A lifelong dream
Adventurer & Photographer 

Stephen Peel

To circumnavigate the world on a bicycle

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Gates Carbon Centretrack Drive Belt

Posted by Stephen Peel - Adventure Travel - Cycling Around the World on April 1, 2017 at 11:50 PM



The Gates Carbon CenterTrack Drive Belt System 


After many months of should I shouldn't I, I have decided that I should. I will be going with the belt, rather than the chain.


After doing a lot of research and being no bike mechanic, I feel I am making the right choice. Sure, I have heard horror stories of people being stranded with short visa’s and no way of getting parts in some countries, but I have also heard that from people using derailleur and chains too.


The cost difference from the belt and hub system to that of derailleur and chain, is pretty huge, somewhere in the region of another grand, so let me tell you why the belt is a good option for me.


I’m not bothered about the extra money. This is a onetime deal for me, and I want to go all guns blazing.


I hate oil, dirt and grime, and the thought of every time I get a puncture or the chain slips off, I have to get all oily and messed up is really off putting. It wouldn’t be such a problem if I was close to home and I could clean up really easily, but to be out in the sticks for weeks on end, wild camping with a tent and little in the way of washing facilities if I can't find digs, I would not be very happy, especially if I were to get oil and grime on my clothes and equipment.


Taking my bike into hotels or other digs, with an oily chain that has also covered my clothing and leg with oil and grime, might not go down too well either. So yes, the cleanliness part is a big issue.


I want the internal hub for the same clean reasons, and of course would not want to couple the hub with a chain, as I would be back to square one.


I believe the belt can outlast a chain by quite a lot. I will carry an extra belt just in case and if I lose one I will then be able to order another to be delivered to my next destination so that I try to keep a spare or even 2 most of the time.


It looks good. I know that sounds a bit of a crappy reason to own a hub and belt, but hey, it may just be a talking point that gets me chatting with people who might then know where I can crash, or just to chat with other people will be good, as long as they don't start pulling and tugging on my belt.


No grinding or noise to speak of. I suppose this will be a little weird at first, but no doubt I will grow to love that about it. I hate it when my chain and derailleur get clogged up with crap and it all starts grinding and clunking. With the belt, it throws out the crap to the sides and rarely gets clunky. 


There are 2 types of belts really, with one being the new CenterTrack belt. This has a separation line through the middle of the bumps in the belt, and that separation line sits on a track on the cogs. The benefit of this is that you don’t need anything either side of the belt to keep it on the cogs, as it is prevented from moving to the sides because of the separation line and the tension on the belt.


Keeping the belt dead centre to the cogs is even more important with this belt, as any slight out of alignment could shred the belt in no time or throw it off the cogs, so I’m told. The other benefit of the CenterTrack is that there is less chance the cogs will clog, as the crap is pushed out of the cogs.


Finding maintenance and replacement parts in some countries is going to be really hard, but as long as I get everything serviced and replaced in the last country before moving on to a country with little in the way of support, I believe I will be just fine. If I’m not fine, I will put it all down to just part of my wonderful adventure.






Categories: Bikes and Equipment

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