Gates Carbon Drive

Belted Blog

Land Rovers, Fire Roads, Gearboxes and 3D Nodes: the Belted Bikes of NAHBS 2018

  March 2, 2018

Matt Appleman was riding on Fire Road 213 in Wisconsin when he came up with the idea for the ultimate low-maintenance adventure bike. The FR-213 was born.

Appleman logo

Appleman, the founder of Appleman Bicycles, was among the builders who showed Gates Carbon Drive equipped bikes at the recent North American Handmade Bike Show, held in Hartford at the Connecticut Convention Center. Gates attended to talk belt tech with builders and consumers, and we sent ace photographer and bicycle division engineer Tim Lucking to shoot the most compelling belt drive bikes. Tim even managed to make that gaudy convention center carpeting look artistic. In this post we feature off-road and mountain bikes. Next week we will follow up with the belted touring, tandem, cyclocross and commuter bikes of NAHBS 2018.

First up is the FR-213, which Appleman built for a customer who plans to ride the Tour Divide and other long-distance off-road routes. It features a lightweight carbon Lauf fork, a drivetrain consisting of a Gates belt drive and a Rohloff Speedhub with Gebla brake lever shifters, and the lightweight carbon frame has couplers on the top tube and down tube that allow the frame to be taken apart and packed in a suitcase. With its drop bars, this rig is made for going fast in rugged environments.

Appleman profile

Appleman FR213

Appleman Gebla

Gary Smith, the owner of Independent Fabrications in Newmarket, New Hampshire, built the belt drive singlespeed below to be his new personal road trip bike. The tan color scheme matches the color of his classic Land Rover, and the Carbon Drive Red belt references some red highlights on the pedals and Phil Wood hubs. Nice.

Indy Fab profile

Indy Fab rear sprocket

Indy Fab Phil

Indy Fab redbelt

The Schweeblt electric bike was among the most technologically advanced models at NAHBS: lightweight titanium frame, Bosch Performance Line motor, Rohloff E-14 electronic shifting, internal cable routings, and a 3D printed node for the Bosch drive. Plus the limited-edition white belt created for Gates Carbon Drive’s 10-year anniversary in 2017.  The bike was welded in Paonia, Colorado, by Schwift Industries, a custom titanium eBike brand founded by some really smart hippies with a sense of humor (hence the logo and frame art) and resumes that include stints with GT, Schwinn and Bosch.

Schweeblt powerpose

Schweeblt toptube

Schweeblt hairy hippie

Schweeblt Rohloff E14

The Rohloff E-14 electronic shifters communicate with the Bosch motor and shift seamlessly with no cables.
The Rohloff E-14 electronic shifters communicate with the Bosch motor and shift seamlessly with no cables.

Nicolai is an iconic German brand known for its innovative designs and use of belt drives and gearboxes, and founded by Karlheinz Nicolai. The Ion G13 below is a full-suspension enduro rig designed to turn heads in the mountain bike world. The bike showcases the ultimate low-maintenance drivetrain consisting of a 12-speed Pinion gearbox and Gates Carbon Drive. Notice the tensioner near the front sprocket that keeps the belt tight when the suspension engages, preventing “belt slack.” Gates Carbon Drive prohibits backside bending of its belts except in approved applications such as this where rigorous testing and research have been performed. Look for more full-suspension gearbox belt drive mountain bikes to come to market in future years.

Nicolai Ion G13 profile

Nicolai Ion G13 tensioner

Nicolai Ion G13 welds

Nicolai Ion G13 headtube

Co-Motion, based in Eugene, Oregon, is one of the best-known custom bike brands in North America, specializing in touring bikes for bicyclists who want to get off the map–such as the Bicycle Touring Pro. For NAHBS they presented a Pangea with a Pinion gearbox and Gates drive, a dynamo hub headlight for no-battery illumination, Jones handlebars, 26-inch wheels and a sweet cinnamon pearl two-color fade paintjob. Named for the ancient supercontinent, the Pangea is made to go anywhere.

Co-Motion Pangea complete

Co-Motion Pangea Carbon Drive

Co-Motion Pangea Jones and light

Ti Cycles Fabrication in Portland, Oregon, has been pushing the envelope of titanium frame design since 1990. For Hartford they presented the Hyena Ripper, a lightweight singlespeed mountain bike with a custom Stan’s NoTubes wheelset, and founder Dave Levy’s signature pierced top tube, which provides increased lateral stability (and a distinctive look) due to its short seat stays. This bike was created for a six-foot-four customer. Also note the clean and minimal dropouts and shimmery frame etching.

Ti Cycles profile

Ti Cycles dropout

Ti Cycles toptube

Ti Cycles headbadge

Stay tuned for the next Belted Blog post from Hartford, where we will showcase more of Tim Lucking’s artistic photography–and more awesome convention center carpeting and views. Hungry for more custom bike photos? Check out our NAHBS 2017 photo gallery.

Indy Fab upstairs