Belt Up

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Drive Belts for Bikes
Drive Belts for Bikes

Back in August at the Eurobike exhibition, a press release caught my eye: Continental announced that “more and more bicycle manufacturers are equipping their models with a maintenance-free, easy-to-handle timing belt instead of a chain. What was previously the preserve of premium bikes only will soon be available for entry-level models, too.

This intrigued me, but I ran out of time at the show because there was so much to see, and it’s taken till now to get back to this subject.

Is this similar to the pan European e-bike phenomenon, where sales are reported to be booming, but I don’t see that many at bike shops and only the occasional one when I’m out cycling? I customarily nod or wave to acknowledge cyclists passing in the opposite direction, and routinely get overtaken by younger riders, and I haven’t tried to study whether these bikes in my proximity have belts rather than chains, but I am just not aware of them on bikes owned by friends and acquaintances.

So, if you spot a drive belt in use, please let me know!

Back to Continental: they have launched a new eco version to run alongside their CDS (Conti Drive System) premium, which features belt sprockets made of aluminium and stainless steel; the eco version uses a newly developed, synthetic material combination of high-quality plastic. This makes the belt sprockets even lighter, while offering practically the same degree of durability. The new CDS eco plastic belt sprockets are also manufactured more economically. Whereas the front belt sprocket is made entirely of high-quality plastic, the smaller rear belt sprocket uses a special patented material combination of plastic and stainless steel. This is designed to counteract the higher level of abrasion on the small rear belt sprocket. “CDS eco is therefore positioning itself alongside the CDS premium as a cheaper entry-level variant so that it can offer bike concepts featuring a belt instead of a chain in the budget segment, too,” says Regina Arning, who is in charge of drive systems for bicycles, e-bikes, and pedelecs at Continental’s division ContiTech.

If, like me, you haven’t seen any or many drive belts in use, it appears that we will be soon, as Conti say that 30 bike manufacturers were exhibiting models with the Conti Drive System at Eurobike.

 

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