The North American Handmade Bike Show is underway in Austin, and as usual the custom builders exhibiting here have unveiled many belt-drive beauties. In fact, there are more bikes with Gates Carbon Drive at this year’s show than ever before, from artsy commuter bikes to singlespeed 29ers, cyclocross racers, carbon fiber tandems and more. Below is a sampling of what’s on display at the Austin Convention Center.
The "Shama" from Alchemy
Closeup of Boo's CenterTrack drive
the "Cross Jester" from Independent Fabrications
Speedhound's belt-compatible frame
Vertigo, handcrafted in Oregon
Bicycling Magazine has been testing the new CenterTrack belt drive from Gates on a Spot Rocker singlespeed mountain bike and is elated about its performance. Writer Matt Phillips is no stranger to Carbon Drive:
“I’ve been riding an original Carbon Drive equipped bike for about three years,” he writes. “I love it because not only is it maintenance free—no lube required, and the belt lasts longer than a chain—but it takes the purity of the single-speed experience and amplifies it. Properly set up, a belt is much smoother and quieter than a chain. It’s difficult to convey how much more exactly, but trust me: If you ride a belt, you’ll immediately notice the difference.”
Spot Rocker Ti with Gates Carbon Drive
Gates recently sent Phillips the new CenterTrack design, which is the lightest, strongest and highest performance belt drive system ever. The new CenterTrack belt is two millimeters wider at 12 mm, which adds strength while also requiring less tension. The new system received a bonanza of media attention when introduced at Interbike 2010.
Phillips notes that, while the original Carbon Drive system was “already quite good in mud and snow,” the CenterTrack design is even “more impervious because the pulleys don’t have ‘sides’ and debris can just fall away.” For more info on Centertrack click here.
CenterTrack pulleys and belt
Click here to read Phillips’ story on Bicycling.com.
To all you 29er mountain bikers, we present your dream commuter bike: the Proletariat, a 29-inch-wheeled ride with Gates Carbon Drive. This aluminum beauty is “the first of a new breed of 29er commuter (bikes) designed for Portlanders by Portlanders.”
So says Joe Bike , one of Portland’s finest bike shops and the go-to gettin’ place for utility bikes and urban commuters. In addition to the Proletariat, Joe Bike sells the Shuttlebug, a belt-drive cargo bike ideal for hauling groceries or children (or even for doing wheelies, though we don’t recommend it).
The ShuttleBug from Joe Bike
Joe Bike sells multiple belt-drive bikes including the Norco Ceres, an 8-speed, flat-bar city bike with Gates Carbon Drive. We currently have a Ceres on test with Ecovelo.info, one of our favorite transportation bike blogs, and we’ll bring you news of EcoVelo’s review once the test is complete. The Proletariat is made by Portland’s Stop Cycles, whose mantra is “good beer, strong coffee, cheap bars, sweet bikes and a sustainable lifestyle.” Seems they’ve figured out the meaning of life there in Portlandia.
So to all you car commuters who live within bicycling distance of the office, we say check out the Proletariat. Get outside and breathe some fresh air and get fit by pedaling to work. Mix with your fellow proles and join the Portland bike revolution. You’ll save lots of gas money, which means you’ll have plenty of pocket cash for good beer and sweet bikes.
Mike Lowe has been riding his one-of-a-kind, two-speed, belt-drive Spot Brand commuter bike to work rain or shine since October, and he loves it. “The bike exceeds my expectations,” says Lowe, VP of the Helmet Technology Center for Easton-Bell Sports in Scotts Valley, Calif. As an executive with one of the cycling industry’s innovative leaders, Lowe is a tinkerer when it comes to bikes. He engineered and machined an adaptor that marries his Gates Carbon Drive to a TruVativ Hammerschmidt 2-speed crank. The adapter replaces the stock chainring allowing the front pulley of the Carbon Drive to be bolted on with singlespeed chainring bolts. The Spot frame is chromoly with ISG mount for the crank.
Here is Lowe’s description of his custom ride: “The bike has Spot’s proven cross geometry with disc brake mounts. Gearing is 46-24t which is a perfect low gear for the fairly steep climb to work and a fast tall gear for the flats and descents. I had water bottle bosses welded below the top tube to hang a custom battery mount to avoid the battery from having to be strapped over the paint…and messing up the finish.” For more photos of Lowe’s Carbon Drive Spot with Hammerschmidt, click here:
The annual American Cycling Association awards ceremony in Golden, Colo., recently was a night of pizza, beer and friendly camaraderie among all the racers present. The ACA presented trophies to points leaders in various race categories. Carlos Casali of Team Gates Carbon Drive was on hand to accept two trophies: one for his individual points win in the singlespeed CX category of the Colorado Cross Cup, and another for Gates Carbon Drive’s first place in the team singlespeed cyclocross competition.
“I was honored to have taken part in an amazing journey while testing and racing on the Gates Carbon Drive,” Casali says. As happened all season, Casali says several racers approached him at the ceremony to inquire about joining the team. Casali is delivering the team trophy to Gates so that it can be displayed at the corporate headquarters in Denver. Congratulations once again to Casali and the entire race team: Mitch Westall, Derek Strong, Garrett Davis and Brian Hutchison.