Belt-driven bicycles use a carbon-reinforced nylon belt, similar to the ones in your car, in place of a chain. The belt has teeth that grab onto a sprocket, powering the bike as you pedal. Unlike chains, which are snapped together using a master link or quick link, belts are one piece. This means that belt drives can only be used on certain bikes, which can break open at the rear axle on the drive side. That is because the belt must be slipped through the rear triangle and onto the rear sprocket.
What Are The Benefits Of A Belt Drive?
There are many benefits to a belt-driven bicycle, the first being low maintenance. They last substantially longer than chains due to the fact they don’t stretch and have no moving components. The belt doesn’t need to be lubed, cleaned, or degreased. This is a great benefit if you’re looking for reliability and low maintenance. Since belt drives don’t have any grease or grime, they aren’t going to leave any on your body or clothing, either. Since the belt is nylon, you don’t need to worry about rusty chains, which is a common problem if you live near the coast.
What Are The Downsides Of A Belt Drive?
A belt drive is an excellent option for many reasons, but here are a few downsides to them. Getting a new belt in a pinch might not be as easy as a chain. With online shopping and fast shipping, this isn’t too much of an issue. If you are planning on bike packing across the country, though, it is something to consider. The other issue with belt drives is the need for a specific frame. You can’t just convert your existing bike into a belt-drive, so you will need to go out and buy one. Lastly, belt drive only works as a single speed or with an internal hub shifter. While we are huge advocates for internal hub shifters and single speeds, the fact that you are limited to only these options is a knock on belt drives.
Who Makes Belt Driven Bikes?
Gates Carbon Drive™ is offered on over 400 bike models, across leading brands & in many styles. You can find belt drive systems on major brands like Trek, Cannonade, Canyon, and more. If you are looking for belt drive parts, we have plenty at bikeparts.com!