We typically feature new bikes on the Belted Blog, but this 52-year-old cruiser is a true beauty with a long history and a new life. It’s a 1963 Schwinn “Tiger” that has been retrofitted with a Gates Carbon Drive belt. The bike is owned by Marc Seemann, the newest member of the Gates Carbon Drive crew in Denver. Marc is the technical support specialist for Gates Carbon Drive in North America. If you call or email with tech questions, Marc is the dude with answers. He also does a mean wheelie and has a closet full of timber-sexy flannel shirts.
Marc got the frame for free in high school. The owner of the bike shop where Marc worked found it in some weeds behind a barn. “This bike survived some extreme abuse and negligence during my college years, so it’s definitely a keeper,” he says. After joining Gates, Marc cut the right stay and installed a frame split to create an opening for the belt, which is tensioned with a Surly Tug Nut. “I welded some cantilever posts on a year ago to get some decent brakes (replacing the original coaster brake), and the rest is a hodgepodge of old 1980s and ’90s BMX parts.” Left to rot in a field, the bike is now Marc’s primary commuter. If you see a bearded lumberjack rolling down the Denver streets on it, say hi to Marc.
As spin classes become more popular for winter training and urban fitness, leading manufacturers of stationary bikes are using Gates Carbon Drive belts for smooth, strong and low-maintenance performance. Stages Indoor Cycling says its new SC2 and SC3 models provide “one of the smoothest, most realistic rides available indoors.” The bikes’ CarbonGlyde drive system uses a special Carbon Drive belt to power the flywheel. Stages says the Gates belt provides “unparalleled reliability and lack of maintenance.” stagesindoorcycling.com
Tour de France fans may have seen advertisements for the official Le Tour de France indoor cycle from FreeMotion Fitness, below. This spin bike delivers a quiet, smooth, powerful and efficient training ride thanks to its Gates Carbon Drive system. You can’t race in Le Tour, but you can spin on the official Tour stationary bike while watching TV coverage this summer–and dreaming of the French countryside. freemotionfitness.com
Schwinn Fitness now offers two indoor bikes with Gates belts: the A.C. Performance Plus and the A.C. Sport. Schwinn Fitness calls its drive system Carbon Blue. Watch the video below to learn about what makes Carbon Blue so special. Now spin faster! schwinncarbonblue.com
“Rides like a dream.” That’s how Daniel Levin describes his new eleven-speed, electronic shifting belt-drive Buena Vista. Bilenky Cycle Works added a split on the Soma Fabrications frame to allow the Gates Carbon Drive to be installed. “They put the frame splitter on the lowest tube in an artful manner that blends in seamlessly,” Levin says. The battery pack for the Alfine Di2 electronic shifter was placed on the down tube in a manner that preserves the water bottle cage mounts. An Acorn saddlebag, Brooks Swallow saddle and Tubus titanium rack complete the build. “The only noise when riding is the slight hum of the Gatorskin tires on the pavement. And of course there is never any grease to worry about,” says Levin, who complimented Bilenky’s skillful work.
For Soma Fabrications fans who want an easier solution without having to install a frame splitter, the San Francisco area brand recently announced that it now offers three Gates Carbon Drive compatible frames: The B-Side, Juice and Wolverine. You can also find other bikes and frames with the Gates Carbon Drive system on the Gates bike finder page. All three Soma frames are available with a split Tange Sliding Dropout. The Wolverine was initially designed to be a “monster cross” bike, but its stable geometry makes it ideal for off-road touring. Australian Mountain Bike Magazine recently reviewed the Wolverine, calling it “an absolute winner.” The Juice is a 29er hardtail, the B-Side (pictured below) a 27.5 hardtail. somafab.com
Located in Chile’s arid Atacama Desert, the Ojos del Salado is the second tallest mountain in the Western Hemisphere at 6,893 meters (22,615 feet). It’s a cold, barren and unforgiving landscape. Earlier this year, German adventurer Guido Kunze came here on a quest to set a new world record for the highest altitude bike ride. His successful quest is featured in the German documentary, “Die Chile Challenge.”
A national hero in Germany, Guido set the record at 6:02 p.m. on October 16, 2014, when his Garmin Edge showed him topping out at 6,233 meters (20,449 feet). Guido had ridden for 37 hours, 11 minutes and 12 seconds, pedaling 342 kilometers (212 miles) from the warm Pacific coast to the thin air of Ojos del Salado. High winds, soft sand and a lack of oxygen pressed Guido to the limit, requiring him to push his bike the final meters, but fitness and fortitude allowed him to beat the previous record of 6,085 meters (19,964 feet).
The Ojos del Salado is the latest crazy athletic feat for Guido, an ultra runner and ultra cyclist whose adventure resume includes riding the Tour de France course in nine and a half days, crossing Australia by bike in seven days, mountain biking the Great Wall of China, completing the Race Across America, and more.
Guido completed the adventure on a Ghost fat bike with a Gates Carbon Drive belt system and a Pinion gearbox. The bike and components were chosen to give Guido superior traction on the steep sand, and to provide low gearing, surefire shifting, and no chain maintenance during the ride. Read more about the adventure and bike at Ghost Bikes. Thanks to photographer Christian Habel for all the images in this post.
Guido with support crew after breaking the record.
Zoltán Bakó is one hard Hungarian. This summer the fixie fanatic and founder of Fixed X Hungary will do two rides worthy of the record books: a time trial across Hungary, attempting to beat his old record; and an Ironman triathlon that will require him to run 21 km, swim 1.9 km and cycle 90 km. This would be tough on a geared bike. On a one-speed fixie? Insane. But like we said, Zoltán is a hard dude. “I’m an amateur athlete but this year I am training with a professional coach who is helping me get fit for the Ironman. My schedule is quite hard: six days of training per week. All bike sessions are on my belted fixie.”
Last year, Zoltán rode 443 km (275 miles) for 22 hours and 37 minutes on his fixed gear bike to set a new Guinness record across Hungary. This year he wants to beat that record, and he has set a tentative date of late June or early July for the ride. A month-and-a-half later on August 22 he will compete in the Ironman 70.3 Budapest. His bike was created by his company, BBS Cycle, a belt drive specialist. Zoltán enjoys the Gates belt drive (“szíj hajtás” in Hungarian) due to its light weight and low maintenance.
60-tooth front sprocket, 21-tooth rear with a 108-tooth belt