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Amazing Pulley Repair Tech

Supermax can save your ass

By Bandit and Spacer
6/11/2010 8:21:41 AM

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The Doctor of Belts, the Master of poly urethane, the god of Cottonwood, Phil Ross or Spacer, to the bros who know...

This is wild. I've known Phil Ross (or Spacer), one of the original belt drive masters for almost 35 years. I think I ran one of his primary drives in the late '70s. I have one of his narrow primary drives in my '48 Pan tin primaries. You can't see it, and it will virtually last forever.


Phil has always been a one-man show, building quality products wherever he could set up a smoky shop, first in Gardena, California, then near Bakersfield in California Hot Springs in a cabin. Then he escaped California for Montana, but couldn't handle the winters and returned west to Cottonwood, Arizona the home of the SmokeOut West. Fortunately, his web site doesn't move.

Phil learned much of his trade from Dick Allen. Here's Dick and his trike that big Daddy Ed Roth and Dick built. This was a crazy ride. (He is holding his pet Ocelot.) Phil upholstered this seat, as well as most of the early chopper seats in the south bay in the '60s. Phil and Dick made the very first "Cobra seat for Dick's chrome framed Knuckle in '65

Phil is the only guy on the planet to make cast poly- urethane pulleys. One day a customer asked Phil, "Can you fix this pulley?"

Phil tried to sell him one his own custom pulleys. He makes several. "But it doesn't match my wheels, besides I spent over $500 on this damn thing. I can't shit-can it." Phil picked up the pulley and pondered his options. It dawned on him like a bolt of lightning to a disciple of the House of custom lords. He could save expensive custom pulleys and be knighted into the highest ranks of the Kustomdom round billet table. Phil didn't stop at just one or two miracle cures, but studied stock pulleys, Victory pulleys and anything pulley oriented. He researched pitch and wear.

"The stock pitch for the rest of the industry is HTD (round tooth)," Phil said, "which requires bow- string tight belts to prevent squeaking." Phil's transmission pulleys are configured at R/T tooth profile, so belts can run less tension, preventing bearing stress damage, or belt wear. "Plus the pulleys will last forever."

Super Max rear wheel pulleys are the HTD tooth profile also but their tranny pulleys utilize a "R/T" tooth profile which is a prioritory tooth profile offered only by Super Max...The off-ramp on the tranny pulleys is only 2 degrees and offer a trash groove to eliminate damage from small road waste meaning that the belt tension can be much less than with the HTD round tooth pulleys.

He wanted his pulley to outlast the new metal ones. He promised to insure they would never squeak. He can fix 61, 64, 65, and 70-tooth pulleys and even Gilroy Indian jobs, some Victory and most aftermarket pulleys. Shortly he'll be set up to mend 72-tooth pulleys.

Keep in mind, if you roll through this process, that Phil is sorta the Gepetto watchmaker of the pulley world. Each pulley is hand made, hand repaired and hand shipped back to you. Let's follow Phil's rules for pulley repair:

SuperMax offers an assortment of pulley colors.

First things first...Customer e-mails or phones Super Max and describes exactly what he has and wants. They will instruct you as to how to execute your order. Super Max is a specialty shop and all parts are pretty much made to order for each customer.

Here's a worn out pulley ready for the operating room.

The pulley is removed from the bike and shipped off to the machine shop, with a description of what the customer wants such as a special color.

in lathe
Machining off worn teeth.

When it arrives at the machine shop SuperMax removes the worn or damaged teeth and the pulley is machined to a specified size. The Over-Lay is then securely applied, and Phil blesses each part before it's prepared for shipment. All pulleys are modified by appointment.

The Over-Lay's are expanded by heat and a super special secret cement is applied to the Carrier and the inside of the over-lay . The over-lay is then shrunk fitted onto the carrier to clamp down on it and then they install stainless steel set screws to insure "No spin-offs."

Here's a completed pulley ready to be shipped.

Next step is to clean it up and get it in the box.

There you have it, seven years of research and development, and most pulley can now last forever. Phil or Spacer also builds transmission pulleys in 31, 32, 33, and 34-tooth configurations. They have the modified pitch for less strain on belts and bearings, won't squeak and weigh only around 2 pounds, amazing.

Stockpulley on scale
Here's a stock tranny pulley on a scale.

SMpulley on scale
An amazing Super Max tranny pulley in the color of choice, on the same scale.

He also makes a 35-tooth pulley for kick-only bikes. He is the master. Check him out at the 10th Anniversary Smoke Out West in May or click on his banner below for quick response.

We offered Phil either the Rivy or the girl. We're still waiting on an answer.

NOTE FROM THE MASTER: Went into Bikernet archives and the rear wheel pulley fix is in the news...But it still has my Montana phone # in there 406 is Montana but our new # in Arizona is 928-649-2836...Spacer


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Reader Comments

Please call me about a rebuild. Thank you. 662-552-4480

Maben, MS
Tuesday, October 25, 2022
Editor Response Hey Angela,

Have you tried to reach SuperMax Belt Drives? Let me know if you can reach them.
The article was awesome!
I ride a Saxon Griffin.
It has a 70-tooth rear pulley, and I need it repaired. Any suggestions where I can have this done?

springs, gauteng, Slovenia
Monday, August 28, 2017
Editor Response Yes, Supermax is alive and kicking. Call this number, quick.

SuperMax Overlays Division 928-649-2836
This is an excellent article, and I am surprised that no one else has figured out how to do this work on belt drive pulleys. Phil was one of a kind and unfortunately passed away. But Supermax is still in business!

I spoke with Vivian Ross, the widow of Phil Ross, this afternoon (October 26, 2016) and they are up and running on the pulley rebuilds.

They are still the only company in the world rebuilding belt drive pulleys. For us American Ironhorse owners, who want to keep a matching set of wheels and pulley, this is the only option.

Ish Reyes
Manitowoc, WI
Wednesday, October 26, 2016
Editor Response Thanks for the update. Give Vivian our best.
My rear pully refurbished by Phil Ross 3 years ago broke down completely this weekend. And last season I didn't ride at all, so it's not many miles on it!

This is complete shit
Best regards

Lennart Lindeberg
Gothenburg, Sweden
Monday, July 15, 2013
Editor Response I talked to Vyvian Ross, of Supermax Belt Drives, yesterday. They have belts in stock for all their belt drives.

She is trying to hire a machinist to make all the pulleys. All of that work was done by Phil. Vyvian said that she doesn't have the strength to pull the poly pulleys out of the molds and is unable to machine the offset pulleys. She hired someone from CA several weeks ago, but that person never showed up.

Vyvian is current sending a lot of customers to Phil's friend, Jim Longo, of Karata Belt Drives. That website is a little difficult to navigate. You have to go to the bottom of the page, and click on one of those options.

Harley Tech Talk

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