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Gates celebrating 10 years of its Carbon Drive system with limited edition white belt

Published August 4, 2017
Insert white-belt-after-Labor-Day joke here.

FRIEDRICHSHAFEN, Germany (BRAIN) — At the Eurobike show later this month, Gates Corporation will celebrate ten years supplying its Gates Carbon Drive belt drivetrain to bike makers. Among the new belt drive products that Gates will show at Eurobike is a limited edition white belt. 

Gates showed early prototypes of its belt drive at the 2007 Eurobike show in the Nicolai booth. Nicolai has continued to be an important R&D partner with Gates.

"Ten years ago, many people were skeptical that a belt drive could work on bikes. Now we have proven it not only works but that people want it, and for one simple reason: Gates Carbon Drive belts are a clean, strong, no-rust, no-stretch, low-maintenance alternative to chains," said Todd Sellden, the global director of Gates' bicycle division. "Everyone loves bicycles and wants to ride more, but in modern life there are many barriers to getting on a bike. Maintenance is one of those barriers that we eliminate."

Gates Carbon Drive is now used by about 500 bike brands worldwide on all types of models, including e-bikes. The company now offers 15 belt lengths and a total of 32 belt options, along with sprockets in stainless steel, aluminum and reinforced composite. Gates offers systems that work with internal gear hubs from Shimano, NuVinci, Rohloff and Sturmey-Archer, as well as with Pinion gearboxes and electric bike systems from Bosch, Shimano STEPS, Bafang, Brose, MPF, Go SwissDrive and many more.

At Eurobike, Gates will show a special edition Carbon Drive White belt, which is available for OEM production orders with a 120-belt minimum order. 

Also at the show, Gates will distribute free copies of its 10-year photo book to all dealers who visit its booth. Gates will also show one of the earliest prototype belt drive bicycles using Carbon Drive. This early Nicolai used an 8mm pitch belt and first-generation sprockets. Field testing of this original belt system quickly showed that a larger belt designed specifically for the bike market was needed, leading to the creation of the 11mm pitch belt, and the subsequent development of the CenterTrack sprocket design.

Other new products to be shown at Eurobike will include:

  • CDX:SL, a new line of lightweight aluminum sprockets designed to work with the Pinion C-Line gearbox and at a lower cost than stainless rear sprockets.
  • A new splined sprocket for Rohloff hubs.
  • An offset sprocket for use with Rohloff E-14 electronic shifting and Bosch Gen2 motors that provides perfect beltlines.
  • A new suite of products for Bosch Gen3 including spider sprocket assemblies that support standard and previous motor positions, and provide perfect beltlines for all the leading internally geared hubs including Rohloff, Shimano Alfine and Nexus, and NuVinci.

Sellden said Europe has remained Gates' largest market. 

"While our sales continue to grow in the United States and Asia, Europe remains the largest and most popular market for Gates Carbon Drive. We owe much of that success to our highly talented European distributor, Universal Transmissions, and its founder, Karlheinz Nicolai. Karl was an early adopter of the Gates belt drive and his expertise and passion for innovation helped Gates commercialize the product and make it a success."

Due to the growth of Gates Carbon Drive in Europe, Universal Transmissions has opened a new facility in Muhlhausen that includes an R&D center for product testing and new bike integrations, allowing product managers to send in frames to be modified with Gates drives.

Nicolai said, "When I first began working with Gates I was attracted to its core principles: Integrity, accountability, initiative, collaboration, curiosity and quality. I have found that Gates remains fully committed to these principles of high quality rather than simply chasing the bottom dollar. That is why we remain such good partners. I am immensely proud of the hard work we have done to bring innovation to the bicycle market and to prove that belt drives are and will continue to be an important part of the global bicycle revolution."

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