When Gates decided to launch its new red belt, Australia’s Flying Machine Bicycles was an obvious choice to partner with for a custom bike to showcase Carbon Drive Red. Flying Machine makes bikes that are works of art and science. It is also an early adopter in the bike industry of 3D printing. The F-One titanium city bike created by Flying Machine features 3D printed titanium lugs that join the bike’s titanium tubing. The bike features many other top-level components: Alfine 11 hub, White Industries front hub and bottom bracket, H Plus Son ‘Archetype’ rims, Schwalbe ‘Durano’ tires. The artistry and style of this bike perfectly represent the objectives of Carbon Drive Red: to create a high-performance drivetrain that performs as elegantly as it looks.
This bike was made for an intellectual property lawyer in the United States. “His legal specialty is IP issues to do with 3D printing,” says Matthew Andrews, who founded Flying Machine in 2009. The paintwork was done by hand in Flying Machine’s studio in Perth, located in far Western Australia on the Indian Ocean. “We sell probably forty percent of our bikes to international customers, mostly in the U.S. but also Europe and the UK and a few in Asia.”
Despite its remote location across the entire continent from Sydney and the big population centers of Australia, Perth is a modern, cosmopolitan city with a rich cycling scene. “The cycling infrastructure in the city is very good so it’s easy to get around by bike,” Andrews says. “There is a big commuter and urban bicycling contingent and also a strong road bike culture and a mountain bike scene in the hills behind the city. The weather and lifestyle here are great. Summer days are quite hot but winter is very mild with not much rain. Autumn and Spring are pretty much perfect.” Not that Andrews has much time to relax. “Too many bikes to build.”
See more Flying Machine bikes with Gates Carbon Drive here
Bike style is getting a jolt of color with the launch of Carbon Drive Red, a series of limited edition red belts that accentuate the bike industry trend of color-matching components and frame highlights. Painted chains have been part of urban bike style for many years, but the color quickly wears off and disappears under road grime and grease. Carbon Drive Red, by contrast, will always pop with color. If it gets dirty just hose it off.
Customers have asked for colored bike belts since the launch of the Gates Carbon Drive system in 2007, but the company instead focused on perfecting the technology, durability and performance of its black belts before expanding into colors. “As an engineering company, our first focus was on the meat and potatoes business of ensuring that our belts and sprockets meet the highest levels of performance and durability,” says Todd Sellden, director of Gates Carbon Drive. “Now it is time to bring the sizzle.”
Carbon Drive Red is available immediately in the United States for purchase as a belt only or on a complete bike. The first production bikes to feature the new red belts are the Acme and Acme Open from Spot Brand. The brand new Acme Open features a step-through frame that is ideal for working women and men who want to wear a skirt or suit. Carbon Drive Red launches in Europe on March 1 with the release of the Red Race singlespeed from Berlin’s Schindelhauer Bikes. Individual red belts will be available for purchase in Europe after April 1.
Schindelhauer Viktor ‘Red Race’
Gates partnered with two other bike brands known for their stylish designs to help with the launch of Carbon Drive Red. Flying Machine Bikes in Australia created a custom titanium F-One 11-speed with 3D printed titanium lugs and red accents. Budnitz Bicycles built a Gates X No. 1 city cruiser inspired by the Porsche 918 Spyder.
Budnitz ‘Gates X No. 1′
Flying Machine ‘Titanium F-One Red’
“Carbon Drive Red is an opportunity to grow interest in Gates belts as a simple alternative to chains, and also to attract more people to bicycling,” Sellden says. “Carbon Drive Red is the epitome of bike style and a bold alternative to greasy chains.” For product and ordering information, a photo gallery of Carbon Drive Red in action and more pictures of the Schindelhauer, Spot, Budnitz and Flying Machine bikes, go to www.gatescarbondrive.com/red
Gates-Nicolai Mountain Bike Team member–and Swiss BMX champion–David Graf ditches his BMX bike for a Nicolai Argon FAT in the new video “Pig Rodeo.” Watch G-Raf fly the tabletops and air out his balloon tires like a supersonic swine on the trails of Lenzerheide, Switzerland.
In 2013, Elmar and Ellen van Drunen quit their jobs, sold their house in the Netherlands and flew to Brazil to embark on a multi-year journey from South America to Alaska. Fourteen months into their adventure the Dutch couple have pedaled 10,500 miles (17,000 kilometers) on their Santos Travel Lite bikes with Gates Carbon Drive. They’ve battled stiff Patagonian headwinds (see photo above), hauled their bikes up muddy trails, crossed 16,000-foot (5,000 meters) mountain passes, watched King penguins waddle on the coast and enjoyed fresh popcorn, which was first domesticated in Central and South America, given to them by villagers in the Andes. “We have pushed our bikes through deep sand on the Bolivian Altiplano, endured temperatures of minus 21 degrees Celsius (negative 6 Fahrenheit) and didn’t take a shower for 12 days in a row,” Ellen wrote us by email from Peru. Sound difficult? Hardly. “We are living our dream,” Ellen writes. Read excerpts from our email conversation below.
Fietsjunks Hit the Road
Ellen: We met in 2003 and began bicycle touring every chance we got, so we nicknamed ourselves “Fietsjunks,” which means “bicycle junkies” in Dutch. We cycled through more than 30 countries in Europe, Asia, Africa and America (all documented on www.fietsjunks.nl), but the dream to undertake a long-distance tour stayed with us. In 2013 we decided it was time to go.
In his previous life Elmar was a mechanic for a bicycle touring company. I am a freelance photographer (www.ellenvandrunen.com) and used to be a communications manager for a big company.For now we are just cyclists, adventurers, dream-chasers, travelers and happy people.
Santos Travel Lite Bicycles
We had no doubt in our mind about which bicycles to ride: it must be a Santos, it must have a Rohloff hub and it must have a Gates Carbon Drive belt.
With the experience of our previous cycling years and the fact that we’ve tested many bikes for a Dutch magazine, we know what makes a good touring bike. We like the stiffness and geometry of the bikes and we love the low maintenance of both the hub and the belt. In the 17,000 kilometers we’ve cycled there have been no issues with the bikes aside from the occasional tire puncture. The belt shows no sign of wear and tear and needs no lubrication. We wrote an article about it here.
Camping Beneath the Stars
There have been many memorable moments during this trip. It’s not just the scenery, it’s also the people we meet along the way. But, honestly, we really enjoy the silent moments in the middle of nowhere. Camping alone at the foot of a huge mountain, underneath countless stars, listening to the water lapping the shores of a lake–that’s when we are happiest, because we realize how lucky we are.
Follow the adventures of Elmar and Ellen on Facebook.com/fietsjunks and read their travelogues and see photos on http://www.fietsjunks.nl. Read their gear reviews and travel tips on http://www.traveltheworldbybicycle.com. Maybe you, too, will be inspired to become a Fietsjunk.
You can’t play a solo on your Gates Carbon Drive belt, but you can measure the belt’s tension like a guitar hero with a new Android app. The Carbon Drive Android app is available for free download in Google’s online store and is a followup to Gates’ popular iPhone app, also available for free in the Apple iTunes store. The Android and iPhone apps allow users to measure belt tension and determine the correct belt and sprocket combinations to achieve a desired gear ratio. A third screen on the apps provides a catalog of the Carbon Drive product range.
The sonic frequency meter on both apps operates similar to a guitar tuner. It uses the microphone on the smartphones to measure the frequency of the belt. Simply pluck the belt like a guitar string, check the frequency and adjust the tension on your bike. Rock and Roll!