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 (www.carbondrivesystems.com) announced a new option itself and an upgrade from the belt-drive system I reviewed last year.
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.
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, 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 www.gearjunkie.com.