SKYELANDER ROHLOFF DISC WITH GATES CARBON DRIVE
We now offer a Gates Carbon Drive version for all of our Rohloff models.
What is a Gates Carbon Drive?
At the core of the drive is the Carbon Drive belt. Belts have been used on high horsepower motorbikes for years and Gates have now perfected it for bicycles. The Gates belt is 11mm wide and made from carbon-fibre so it’s very strong. The drive is completed with the Gates front sprocket and the Gates rear sprocket which attaches to the Rohloff hub.
We only use the Gates CDX set up as it’s tougher and more durable than their CDN offering.
Why a Gates belt?
Put simply, they offer smooth running and minimal maintenance versus a chain set up. The Belt in combination with the Rohloff hub is the ultimate in minimal maintenance versus a chain set up. However keeping the belt clean will length the life of the belt and the sprockets.
How long does it last for?
The Gates belt and sprockets are extremely durable but they do wear and can tear over time. Gates themselves say the lifespan of their belts is twice that of a chain. Bike blogger Alee Denham (cyclingabout.com) estimates a belt life of 30,000km or more. Other estimates say at the very least 15,000km versus a chain’s average life of 5,000km.
Are they invincible?
No. They still need to be looked after. There are certain do’s and don’ts with a belt - e.g. don’t lubricate the belt, twist it, zip tie it, back bend it. The belt has to be properly tensioned, correctly aligned and regularly cleaned with water.
Is there a difference in the ride feel?
Yes, I have been testing it out and it’s definitely smoother and quieter versus a chain set up. I’m surprised how much I like it and I’ll be keeping it on my Rohloff equipped Kibo.
The extra cost for the Gates belt drive set up versus chain set up on the Skyelander Rohloff is £440 - this covers the extra cost of the wider diameter seatstays, the Paragon stainless steel dropouts with the splitter needed to install the belt, the Gates front and rear CDX sprockets, the rear sprocket carrier and lockring required for the belt set up on the Rohloff hub, along with the Gates belt and the snubber.
Do the CDX sprockets last as long as the CDX belts?
The CDX sprockets will usually last even longer than the belt itself, but the rear sprocket will most likely wear first before the front sprocket due to the front sprockets having more teeth.