• belt drive mountain bikes

    belt drive mountain bikes

    Should you choose a gearbox mountain bike with a belt or chain drive? Let’s find out what is best for you.

    In short: with a carbon belt you enjoy an extremely silent ride. You never need any grease and you are nearly maintenance-free.

    On the other hand a chain is more efficient, direct and works better in extreme situations, like enduro races.


    A gearbox mountain bike with a carbon belt gives you more control than a derailleur bike, as your rear wheel is lighter. This goes as well for a gearbox bike with a chain drive.

    The belt system replaces the chain, using a reinforced carbon belt and specifically designed sprockets. Mostly it is the extremely silent ride and low maintenance that is most interesting for riders.

    A belt has consistent efficiency throughout its entire life, unlike a chain which efficiency degrades as it wears out. Yet the initial efficiency of a chain is about 2 – 3% better than a belt drive.

    maintenance and durability

    As noted earlier, mountain bike belt drives are quiet, clean and require very little maintenance throughout their life.

    Conventional bike chains require more cleaning and a bit of wax if you ride regularly, but this is not necessary for belts. Carbon belts might get a bit squeaky though when riding in dry conditions.

    According to Gates their carbon belt drives are hard-wearing and as a result last a very long time. But it also depends on your riding style. The more you ride technical trails with drops and jumps, the more impact the belt gets and lifetime becomes comparable or shorter than riding a gearbox bike with chain.

    Replacement belts, sprockets and hubs cost more than a chain. If you need to replace any of the parts, you can end up paying significantly more.

    riding a belt drive

    Belt drives are a little less efficient at transferring power, so you’ll end up using more energy. So if you compete in enduro races, you better ride with a chain drive.

    In general belt drives work extremely well, both in dry and wet conditions. Only in extremely muddy conditions the mud may clog into the belt that it might skip a tooth on the sprocket under full load climbing.

    should you ride chain or belt?

    Choosing for a chain or belt drive depends mostly on how you are going to ride the bike.

    If you are planning to participate in races or ride mostly in extremely wet and muddy conditions, then we would recommend a chain drive. It is just more efficient, more direct and will get you better performance in races.

    If you love riding in total silence, hate to clean and lubricate your chain then a belt drive might be the best option for you.  

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