Gates Carbon Drive has published an Owner’s Manual with details on how to maintain and tension your belt drive, and other handling instructions and helpful tips for ensuring optimal performance. We urge shop mechanics, belt drive bike owners and anyone who is considering buying a bike with Gates Carbon Drive to read the manual. Improper handling, twisting or back-bending of the belts before installation can crimp and damage the carbon fiber cords inside. Gates belts typically last longer than chains (11,000 miles in one recent case), but like any finely engineered technology they can break if you mistreat them. Click here for the Owner’s Manual.
In other product news, Gates Carbon Drive has added a landing page to its website with tech information on the new sprockets designed for use with Shimano’s Alfine Di2 electronic shifting system, which we wrote about in a recent post. Click here for more information Gates and Alfine Di2.
Good news for bicyclists who want to “get belted” this summer: Spot Brand commuter and mountain bikes with the new CenterTrack system from Gates Carbon Drive are arriving in bike shops nationwide this month, and the next-generation bicycle belt drive will be available for after-market purchase in July. Cyclists who want to sample the chain-free, greaseless, low-maintenance system can check Spot’s dealer locator to find a shop near them. Other bike brands will roll out CenterTrack-equipped bike models later in 2011.
CDX-CT rear pulley
Spot is the first brand to come to market with CenterTrack bikes, and the Golden, Colo., company has five models with the new drivetrain:
- The Acme 11-speed, Ajax Belt 8-speed and Coyote Belt singlespeed are fast commuter/city bikes. Wired.com recently praised the Ajax’s “nimble geometry” and called it the quietest bike they had ever ridden.
- The Rocker SS and Rocker Ti SS are singlespeed 29er mountain bikes ideal for marathon hammer-fests. Outside Magazine recently named the Rocker its singlespeed mountain bike of the year.
Outside Buyer's Guide praises the Rocker
Consisting of alloy front and stainless steel rear pulleys, and a belt embedded with carbon fiber cords, CenterTrack features an innovative design that offers all the advantages of existing Carbon Drives but with a whopping 20 percent more tensile strength, a slimmer profile and the most advanced dirt- and debris-shedding ever.
CenterTrack, officially called CDX-CT, reinforces Carbon Drive as the lightest, cleanest, quietest and most robust drive train available. Weight is a key advantage. CDX-CT weighs approximately 40 percent less than comparable chain drives. Chains alone can weigh 250 to 300 grams, and an entire chain drive can weigh 400 to 500 grams. The stealthy Carbon Drive, by comparison, weighs roughly 240 grams (precise weight varies depending on pulley size and belt length).
Cleanliness is another advantage. If the belt gets muddy, just hose it off—no greasy lube required. For singlespeed racers, that means less time in the pits and more on the course. For city riders, it means no greasy clothing. Paired with an internally geared hub, Carbon Drive represents the future of high-performance, low-maintenance commuter bikes. CenterTrack was conceived by Wayne Lumpkin, one of the most innovative thinkers in the bike industry and the creative spark and founder of Avid brakes.
With the launch of CenterTrack, Gates, the global leader in belt-drive applications in the bicycling, motorcycling and automotive industries, now offers three product lines at distinct price points: CDX-CT, CDX and CDC. Introduced in 2008 on four bike models, the popularity of Carbon Drive has grown exponentially. In 2011, 43 brands are selling 90-plus models of belt drive bikes. For 2012, that number is expected to leapfrog again to 130 models as the popularity of commuter cycling booms and bike brands design new models around Carbon Drive.
Cyclists with existing Carbon Drives on their bikes who want to upgrade to CDX-CT can order the system through local bike shops beginning in July. The initial product launch is focused on the most popular sizes and will be expanded through the second half of 2011.
Proper belt tension is key to the optimal performance of your Gates Carbon Drive. Thanks to a new iPhone app developed by Gates, fine-tuning your belt tension is easier than ever. Simply hold your iPhone beside the belt and pluck the belt like a guitar string. The program measures the frequency of the “note” emitted by the belt and determines whether you need to tighten up or loosen your tensioners.
Developed for consumers who own belt drive bikes and bike shop employees who service bicycles with Carbon Drive, the iPhone app is an integral part of Gates’ push to make its clean, quiet, light and strong belt drive systems as easy and familiar to use as chains. The iPhone app also includes a pulley, or sprocket, Size Calculator that allows cyclists to determine their ideal pulley and belt setup. Click here to download the app from iTunes. For all you wrenches out there, it’s like sweet music for your ears.
Trinidad Head is a giant rocky prominence that juts into the Pacific Ocean from the tiny town of Trinidad, California, and it provides dramatic views of the rugged NoCal coast. To the south is Trinidad Harbor with its fishing pier and fleet of crab and salmon boats; to the north is Trinidad Beach. This is where I come on my after-work rides.
I pedal hard on the way, churning up steep switchbacks on the single-speed Trek District and spinning through dank bottom turns on the twisty road to Trinidad. When the Head comes into sight, I push hard on the Carbon Drive and barrel up the last incline, pausing at the top to look around. Surfers catch waves off Trinidad Beach. Kayakers and standup paddle boarders cruise the calmer habor. Cyclists stop to check out the District, and I show them the belt drive.
I used to hate it when people stopped during rides. Now that I live here, stopping to enjoy the view from the Head feels right.