Bike Geeks: A Review of the Gates Carbon Drive System

A 5280 editor traded in her commuter bike for a month to try out the Gates Carbon Drive System. Did she like it? Watch to find out.


Kakka Makkara says:

Not a review.

Gray Hodge says:

I’ve just bought an Australian Vivente touring bike with a Gates drive and Rohloff hub. It is fantastic, love it so much. It’s a super quiet and comfy ride, never going back, worth the very penny.

Jack O says:

Can it be rigged to a Full Suspension Mountain bike?

David Branscome says:

I have to wonder if anyone has actually taken the front chain rings, rear cassette and derailleurs and weighed it on a scale. And then taken the hub gear from the rear of a bicycle and weighed it to make a fair comparison? It should be noted that the weight factor on a bicycle with hub gears is fairly unimportant since they are not intended for racing. Obviously, hub gears on a road bike would be totally unworkable and yes, heavy.

microcosmonauta says:

You lied!

Goriaas says:

hub gears are is the big downside in my opinion. Hub gears are heavy, have a small range of gear ratios, yet big jumps in that small range. and abou 10%(!) frictional drivetrain losses vs 2% for derailleurs.

David Branscome says:

I checked the price for a replacement belt and it was $40. Then I checked bicycle chains on Amazon, prices ranged from less than $10 all the way to over $100. There is no way that a belt should suddenly fail unless it has been previously damaged prior to installation due to mishandling. There IS a right way and a wrong to handle and install belts.

wahwah1013 says:

The belts last twice as long as chains but cost 7x as much. I appreciate what they’re trying to do and while I respect that this might be someone’s cup of tea it’s just not mine.

Sjaak De Winter says:

This is a verry important invention.
If the price goes (a little bit) down, it will be the future for every bike.

Rage 9one says:

Is this available for others bikes too? like a hardtail mountain bike?

Jimmy Kimsey says:

Not a review

Traian Constantin says:

Came here for the review.
Found somethin’ else… some kind of awkward commercial.
Dislike for the misleading title.

ThatWolffe says:

This is terrible, belts are not a good solution, if they snap you cant do shit you are stuck on the side of the road, with a chain you can drop a link and limp home, belts may take longer to wear but you only need to worry about that if you are doing a few hundred to a thousand miles a year, chains last considerably long and honestly they are not expensive and easy to change, with regular maintenance they will last a long time too, belts are known to slip once they wear down, a slipping belt while cycling is not good, if you have ever had a gear jump out it is something like that, can possibly cause personal injury and loss of balance

Ryan Bolton says:

Good review, but most people roll up their right pants to stop it getting caught in the mechanisms, more than to prevent getting oil on it. And I bet it could still get caught.

bowtie mountain says:

I hate belt drive Harleys.

Randomchannel says:

i need this on bmx. every time i land the chain smacks the frame. making me feel like something is loose.

Coastalcamper Ca says:

I’ve caught my pants in a Gates bicycle mechanism. My pants got a little wrinkled, but they didn’t end up a grease-stained mess like they would on a bicycle with a chain. Belt tensioning tools are available, but a good frame design makes adjustments easy. There’s even an iPhone app that helps you adjust the tension properly. And yes, with a compatible frame, they’ll work on mountain bikes. The hardest thing to get used to is the silence. I never realized how much noise a chain made.

BlacK DusK says:

the greedy companies invent the art about how to steal us
maybe this belt work with girls like you 😉

Simon Chetwynd says:

I tried a belt drive, I was unimpressed and went back to a chain. Mine snapped after 1900 miles, fortunately I was close to home as this is terminal whereas a chain can be fixed at the side of the road. Regarding the oft quoted “a belt lasts twice as long as a chain”. My chains last on average 1900 miles on a derailuer, 4000 miles on internal hub gears. So which figure is a belt supposed to last twice as long as? Based on my personal experience my belt lasted either exactly the same as a chain or half as long as a chain. Also, you need a frame modification to be able to fit a belt and the pulleys and belts are mind numbingly more expensive than a chain and sprockets. On the plus side they are clean, quiet and don’t need maintenance.

Chris Barraza says:

Not a review, Dammit, second time you got me here jerk!

Carmen King says:

thanks for the review, changing a flat on the rear wheel will take longer and the frame has to be able to split therefore being specifically made for a belt drive system 🙁 and getting the tension right seems trickier than a chain.

Ben Braceletspurple says:

Efficiency. The belt itself gives out %3 power, normal chains are %1.5-2. Then the gears. Normal outside gears have on further handicap to the 1.5-2% in the chain except when cross-chaining, but interior hub gears reduce power by an additional %3-10, the lower the ratio the more efficient. So and eight speed bike in it’s highest gear will loose %13 of your pedaling power to frictional forces. My biggest problem. They are cute for motorcycles which can afford the loss since they have different gears anyway, but exterior shifting bikes are by far the most efficient.

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