Back in 2007, the Gates Corporation developed a synchronous belt and sprocket system called the Carbon Drive System.
Belt drives, as they have come to be known, are undoubtedly one of the most radical innovations for the industry in recent years and, ever since their arrival, a debate has been raging in the cycling community over which is the superior system.
Here is Roux’s two cents on the subject matter. Read on to see which bike comes out on top!
Maintenance and Lifespan
The main advantages of belt drive systems are their long wear life and zero maintenance.
The components of chain systems: pins, pin holes and rollers wear over time causing the chain to stretch.
Continued use will inevitably lead to the chain no longer being able to slot into the sprocket teeth properly resulting in a loss of efficiency.
Belts, on the other hand, do not have any moving components as they are designed as one continuous loop.
The only wear and tear that occurs in a belt system is between the belt and the sprocket teeth meaning belt systems are extremely long-lasting.
The most durable chain systems don’t hold a candle to belts in terms of life span. Belt drive systems last at least twice, five times or even ten times as long as the most rugged of chain systems.
Furthermore, belt bikes do not rust and don’t require any lubrication.
Not only will your bike be cleaner but you will too as belts will not leave your legs plastered in grease marks!
According to Jason Smith at Friction Facts, Belt systems are much more inefficient than a conventional chain drive. By his measurements, a conventional chain drive consumes 2.92 watts on average, while the belt eats up 3.93 watts.
Even though the 1-watt difference may appear small, it works out as a substantial 34.6 percent difference in energy consumption.
“I don’t feel the results are surprising. As installed per the manufacturer’s guidelines, the belt drive is fairly less efficient than the traditional single speed chain drive.” – Jason Smith
Recreational riders or enthusiasts won’t notice much of a difference. However, top level racers will be interested in this data as those hundredths of seconds make all the difference.
- Belts are much lighter than chains; a complete belt system weighs around half as much as a typical chain.
- Belt Bikes run more quietly than chain bikes.
- Chain systems are compatible with more bikes as Belts are only compatible with single speed or internally geared bikes
- Belts are only compatible with frames that have a belt splitter.
- Chain Bikes are far easier to replace and service as they are much more widespread.
Belt bikes have taken the US by storm due to their reliability and low maintenance advantages and it seems the UK cycling community need to catch up with those across the pond.
Obviously, belt and chain bikes have their own unique advantages but it seems that belt bikes are the future.
If you wish to become part of that glorious future check out Roux’s exclusive range of Belt Bikes right here!