As with any purchase I have to ask myself what it is I want to use it for and how much I want to spend. As I’m finding out there are some beautiful urban belt drive bikes out there anywhere from the $1000 range up to the more expensive with disc brakes, carbon frames, internal gearing, etc. For me, something around $1200 will probably do the trick for my uses.

About Belt Drive Bikes

An interesting requirement for Belt Drive bikes is that the frame needs to be specifically designed for it. Unlike a chain drive bike where the chain can be broken when installing, a “split frame” is needed so that the belt can be installed. You can read some good tech info about installing the belt here.

One of the popular belt drive systems (sprockets and belt) which many of these bike use is the Gates Carbon Drive. You can see a lot of excellent information on their website and some interesting FAQ’s.

Benefits

From the Google research I’ve done, a carbon belt system (CDS) is said to last more than twice the life of a chain. The carbon drive belt does not stretch the same way a chain does. It’s life is limited to the amount of abrasive wear it’s exposed to. It doesn’t need to be oiled. Just a spray of water will keep it running smoothly. Apparently these drive systems make virtually no noise if kept relatively clean.

Retrofitting your bike?

It’s not recommend retrofitting your chain drive frame for a belt drive. It’s not as simple as you might think. There are a few things that may cause problems:

- You’ll most likely need to modify (i.e. break) your frame so you can get the belt into the rear triangle.
- You need a method of tension adjustment (which a chain drive frame probably won’t have).
- If your current frame is not stiff enough after modifying it, you may have problems with the belt skipping around on the sprocket teeth.
- Clearance – Belt drive sprockets are wider than chain sprockets, and chainstay clearance issues may be encountered.
- Gearing selections and belt lengths – While we are trying to continuously expand our product line, we may not have the specific belt or sprocket size that you need to fit your frame and/or hub choice.

Here are some of the belt drive bikes that have been suggested to me:

Trek District

Trek District in Olive Brown. Aluminum frame, single speed. RRP: $1299

Trek District Website

BMC MC01

BMC Super Townie, or MC01 as it's called in some markets. Nearing 7kgs, Aluminum frame, Shimano XT disc brakes, Gates Carbon Drive system, Easton 29 wheelset, single speed

BMC MC01 Website

Avanti Inc 2

Alloy frame, Gates CDC belt drive system, 8-speed internal gearing

Avanti Inc 2 Website

Spot Brand

The Spot Brand Dualie at $1199 is one of the best looking urban belt drives out there. CroMo frame, single speed, Gates carbon drive system.

The Spot Brand Mod SS Steel Cyclocross bike for $3399 falls outside of my pricerange and needs, but would be a dream to own

Spot Brand Website

Focus TR2.0

Alloy frame, Shimano Alfine 8-speed, Shimano hydraulic disc brakes,

Focus TR2.0 Website

Specialized Source Eleven

Specialized Source Eleven. Alloy frame, Gates Centerline drive, Shimano Alfine 11 speed internal hub, integrated head and tail lights, Shimano hydraulic disc brakes

Specialized Source Eleven Website

Bruen

Here's one to put on the wishlist. Custom Ti frame package. Alfine 11 speed hub. Shimano XT front hub, Mavic TN719 rims, Gates centre track belt drive system. 46 front, 24 rear, Alfine cranks, Magura MT2 / Shimano XT brakes. Approx $3,950

Bruen Website

Do you own any of these Urban Belt Drive Bikes? If so, what are your recommendations?