May 2012 Archive

“If you asked me to find the best bike for a ninja to ride, I’d pick this one: BMC’s UC01 city bike.” That’s the word from Nathan Hurst of Wired. Hurst spent a couple months commuting across San Francisco to the Wired offices on this stealthy black beauty, qualifying him as a bonafide ninja commuter. Hopefully he didn’t need any throwing stars or nunchucks while battling Bay Area traffic.

“This thing has stealth in spades,” Hurst writes. “Its matte black paint job is dressed with black decals, and there are just enough red highlights to make it mysterious. But the real stealth feature is the silent Gates carbon belt drive that replaces the typical chain.” Read the full Wired review here.

BMC’s UC01 is the same bike that the BMC Racing Team and staff members use to get around race venues. Team press officer Sean Wiede can be seen charging off to assist the team wearing a monster sized backpack in this video clip. Select team riders including Cadel Evans, George Hincapie and others have received BMC MC01 singlespeeds for home use as part of a sponsorship between BMC and Gates, which is the official lifestyle bike sponsor of BMC Racing.

For all you non Ninjas, the UC01 Alfine 8 is available in silver as well, but with 700c wheels and an eight-speed hub instead of the 11 speed.

Cadel's MC01 "Masschallenge"

UC01 Alfine 8 for non-Ninjas

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The Gotham, from REI’s bike brand Novara, is one of the more technologically advanced commuter bikes to hit the market this year. It features both the Gates Carbon Drive and the NuVinci N360 continuously variable planetary hub. Bicycle Times Magazine has been riding a Gotham through the winter and spring on the gritty streets of Pittsburgh, and the magazine has published a review in the June issue now on newsstands. “There’s a lot of utility here for the asking price,” says writer Justin Steiner of the bike, which retails for $1,299.

The bike features a solid steel frame, a relaxed riding position, rack and fenders, a hub-powered headlight and disc brakes for stopping power. Steiner calls the ride “smooth and stable.”

“Much of the smoothness comes from the tag-team combo of the Gates Carbon Drive belt and the N360 hub,” the review continues. “Both of these items are very quiet and fluid… . I’ve ridden quite a few commuting bikes with the Gates belt, and have been stoked with the cleanliness and hassle-free nature.”

The Gotham has been getting lots of media attention lately. It was a runner-up in Bicycling Magazine’s Editors’ Choice Awards in the commuter bike category. Check out the Gotham online at and find a store near you. Read Steiner’s extended review of the Gotham at

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Momentum Magazine is a beautifully photographed publication that covers the fashionable, and functional, side of urban cycling. The may issue features two gorgeous bikes with Gates Carbon Drive.

Momentum calls the Schindelhauer Ludwig XIV, pictured above and below, “the type of bike that you notice in the bike lane.” We agree. It was voted Best City Bike at last year’s prestigious Eurobike awards.

Momentum also featured the Mezzaluna Mixte by Muse Cycles. This bike won Best City Bicycle award at the 2012 North American Handmade Bicycle Show.

Carbon Drive, it seems, has become the favored application for beautiful, and practical, city bikes.

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Tommy Breeze has bicycling in his DNA. His father is the legendary Joe Breeze, one of the founders of both mountain biking and the modern American commuter bike. Tommy has been riding a bike with Gates Carbon Drive for two years and loving it. “I mainly use it for riding to school and other errands around town, mostly within a four-mile radius,” he says of the Spot frame with the Gates CenterTrack system. “I’ve also taken it on longer ventures into San Francisco a couple times (about 40 miles round trip). It easily has 2,000 miles on it, probably closer to 2,500.”

The bike is fitted with full Shimano Alfine components, a generator-powered headlight and taillight, a neon green running light for added visibility, a steel rack, fenders, and kickstand. It also has aero bars–perhaps for when Tommy is running late for class. Tommy is a high school senior in Fairfax, Calif., where he races for the Drake team in the NorCal High School Mountain Bike League. Tommy plans to attend college in the fall in Washington State. “I’ll definitely be bringing it to college as my commuter bike,” he says. Hopefully Tommy won’t need those aero bars too often.

Tommy Breeze at Stafford Lake, NorCal High School Mtn Bike League Championship Race, May 6, 2012

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Building on the success of its singlespeed cyclocross team, Gates Carbon Drive has created a singlespeed belt-drive mountain bike team. Team Gates Carbon Drive MTB will compete primarily in Colorado, with plans to attack the Rocky Mountain Endurance Series, the Winter Park Race series, the Breckenridge 100 and the USAC Mountain Bike 24-Hour National Championships, among others.

The goal of the new team is to increase awareness in the singlespeed race community about the advantages of Carbon Drive, which is lighter than a chain drive, requires no greasy lube and sheds dirt and mud like a bad habit. The team will race on the Rocker (pictured above), a race-proven belt drive singlespeed from Spot Brand equipped with the CenterTrack system from Gates. Other component highlights include:

Crank Brothers: Cobalt 3 bars, stems and posts, and the Iodine 3 saddle. The stem and post have gorilla-like clamping force and the saddle has replaceable rails if you are ripping too hard.  It is a light but durable parts mix perfect for a no-fuss singlespeeding.

TRP: Dash Carbon brakes. Tool-free reach and power adjustment knobs turn easily when your hands are tired, have great power modulation, and an ergonomically comfortable blade.

Lazer: The Nirvana helmet offers great ventilation and comfort thanks to the Rollsys rolling cyclinder on top that dials in the level of snugness.

Primal: Super-comfortable, stylish and highly technical custom race kits featuring the Mens Race Cut Raglan jersey and Evo Corsa Bib shorts.

The team roster features Jesse Swift,  Brian Hutchison, Taylor Nye,  Mitch Westall, Garrett Davis and Tim Lucking–all members of the Gates CX team. Other members of the Gates CX team are also racing on belt drive mountain bikes for other teams. Cristina Begy is riding for REEB on their new belted 29er. Derek Strong is on a belted Rocker for the Golden Bike Shop team.

The MTB season is young but the team is already off to a fast start with two victories. The first win came in the 18 Hours of Fruita, where Jesse Swift was part of the winning four-person squad. Swift and Derek Strong raced their SS Spots on a team with two geared riders. Here is the race report from Swift:

“By morning we had moved into second place. Throughout the early morning we hustled as a team and continued to ride two laps at a time, eventually moving into first. The team that was chasing us ended up having some bad luck with a drive train and blew up a derailleur. In the end out team ended up winning by one lap. The bike was awesome. I raced a 46×24 and the gearing was optimal. The Carbon Drive worked flawlessly and my fastest lap was  29:46 compared to the fastest geared guy at 28:57. Summer is going to be fun!”

Mitch Westall won his first race in the Rocky Mountain Endurance Series, competing in the half marathon SS class of the Ridgeline Rampage in Castle Rock, Colo.

“From the gun it was spin time,” says Westall. “Into the single track I was third, 15 minutes later second, then first. I kept up a high pace and did my best to keep the rubber side down, hard to do given that the course was really fast, winding and hard packed.  One section featured a super-steep climb with about 300 vertical gain.  I could barely get the wheels to turn, I thought about getting off and walking, but riding it versus walking gave me a gap. The bike worked great, the belt drive was flawless. Spot with Carbon Drive is a smooth, sweet ride.”

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