, we are awfully impressed. Built around a swift and stealthy custom lightweight steel frame and fitted with Spot’s patent-pending stainless steel dropouts, the Coyote can accommodate a number of gear options.

MSRP is $1098. I purchased the bike from hucknroll.com for $1048 with free shipping using a $50 off coupon I found online. Buying experience from hucknroll was great. I ordered it online on a Sunday night and by that following Tuesday I had the bike. They fully assembled the bike in house and then shipped the bike using a freight company with only the front wheel removed. The freight company contacted me the day before the bike was delivered. I had to be present to sign for the bike to verify there was not any damage during shipment. My bike was in perfect shape. Front wheel was packaged separately inside the box to ensure it did not damage the frame. I was very impressed with the whole shipping experience and best of all it was free.

I installed the front wheel, adjusted the seat height and topped off the tire pressure. That was it and I was ready for a test ride. The belt drive is almost silent and there is zero slop in the drive train. Push the pedals forward and the bike moves forward instantly without any hesitation. Push the pedals backward and rear wheel instantly stops and reverses direction. The belt drive feels very smooth and more forgiving to the knees while riding the bike. The belt is very stiff and does not stretch noticeably, yet feels like there is a little give when slowing the bike down with your legs or traversing bumps and potholes in the road.

Now let’s talk details about the stock bike build. Frame is 4130 chromoly steel with a sweet naked finish and tasteful decals under a nice layer of clear coat. All the welds are visible and appear to be smooth and complete. The drive side rear dropout is split to allow installation of the belt. The dropouts are adjustable to set the tension of the belt correctly and then lock it in place. Rear wheel removal and re-installation does not change the tension. This is a very nice feature considering that the belt tension must be carefully set (which can be done with an iPhone app that is free to download, works like a guitar tuner, pretty slick) so changing flat tires out on the road will be a simple and painless affair.

The component spec is decent for a bike of this price. The belt drive components are very well machined aluminum alloy and the belt looks like something you would see on a car or motorcycle with one distinct difference. The belt has a center track groove taken out of it. The front and rear pulleys have a corresponding raised area in the center of the tooth arrangement. This keeps the belt aligned and from falling off. Very nice update from the older belt drive systems that relied on a guard on the inside of the rear pulley and outside of the front pulley to keep the belt from coming off. Gearing is 55 x 21 for about 70 gear inches with the 28C tires. Perfect sweet spot for me, but others might need something different. This poses a problem as the belt and pulley sizes are very limited right now for the center track system. Something to keep in mind if you would want to change the stock gearing. Handlebars, stem, seatpost and saddle are all Spot Brand and have a nice gloss black finish. The stock stem and riser handlebars are fine if you like risers. I prefer drops so I only rode with the risers for a few days before changing them out. Crankset and bottom bracket are Truvativ (Sram) Touro and PowerSpline respectively. Nice solid combo, but a little heavy for my tastes. The wheelset is a Spot branded Formula hub with an Alex DA22 rim. 32 stainless steel spokes for a nice solid wheeset that should hold up very well. Wheels rolled smooth and true out of the box. Tires are the ultra beefy WTB Thickslicks. A little on the heavy side they will no doubt hold up well for commuting, but do take some effort to get up to cruising speed.

I have already made a few modifications to the stock bike to suit my riding style and personal tastes. I installed an FSA OS-190 stem and Compact Wing Pro handlebar. I also installed Tekro R100A brake levers and R580 calipers I had lying around. Then I swapped the stock crank and bb for an Ultegra crank and Dura Ace bottom bracket that I also had in my parts stash. I had to flip the bb spindle around to get the correct “belt line”.

I will follow this review up with some long term feedback once I have used the bike in the rain and snow this winter. I have included a few pics to show the bike in stock and current form.

Source = xB_Nutt on bikeforums

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