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.
Thanks to Tim Lucking for the photography.
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
Gates will attend the London Bike Show (Feb. 12-15) to show a range of belted urban bicycles including the new Viktor “Red Race” singlespeed road bike (pictured above) from Schindelhauer Bikes. This will be the first public display of the Red Race, which goes on sale in March. Gates will also display its new Carbon Drive Red belts, which will be available for sale in Europe and the UK on April 1. Gates techs will also provide product information for UK consumers, shop mechanics and journalists interested in learning about the clean and simple Carbon Drive system.
Gates will be located in the booth of our UK distributor, Velorution, which sells London’s largest selection of Gates belt drive bikes. Come check out bikes from Schindelhauer, Van Nicholas, Biomega, Roux and more. Below is Schindelhauer’s award-winning Thin Bike. Biomega is giving away an NYC (below) at the show. To win, post a social media picture of your city from your bike and tag it: #biomegaLondon2015 #Biomega #thelondonbikeshow. Winner will be chosen on Feb. 15.
With its burgeoning bike culture and government policies to promote cycling, London is at the heart of the UK’s belt drive revolution. “The Gates belt drive is perfect for city cyclists who want a clean and simple solution for urban riding,” says Velorution co-founder Gretta Cole. Other brands selling bikes equipped with Gates Carbon Drive within the UK include Cube, Marin, Woodrup, Shand, Milk and more. Find your belted bike on the Gates bike finder page.
Carbon Drive Red
Velorution storefront on Great Portland Street
San Francisco is one of America’s most beautiful cities, but its hills are a challenge for bicyclists. Enter the Faraday eBike, which provides an electric boost to get you home or to work, no sweat. Want to test one? If you live in San Francisco or plan to visit the Bay Area, Faraday has a demo program that allows you to test a Porteur eBike for up to a week. Free. If you are too busy to visit the Faraday office, they will deliver an eBike to your home or office for a small charge. “For most people this is their first time experiencing an electric bike and Gates belt drive,” says Faraday founder Adam Vollmer. “The demo program is a fun way to see how our bike fits into your life, test your commute and also feel the smooth and clean advantages of a Gates Carbon Drive versus a chain.” It also means you can pedal this most beautiful city, enjoying its sights and culture, with ease and style. faradaybikes.com