Belts-Drives Are Better

We’re all about making ebike ownership simple and easy, and a big part of this goal comes down to choosing the right parts to improve your life as an ebike rider. 

Since our founding, all our ebikes have used Gates Carbon Drive belts instead of chains. Belts are quieter, lighter, smoother and longer-lasting than chains, plus they’re the perfect compliment to the other low-maintenance parts we use to build our ebikes. 

Gates is the originator of the bicycle drive belt, and has been instrumental to the auto, moto and industrial worlds for more than 100 years. They continue to innovate and improve the Carbon Drive system, and we’re proud to partner with them in equipping every Vvolt with a belt drive and all their associated benefits. 


Gates CDX bicycle belt


Belt Drive Benefits:

  • Clean - No Lubrication means no greasy build-up of dirt, keeping your hands, clothes, and children clean. 
  • Smooth – The Carbon Drive system eliminates the metal-to-metal contact of chains, delivering an unparalleled smoothness that you need to feel to believe.
  • No Noise – The Carbon Drive belt is virtually silent in most riding conditions.
  • Light Weight – The entire system: 2 sprockets and a belt, weighs less than just a typical chain.
  • No Stretch – The Carbon Drive belt does not stretch over time like a chain. This means you don’t have to re-tension the belt, or replace the belt due to stretching. 
  • Self-Cleaning – Gates’ patented CenterTrack and MudPort profiles were designed specifically to shed mud, dirt, snow and other debris.
  • Life – Testing has shown belts to last more than four times the life of chains.
  • Consistent Efficiency - Traditional chains lose efficiency when they get dirty and as they wear. Carbon Drive belts provide consistent efficiency over the lifetime of the drive. 

Belt Downsides:

  • Belts cannot work with a traditional external derailleur system, so multi-speed belt drive systems require the use of an internally geared hub like the ones we use from Enviolo. Belts also work great on single-gear systems like those found on Alpha and Slice Lite models- they’re the pinnacle of ebike simplicity.
  • Because a belt cannot be broken and then reattached, the Carbon Drive System requires a belt-compatible frame with provisions for tensioning the belt. This means it’s unlikely you can convert your existing non-belt belt to belt drive. 
  • Belt systems last 4x longer than chains, so it can feel expensive when replacement time comes. In reality it works out about the same to replace one belt/cog setup as it does to replace 2 chains and a cassette gear cluster. 


Belt FAQ:

What if a belt breaks?

It’s highly unlikely that your belt would break through normal use. Be cautious not to twist the belt during removal or reinstallation (such as removing the rear wheel for flat repair) and your belt will last a loooong time.

If it wears out, do I have to get a replacement belt through Vvolt?

Nope! We stock replacement belts, cogs and sprockets… but you can also find belts in stock at many commuter-focused bike and ebike repair shops. Most reputable bike shops can also order Gates parts for you through their regular distributor networks.

Are belts strong?

The Gates Carbon Drive System meets or exceeds the EN 14766 industry standard, the same requirements for chain drive systems.