Gates belt drive

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Re: Gates belt drive

Postby Brucey » 5 Nov 2018, 9:15pm

further to this thread; I have recently seen a belt drive IGH bike fail because the steel sprocket started slipping round on the driver. I think it was perhaps a slack fit on the diameter from the start. Not a big problem with a chain drive but with the extra tension of the belt drive, the sprocket started to 'orbit' slightly and this eventually wore the three bumps so much that the sprocket started to slip round. Fortunately the sprocket material turned out to be (sort of) weldable, so the bumps were built up again and the sprocket was shimmed onto the driver body so that it wouldn't be so likely to orbit again.

To have obtained a new sprocket would have been >£100 and several day's wait; the official importer didn't have that spare part (whaaaaat????.... :shock: :shock: ) and it would have to come from overseas.... :roll:


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Re: Gates belt drive

Postby zenitb » 6 Nov 2018, 9:40pm

Mine lasted about 3 months. Replaced under warranty by Cube and now crossing my fingers :-)

EDIT .. oh yes took over 2 months to get the bits from Cube in Germany .. :(
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Re: Gates belt drive

Postby Suffolker » 7 Nov 2018, 7:16am

A while ago, the idea of an IGH and belt drive combination appealed to me. However, apart from having to get a splittable frame, my enquiries of Gates and their suppliers/outlets revealed the considerable cost of spares.

Fair enough, but when I asked about availability, it seemed that no stocks were available off-the-shelf in the whole of the UK. That's no use to me, especially as the supposed indestructibility wasn't quite as good as the hype.

In the end I decided against, and the experiences related here make me feel I was perhaps right.

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Re: Gates belt drive

Postby inicholson » 15 Jan 2020, 12:26pm

I've had 2 carbon drive bikes and a couple of issues.

I bought a Cube Hyde Race (Shimano Alfine 8 speed hub and Gates Belt drive) in size L and had a problem with brake rub. After several visits to the bike shop they eventually admitted they couldn't get it to stop and suggested it was likely because the bike is a size L, I'm quite big (90kg) and the split rear frame means there's some flex in the drive train.

So I upgraded to a BMC Alpenchallenge 02 ONE 2019 which has a Shimano Nexus hub and Gates CDN belt system (it cost me £200 to "upgrade" to a lower spec, but it is a much better bike to ride).
it lasted a few weeks before the rear sprocket (which is plastic) broke. The bike shop replaced it by taking a back wheel off a new bike they had in stock.
That sprocket has lasted a year of daily use (10-15 miles a day, 5 days a week) and has now lost several teeth. I thought at first the gears were out of alignment as it slipped when pulling away, especially uphill. But when I looked yesterday I realised the gears are fine but the sprocket is worn and has lost several teeth.

I've contacted BMC and Gates to see if they'll replace it under warranty but whether they do or not I plan to upgrade the plastic CDN sprocket to a metal CDX sprocket (at a acost of about £80 or so).

I notice the 2020 Alpenchallenge 02 ONE seems to have changed the rear sprocket - BMC's website now describes it as a CDX. I haven't seen one in a shop (looks like Cycle Republic are now the only stockists after BMC withdrew from Evans Cycles) to confirm this. If so, they sold the plastic CDN version for 2 years (prior to 2017 this model had a chain and a chaincover instead of a belt) before abandoning it.
The system seems good for me, with the exception of the plastic sprocket which is clearly a design error. I wanted something that can make it through a Glasgow winter without much cleaning or any lubing/maintenance because I live in a flat and work has to be done outside. I'm not up for that from Oct to March!

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Re: Gates belt drive

Postby elduderino » 5 Feb 2020, 11:07am

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Re: Gates belt drive

Postby Brucey » 5 Feb 2020, 3:01pm

IME even metal belt drive sprockets can fail, and they are both very difficult and expensive to source too.

My own hack bike does several thousand miles a year, lives out of doors and gets than chain oiled about four times a year. Oiling the chain takes about thirty seconds. The chain and sprocket normally last a couple of years and then need changing, the parts (chain and IGH sprocket) costing about ten quid. For a belt drive to compete with that it would have to be much better than belt drives usually are, and much cheaper too. Or there would have to be a special reason for having such a thing, like it is a bike that I have to carry and might get oil on my clothing, that kind of thing.


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Re: Gates belt drive

Postby John1054 » 5 Feb 2020, 4:19pm

Brucey wrote:IME IGHs work best with 1/8" chain; a new SA sprocket costs £3 retail, and a good chain (eg KMC B1) costs £5. A chainguard stops your trousers from getting oily, and the drive is both efficient and direct, as opposed to inefficient and spongy-feeling.

Not a big fan of belt drives, really. Interesting that one place you don't see them is on folding bikes, where they might be quite good.


I was offered this option on my Brompton (Kinetics Special) but advised against it because it was suggested that repeated folding would possibly damage the belt. Pleased that having read the above posts, I opted for chain drive.

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Re: Gates belt drive

Postby fastpedaller » 5 Feb 2020, 7:06pm

I have to admit I don't tend to embrace new technologies easily, but add that there is probably good reason why the bicycle chain has endured so long!

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Re: Gates belt drive

Postby scottg » 6 Feb 2020, 1:16am

I seen a fair number of tandems with a belt used as a timing chain.
The rest of the drive train is conventional.
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Re: Gates belt drive

Postby robike » 6 Feb 2020, 3:48am

Stridas fold and are belt driven