Budapest is known as the Paris of Eastern Europe, a historic and cosmopolitan city whose art, architecture and culture rival the most beautiful metropolitan areas on the planet. The urban biking scene is growing here every year, which delights Péter Scsaurszki, the founder of Massive Bikes. “The government understands that it must create more bike lanes, bike parking and better cycling infrastructure. When that happens there will be a big wave of growth.”
Massive Bikes is the Gates Carbon Drive distributor for Hungary and the epicenter of the urban belt drive scene. The company specializes in modifying frames to accommodate the Gates belt drive, such as this retro Schwinn cruiser, and Massive also sells belt-ready frames and complete bikes from Schindelhauer, Tout Terrain, Mi-Tech and FABike. “We only sell products that we believe in, and we ride and test everything we sell,” Scsaurszki says.
His favorite recent build uses the carbon FABike frame and fork, paired with an aero aluminum wheelset, 35 mm tires and a Gates belt drive that utilizes a 60 x 20 sprocket combo. “I climbed up the hill to Dobogókő on it and this bike amazed me. The chainstay design on the FABike is really stiff and perfect for the Gates belt drive. I have never used a bike frame that is as stiff from the bottom bracket to the rear axle. It provides a super responsive ride quality.”
The FABike has vertical dropouts with a horizontal slider mechanism so that belt tension can be set perfectly and, in case of a flat tire, the rear wheel can be removed and re-installed without having to re-set the belt tension. The FaBike also has exchangeable rear dropouts that accomodate 120 mm track and 130 mm road hubs, as well as 135 mm geared hubs. Total weight of the frameset: 1.9 kg.
Scsaurszki is a busy man. He is completing his thesis in structural engineering and plans to specialize in bridge construction. His passion, however, is bicycles. Scaurszki has ridden across Europe, including 1,960 kilometers in nine days from Berlin to Toulouse, and as we conducted this interview he was touring in the Alps on his belt drive Mi-Tech. One day he hopes to create his own brand of urban bikes that use the new CDN system and internal hubs. “This could be a really big seller in Hungary,” he says. One more big thing we expect to see in Hungary in the future: more bridges with bike lanes. massivebikes.com
German bike brand Kalkhoff is launching three high-performance electric bikes in North America this fall featuring Gates Carbon Drive and the company’s powerful Impulse mid-drive eBike system. Pictured above is the Integrale 8, being ridden by a guy booting it to work at a tech startup or someplace cool. Integrale (pronounced “in-te-GRAL-eh” (as in the English words integral and integrate), hints at the bike’s integrated design concept. The Impulse EVO drive and battery are integrated into the bike’s frame. It’s next-gen eBike design from the streets of Europe.
The Integrale 8 has a top speed of 20 mph, a 250-watt motor, eight gears and a range of up to 127 miles thanks to the 17Ah/36V battery, which can be removed for charging or security with a simple turn. The Integrale S11, below, is the premium eBike in the Kalkhoff line. The S11 uses the 350 watt Impulse EVO RS Speed motor and battery, providing a top speed of 28 mph. Both the Integrale 8 and S11 have a Bluetooth capable handlebar-mounted display that interfaces with your smart phone to provide on-board navigation. Pannier racks and a suspension fork complete the build. The red on black frame highlights are slick, too.
Kalkhoff’s third model for sale in North America is the Include 8 Premium, below. It offers the same long range but with an easy to mount step-through frame. Built for commuting, trekking or carrying a child on the rear, it has a pannier rack with a snap-on child seat system and front suspension for smoothing bumpy roads. Electric bike sales are surging in Europe, according to the New York Times. It’s easy to see why: for many trips they are simply easier, less expensive–and more fun–than a car. Gates is pleased to be featured on these Kalkhoff models whose design, performance, and drive technology represent the future of urban transport. Kalkhoff has several more models for sale in Europe featuring Gates belts, including the Endeavour Impulse S11, and the Agattu Premium Impulse S11. Electric bikes are the fastest growing market for Gates Carbon Drive due to the belt drive’s clean, smooth and strong performance. Find your eBike on our Bike finder page. kalkhoffusa.com
Include 8 Premium
Watch the Kalkhoff video below that shows the Include in action.
We typically feature new bikes on the Belted Blog, but this 52-year-old cruiser is a true beauty with a long history and a new life. It’s a 1963 Schwinn “Tiger” that has been retrofitted with a Gates Carbon Drive belt. The bike is owned by Marc Seemann, the newest member of the Gates Carbon Drive crew in Denver. Marc is the technical support specialist for Gates Carbon Drive in North America. If you call or email with tech questions, Marc is the dude with answers. He also does a mean wheelie and has a closet full of timber-sexy flannel shirts.
Marc got the frame for free in high school. The owner of the bike shop where Marc worked found it in some weeds behind a barn. “This bike survived some extreme abuse and negligence during my college years, so it’s definitely a keeper,” he says. After joining Gates, Marc cut the right stay and installed a frame split to create an opening for the belt, which is tensioned with a Surly Tug Nut. “I welded some cantilever posts on a year ago to get some decent brakes (replacing the original coaster brake), and the rest is a hodgepodge of old 1980s and ’90s BMX parts.” Left to rot in a field, the bike is now Marc’s primary commuter. If you see a bearded lumberjack rolling down the Denver streets on it, say hi to Marc.
Gates is launching a “value oriented” bicycle belt drive called CDN that is designed for lower-mileage pavement and city bikes. The CDN system has the same carbon fiber tensile cord technology and CenterTrack sprocket design as Gates’ premium CDX system, but at about half the cost. “CDN is our value-oriented belt drive for people who want a clean and stylish city bike for getting into town or around the neighborhood,” says Todd Sellden, director of Gates Carbon Drive. “It’s for bicyclists who ride in jeans or skirts and casual shoes, not spandex and race gear.”
The CDN belt has nine carbon cords embedded within an engineered polymer belt optimized for lower tension. The front sprocket is made from reinforced composite embedded with glass fibers. The rear sprocket is wear-resistant steel. Five years in development, the CDN belts are manufactured at the Gates plant in Dumfries, Scotland, a leading producer of automotive belts and the center for Gates’ belt development group in Europe. Gates is attending the Taipei Cycle Show this week, where it will show the CDN system. Interest is high from bike brands. What does this mean for bicyclists? More lower-priced city bikes with Gates Carbon Drive belts instead of chains will be available in coming years.
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