Gates Carbon Drive

Get The FAQs

Have a question? I bet we have the answer. Take a look at the frequently asked questions and answers below. If you don’t see what you need, just contact us!

AVAILABILITY

Carbon Drive products are available from your local bike shop as well as QBP and BTI. Or, you can contact us directly:
North & South America: carbondrive@gates.com
Everywhere else: info@carbondrive.net

Gates does not recommend modifying frames as it will void the frame manufacturer's warranty and may result in personal injury or death.  The belt cannot be broken and reattached, so for a standard rear triangle, you’ll need a way to get the belt through the frame. Belts also need adjustment for installation and tensioning. Thus, the reason for a purpose-built frame.

BEFORE YOU RIDE

Multiple speeds are available through the use of internally geared hubs, gearboxes, and multi-speed bottom brackets.  Options are available from Shimano, SRAM, Rohloff, NuVinci, Sturmey Archer and others.

Clean - No Lubrication means no greasy build up of dirt, keeping your hands, clothes, and children clean. 
Smooth – The Carbon Drive system eliminates the metal-to-metal contact of chains, delivering an unparalleled smoothness that you need to feel to believe.
No Noise – The Carbon Drive belt is virtually silent in most riding conditions.
Light Weight – the entire system, 2 sprockets and a belt, weighs less than just a typical chain.
No Stretch – The Carbon Drive belt does not stretch over time like a chain. This means you don’t have to re-tension the belt, or replace the belt due to stretch. 
Self-Cleaning – The patented CenterTrack and MudPort profiles were designed specifically to shed mud, dirt, snow and other debris to meet the needs and environmental challenges of a bicycle.
Life – Testing has shown the Carbon Drive belt to last more than twice the life of chains.
Consistent Efficiency - the Carbon Drive belt provides consistent efficiency over the lifetime of the drive. In contrast, chain efficiency decreases with wear and dirt.

Because a belt cannot be broken and then reattached, the Carbon Drive System requires a belt-compatible frame. A belt also needs center distance adjustment for installation and proper tensioning. Methods include horizontally adjustable dropouts, eccentric bottom brackets, or eccentric hubs.

INSTALLATION

The best way to tension the Carbon Drive belt is to use our Krikit tension gauge or our free iPhone app.  Tension recommendations by application can be found in our Tension Recommendations Technical Bulletin.

Carbon Drive sprockets have been engineered to fit on many stock cranks and hubs.  Front sprockets include both 4-bolt and 5-bolt cranks.  Rear sprockets have been designed to fit Shimano, Rohloff, SRAM, NuVinci, Sturmey-Archer, Bosch, BionX and others.

For general storage, Gates does not recommend coiling.  It is best to leave the belt in its original packaging until ready to use. However, if you want to carry a spare belt with you, proper coiling is an option.  Care should be taken not to damage the belt, please watch this video.

MAINTENANCE

The belt can make noise when forced to run hard against the flanges on the sprockets. This can be due to sprocket misalignment, wheel misalignment, or run out in the drive caused by damaged components. Spraying water on the belt may quiet the drive for a few minutes, but the permanent solution is to correct the alignment or replace the damaged components. Another possible source of noise is a loose front sprocket. Using thread lock on the sprocket bolts alleviates this problem.

In some cases, the noise can occur when riding in dirty conditions, particularly when mountain biking if grit and water temporarily stick to the belt.  This noise in no way indicates a problem with your Gates Carbon Drive.  In most cases simply hosing off the belt and pulleys after a ride will end the noise.  If noise persists, the solution is simple: spray the belt with water, wait for it to dry, and apply a thin coating of dry silicone spray to the tooth side of the belt.  Dry silicone dries instantly, helps shed grit, and does not affect the longevity of the belt.  We recommend this product.

Ticking and clicking noises on bikes are often difficult to diagnose because they can come from a myriad of sources. A possible source of clicking can be from a loose front sprocket. Use thread lock on the sprocket bolts to alleviate this problem. A second source of clicking might come from too much clearance between the rear sprocket and an internally geared hub. Gates has introduced a new sprocket design called SureFit to address this concern. Alternatively, applying Teflon tape to the hub interface has been found to eliminate the clicking noise. 

Increasing the belt tensions should correct this problem. Consult the bicycle manufacturer's recommendations or our tensioning information for details. Normally tooth jump does not cause significant belt damage; however, strong riders who jump teeth at very high loads might consider replacing the belt. Belt slipping with proper tension could be a symptom of belt or sprocket wear and could be a sign that one or both need to be replaced. 

RELIABILITY

In laboratory testing, the Carbon Drive System lasts more than twice the life of a chain. Chains are often replaced due to scratch and wear rather than actual failure. The Carbon Drive belt does not stretch, so the smooth running performance remains consistent throughout its life. 

When a belt comes off of the sprockets under power, it has likely been damaged and replacement is recommended. If you are on the trail, or away from home, reinstalling the belt may get you back under light load. Keep in mind, if the tensile cords are damaged, the belt may not be able to handle full load, and make break if subjected to any significant loading. 

The belt performs very well in most conditions, including conditions where chains and/or derailleurs have problems, such as mud and clay. However, in severe conditions where mud and clay can build up on the drive, there is a chance that you could damage the belt. Caution should be used in these severe conditions.

While the front CDC-MudPort sprocket does have a flange that resembles a bash guard, it should not be used as one. The flange is located on the sprocket to keep the belt aligned. If you use the flange as a bash guard, not only might you damage the flange or the sprocket, it's likely you may damage the belt as well. 

While we don't publish a maximum load rating, the Gates Carbon Drive System meets or exceeds the EN 14766 industry standard, the same requirements for chain drive systems. 

Yes, you can carry a spare belt with you out on the trail. The spare belts are sold flat and attached to a cardboard package; it is recommended that you keep the belt attached to the board when not in use. To carry one with you, the belt can be coiled. Please watch this video for complete instructions. Take care not to damage the belt in an attempt to pack it into a tight space. 

While you can expect extended life from your belt drive compared to chain, regular inspection and replacement intervals are still encouraged. Sprockets should be inspected for damage such as bending or cracks. Inspect your belt for: broken or missing teeth, cracks at the base of teeth, fraying tensile cords, mis-shaped worn teeth. Note: Flaking off of the blue layer on the teeth is a normal part of break-in for a new belt. 

No, the blue layer wear is a normal part of belt break-in. Depending on the environment you ride in, it may be more or less noticeable. 

Please read the complete warranty in the Owner's Manual.

The Carbon Drive Belt has very good chemical resistance. Contact with cleaning solutions due to soaping and rinsing should not cause any damage; however, it's not recommended to soak the belt for any significant amount of time.