Jake Kirkpatrick was flying down a section of the Colorado Trail, railing the bermed corners and pedaling furiously, when he looked down at his handlebar computer to see that he had hit 32.5 miles per hour. ” I took some serious risks,” says Jake, laughing as he describes Stage 2 of the six-day Breck Epic mountain bike race in Colorado. “I’d get through one section and be like, whoa, I almost died there.” After finishing second in Sunday’s opening stage, Jake grabbed fourth place in the singlespeed division on Monday, putting him in a solid third place overall heading into Tuesday’s grueling, 40-mile stage with a ghastly 9,000 feet of climbing and two above-treeline passes that top out above 11,000 feet. But Jake has a secret weapon: his Gates Carbon Drive. “I see all the other guys lubing up at the aid stations. I just ride right on by. At the end of the day I just hose off my bike.” Of course, Jake also has a serious disadvantage on rocky descents: he is the only racer riding a fully rigid bike. We will update Jake’s progress periodically through the race’s end on Saturday; for more frequent updates, check the Black Sheep Bikes Facebook page. Go Jake!
Check out this beautifully shot video of a rider touring the French Alps on a Nicolai Argon FR mountain bike with Gates Carbon Drive. Sweet jazzy soundtrack, huge alpine vistas, wildflowers galore and even a herd of cattle to negotiate. You’ll want to stuff a baguette in your pack and head to Les Sybelles, France, after watching this one. Click here for the video. The Argon FR is sold as a frameset in Europe and is built for a long fork, with a high front end, a sloping top tube and clearance for wide tires. We want. Go to Nicolai.net to see more photos and product description of the Argon FR.
Jake rips Moab on his belt-drive Black Sheep singlespeed.
The Breck Epic in Breckenridge, Colo., is one off America’s most grueling mountain bike endurance races, covering 240 miles during six stages that combined feature nearly 37,000 feet of vertical climbing, most of it over 10,000 feet. The race, which draws the best mountain bikers from around the world and nation, would be hard enough on a geared full-suspension bike. Jake Kirkpatrick of Boulder, Colo., will ride it on a fully rigid Black Sheep singlespeed 29er with Gates Carbon Drive. In 2009, Kirkpatrick finished third in the singlespeed division, and this year he hopes to top that result. A pro racer since 2007, his resume includes a team win at the 24 Hours of Finale, Italy, in 2008; and a first-place-finish in the co-ed team category at the 24 Hours of Old Pueblo in 2010. Kirkpatrick says the Gates Carbon Drive is ideal for the Breck Epic because of its low-maintenance qualities. While other racers are cleaning and fixing their drivetrains after stages, he can just hose off the trail grit, eat a pizza and rest. Gates is proud to sponsor Kirkpatrick, and we will check in on him periodically through the race, which begins this Sunday, Aug. 22 and finishes on Saturday, Aug. 28. Check out the photos of Kirkpatrick’s belt-drive 29er, handmade in Fort Collins, Colo., by Black Sheep Bikes.
Photo Credits: Brad Kaminski
Appendix Magazine has just written a nice review of Schindelhauer bikes, a European brand of stylish urban bikes whose entire line features the Gates Carbon Drive. Here’s what Appendix had to say about the Gates belt drive: “Some of the benefits of this technology include a silent riding experience with no clicking chain noise, an extremely light weight compared to standard chains, no need for lubricants to maintain efficient usage.” Check out the article and photos of Schindelhauer’s belt drive beauties.
A fashionable ride!
The ThinBike is a belt-drive urban beauty that is skinnier than a supermodel. It was designed by Graham Hill, an avid transportation cyclist, tinkerer and designer who seeks out solutions for greener urban living. Getting bikes to fit on subways and into cramped city apartments can be a pain. So Hill designed a full-sized singlespeed whose pedals and handlebars fold in, allowing the ThinBike to be tucked into tighter spaces. Hill chose a Gates Carbon Drive instead of a chain to make this bike clean and easy to maintain. Hill worked with Schindelhauer, maker of some of the most gorgeous belt drive bikes on the planet. Read the interview and check out the slideshow and video about the ThinBike on TreeHugger.com.