Winter is dark and cold in the Finnish Lapland, the northernmost region of Finland above the Arctic Circle. This region is home to vast herds of reindeer and to the indigenous Sámi people, as well as the aurora borealis that casts a colorful glow across the night sky. Sunlight is fleeting. Days seem like perpetual dusk due to the low angle of the sun. It is not someplace where one thinks of going for a bike ride.
In this harsh and beautiful setting, Swedish bicyclist Oskar Juhlin will compete in the 150-kilometer Rovaniemi Arctic Fat Bike Race from Feb. 20-22. Wearing a headlamp and lights he will ride through the night, resting briefly to eat, sleep and drink water, surviving the frigid nights in a polar sleeping bag. Juhlin is an endurance athlete and industrial designer in Stockholm. “I love biking and I love snow,” he says. Juhlin will ride a custom Mi:Tech fat tire bike with a Pinion P1.18 gearbox and Gates Carbon Drive belt system. He chose these components to avoid mechanical problems with a chain and derailleur in the snow. “I’m impressed how well the combo of Pinion and Gates works in the snow and ice. It seems like the belt cleans itself from the snow and slush.” Juhlin took these photos while training. Good luck Oskar, and stay warm. More information at pinion.eu
Gates Carbon Drive is commonly used on commuter, electric and urban bikes because it is a clean, smooth and simple solution for bicycles made for getting from A to B. But don’t be fooled. Gates Carbon Drive can fly. The carbon fiber technology that makes the Gates belt a winner for transportation bikes also makes it a burly solution for hard racing. Witness the Gates Nicolai mountain bike team, which is flying full suspension belt drive Nicolai enduro and downhill rigs on the European World Cup and racing circuit this summer. If Gates Carbon Drive is tough enough for these guys, imagine how well it will perform on your bike path townie. All photos from Hoshi Yoshida, taken at the Leogang World Cup event in June.
Mitch Westall of Team Gates Carbon Drive takes the top stop of the Shimano Cyclo X Series podium, while the team takes a total of six of the top 10 placings!
Mitch Westall and Taylor Nye take 1st and 3rd in the Shimano Cyclo X Series
After seven races, the Shimano Cyclo X Series presented by Without Limits Productions, still had several possible winners as racers lined up for the eighth and final race! And it was sure to be an epic race, as single digit temperatures and and a shortened snow-covered course at the Boulder Reservoir greeted riders Saturday morning. And if the arctic temperatures weren’t enough, the snow made for an extremely technical course, offering up just a narrow lane of solid snow which turned to loose snow and sand just inches off-line. The battle was on from the start, and it didn’t take long before the leaders were into lapped traffic on the course, which made passing another technical aspect of the race. Without a doubt, Mitch was able to put his past years of mountain bike racing to the test, taking aggressive lines and maintaining traction, because of the superior traction of his low-pressure Stan’s No Tubes setup.
At the finish line, Mitch stayed upright to take second place, with just five seconds covering the top three places. That was just enough points to ensure he maintained first place in the series to take the win! I’m sure much of the other racers were jealous of the Carbon Belt Drive and TRP Helix full-hydraulic disc brakes both of which were completely unaffected by the ice and cold temperatures. Overall in the series, Team Gates Carbon Drive took a commanding six, of the top ten placings in the series. Congrats to Mitch Westall in 1st, Taylor Nye in 3rd, Ryan McFarling in 6th, Taylor Jung in 7th, Derek Strong in 9th and Jesse Swift in 10th!
Sunday’s race was less dramatic, but no less miserable, as Taylor Jung and I lined up in Morrison, Colorado in more single-digit temperatures. Another tricky, icy, yet very fun course laid out by the RLW crew, with all proceeds going to the American Cancer Society. I can tell you, the race was all about survival, even as we waited for the signal to race. But in the end, Taylor did an awesome job learning from a crash on Saturday, and took an impressive 4th place on the day.
Erik Nohlin of Specialized recently completed the Transcontinental bike race from London to Istanbul. It was a grueling two-week ride through harsh weather and over mountain passes, with little sleep and no team support allowed. A film crew followed Erik, who rode a Specialized AWOL touring bike with Gates Carbon Drive, and his Specialized colleague Recep Yesil as they battled the elements and exhaustion. The trailer below tells the story. A feature-length movie of their journey will be released in late 2013.
AWOL x TRANSCONTINENTAL | Trailer (Full documentary coming late 2013) from e r t z u i ° film on Vimeo.
Imagine a quiet and clean downhill bike with no derailleur to smash or break off, and no chain to slap against the chain stays. Good news: it’s coming. The German brand Nicolai has developed a prototype DH bike with Gates Carbon Drive combined with a gearbox. The bike was raced for the first time at the Swiss National Championships recently, and Mike Schär took the silver medal in the DH junior class. Photographer Luisa Freudenberg took these images of Mike and the new bike racing at the Swiss championships.
The gearbox on the prototype Nicolai is made by Effigear. Gearbox technology for bicycles has made big advances in recent years. Gates is eager to see this technology advance because it enables bike manufacturers to integrate belt drives onto geared bikes. For high-performance riding such as DH, freeride and cross-country racing gearboxes are preferable to using internally geared hubs because the weight is centered around the bottom bracket rather than in the rear wheel.
Stay tuned for more news on this bike, and the future of low-maintenance, clean and quiet DH bikes with Carbon Drive belts.
All photos: Luisa Freudenberg