Gates CenterTrack

Gates is debuting their next-generation belt drive technology at Interbike later this month. The new “CenterTrack” design boasts 20% more tensile strength than their existing offerings, while also being narrower and lighter. The slender profile makes this new system easier to integrate with internal gear hubs and provides better debris-shedding than current offerings. The drivetrain will be available for retail purchase in late 2011, but we’ll have to wait until the 2012 model year for widespread implementation on production bikes.

Gates Carbon Drive

24 Responses to “Gates CenterTrack”

  • Fergie348 says:

    Thanks for posting this, Alan. I’ve been interested in belt drive for awhile now, and this looks really nice. I’d imagine that belt tension will be critical to keeping everything lined up properly, and given what Gates belt drive components cost at retail now I shudder to think about how expensive this setup might be..

  • John says:

    Are the teeth on the cog CNC’d or are they inserts formed from sheet metal?

  • Alan says:


    “Are the teeth on the cog CNC’d or are they inserts formed from sheet metal?”

    We’ll have details after Interbike…

  • Surly Dave says:

    I friend of mine was really keen to get a current generation Gates Carbon Drive for a no-expense-spared bike he was building recently. After multiple attempts to find a supplier in Australia or overseas who could get him the parts he needed failed he gave up. reasoning that if pre-sales support was so bad, after sales support would be even more woeful. It’s no good having the best product in the world if you can’t get it into the hands of the people who want to buy it. This company has a long way to go before they’re ready for prime time.

  • Scott Wayland says:

    If I were in the market for a city/commuter bike, I’d probably get a belt drive. I don’t think I’d spring for the Rholoff–too rich $$–but the new 11 speed Shimano might do the trick. I find that with my mtb outfitted for commuting, that I NEVER use the small 22t chain ring, even though I must climb a short section of 11% grade every day. I do use the 44t frequently. That tells me with the proper setup, I could probably get all the gears I need on a single chain ring/IGH with belt drive. So dang cool. My system is so smooth and reliable now, I won’t change. But I can drool.

  • Ralph Aichinger says:

    What I don’t understand: Why bother with belt drives, when there has been another clean, cheap solution for decades: The completely enclosed chain like you see it on most dutch bikes. A bit of canvas or plastic does hardly add any weight, and you don’t have to have a frame that can be opened to take a belt.

  • Frits B says:

    I read somewhere this week but cannot remember exactly where that on Eurobike in Friedrichshafen a new belt drive was introduced that uses belts with standard industrial spacing (including Gates). The cogs are somewhat wider apart but the main advantage is that the choice in belt lengths will be much greater and the belts themselves are a lot cheaper as they are made in far greater numbers. The wider cogs should also handle debris better. And these belts wouldn’t need the same accurate tensioning that the present Gates cycle belts need. Further info on Interbike I suppose.

  • Cullen says:

    I wonder if the change is only aesthetic? Or, is there a functional change too?

    Unlike a chain, when then belt breaks you have to replace the entire thing!

  • Alan says:

    @Frits B


  • Alan says:

    @Surly Dave

    “After multiple attempts to find a supplier in Australia or overseas who could get him the parts he needed failed he gave up.”

    My impression is that most of the product is going to manufacturers at this point. There’s not much call for aftermarket belt drives because it takes a purpose-built frame to make it work.


  • Tech Gadget News » CenterTrack Belt-Drive: Thinner, Stronger, Prettier says:

    […] Gates Centertrack [EcoVelo] […]

  • dynaryder says:

    @Ralph: I run a free bike clinic at my local farmer’s market. A lady brought in her euro bike(can’t remember the make,but from Finnland) to get a flat fixed on the rear. It had an enclosed chain. I’ll *never* put one of these on one of my bikes. Eclosed chains are for people who run air-free rear tires,or get other people to work on their bikes.

  • Frits B says:

    @Alan: I knew I should have thought a bit harder. Thanks!

    Did you see this chain:

  • Bob B says:

    Now I’m officially convinced I don’t want to be an early adopter of belt drive.

  • Thor says:

    enclosed chain drive …. looks cool but can be a total headache for simple things like fixing a flat, plus if you ever “opened” one up which was in daily use for a while you gonna get a rude awakening, muddy wet encrusted goo comes to mind .. yikes …

    New belt Drive as far as I understand the front sprocket will be composite the pic Alan has is a cnc one piece prototype. Furthermore I heard that the prices for the new cdc system will be 30 % lower … but this has not yet been official ( like a pricelist in front of me )
    I have no problems buying Gates stuff and no problem shipping it around the world. However, very careful measuring and a good understanding whats involved before you order as I will NOT take this back when you find out that you have a conventinal bike and the belt doesnt go through the frame ..Sorry These are special orders ONLY … No returns.

    I think that Gates wants to make the belt narrower and the components narrower to be able to get a better chainline and use rear cogs to fit better ( than the 22 teeth cog on a Alfine which cannot get any smaller due to the circumference of the hub , If you have a narrower rear cog you might be able to put it on the side and make it smaller )

    I prefer the Gates over every other system, its very clean , well made. Photos dont do any credit to the workmanship which goes into every detail. ( Well …Alans photos are close
    I understand the Schlumpf only works with their front drive gears system , besides it looks a little rustik to say at least and the “loose” belt didnt look right either.
    Talking about tension … most people think that the Gates need a lot of tension, not so just a little bit to keep things nice and straight, nothing crazy …..

    I am the first one to admit that the Gates folks need to get with the program and have somebody who does nothing else than to answer customer questions and takes care of their concerns, hangs out on forums etc etc … instead of putting all their eggs into the OEM market ( actually Gates has seen some improvement in that direction while all others are still only talking OEM and dont even bother to talk to a dealer )

    The belt system will stay but its not for everyone or for every bike … it will stay somewhat exclusive ( which is not a bad thing in my opinion )

  • Blogosphere Buzzing about New CenterTrack Belt-Drive Technology: Lightest, Strongest, Cleanest Ever – Carbon Drive Systems Blog says:

    […] cycling blogosphere is buzzing about CenterTrack, with Bike Magazine, EcoVelo,, and others hailing the news. Categories: CDS Technology, Commuter Bikes, […]

  • CenterTrack Belt-Drive: Thinner, Stronger, Prettier | Al Terry Gough says:

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  • Gee says:

    @dynaryder: That would be a Tunturi I guess.

  • Bob Power says:

    Thor, you seem to be saying that a 22t cog is the smallest possible on the Alfine. That sure isn’t my understanding…can you restate your concern?

  • Thor says:

    Actually I was wrong the only available rear sprocket which fits the Alfine hub in my pricelist
    is 24 teeth…


  • Scott says:

    Funny seeing this here for the first time. I’m guessing Frank was going to show this to me next week.

    A narrower belt does a number of things. The primary one I’m excited about is that it allows you to build a frame with more tire clearance (wider chainstays). Belt cogs are really wide and pairing a 50t belt ring with an Alfine narrow chainline means you are seriously tight on chainstay clearance.

    Gates currently only makes one offering for Alfine compability. It’s the 24t cog.

  • randomray says:

    I’m convinced I don’t want a belt drive now .

  • henryinamsterdam says:

    Just a couple years after the fanfare of the original Gates Carbon Drive and they’ve already superceded and obsoleted it. That’s just one more reason why this system can’t be taken seriously for transportation bikes yet.

    For those of you above misunderstanding the wonderful Dutch chain case:

    1. If you’re familiar with them, doing repairs is only a little more time consuming… and far less frequent since the drivetrain is enclosed and can be thus dripping with sticky oil.

    2. There is very seldom a need to remove the rear wheel just to fix a flat tire. Just patch the tube with the wheel in place. Every Dutch man, woman and child knows that.

    Then every few years the chaincase comes off to replace the rear tire, inner tube, chain, rear cog and probably service the rear coaster brake or internal gear hub. An experienced mechanic does this.

  • EcoVelo » Blog Archive » Gates CenterTrack Shipping says:

    […] Brand commuter bikes outfitted with Gates’ new CenterTrack belt drivetrain are arriving at dealers as we speak. Drivetrains will be available for aftermarket […]

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