We’re all about Triathlon at Trivelo but like most of us we are pretty big fans of bikes of all shapes and sizes. This weeks blog is a selection of the 11 of the best carbon belt drive bikes available for 2020. Keeping our blog real with it fully aligned to the n+1 bicycle principal.
Chain versus Belt Drive Bikes
Could a belt drive bike be the future of triathlons? Unlikely, we love a raft of gears too much as triathletes and bouncing up and down the ratios but as an extra training bike why not! Belt drive bikes are without doubt cleaner, quieter and more durable than a chain. It makes them good for high mileages with the minimum of maintenance and lube becomes a thing of the past, we’ll avoid any double entendre opportunities.
Advantages of Belt Drive Bikes
Carbon Belt drives last substantially longer due to not stretching in the same way as a chain. It has no moving components like a chain but uses a single loop of carbon inside a nylon cover. By contrast on all our TT bikes we make do with a chain that has pins and a series of interlocking metal rollers. These are stressed by the sprockets and teeth. Check out our blog with advantages and disadvantages of belt drive bikes for more on this.
Begin the slavating, below is a series of the best belt drive bicycles you can buy.
Best Belt Drive Bikes to Buy
Who??? The Rondo Booz is a real gem and unlikely to be a bike you see twice while on a ride. A simple frame design constructed in steel the ST has a robust feel that it could well outlast you. Hydraulic disc brakes and steel construction mean this is never going to be winning any lightweight awards. That isn’t really the point though of this bike.
The bike rolls on 47c 650b tyres that give a confident feel for anyone coming to this bike from a mountain bike. It is an ideal commuter option with minimal maintenance to worry about. The mountain bike styling flows continues with the wide flat handlebars that ensure excellent control over your steering.
The single speed carbon belt drive train runs smoothly with this bike using the Gates carbon system throughout. Cassette, Belt Drive and Crankset full Gates system. Very much a pure belt drive option and one we recommend you seek out.
Our Choice – Rondo Booz ST Steel for £1349
The Amsterdam Elite Series comes in various set ups. We like the purity of the single speed system fitted with the Gates Carbon Drive Belt drive. For those who don’t know Lekker they are a Dutch firm who only work on a direct sales model from their website. The Amsterdam Elite is a gorgeous looking classic bike frame finished in “space blue” giving you classic fixie geometry that is perfect for around town commuting if you can bring yourself to leave it locked up anywhere. Created with stretch-free carbon fiber tensile cords. With a aluminium frame and Shimano hydraulic disc brakes you have a robust set of components that delivers a smooth ride and is lightweight.
Our choice– single speed Elite €548.00 (at time of writing)
A rare hybrid bike if you can find one from the BMC stable. A triple-butted aluminium frame with carbon forks the bike like so many others in this list uses the bulletproof Gates belt drive system. This bike comes with the Shimano Alfine 11 system no surprises given the title offering some more familiar geared cycling to all us fans of the feeling of a regular gear change while cycling. Some neat finishing touches on this bike with internal cable routing but tipping the scales at more than 10kg is unlikely to be lightest option in your shed as you head out for a ride. At a whopping £2499 this is also only for those with deep pockets able to stretch to something of this type as a set of high mileage training wheels.
Our choice – Alfine 11 £2499
As the name hints Connor Cycles make their bikes from wood, based out of Denver Colorado. We love the look of the aptly named “Scorcher”. The frame is manufactured from American hardwood reinforced with kevlar and available in white ash or black walnut woods. The Gates belt drive system is coupled with an 8 speed Shimano Alfine internal gear hub and disc brakes although the firm claim to be able to accommodate full customisation to suit any customers choice. With a wooden frame capable of absorbing vibration you can expect a supremely comfortable ride although likely to take some getting used to for those of us accustomed to aluminium or carbon frames.
Our choice – Scorcher (price available on application but need to factor in shipping from the U.S)
The Continuum Onyx is a fully equipped town bike complete with mudguards. Not exactly a looker in funeral hearse black but with Gates belt drive and NuVinci rear hub you get retro grip shifters. Somehow Priority bikes manage to include decent quality Tektro disc brakes as well for the money. We love the write up for the bike on their website that is selling the virtues of a belt drive bicycle with the classic line “never stain your pants”, we love it. Pretty heavy piece of kit but for the cheeky chap about town you could do a lot worse.
Our choice – Continuum Onyx $999
Cube describe the Hyde Pro hybrid as a “true urban lifestyle bike” but it has the look and feel of more of a mountain bike with an 8 speed hub gear with belt drive using Shimano disc brakes. The frame is an aluminium lightweight hybrid style with aluminium forks resulting in a pretty reasonable total weight of under 14 kg on a bike that could be readily taken off-road. At this price we would of expected to see carbon forks in reality and touch more weight saving. The belt drive is of course the Gates belt drive system.
Unlike many of the other bicycles in our list of belt drive bikes this one is relatively mainstream from a well known manufacturer and available at high stores such as Evans. That said if you are in the market for a belt drive bike that mass availability may well be a turn off.
Our choice – Cube Hyde Pro Hybrid Bike £849
If batman rode a bicycle this is what he would have in the batcave. Canyon make a range of belt drive bikes in urban and commuter styles but the pick of the bunch is the award winning Urban 8.0. This is no budget option though and a true thoroughbred. The Urban 8.0 is a mountain bike but Canyon does’t really call this out with much of the sales gumf describing a happy city cyclist cruising the streets on their Urban 8.0. Gearing is provided using the Shimano Alfine 11 speed integral hub that you would expect for this price. Belt drive transmission from Gates system mounted onto an aluminium frame with disc brakes from Shimano using the Deore range. Weight of this superhero belt drive bike is only 10.5kg that makes it in the seriously light category, lightest in this company.
Our choice – Canyon Urban 8.0 £1749
The Marin offers a cheaper alternative to the Canyon albeit in a slightly more conventional commuter city frame. The Marin has a 6061 aluminium frame and forks using the Gates belt drive system with Shimano Nexus 8 speed integral hub gears. Brakes come in the form of the Shimano M315 hydraulic disc brakes. Hard to get a clear view on the weight of this bike but unlikely to be a rival for the Canyon. A further feature worth flagging on the Marin are puncture resistant tyres that help keep this in the low maintenance unique category and well worth a look if you were considering the Cube.
Our choice – Marin Fairfax SC4 Belt Commuter £949.99
The Ghost Square Urban 3.8 city bike is a chunky specimen with oversized tubing and arrow straight forks. It looks like it could go through brick walls and still keep on pedalling. The bike makes use of the Gates carbon belt drive system like so many others in our list. The frame is aluminium keeping one eye on weight while keeping manufacturing costs sensible and this side of carbon fibre frames. As if choosing a bike with a belt drive didn’t make you unique enough to pick a Ghost bike puts you in a smaller niche. The German firm have been around for a while but with limited UK outlets are very rare. Targeting the city commuter the bike comes loaded with mudguards and a pannier frame on the rear. All contributing to the robust looking design. To call it a utility bike would be harsh but it certainly offers an option for people looking beyond conventional hybrid tourer bicycles.
Our Choice – Urban 3.8 City Bike £699.99 (discounted at time of writing)
Polygon bikes are not well known in the UK but have a vast range of bikes including a series of belt drive urban bikes. The most exciting of these is the Path i8 as a great looking alternative for commuter cycling. The Path i8 features a tough and light aluminium frame. In belt drive world uses theGates carbon belt drive with Shimano Nexus 8 speed hub. It comes complete with hydraulic disc brakes and 700x35c tires for a safe ride through winter. The Polygon Path i8 would stand out in the company bike racks against a flood of conventional mountain bikes. Only available online so be careful with sizing when considering ordering.
Buy the Path i8 for 999 Euros
A fully loaded urban bike with built in lights, mud guards and panniers for kit. The bike of course comes with Gates belt drive coupled with the Shimano Nexus 8 speed drive train. A heavier and more robust option than many others in this line up but worth a look as an alternative to an e-bike for anyone looking.
Buy the Kalkhoff Endeavour 8 for £1099
If you want to know more about the popular Gates system then read our guide to everything you need to know about the Gates belt drive system.
List of The 11 best carbon belt drive bikes
- Rondo Booz ST
- Lekker Amsterdam Elite
- BMC AlpenChallenge
- Connor Woody Scorcher
- Priority Continuum Onyx
- Cube Hyde Pro
- Canyon Urban 8.0
- Marin Fairfax SC4
- Ghost Square Urban 3.8
- Polygon Bikes Path i8
- Kalkhoff Endeavour 8