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Phil Ross, The Man Behind The Modern Belt Drive

Phil Ross of SuperMax Products has been involved with motorcycles for well over half a century. One day someone may write a book chronicling his event-filled life, but we are going to cut to the chase and talk about his belt drives. Phil had always been disenchanted with chains and wanted an alternative that would be strong and work well with little or no maintenance. First he approached Uniroyal about producing belts, but they weren't interested in working with small companies. Through a friend, he was directed to the Gates Rubber Company. In 1972, Phil headed to Denver on his gooseneck chopper and pulled up to Gates facility. As soon as he said "motorcycles", he had their attention. Gates engineers John Redmond and his associate, Don McCombre, showed Phil a poly-chain belt they were working on for snowmobiles. They were having problems with debris tearing up their belts. It was obvious that they had tackled the wrong market and Phil had the answer. The engineers at Gates agreed to help Phil if he would help them. Gates provided some sample belts and cut some teeth into a giant piece of billet aluminum. Phil machined it out and inserted a H-D clutch basket into the ring for the first poly-chain test. That basket probably weighed 20 pounds. They started out with belts constructed from No. 45 Kevlar cord, which weren't up to the task. Then they changed to No. 65 and finally ended up with No. 80 cord Kevlar belts, but they still experienced a few failures. At the time, they were unaware of the fact that the transmissions and the engines were not flat with each other, which was the primary cause of premature belt failure. Early on they noticed that the aluminum pulleys were wearing out way too soon. They tried hard anodizing them, but that didn't work well either. Then they tried steel, which was heavy, expensive, and still wore out. John Redmond suggested, "Why don't we make the pulleys out of a material similar to the belts?". Phil and John started experimenting with materials and methods to produce them. Finally, after many tries, they achieved success with polyurethane pulleys. They now had pulleys that wouldn't wear out and a belt strong enough to do the job. It was 1975 when they finished all the initial prototype work and testing. Next Gates and Phil attacked a rear drive just to see what would happen. Again he was rewarded with success.
. . read the rest of this amazing chronicle.

Sugar Bear knows how to build great choppers.
He also knows that SuperMax makes the best belt drives for Harley-Davidson motorcycles!

				If you are building a chopper, talk to Sugar Bear:
				Sugar Bear Inc.     
 				Gardena, CA  90249
 				Phone/Fax:  310-768-4158
SuperMax is on the move .... !
The pic above is courtesy of Neal Moffet.   Thanks Neal.
Neals dad worked alongside Russ Collins, the creator and pilot of this horizontal rocket.

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