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
You can’t play a solo on your Gates Carbon Drive belt, but you can measure the belt’s tension like a guitar hero with a new Android app. The Carbon Drive Android app is available for free download in Google’s online store and is a followup to Gates’ popular iPhone app, also available for free in the Apple iTunes store. The Android and iPhone apps allow users to measure belt tension and determine the correct belt and sprocket combinations to achieve a desired gear ratio. A third screen on the apps provides a catalog of the Carbon Drive product range.
The sonic frequency meter on both apps operates similar to a guitar tuner. It uses the microphone on the smartphones to measure the frequency of the belt. Simply pluck the belt like a guitar string, check the frequency and adjust the tension on your bike. Rock and Roll!
The X1 from Schiller Sports blurs the line between boats and bikes. The frame is made of rust-free anodized aluminum, with stainless steel components and inflatable pontoons. The propulsion system features a Gates Carbon Drive belt and sprockets because a chain would corrode. The X1 may be the most advanced water bike ever created, a vehicle that allows bicyclists to “experience the thrill and freedom of biking across a spectacular blue planet,” says company founder and CEO Judah Schiller.
Riders steer the X1 via two oscillating props connected to the handlebars. It weighs about 45 pounds, can be disassembled to fit into the trunk of a car or home closet and can hit speeds of 8 knots (10 miles per hour) depending on rider ability. Schiller worked with engineer Marcus Hays, founder of Gates belt drive eBike brand Pi Cycle, on the design. “If you can ride a bike, you can ride the Schiller X1 anywhere there’s water,” Schiller told USA Today in an article about the invention. “I had the X1 out at the beach locally, about a mile offshore, and ended up biking with dolphins.”
The X1 costs $6,495, with a special Founder’s Edition for $8,775. The company is based in the Bay Area and all X1s are manufactured in Northern California. Learn more at www.schillerbikes.com. Just watch out for sharks.
Judah Schiller chilling on the X1 off the coast of Northern California, above, and pedaling near the Golden Gate Bridge.
Electronic shifting is a relatively new technology with big potential. By eliminating stretchy shifter cables, electronic systems such as Shimano’s Alfine Di2 have the potential to make bicycling easier and more intuitive by allowing faster, sure-fire shifts and less maintenance. Gates Carbon Drive has partnered with Shimano to integrate with its Alfine Di2 system. Pictured below is a Carbon Drive sprocket integrated with an Alfine Di2 hub.
BMC is specing the Carbon Drive/Alfine Di2 setup on its new AC01 Alfine Di2, which Road Bike Review wrote about at Eurobike 2013. Look for more bike models featuring this clean, low-maintenance setup next year. The future has arrived, and it’s belted and electronic.
The Sand Crawler project represents one of the more motivational and inspiring uses of Gates Carbon Drive that we’ve ever seen. It uses the belt drive to power a beach wheelchair that can go from the sand to the sea.
The Sand Crawler was an interdisciplinary senior project of engineering students at the California Polytechnic University San Luis Obispo and the Munich University of Applied Sciences. Students and faculty at the universities worked with the nonprofit Bridge 2 Sports, which helps children and adults who are physically challenged participate in team and individual sports. The director of Bridge 2 Sports is a Cal Poly alum who approached mechanical engineering professor James Widmann to design a wheelchair that works on sand, floats, is adjustable to different heights of users, and, importantly, fits in the trunk of a car and is easily assembled and disassembled.
The Sand Crawler is powered by two hand cranks that turn a Carbon Drive belt and sprockets that rotate the rear wheels. The students chose Carbon Drive because a chain would rust and corrode, and the belt requires no lubrication. The goal was to provide users a full and independent beach experience.
Congratulations to all involved in this great project: Cal Poly students Joshua Marcum (biomedical engineering), Sam Coyne (general engineering), Alex Hayes and Rory Aronson (both mechanical engineering), and Alexa Colburn (kinesiology); and Munich mechanical engineering students Marvin Rimmele, Max Hessel, Marco Pietsch and Benedikt Strauss. You guys have a bright future.
We hope to bring you stories of the Sand Crawler in use in future posts.