Gates Carbon Drive is recognized as the market leader in belt drives that allow to replace the traditional metallic chains of links in two-wheelers. The American manufacturer has just presented the latest update to its product portfolio that include new components specially designed for electric bicycles and that replace the previous generation in its four key product lines: ST™, CDN™, CDC™, CDX™. In the case of electric bicycles with pedal assistance, the inclusion of a belt instead of a chain has become popular, since they adapt very well to their operation, so that they can now be found even in the models of the range of entry of many manufacturers.
The belt drive It is appreciated for its many advantages over chains: reduced maintenance, longer life, less noise and better cleanliness. They have proven very popular on high-end and mid-range electric bikes and have even started to roll out into entry-level ranges. Now Gates has presented the update of its entire line of products adapted to all types of bicycles.
All updates are intended for ease the transition from the metal chain to the strap, with which Gates seeks to increase its market share in the bicycle industry. As explained by its director of marketing, Tom Pitstick, “for many years we have focused on converting chains into belt drives for a wide variety of applications, based on the many advantages offered by belt drives”. With the increase in demand for bicycles, especially electric bicycles, around the world, “these latest innovations extend our coverage to an even wider range of applications.” Carbon Gates ensures that new products are significantly better than previous ones.
The Gates CDX line includes the most premium range of transmissions. It is designed for bikes that travel long distances in extreme riding scenarios. According to the manufacturer, its useful life is three times that of a traditional chain transmission. Gates has added to this product line by introducing a new CDX:BLACK sprocket line for high torque applications, especially useful for mid drive e-bikes and bikes with mid gearboxes.
It will feature a wide range of front and rear sprockets to accommodate a wide variety of interfaces from different brands, including Shimano Inter-5e, Enviolo, Kindernay and Bafang hubs, as well as Valeo geared mid-motor, Pinion gearbox and some other designs.
The gates cdc line introduces a new belt specifically designed for mid-drive e-bikes and is especially interesting in e-cargo related applications. Gates says the design will be cleaner, quieter and more suitable for cyclists.
Finding the balance between performance and price, at the most affordable end of the offer, the Gates CDN line it is designed for the mid to low range and for casual riders. The design is more appropriate for mid-motor electric bikes that don’t send high levels of torque to the drivetrain.
This range is also designed for urban bikes and those with an electric motor located in the rear wheel hub. The CDN belt features carbon fiber tensile cords, a new ethylene elastomer (EE) compound, and Gates’ exclusive CenterTrack TM design that eliminates debris to improve durability. The operating temperature range has been extended compared to the first generation CDN belt.
Gates has also presented a new tensioner compatible with the CDX and CDC product lines. It is designed to make it even easier for manufacturers to convert their bikes from chain to belt drive, by using a simple system that requires little or no maintenance.
Advantages and disadvantages of belt drives
The fundamental and elementary advantage of this component is the virtually no need for maintenance, which is limited to a cleaning with water in a couple of minutes. The durability of a carbon strap is not inferior to that of a chain. They can last up to 80,000 kilometers before needing to be replaced. They are also more soft, quiet and light than metallic transmissions, although in the case of electric bicycles, this characteristic loses importance because these, by themselves, are usually quite heavy. Finally, for those who go to work or make their most common trips on an electric bicycle, this turns out to be much cleaneravoiding grease stains on the legs of the pants, on the ankles or on the shoes.
On the other hand, the presence of a strap forces the the exchange system must be internal, since it is not possible to install any type of diverter. Although this eliminates the dirt of sprockets and other elements and the need to make adjustments so that the chain is perfectly facing each of the sprockets, it can mean an increase in price, having to have changes such as the Shimano Nexus in bicycles. cheaper, or the Enviolo CVT and the Rohloff on higher-end bikes. On an affordable belt drive electric bike it is common to find that change is dispensed with directlyusing a single sprocket, since the bicycle’s own electrical system can be configured to offer more or less assistance and make up for its lack.