Belt drive bikes aren’t a new concept, but they seem to be getting some mainstream attention, with releases planned for Interbike. Gates, a company known well for it’s automotive and industrial belts, has been developing a bicycle-specific Carbon Drive System. Besides being cleaner and quieter, this looks really cool for commuter and cruiser bikes. Trek has shown this sweet “District” singlespeed at the Trek World 2008 show using the Gates belt drive system and according to Cyclelicio.us, it will be available later this year for about $900.
The product’s website, though, is really touting it for MTB applications, too, citing the lightweight (70g versus 300g for a chain) and lack of stretch. Ã‚Â Think it won’t last? Ã‚Â This same belt technology is used on 6,000 hp dragsters. More pics and info when you “read more”…
There aren’t a lot of pics out there yet, but here are a couple of Spot Brand 29er belt drive bikes photographed (by mtnbikeriders.com) at Sea Otter this year:
So, the benefits seem impressive: Lighter, more durable, quieter, instant engagement and no need for lube. Ã‚Â What are the drawbacks? Ã‚Â Well, you’re limited to single speed or an internally geared hub. Ã‚Â In theory, you could use an internally geared BB like the new Truvativ Hammerschmidt, but they’re not making any that we know of for this system. Ã‚Â You’ve also got limited variety in aftermarket parts…Crank Brothers is the only aftermarket crankset we’ve seen on any pics for this system. Ã‚Â If you want to try it out, there’s a list ofÃ‚Â remaining 2008 demo dates for MTB and ‘Cross, click here. Ã‚Â Rest assured, we’ll give it a spin when we’re at Interbike and report back.
More Commuter Uses
Here’s the Trek Soho, a geared commuter bike (although rumor has it there’s a SS version too) using the belt drive system: