• Home
  • Content
  • Blog
  • Unchain Your Ride: Why Belt Drives Are the Future of E-bikes
Posted by E-bike Lovers on March 8, 2023 - Latest revision March 18, 2023  Reading time: minutes remaining

Unchain Your Ride: Why Belt Drives Are the Future of E-bikes

Belts used in e-biking are typically made of a composite material, such as rubber or carbon fiber, and are reinforced with other materials, such as carbon strands, to increase strength and durability. Unlike chains, belts do not require lubrication and are less prone to stretching or wearing down over time, making them a low-maintenance alternative.

Belts are commonly paired with internally geared hubs and are becoming more popular in the electric bike market due to their efficiency and ease of use.

How Long Will a Belt Last?

It is understood that the increased power and torque of an E-bike's motor puts more stress on the belt compared to a regular cyclist pedaling. Some claim that belts can last well over 10,000 miles or even up to 19,000 miles. Regular or analog cyclists normally make these claims. A normal bike puts much less stress on the system than an e-bike.

In laboratory testing at peak loads, Gates claims that chains failed at 279 miles while E-bike specific chains lasted only 275 miles. The Gates CDX CenterTrack belt exceeded 10,000 miles. This was tested in a laboratory, and we don’t know what chains Gates used. The new Enduo chains would have outlasted the Gates belt most likely.

Our belt lasted 6,592 miles in the real world cycling across America at a modest pace of less than 12 mph with no abrupt shifting or abnormal stress because of a high cadence. We trained some 2,000 miles and the tour was 4,685 miles, all cycled gently with the same belt.

Pros

  • Low Maintenance: Unlike chains, belts don't require regular lubrication or cleaning, making them easier to maintain.
  • Durability: Belts last longer than chains.
  • Cleanliness: Belts don't attract much dirt or grime, keeping the bike cleaner.
  • Quiet Operation: Belt drives produce less noise than chains, providing a quieter and smoother ride. But they can squeak which can be resolved with some silicone spray (never use oil).
  • Lightweight: Belts are typically lighter than chains.
  • Long-Term Cost Savings: While belts may have a higher upfront cost compared to chains, their longer lifespan and lower maintenance requirements can result in long-term cost savings.

Cons

  • Cost: Belt drives are more expensive than traditional chains, which can make them less accessible for some riders.
  • Flexibility: Belt drives are less flexible than chains, which can make them less suitable for certain types of riding, such as mountain biking or other off-road activities.
  • Installation: Installing a belt drive can be more complicated than installing a chain, requiring specialized tools and expertise.
  • Tension: Belts require a specific tension to function properly, which can be difficult to achieve without the proper tools or knowledge.
  • Frame Compatibility: Not all bike frames are compatible with belt drives, as they require specific design considerations.
  • Limited Availability: Belt drives are still less common than traditional chains, which can make it difficult to find replacement parts or get support if needed.

Internal Hubs and Belt Drive Make a Perfect Combination

Belt drives are usually paired with internal hub gears such as a Rohloff or Enviolo. Belt drives work well with internal hub gears because they allow for smooth, efficient power transfer without the need for a derailleur system. This pairing is particularly well-suited for commuter or long-distance riders, as well as e-bike riders who want a low-maintenance, worry-free riding experience.

Conclusions

Belt drives have several advantages over chain drives, including being cleaner, requiring less maintenance, and lasting longer. Belt drives are also becoming more popular, particularly in certain categories like commuters, long-distance riders, and touring cross-country.

Overall, belt drives are a reliable and efficient alternative to chain drives, and the technology continues to advance and improve over time.

Support E-bike Lovers

Make your next Amazon purchase within 24 hours to help E-bike Lovers earn a commission as an Amazon Affiliate. Your support is greatly appreciated!

We are reader-supported. As an Amazon Associate, E-bike Lovers earn from qualifying purchases. Learn more.

Small logo of e-bike lovers with an electric bike in black and white

Page [tcb_pagination_current_page] of [tcb_pagination_total_pages]

Round Logo of E-bike Lovers with an electric bicycle and name of group

Volunteer with E-bike Lovers


Please contact us if you would like to volunteer and help with the organization of events and rides. We are also in need of writers and editors for our carefully curated website.


Join the movement and volunteer with the most inclusive and dynamic e-biking group in the region.


Copyright 2024 E-Bike Lovers. All rights reserved. See our disclaimer, Code of Conduct, and privacy/cookies policies.

We may receive a small commission if you purchase a product on third-parties' websites at no additional costs to you.