Gates Carbon Drive

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Exploring Seattle on a Belt Drive Expedition Ebike

  October 10, 2023

The Pamir expedition eBike from German brand Tout Terrain is designed to conquer the most remote roads and adventurous locations on the planet, thanks to its advanced drivetrain featuring a Gates Carbon Drive system mated to the new Pinion MGU E-Drive.

It’s named for the Pamir Highway, the second highest paved roadway in the world, located in Tajikistan’s Pamir Mountains. When I was offered the opportunity to test a Pamir Select 4.1 for a week on the hilly streets of Seattle, I jumped at the opportunity.

tout terrain belted bike
Pictures and text provided by Gates Carbon Drive Media consultant Paul Tolme

After all, Seattle is one of the hilliest and rainiest cities in the United States—making it the ideal location to test an expedition bike designed to thrive in difficult environments.

The Pamir ticks all the boxes: full fenders, durable alloy touring racks, integrated Supernova headlights and taillights, beefy Schwalbe tires, and a sturdy but nimble aluminum frame. What elevates this Eurobike Gold 2023 winner to award-winning status, however, is the Pinion MGU paired with the Gates Carbon Drive CDX belt and sprockets.

Motor.Gearbox.Unit + Gates CDX

MGU stands for Motor.Gearbox.Unit, and it is one of the most advanced eBike drives on the market. Launched by Pinion in 2023, the MGU combines the German gearbox company’s industry-leading gearbox with a high-torque mid-drive motor and the company’s Smart.Shift electronic shifting system.

Pairing the MGU with a Gates Carbon Drive system instead of a greasy chain shows how Gates belt drives enhance and complement the bike industry’s best new eBike drivetrain components.

Pinion Gear Box
Pictures and text provided by Gates Carbon Drive Media consultant Paul Tolme

I rode the Pamir 12-miles roundtrip to work for a week, pedaled it up some of Seattle’s steepest streets, and added panniers to turn it into an electric pack mule that enabled me to complete all my errands and shopping—no car necessary. The Pamir performed beautifully in all urban conditions, and many onlookers complimented the bike’s sleek design and aesthetics.

The Smart.Shift electronic shifting was precise and instantaneous with the push of a finger. With four levels of assist—Eco, Flow, Flex, and Fly—the Pamir’s MGU powered me up Seattle’s hilly streets with 85Nm of torque and pedal-assist of up to 400 percent. The Gates belt drive was icing on the cake: clean, simple, and strong.

mgu and Gates Carbon Drive Batter eBIKE
Pictures and text provided by Gates Carbon Drive Media consultant Paul Tolme

Frankly, the Pamir is one of the best, most utilitarian eBikes I’ve ever ridden. It’s perfect for daily urban adventures on wet and sloppy streets, or weekend expeditions on rocky mountain roads. One day, I hope to pedal a Pamir through the Pamir Mountains.

Until then, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend a Pamir to anyone seeking a clean, simple, and powerful eBike for all of life’s adventures. Learn more about the Pamir and its advanced drivetrain at