Bicycles have always played an important role in the life of Patrik Widmer, owner of Switzerland’s 47 Degrees North (47 Grad Nord). He bicycle toured with his parents, raced mountain bikes as a teenager and later became a bike messenger. As an adult he worked for an international environmental organization and then as an electrical engineer, but bicycles remained his passion. When his bike was stolen, he worked with a frame builder to build a new one and learn the craft.
In 2008, Widmer opened his own frame building studio in the Swiss city of Biel/Bienne, at the southern end of the Jura Mountains. Biel/Bienne is a bilingual city where French and German are spoken, and it is known for its watchmakers including companies including Rolex and Omega, as well as DT Swiss. The region also offers many great rides. Widmer commutes to work daily on his belt drive gearbox bike and frequently pedals around Lake Biel in the early morning. Once a year he hits the road for several weeks on his bike loaded with camping gear. He has toured Norway and the North Sea coast of England.
Pictured here is Widmer’s Frigg touring bike with a low-step frame for easy mounting and a Pinion gearbox and Gates Carbon Drive system for low maintenance. “It gives me great pleasure to work with customers to envision their dream bike, and then to work closely with them to implement this dream. A 47° Nord bike is a reliable companion, smart and built to last.” 47grad-nord.ch
Gates is launching a “value oriented” bicycle belt drive called CDN that is designed for lower-mileage pavement and city bikes. The CDN system has the same carbon fiber tensile cord technology and CenterTrack sprocket design as Gates’ premium CDX system, but at about half the cost. “CDN is our value-oriented belt drive for people who want a clean and stylish city bike for getting into town or around the neighborhood,” says Todd Sellden, director of Gates Carbon Drive. “It’s for bicyclists who ride in jeans or skirts and casual shoes, not spandex and race gear.”
The CDN belt has nine carbon cords embedded within an engineered polymer belt optimized for lower tension. The front sprocket is made from reinforced composite embedded with glass fibers. The rear sprocket is wear-resistant steel. Five years in development, the CDN belts are manufactured at the Gates plant in Dumfries, Scotland, a leading producer of automotive belts and the center for Gates’ belt development group in Europe. Gates is attending the Taipei Cycle Show this week, where it will show the CDN system. Interest is high from bike brands. What does this mean for bicyclists? More lower-priced city bikes with Gates Carbon Drive belts instead of chains will be available in coming years.
Biomega%20Brandfilm-HD from Biomega on Vimeo.
Automobiles project a strong brand image through their unified design and aesthetic. Danish bike brand Biomega is borrowing this integrated design philosophy to create a similar brand affinity for its bicycles. In the smartly filmed video above, Biomega plays on this concept with closeups of an automobile interspersed with closeups of a car, concluding that its bikes are the obvious choice for city riders. “For a bike to possess communicative value, you have to create a design with character and a visual identity,” says Jens Martin Skibsted, co-founder of Biomega. “It has to be iconic.”
Biomega bikes are certainly expressive. The company has crystallized its identity by working with superstar talents such as British designer Marc Newson, who also works for Apple. Other designers include Ross Lovegrove and Karim Rashid, as well as the in-house design team of Lars Larsen, Bjarke Ingels and Skibsted himself.
This month, Biomega opened a concept store in its hometown of Copenhagan–joining other concept stores in London and Milan. Biomega uses Gates belt drives on its bikes because they reduce maintenance and enhance riding fun, says Kenneth Dalsgaard, Biomega’s managing director. “We want what we call the Audi audience: people who want quality but for a fair price.” What does the future hold for Biomega? “In the future we hope to have a fleet of electrical bikes,” Skibsted says. “We like to say that Biomega is in the urban mobility business instead of in the bicycle business.” Biomega.com
Biomega London concept store, 61 Great Portland Street W1W 7LL
The past meets the future at Rose Bikes, a family-owned German brand with a long tradition of innovation, artistry and cycling excellence. The photographs above tell the story: a historic headbadge that evokes the fine craftsmanship of an earlier era, juxtaposed with the new Activa Pro-V Carbon Drive bicycle, a state-of-the-art example of modern cycling design and performance.
The Rose story begins more than a century ago in 1907 with Heinrich Rose and his tiny bicycle shop in the town of Bocholt. Now in its fourth generation and run by Heinrich’s great grandson, Erwin, Rose Bicycles has grown into a company with more than 350 employees, a massive bike catalog, award-winning shops in Bocholt and Munich, and dealers across Europe and the United Kingdom. The Rose BIKETOWN concept store in Munich was recently named the best bike retail shop in Germany by the German Retail Association. Heinrich Rose would be proud. For 2015, Rose has created a line of trekking and city bikes with the Gates Carbon Drive belt system. Gates is pleased to be part of the Rose legacy, a sweet story that began with one man’s dream and continues today with many chapters to come.
ACTIVA PRO-III Carbon Drive
BLACK LAVA-2 Carbon Drive Trekking Men
BLACK LAVA-2 Carbon Drive Trekking Unisex Sport
BLACK LAVA-5 Carbon Drive Trekking Men,
Gates will attend the London Bike Show (Feb. 12-15) to show a range of belted urban bicycles including the new Viktor “Red Race” singlespeed road bike (pictured above) from Schindelhauer Bikes. This will be the first public display of the Red Race, which goes on sale in March. Gates will also display its new Carbon Drive Red belts, which will be available for sale in Europe and the UK on April 1. Gates techs will also provide product information for UK consumers, shop mechanics and journalists interested in learning about the clean and simple Carbon Drive system.
Gates will be located in the booth of our UK distributor, Velorution, which sells London’s largest selection of Gates belt drive bikes. Come check out bikes from Schindelhauer, Van Nicholas, Biomega, Roux and more. Below is Schindelhauer’s award-winning Thin Bike. Biomega is giving away an NYC (below) at the show. To win, post a social media picture of your city from your bike and tag it: #biomegaLondon2015 #Biomega #thelondonbikeshow. Winner will be chosen on Feb. 15.
With its burgeoning bike culture and government policies to promote cycling, London is at the heart of the UK’s belt drive revolution. “The Gates belt drive is perfect for city cyclists who want a clean and simple solution for urban riding,” says Velorution co-founder Gretta Cole. Other brands selling bikes equipped with Gates Carbon Drive within the UK include Cube, Marin, Woodrup, Shand, Milk and more. Find your belted bike on the Gates bike finder page.
Carbon Drive Red
Velorution storefront on Great Portland Street