Belt drive bikes are nothing new. Archibald Sharp mentioned belt and steel band driven bike transmissions in his 1896 text “Bicycles and Tricycles”. I haven’t talked much about belt drive, but I have mentioned bikes on this blog before that use a belt instead of a chain. I know about some of the problems historically associated with belt drive systems (slipping, stretching, reduced efficiency, one piece design etc.), but to be honest I have never actually ridden a bike with one. Well, I wish that I were going to Interbike so that I could test ride one of the New Spot Brand Bikes that uses a Gates carbon drive belt. Spot will have these bikes available to ride at the Outdoor Demo, so I hope that some of you reading this will get a chance to take one for a spin.
There are definitely some advantages to belt drive for a bike without derailleur gears. I expect the carbon belt to be clean, light, quiet, and pretty much maintenance free. I am interested in hearing your impressions of this system. Let me know what you think if you get a chance to ride this bike at Interbike.
Also, I just noticed you can read more here.