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
Sam Whittingham of Naked Bicycles describes this custom steel Globe Trotter as “a traveling mule designed for classic loaded touring.” It was built for a long-distance trip this summer. “The Buyer has spent many years working for NGOs in Afghanistan and is taking some well-needed time away from his duties to tour across Canada.” The bike is purpose-built for low-maintenance simplicity during long days in the saddle. In addition to the Gates Carbon Drive belt and Rohloff geared hub, it features custom Naked dropouts and a frame split on the seat stay. The belt is tensioned with the Biocentric 2 eccentric bottom bracket from Niner. The fork is integrated with a SON SL generator hub that powers the light and the Cinq Plug USB charger, which supplies energy for a smartphone.
Whittingham has built many beautiful belted bikes over the years including an award winner from the North American Handmade Bicycle Show and his personal singlespeed mountain bike, which he trail rides near his home on Quadra Island in British Columbia. nakedbicycles.com
Spot Brand has launched several new city bikes and updated its singlespeed cyclocross bike with bold colors and red belts. The Five Points Open and the Five Points (below) are two new value-oriented city bikes that feature round alloy tubes, fat 40c tires, three-speed SRAM shifters and Gates Carbon Drive. They are named for a revitalized Denver neighborhood–a nod to Spot’s home just outside of the Mile High City.
The Champa, named for a prominent Denver Street, features a streamlined steel frame with a graphite finish. Pictured below, it features Gates Carbon Drive’s CDX system and an Alfine 8-speed hub. Spot compares the Champa to a classic gray suit–stylish, reliable, never flashy and good for any occasion. The Wazee (pictured below the Champa) features a Carbon Drive Red belt paired with an Alfine 11. It’s a city bike “for cyclists who desire the classic road-feel and confident handling of a refined steel frame, combined with the ultimate urban drivetrain.” The Wazee’s gloss black frame features a color splash inspired by the legendary Martini Race Team of 1970s Grand Prix Porsches.
Spot calls the Rallye SS cyclocross bike its two-wheeled answer to the rally car, a rugged speed machine that excels in all conditions: mud, grass, gravel, pavement. Curved seat stays and a Time Trial cutout provide vertical compliance and a confident ride feel. And those colors epitomize the phrase “eye candy.” spotbrand.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.