The Anti-Chain: Carbon Belt Drive Upgrade for Bikes


In a column last year, “Belt Drive Mountain Bike,” I covered the bike-chain-replacing Carbon Drive System from Gates, writing that “the humble bike chain — greasy, gunk-prone, finicky if not lubed and maintained — has been standard equipment for decades, but belt drives, which employ a flexible loop of polyurethane embedded with carbon-fiber cords, give bikers a new option.”

This week, Gates ( announced a new option itself and an upgrade from the belt-drive system I reviewed last year.

Gates’ CenterTrack belt-drive system

The company’s CenterTrack system, which recently debuted on bicycles from Spot Brand, has a new design said to offer a 20-percent tensile strength increase and a slimmer profile from the current Gates system.

CenterTrack, officially called CDX-CT, includes a complete pulley and sprocket redesign. The side flanges have been removed and replaced with a center track where the belt aligns.

Carbon-laced belt now has center track groove

Other upgrades: The rear pulley is now stainless steel instead of alloy, and the new belt design is slightly wider, both strength-increasers according to a company rep.

Spot Brand mountain bike with belt drive

Spot Brand, which is based in Golden, Colo., began shipping bikes with CenterTrack to shops in May, including single-speed mountain bikes and internally-geared commuter models. Other brands will introduce CenterTrack-equipped bikes this summer, a Gates rep says.

—Stephen Regenold is founder and editor of

Stephen Regenold

Stephen Regenold is Founder of GearJunkie, which he launched as a nationally-syndicated newspaper column in 2002. As a journalist and writer, Regenold has covered the outdoors industry for two decades, including as a correspondent for the New York Times. A father of five, Regenold and his wife live in Minneapolis.