The belt drive as an alternative to the bicycle chain is becoming more and more popular and its advantages are obvious, especially in urban use: No oil or grease is needed for lubrication, which ensures a clean drive and equally clean trouser legs. In addition, a belt drive runs much more quietly than a chain and is also largely maintenance-free.
With the “Carbon Drive”, Gates has become the market leader in this field. Although there have been several attempts by competitors in recent years to establish an alternative to this — but so far all have failed (for example Continental with its own belt or the Startup Cowboy, which has now switched from a no-name product to Gates with the new urban bike Cowboy 3).
Up to now, Gates has offered two series of belt drives: the so-called Gates CDN (Carbon Drive Network) as an inexpensive model for leisure and occasional drivers and the CDX (Carbon Drive Xtreme) as a more expensive model for ambitious drivers, which can withstand higher loads. Three new models are now being added for the coming season.
Three new belt drives for 2021:
- Sidetrack (ST): for seasonal, recreational cyclists looking for their first belt-driven bike (new)
- Carbon Drive Network (CDN): for seasonal, recreational cyclists who commute occasionally
- Carbon Drive Commute (CDC): for cyclists who bike or ebike for many kinds of urban trips (new)
- Carbon Drive Xtreme (CDX): for cyclists who ride pavement or dirt year-round
- Carbon Drive Expedition (CDX:EXP): for cyclists up for toughest, grittiest pavement or dirt adventures (new)
The SideTrack (ST) system is a new cost-optimized solution designed specifically for manufacturers of entry-level performance and leisure bikes and features a novel sprocket design and value-oriented belt construction.
The Carbon Drive Commute (CDC) line, with next-generation CenterTrack™ design, features patent-pending technologies that optimize value and durability. Designed for leisure and light commuter-style mid-motor ebikes, the new CDC line will enable more consumers to experience the advantages of the Gates Carbon Drive system.
Finally, the Carbon Drive Expedition (CDX:EXP) line is expanding to include three new sprockets made of high-hardness, high-strength steel or aluminum and features the patented CenterTrack belt design. The CDX:EXP system enables even bigger all-weather adventuring over the toughest trails and harshest environments where a durable, reliable, low-maintenance belt-driven system excels over the traditional chain assembly.
In particular, the new Sidetrack (DSD) series should boost the market for cheaper bikes with belt drives. CDC and CDX:EXP are then more likely to be aimed at high-class, higher-priced models, and recently there has also been an increasing number of new gearhub types that match the belt drive — for example from Pinion or Enviolo. So it remains exciting to see which urban bike releases will rely on these new models from Gates in the near future.