Here's photos showing the difference between the DW Accelerator single chain cam and the DW strap cam used in the conversion. In the photo on the right the cams are aligned precisely on where they would mount on the shaft. Yes, this contributes to some of the difference in feel no doubt. In a perfect world the cams would be identical for a true A/B test, but the results would be skewed if we didn't use the cams the way DW designed them for. Here, what is being compared is the difference in feel between the strap and single chain because all other components of the same exact DW pedal are identical: spring tension, same bearings, same beater, etc.It's not fair to compare pedals with different cams. This has to be the main part of the difference, right?
I'm still having a hard time imagining the weight of the chain being a factor. The spring pulls the footboard back, my foot just has to get out of the way, so I'm not working when the beater is on the return path. Meaning the chain weight isn't a factor. On the return path.
I played the new DW 5000 Accelerator single chain for about a half hour, did the strap conversion and played the strap drive immediately without any further dialing in. Night and day difference in my book. Same exact pedal, the only difference being single chain drive and strap drive. I think the difference in feel between the two can be somewhat attributed to the different cams, but I think the "greater" friction of the chain may be the primary difference. I am open to being corrected here.
After trying out numerous other pedals before purchasing my first DW strap drive I honestly thought I would gravitate towards either the DW MDD pedal or back towards the DW 9000 dual chain. The DW 5000 strap drive pedal--feel wise--landed somewhere in-between the direct drive and the dual chain drive for me. The big surprise was how the DW 5000 strap immediately felt under my foot. No other pedal I've tried has compared. But in all fairness I'm still trying to figure out the 5% difference between my older USA DW 5000 strap drive and my newly converted one (the most likely difference being the weight of the two different width footboards and/or more break-in time on the older pedal).
I don't believe strap drive pedals are for everyone. Nor are direct drive pedals. But you honestly can't know until you play them side-by-side what you truly like. We all have different preferences. Some players love the response and feel of a direct drive pedal. Some players swear by the feel and power transfer of a chain drive. Others like the finesse and "smoothness" of a belt drive. Factor into the mix the differences between Brand A and Brand B. And I do believe that some players can't tell the difference at all between the drive systems, or those differences don't amount much of a difference to them. The bottom line is that we're all wired differently.
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