Continental is getting into the belt drive game, becoming Gates’ first competitor in the (mass market) chain free bicycle drivetrain market.

The Conti Drive System should be available early next year. It shares the quiet, maintenance free operation of the Gates belt drive but gets much taller teeth on the belt to reduce the amount of tension required in the system. This adds efficiency and makes it easier to pedal. Contitech’s rep says this also makes set up easier, doesn’t put as much stress on the bearings and could allow the use of cheaper bearings for price point bikes.


It uses Aramid fibers rather than carbon because it’s more robust against crimping. In use, it’s not that big a deal, but it reduces user error during installation. Word on the street is Gates is switching to Aramid, too. (Update: Not true, check Gates’ response here)


It can go down to a recommended 24T minimum cog in order to maintain the belt’s life. Because the tooth profile is taller, it does mean the cogs will be slightly larger diameter than bikes using a Gates belt.

That said, they’re using an open standard industrial design that’s common, so others can make belts and parts for the system. They hope this will drive innovation for these types of bikes. And Gates’ belts will work on their gears, too. They’re working on adapters and cogs for various internal gear hubs, too.


Note the slack in the belt, which is perfectly fine in this system.

They make the belts for some BMW motorcycles and transmission belts for cars, so this ain’t their first rodeo.


  1. Androo on

    This is great. I can’t wait to see more belt drive bikes out there, and at lower price points. Maybe one day my dream of an affordable belt drive beater bike may come true…

  2. ccolagio on

    24 tooth rear minimum? laughable! so if i want a 3 to 1 ration (or more) i need at least 72tooth + front belt ring.

    work it out with your belt supplier because a 24 tooth min is just dumb. that being said, i do love the idea of belt drive

  3. Dan on

    @ccolagio, Ok there Heman. Belts are pretty much for IGH, Commuters, and SS MTBs. I’m sure your chain can barely handle your power as you cruise the bike paths drafting off soccer moms

  4. pfs on

    That chaining is out of control. It almost goes to the brake track on the wheel. I seriously doubt that this will fit on most frames.

  5. apsbiker on

    Hopefully they do a better job than some of the newer tires they make – teeth falling off the belt ain’t a good thing to be happening. (Not that I think they’ll mess up that bad, but man, the current Conti tire line isn’t constructed to last!)

  6. mich on

    When I buy an ordinary chain, I know that some links can be removed in order to fit the chain properly.
    This belt drive, I guess, would have to be available in 100 different lengths, so that anybody could fit one to their frame.

  7. Ben on

    Why would Gates “CARBON DRIVE” be switching to Aramid? Their staple product is Carbon Fiber Reinforcement. Hints the name. Just saying! Great to see some competition (though I am Carbon Drive for life).

  8. kubis on

    Nice one. In opposite to chains it won’t be that simple to demage it (for sure not by weather conditions). The biggest problem of chains are connections. This one hasn’t got even one 🙂 Cars, motobikes… why not cycles? I don;t know where but I read about bikes technology… It’s preaty same to military… They know how but U will in 10 years maybe:)

  9. Rick on

    “This belt drive would have to be available in 100 different lengths, so that anybody could fit one to their frame.”

    Ever shop for a traditional V belt for a car or lawn mower? They are available in 100s of different lengths times several widths and in various strength (hp) ratings. Yes, many thousands of V-belts. Why would tooth’ed belts be any different to the manufacturers who are used to so many versions.

    IMO, double sided flanges are a must to prevent belts from coming off. Bicycle frames do flex, especially under hard pedaling loads. When you must trust your bike the most is when a belt is most likely to crawl off an unflanged cog/ring. You can see in the photo there are “drain” holes to let the water & grit out.

    Timing belts for cars easily last 100,000 miles in a freezing to hot and dirty environment. Cost of $20 for some. Quite comparable to a standard bicycle chain for cost when they sell in large enough numbers to let mass production cost benefits kick in.

    3:1 ratio? Sure if you are a Lance wannabe. The vast majority of cyclists rarely ever use their large chainrings now.

  10. Matthew on

    I’m posting this in July 2014. Does anyone know the status of the Conti Drive (belt) System? I sent a email to the company (the closest contact to this department I could find), but I haven’t heard anything back. I want to try this as an alternative to the CarbonDrive system.

  11. Reid on

    Meanwhile, in 2018, my Continental belt snapped after 1500 miles. They’re EXTREMELY finicky on tension, 1 mm wheel movement one way and it binds, 1 mm the other way and it slips off one way or the other. I wish I had a gates center drive to solve this problem. I suspect my belt snapped because it slipped a tooth and then when it caught it broke. Not remotely robust. You can’t GIVE people money to sell you replacement parts.
    After 6mo I think belt drive is a solution in search of a problem. Chains are much better in every way and I wish I hadn’t gambled on ‘different’ tech.


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