January 2012 Archive

Cadel's new ride: the MC01 from BMC's new Lifestyle line

Tour de France winner Cadel Evans is getting belted, thanks to a new sponsorship between Gates Carbon Drive and the BMC Racing Team. Gates has partnered with the elite pro tour team to provide belt-drive commuter bikes from BMC’s Lifestyle line to Evans and select teammates and staff. The lifestyle bike sponsorship is believed to be a first among pro race teams.

The bikes, equipped with the clean and low-maintenance Gates Carbon Drive, will travel on the team trucks in Europe and the United States and will be available for use by BMC Racing Team members and staff at race venues. Evans, along with teammate George Hincapie and others will get belt-drive BMC bikes for personal use at home. The sponsorship was announced during the BMC Racing Team’s Sponsor Expo and January training camp in Denia, Spain.

The UC01 11-speed will travel on BMC team trucks

“We are honored to have Tour de France winner Cadel Evans and members of the BMC Racing Team riding bikes with Gates Carbon Drive,” says Greg Vigil, VP of Marketing for Gates. “Just like everyday bicycle commuters, pro racers want a clean, visually slick and low-maintenance bike to get on and ride without worrying about chain lube or getting their street clothes dirty.”

The sponsorship provides the team with a stable of 11-speed UC01 “urbanchallenge” bicycles. Evans, Hincapie and select team riders will receive MC01 “masschallenge” singlespeeds. Both bike models were launched in 2012 with the goal of producing the most advanced and appealing transportation bikes. BMC Racing Team owner Jim Ochowicz will also receive a UC01 for pedaling around his hometown. “The BMC Racing Team rides the most high-performance race bikes, and now we also have the most high-performance commuter and lifestyle bikes,” Ochowicz says. “Gates Carbon Drive is an innovative technology that perfectly fits our team image of Swiss precision, speed and compelling aesthetics, and we are pleased to have Gates as an official sponsor.”

The UC01 comes in 11-speed, eight-speed, three-speed and singlespeed versions and is designed for commuting, fitness or leisure rides. The MC01 singlespeed was conceived with the idea of getting Evans onto the lightest and most innovative city bike. Attractive, fast and light, both models are built on a lightweight iSC alloy frame and feature carbon forks, disc brakes and Gates’ new CenterTrack drive train.

The UC01 with a special yellow belt in honor of Cadel's Tour de France victory

For more photos and information about the UC01 click here. For the MC01 click here.

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The Ajax, Wired's 'favorite urban velocipede.'

Wired Magazine knows a thing or two about technological innovation, so we are pleased to report that our pal John Bradley the gear editor at Wired has named Spot Brand’s ‘Ajax Belt’ the magazine’s favorite urban bike of 2011. Here’s what Wired has to say about the bike and its Gates Carbon Drive:
The matte-black Ajax looks stealthy, and it’s even more so once you ride it. Though materials and build play a part in the Ajax’s silent operation, the main reasons are the 8-speed internal Shimano Alfine hub and Gates belt drive at the heart of the bike’s derailleur-free drivetrain. All gearing is internal, meaning no derailleurs to break, bend, or fall out of tune. Internal hubs even let you shift gears without pedaling — a godsend for urban commuters who forget to downshift before stopping at red lights. With the Ajax, Spot takes the simplicity and dependability further by replacing the chain with a belt, like the ones found on automotive engines. The durable belts, made from layers of polyurethane, rubber and carbon-fiber strands, don’t need lubrication, either — no grease stains on your chinos. It all adds up to one badass bike for the to-and-fro commuter, and our favorite urban velocipede we tested this year.

Read John Bradley’s original review of the Spot Ajax, and check out their Gear of the Year selection that includes the Ajax (you’ll have to scroll down past all the laptops and other gizmos to see the Ajax).

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Charlie and Pat Jenkins during the Race Across the West

Whether it’s long-distance randonneuring or ultra-distance racing, Pat and Charlie Jenkins of Denison, Texas, have found marital bliss on tandem bikes. In fact, they like riding their Calfee tandem so much that they have all but given up riding solo. Since 2008, they have logged at least 10,000 miles by tandem annually. They set the tandem course record in the 500-mile Tejas 500 and set a course record for tandems in the 2009 Race Across America (RAAM).

Before embarking on the transcontinental RAAM in 2009, the Jenkins bought a Gates Carbon Drive for their tandem. They were pleased by the 360 grams of weight savings they got from replacing the chain and chainrings. But it was on their first ride, a 100-miler, that the couple noticed “a huge improvement in power transfer.” Here is Charlie describing that first ride:

“No more than a mile or two in, the belt really got my attention. With the old chain drive, we would stand to power up a hill and it would feel like there was a pause before the power would transfer to the wheel. With the belt drive, the lag time we experienced in the chain drive was gone. We were immediately impressed.”

Fast-forward to 2011. The Jenkins, who initially hoped to get 5,000 to 10,000 miles from their belt, were still using the same belt, 25,000 miles later. “We never dreamed we would get 25,000,” Charlie says. Charlie and Pat ride hard in all weather conditions and are accustomed to wearing out bike parts, so the longevity of Gates Carbon Drive has been a bonus. They installed a new belt in 2011 just to be safe, and packed the old one away as a back up. “The old belt still has plenty of miles left in it.”

What’s next for the tandem couple? They recently became interested in endurance gravel road racing, where competitors pedal 100 to 300 miles on dirt and gravel roads. To make things interesting they are getting a new custom belt-drive Calfee bamboo “gravel grinder” tandem. “We are incredibly pleased with Gates Carbon Drive,” Charlie says. “It’s clean, quiet, lightweight, durable and reliable.” And, as the Jenkins illustrate, it helps keep happily married couples rolling down the road, strong as ever.

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The deadline for entering the Innovative Belt Drive Bike Design Contest at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show has been extended to February 15. If you’re a custom builder who plans to exhibit a bike with Gates Carbon Drive at NAHBS in March, consider entering it in the contest for the chance to win $8,750 in cash and prizes. Click here for more details. And read about the all-star panel of celebrity judges including Joe Breeze and other legendary builders who will choose the winning bikes.

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Bicycles are for riding, but every once in a while one comes along that just needs to be stared at and appreciated as a piece of art. The pink belted Pablove fixie from Independent Fabrications is such a bike. In addition to being a stunning example of craftsmanship, it is a bicycle with a cause.

Gary Smith of Independent Fabrications built the fixed gear bike to raise money for the Pablove Foundation, a nonprofit that raises money for child cancer research. Smith got the idea for the stainless steel bike with pink accents after receiving a special one-time-only run of pink belts from Gates Carbon Drive, which produced the belts for Pablove. Gates plans to display the bike in its booth at the upcoming North American Handmade Bike Show in Sacramento in early March. Pablove, Independent Fabrications and Gates are now brainstorming ways to raffle or sell the bike to raise money for Pablove’s anti-cancer efforts. Stay tuned for details, and make sure to come by NAHBS in Sacramento to see the bike up close.

To read the full story of the bike and to learn more about Independent Fabrications click here for the blog post from Gary Smith of Indy Fab.

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