Belt drivetrains have lengthy been a distinct segment product within the biking world.
Whereas the efficiency of belts is thought to be nice, there are three issues that stop their widespread adoption:
(1) They’re incompatible with derailleur drivetrains, which suggests you’re restricted to an inside gear hub or gearbox
(2) They require a specially-designed belt drive body so as to match the one-piece carbon belts, and
(3) Spare belt drive parts are hardly ever present in retailers.
However with e-bikes making up over 50% of bicycle gross sales in Europe, and e-Bikes utilizing extra inside gear hubs and gearbox drivetrains than ever earlier than – belt drive product growth is in overdrive.
Gates is the market chief by an enormous margin. Their belt drivetrains are clear, low-maintenance, dependable, long-lasting, and can be utilized in every kind of loopy climate circumstances.
I can personally vouch for the standard of the Gates CDX product, as I’ve cycled over 135,000km utilizing these drivetrains – with only a few points alongside the best way. Truly, why not examine why I feel belts are higher than chain drivetrains HERE.
On this article, I’m going to indicate you three promising new belt drivetrains that I discovered at Eurobike, the world’s greatest bicycle commerce present. After chatting with the product managers and engineers behind every belt drivetrain, right here’s what I discovered…
Superior Belt Drive
Superior claims that their belts will final so long as Gates, are suited to all climate circumstances, can be utilized on e-Bikes, and may run simply as quietly and effectively. They’re appropriate with all the standard inside gear hub producers (eg. Shimano, Rohloff) in addition to the everyday HG cassette our bodies.
This was my first alternative to really take a look at the Superior belts, they usually rode nice. They truthfully felt an identical to my regular Gates belt drivetrains.
In response to Superior, their greatest benefit over Gates is which you can run their belts at a decrease stress, as their system will tolerate extra side-to-side body flex whereas biking. This implies rear body triangles don’t have to be engineered to be tremendous stiff, which can enable the belt drivetrain to go well with a broader number of bikes.
I requested why there are so few Superior belt drivetrains in use, and the consultant primarily stated their enterprise may be very small they usually pour most advertising and marketing sources into their Schlumpf Drive two-speed planetary cranksets as a substitute.
If their belt drivetrain is nearly as good as they are saying, that is definitely a missed alternative for Superior, particularly as increasingly more bikes are shifting to inside gear hubs and gearboxes.
Optibelt Twin Monitor Belt Drive
Optibelt Twin Monitor is a brand new belt drive system able to compete with Gates.
This German firm equally makes use of eight carbon fibre tensile cords for energy, together with a centre observe on the sprocket to maintain the belt on. With this design, the sprocket tooth truly penetrate proper into the belt, and the tooth are a bit deeper than Gates as effectively.
There are at present 17 belt lengths, and sprockets for 4-bolt, 5-bolt, and Pinion up entrance, in addition to Shimano inside gear hub and HG 9-spline cassette our bodies.
Time will inform whether or not it’s as sturdy as Gates CDX.
Veer Belt Drive
And lastly, Veer, who’s greatest recognized for its break up belt design. These belts have been obtainable for 4 or 5 years now, and are in contrast to another belt as a result of the belt itself can ‘break’ in half and be retrofitted to any bike.
Nevertheless, with so many bicycle frames now accommodating one-piece belts (due to Gates), Veer has seen a possibility to launch some non-splittable drivetrains too.
There’s the Veer Tremendous Belt Professional for high-power electrical motors and off-road mountain bike use. Veer claims that is probably the most sturdy belt available on the market, particularly for high-power motors.
Then there may be the Veer Xpert Drive, which balances efficiency and worth and is authorized for low-power e-Bikes and concrete use.
Veer was additionally displaying a small belt tensioner, and a brilliant loopy two-speed sprocket idea (it’s value seeing it change gears on my Instagram).
With e-bikes utilizing extra inside gear hubs and gearbox drivetrains than ever earlier than, belt drivetrain growth is at present shifting shortly. Actually, there have been many extra belt drivetrains at Eurobike than I’ve proven right here.
Superior, Optibelt, and Veer look to have some merchandise that might probably sustain with Gates within the coming years. However time will inform whether or not they’re really comparable, or higher but – superior belt merchandise.
Gates has been on the highest of the belt drive roost for over a decade now, and I feel their CDX product is nice. However I’m excited that new gamers are shifting into this area, as it would encourage Gates to proceed to innovate.