Are carbon belt drives the future?

Trek introducing two production models in 2009

British manufacturer Orange was among the first to use carbon belt drives. Now Trek is taking it to the masses in 2009.

The fact that Trek are to introduce two new carbon beltdrive models has recently been picked up on by the mainstream US media.


Although bike companies such as Orange have already experimented with polychains from US automotive giant Gates, CNN news channel’s recent report suggested that Trek’s use of carbon beltdrive models on mass-produced bikes could herald a sea change for chains. Until now they have remained niche products, for example being used as standard on the Strida, a lightweight A-frame folder with a cult-following.

The chainless Trek models will be introduced as the single-speed District (US$930) a single-speeder and the hub geared Soho (US$990). They are due for US launch in December and January respectively.

However, Trek’s lifestyle brand manager Eric Bjorling, whilst recognizing the huge potential of the new belt drive models, was quick to play down any suggestion that their launch heralded the demise of the chain.


“Are we going to see a ton of people switching from a chain to a belt drive?” Bjorling said. “I think in some urban environments yes, but it’s definitely not the coffin that’s gonna bury the chain.”