Gates quietly made a number of subtle upgrades to their signature Carbon Drive belt drive offerings this year. And to celebrate their 15th anniversary of replacing bicycle chains with longer-lasting, cleaner, easier-to-maintain carbon-reinforced belts…. Gates put together a showing of 15 wild bike and ebikes showing just how far they can go from electrified cargo commuters to Megavalanche freeride mountain bikes!
Gates Carbon: What’s new from CDX-ST?
The actual functional Gates upgrades this year are more iterative than revolutionary. The top tier CDX gets new CDX:Black front rings & rear cogs anodized black to handle higher torque e-bike loads with a next-gen centertrack tooth design that better sheds mud and debris.
The mid-level commuter CDC line gets a new belt that combines carbon fiber cord & an extra stiff ethylene elastomer inside of a smooth-topped, centertrack tooth belt and adds a new optional ISCG bolt-on tensioner that makes for simpler conversions from chain to belt setups.
The other mid-line CDN also gets the same carbon cord + ethylene elastomer construction update, adding new centertrack sprockets made from longer-lasting hardened chromoly steel.
Lastly, on the real entry-level, the ST belt gets the same carbon + ethylene upgrade.
15 Gates belt drive bikes… from e-cargo to Megavalanche
For their 15th bike anniversary, Gates was celebrating at Eurobike with 15 unique belt-drive bikes… across the full spectrum of what you can imagine.
After last fall’s last Eurobike in Friedrichshafen, we felt like this new Frankfurt Eurobike was going to be all e-cargo e-bikes. There were certainly plenty of them, in one of two halls. (I’ll round a ton up later this week.) But it wasn’t overpowering and there are still plenty of normal recreational bikes around.
Gates kicks of the ‘we supply 1000+ bike brands’ with this Schoof & Jensen custom cargo ebike powered by a Bosch motor and an internally geared rear hub. It’s fully custom so build out the foldable gear platforms however you wish!
At the other end of electrified bikes is this Sun-Ron e-motorcycle. It’s not even remotely a bike… just a dirtbike. But a further example that Gates Carbon Drive belts are available to handle any level of powertrain load possible.
More in the vein of practical e-mobility are ebikes like this Dutch-made Mokumono.
Built with a relatively unique sandwich frame construction in Europe, the result is much more futuristic than most ebikes on the market.
In fact, if you want to go the opposite direction, Ateliers Heritage Bikes in France can build you a belt-drive commuter with more retro styling.
The Heritage Origin is unabashedly inspired by cafe racer motorcycles, but it is actually a pretty conventional ebike under that gas tank cowl on the toptube.
With an upside-down dual crown fork and proper 26 x 4.0″ fat bike tires, this one should actually be able to handle some fun off-roading too. Sure, those chopped fenders aren’t going to stop much of the rain or snow, but this would make a crazy fun mixed-surface commuter bike.
Belt-drive urban city bikes don’t all need to be electric. This STRiDA LT opts for a quick <10 second fold down to boost its street cred. The alloy-framed bike features tiny 16″ mag wheels, and looks that seriously set it apart.
With slightly bigger 20″ wheels, Vello does lightweight and folding too. This steel folder keeps it simple with a belt drive to the Alfine rear hub. But there are also ebike versions with an energy-recuperating rear hub motor, a super light titanium model, and an off-road-ready gravel version too.
This Storck Name:2 stays small, but takes the mini urban e-bike up a bit more with a move to 24″ wheels. Various options are possible with conventional drivetrains, but this belt drive e-bike is a unique 2-speed build. It swaps in a Classified Powershift internally geared rear hub paired to the light Fazua Ride 50 Trail motor & battery inside the downtube.
On the city ebike front, commuters also go a bit wilder too with high-speed S-Pedelecs. You need a license plate and lights for things like this Stromer ST3 Pinion, but you still get a simple Gates belt-drive… plus ABS brakes, full rack & fenders, integrated lighting, an upside-down suspension fork, and the ability to cruise at 45km/hr.
This light, smart connected Specter 1 S-Pedelec ebike does the same idea, adding in a more aggro angular aesthetic.
This 19.8kg pedelec is a monster, and gets a super connected cockpit 4G/WiFi/BLE with a big integrated display for things like navigation, power control, and ride stats while cruising around the city.
And its Gates belt connects the 700W, 112Nm mid-drive motor to an auto-shifting, continuously variable rear hub transmission.
Another high-speed S-Pedelec ebike, the ASKA Bike aims to be better for the environment with a more sustainable supply chain made in Belgium with European components.
The alloy Aska combines a mix of bent & welded plates with conventional round tubes to assemble a full-suspension bike with an Öhlins TTX1 Air rear shock, Formula Selva C fork & Cura 4 brakes, a Pinion mid-drive gearbox, and a 1200W Neodrives regenerative rear hub drive motor.
It takes all of those over-the-top S-Pedelecs to make this eMTB seem a bit more normal. The Nicolai G1 EBOXX is likely the most suspension you’ll ever see with a Gates Carbon belt drive. It’s just 160mm, but this slack beast can tame anything in its path.
Titanium off-road adventure bike dropbar handlebar
My personal taste in belt-drive bikes is either that cargo ebike at the top, or something more on the lines of this beautiful titanium randonneur bike… no motor required
WheelDan‘s made in Germany Basilisk combines off-road ability with on-road versatility.
Of course, it gets a proper headtube badge, a custom-made ti rando rack, and super slick internal cable routing at the base of the headtube, but what is that handlebar!?
It’s an ultra compact titanium dropbar with a lot of flare at the drops, a constant small diameter throughout (22.2mm?), and a set of Jones bar-style extensions welded on in place of brake hoods?
That let WheelDan mount a conventional Pinion MTB twist shifter at the “hood” and a set of Hope mountain bike brakes that you can kinda reach from the hoods or drops. Oh, and there’s still room for an original US-made Spurcycle bell.
Out back, the neat ti rocker drops tension the Gates Carbon CDX belt and offer mounts for rack & fenders, plus axle standard future-proofing.
Prototype Sour chromoly steel cranks
This belt-drive Sour Bad Granny rigid mountain bike cruiser is hard to argue with too. Silver wheels, hubs, spokes, fork, seatpost, stem & cruiser rider handlebar… what’s not to love! Oh, and did you notice those prototype tapered steel crank arms?
We’ll be keeping an eye on Sour to see if they start making cranksets in Germany alongside their Homebrew bikes now, too!
3X3 Nine geared hub tease
Another Nicolai. We can appreciate all that precisely formed, machined & welded aluminum. Here it’s an Argon GX gravel & cross touring bike with an all-new hub gear out back.
The new made-in-Germany 3X3 Nine internal planetary gear hub promises a 554% gearing spread with mechanical cable or electronic shift options, and regular analog bike or e-bike applications. Think Rohloff or Kindernay with an in-between number of no-maintenance even gear steps.
Gates Carbon Drive belts mean No Chain!
Wraps up the 15th bike showcasing where Gates have come in 15 years with the belt-drive Nicolai enduro bike I teased you with from the start.
Still muddy from the Megavalanche freeride race down Alpe d’Huez, this enduro bike is essentially crash-proof with a Pinion gearbox up front and a belt tensioner just behind the cranks, perfect for a race know for wild crashes from the snowy top to the muddy bottom.
The Nicolai ION G15 GPI is a super adjustable enduro platform with 145mm of rear wheel travel standard. But riders can change geometry & suspension kinematics with swappable Mutator chainstay links, adjustable ET Key flip-chip at the rear linkage pivot, and a couple of lower shock mount positions on this bike, plus the sliding dropout itself.
Belt retention is managed by the guide on the rear cog, the tensioner behind the BB, and the integrated bash guard under the Gates CDX chainring and Pinion gearbox.
That’s it, across all categories CDX, CDC, CDN & ST… it all comes back to Nicolai. They’re an adventurous company, not afraid to make something different. They’ve been an early adopter of gearboxes and belt-drives, and seem to have built a solid fan base on precisely-machined, well-built bikes & ebikes.
Get your Gates Carbon belt drive on pretty much any type of bike or ebike you can imagine.
Great coverage!! Thanks!!!
I want those bars and that rack. Hopefully they go into production.
They already are in production 🙂
It’s a Surly Corner Bar, or at the very least a copy of it (Surly doesn’t make them in titanium as far as I know).
Main advantage is that you get a drop bar like setup, but you can still use your flat bar brake levers and shifters. They have a hard time keeping up with demand though…