Gates Endorses ARCC Bike Frames For Its Carbon Belt Drive
Following years of rigorous research and development, the Gates Carbon Belt Drive arrived on the market in 2007 as a breath of fresh air. Challenging the supremacy of chain-and-derailleur systems, Gates took their expertise from making drive trains for high-performance cars and motorbikes to the cycling industry, to create a belt-driven bike system that offered an impeccably smooth ride.
With strict regulations and frame testing, Gates's system can only be paired with specially-designed bikes. Fitted to the stylish Abington and Rosemont town bikes, ARCC is pleased to announce that its bike frames have been tested by Gates's technicians and are officially approved by the brand. But what is so special about the Gates Carbon Belt Drive?
Gates’s system is formed of a carbon fibre belt paired with CenterTrack sprockets. The belt is made up of carbon fibre cords strung into continuous loops, contained within a polyurethane casing with a ribbed exterior.
The teeth, which are curvilinear, are optimised for power output. Gates’ engineers have found that bike drive trains are most efficient with teeth gaps of 11 millimetres. This acts as a compromise length between narrower gaps, which require excessive tension to prevent skipping, and wider ones, which require bigger and heavier sprockets, with less options for gearing.
Carbon fibre has a high strength-to-weight ratio, meaning it is very strong but also incredibly light. It also means that Gates’s belts last much longer than metal chains. This is because chains stretch over time as their components wear, until eventually the chains fail to connect properly with the sprocket teeth. Carbon fibre meanwhile does not stretch and so performance is maintained over longer distances. While individual chain life does depend on multiple factors, the Gates Carbon Belt Drive generally offers up to three or four times the service life of chains.
Other benefits of the belt drive include no need for lubrication or degreasing. Carbon belts do not rust like metal chains and can be readily washed off with water. Mud and grit can be easily brushed off and the belts are chemically resistant, meaning they can be rinsed with most cleaning products. They have also been tested in extreme heat and cold.
With their reduced weight, Gates Carbon Belt Drive have a smoother ride action, which is almost silent. The only real drawback is that the belt drive does not fit to just any frame, but one’s which can accommodate for adequate tension. The options for retrofitting frames with belt drives are limited then.
Likewise, belt drives are not compatible with derailleurs or normal sprockets, but can only be paired with internal gear hubs, like Rohloff and Shimano. The advantages of this, however, are that the gear mechanism is protected from acquiring mud and dirt, alongside being able to switch gear without having to be pedal.
Providing ARCC’s Abington and Rosemont bikes with an unbeaten ride, the Gates Carbon Belt Drive has been specifically picked for its impeccable standards and build quality, which complements ARCC's own.