Belt Drive Bikes Pros And Cons

The chain is usually one of the first components to become worn out on a classic bicycle. After the chain comes to the cassette and chainrings close behind.

It is evident that regular upkeep, which involves both cleaning and oiling, is essential for the chain to continue to work properly. Thus, it is sensible to explore other options.

This is where belt drive technology for bicycles becomes relevant. Belt drives for bicycles are a fairly new advancement that captures the attention of numerous cyclists. The argument revolves around how much time and effort can be saved by employing this technology.

Manufacturing techniques are getting better and more people are using belt drives, making belt drives accessible to the typical cyclist at a reasonable cost.

In this article, we will consider the pros and cons of belt drives in detail. With this information, you will be able to make a well-informed decision when you are looking for your next bicycle.

Belt-drive bike


belt drive

A bicycle with a belt drive utilizes a constant belt with interlocking teeth crafted from robust synthetic components such as nylon and carbon fibre.

The belt is connected to both a front sprocket and a rear cog, enabling the plates to travel in a straight line. These plates usually consist of metal mixtures like stainless steel that increase the strength of the system.

A belt drive is a one-piece toothed belt. Much of the technology found in this product is derived from the advancement in automobiles and motorcycles.

This belt employs a mechanism of internal gearing, which safeguards numerous pieces in motion. A changing system for bicycles can result in them lasting longer and being less noisy than a usual chain.

Connecting an electric bike with a belt drive and city bikes has been done for some time now. Technology has existed for pretty long already. Unfortunately, belt drive technology used to be very expensive.

The advantages couldn’t outweigh the cost. If you take into account the financial aspect of electric bike batteries and the extra expense of buying a belt-drive bike, you would need a large budget to imagine such a combination right now.

Due to the lack of bikes available with a belt drive, the selection is limited and people must decide whether the extra expense is worth it when compared to the more traditional chain-driven bike.

These bikes use an internal-gear hub which is similar to a gearbox, rather than having multiple chainrings and cogs as in a chain drive system.

There are two distinct advantages to these hubs. The first benefit of such a system is that it requires far less upkeep since the parts are sheltered from the external environment inside the hub. It is possible to switch between gears when stationary, which is incredibly useful for biking around a city.

Putting together a synthetic belt, inner parts with a stainless steel cog and chainring produces a highly dependable system that almost doesn’t need taken care of when compared to chain-driven methods.

It’s plain to understand why these structures are growing in demand due to their tidiness, toughness, ease of care, and practicality.

The Pros and Cons of Belt Drive Bikes

Folks often inquire, “Are belt drives actually so convenient?” It all depends on what your personal requirements are. A useful item for one individual may not prove advantageous to somebody else.

You can think about what is important to you and make a choice between the positives and negatives.


Belt Drive Pros You Need A Belt-Compatible Frame
As belts are one-piece, your frame will need to be designed with a ‘belt splitter’ in the rear triangle. The frame will also need to be ‘stiffness test approved’ to ensure the belt cannot wander off the rear cog. When the rear triangle is particularly stiff you can actually run less preload tension on the belt, which results in less drivetrain resistance.

Belts are generally constructed from lightweight synthetic materials, which have been reinforced with incredibly lightweight and robust carbon fibre. They also make use of a lone sprocket and chainring, thus reducing weight in this area as well.

However, internal gear hubs are heavier than derailleurs. When bike touring, there is no need to lug around lube, a degreaser, a chain tool, and spare links to do any repairs or maintenance.

Light and tough. The belt drive is robust, so it will stand the test of time if not abused and make it a cost-effective option.

Belt drives are simple to keep up with, as they don’t need any lubrication or configuration. This minimizes the stickiness of dirt, essentially eliminating the need for frequent cleaning. A speedy scrubbing to take away debris and dust is sufficient to keep perfect operation. The casing shields the internal parts from outside elements since they are housed inside.

A belt drive will never need to be oiled, so it will not become as dirty as a chain. A swift scrubbing is all that is needed for tidying up. Throughout the lifespan of a bike, one can save money by avoiding paying for third-party maintenance and repairs.

There is no need for lube with clean parts, so they stay cleaner. Fewer oil marks on your hands, clothes, or legs

Belts typically last approximately 20,000 miles before replacement is needed, four times the average lifespan of a chain drive, which is about 5,000 miles. There are a smaller number of active components, implying that there are fewer potential issues. This potentially saves you money in the long term.

Replacing your chain at the right time will prolong the lifespan of your whole drivetrain and prevent the loss of
Quiet – They are much quieter than chains because there is no metal-on-metal rubbing. Belt drives don’t squeak from lack of maintenance either
No more rattling bike chains to contend with. Think of it as stealth mode for a bike. A bike chain inevitably makes some noise no matter how well you maintain your bike. All those metal components in a traditional bike chain with the teeth of gears produce a resultant noise.
Switch gears at a stop – Internal gear-hubs allow you to switch between gears without pedalling to make the change like a traditional chain drive


A belt drive bike helps you cycle faster – A bike chain has a lot of moving links that can create inefficient motion. Even if you look after it and maintain it, it’s still metal parts rotating against each other. This in turn results in lost energy.
With a belt drive the force you exert through pedalling is more directly translated into the motion of the wheels and propels you faster. Faster without increased watt power required. Sounds like a dream.

Belt Drive Cons

Why aren’t all bikes designed with a belt drive system, given all of its advantages? Using a belt drive instead of a chain necessitates a rethink of the traditional frame geometry due to its lower level of versatility. We’ve been investing for years in chain-based bike frames.

It’s possible to compare the way Tesla is revolutionizing the auto industry through their battery technology to how bikes could be changed similarly. If you’re looking for assistance up hills, belts may be a good choice; however, you will need to utilize internal gearing, which can be complex.

Here are a few of the explanations as to why belts are unlikely to take the place of chains in our comparisons of the pros and cons of belt-drive bicycles.

Belt drives are usually costly up front, though they remain a speciality item. The portion of bikes that have been manufactured with a belt drive is still a pretty small number, and they include more sophisticated and pricey parts. An insufficient number of customers will cause fewer goods to be produced, thus resulting in a more expensive price for the purchaser.

Drivetrains and frames with limited compatibility are not able to be used with derailleurs. The bicycles must only be operated as single-speed and with a Pinion gearbox or an internal gear hub.

Likewise, manufacturers must make belt drive-specific frames. They accomplish this by incorporating a split in the back triangle. This is because the belt is a single unbroken part and cannot be divided into pieces, unlike a chain.

You may not be able to fit wide rims or tires to your bicycle if the belt is being used, as it is wider than a chain.

A replacement belt is hugely expensive compared to a chain – up to £80 for the former compared to around ten dollars for the latter. It is much more costly to purchase a belt drive gear system than a complete chain-based drivetrain. This means that although the belt drive costs more, its longer lifespan should compensate for it.

It is difficult to acquire components – Most little bicycle stores do not provide belt drive services, nor do they have replacement parts in stock. In developing nations, this is especially poignant; it might cause a cycle journey to be stopped before its planned end due to the lack of resources to mend the bike should something happen.

Chain drive systems can provide wider gear selections than belt drive options. The restricted selection of gear that is available diminishes their efficacy when riding through mountainous areas.

The fact that a belt drive is not able to provide side-to-side motion across gear cogs does not mean there is nothing else to be done. You don’t have to be using a single-gear bike to appreciate the benefits of a belt-drive system. The ingenious people who created the Gates belt drive system have the solution.

Internal gearing. Genius. There is a disadvantage with mountain bikes when compared to road bikes: road bikes usually come with more than 20 gears thanks to their internal gearing system, whereas mountain bikes typically have fewer gearing options.

Belts drives do not allow for movement in any direction apart from the path of the belt, unlike chains which do have the flexibility to move across the side.

So what? A regular chain can move sideways, so it can move up and down between sprockets, giving you different sizes of gear ratios. Having a belt drive system instead of cogs and external shifting systems means that it is not possible to have a lateral flex.

A belt drive is one unit with no components that can be disconnected. This increases productivity and minimizes energy expenditure, but it may make it more difficult to use. A chain is different in that it is composed of individual links which can be put together or taken apart according to necessity.

Belt drives cannot be unstuck like a chain, so the design of the bike must be able to accept the installation of the belt. In the back of the frame, there need to be locations for the belt to fit into so it can be stored.

Belt drive for triathlons

Currently, belt-drive bicycles are not allowed to be used in competitive road racing or triathlons. It is also a fact that fewer gears can be extremely helpful in getting through long-distance races, especially when there are hills to climb. Track cycling is a different matter.

Commuter bicycles with belt drive

Bicycles used for transportation are the most suited to having a belt drive system.

Several businesses offer belt-driven bicycles, specially designed for single-speed cycles with internal gearing mechanisms. A belt drive bicycle is a great choice for commuting due to its low maintenance and cleanliness.

Chain versus Belt Drive Bikes

Although the benefits of a belt drive bicycle are many, the more traditional chain drive is still the most popular option. Most bikes can be fitted with a belt drive, though some modifications to the frame may be necessary.

Those embarking on lengthy journeys might find a traditional chain easier to replace in a remote location, thus making it a more practical choice. It looks like the traditional chain is here to stay for some time.

Cost considerations of belt drive

Because there are not many belt-drive bikes available and the technology is still relatively new, they remain quite expensive. The Gates carbon belt drive system is more expensive because it requires additional design effort, a belt splitter, and the cost of the belt itself.

I hope that the chain you have now won’t need to be replaced while you are in charge but if it does, you will need to get a new one that is five times as expensive as a regular chain solution. Hopefully, this information on the pros and cons of belt-driven bicycles will help you make the right decision about your next bicycle purchase.

Belt Drive Bikes

Cube Hyde Pro Belt Drive Bike

The Cube Hyde Pro has the look and feel of a mountain bike with an 8-speed hub gear with belt drive using Shimano disc brakes.

An aluminium frame is used to construct a lightweight structure that is coupled with aluminium forks. For a price of less than £800, this is a great deal for anyone searching for a convenient to keep up hybrid bicycle.

Priority Continuum Onyx

The Priority Continuum Onyx is a town bicycle that comes with everything needed for a safe and comfortable ride, such as fenders and dynamo lights installed.

The Continuum Onyx operates on the Gates belt drive system along with a NuVinci rear hub that uses shifters that are manipulated by hand. This bike is highly uncommon in a specialized area, and the company behind it puts a strong emphasis on social responsibility.


In conclusion, you should think carefully about both the positive and negative aspects of a belt-driven bike before you make a decision. Assess which options are most meaningful to you, and we hope this article has been of assistance in this process.

Ultimately, it is probable that you will have affection for your bike, regardless of which system you select. Most importantly, make sure to relish in your bike rides as much as you are able.


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