Carbon Belt Drive Bikes: What Are They, Who Makes Them and My Top 6 List

As bikers, we all want to be spoiled for choice. The Triathlete wouldn’t dare ride their carbon fiber cheese slicer to the corner shop nor would the Downhiller even dream of busting out the double-suspension 29er for a coffee run.

Solution? Why not give a carbon belt drive bike a spin for your commuter money?

Specialized Roll 8 Rare with a Carbon Belt Drive

A belt-driven bicycle has the same mechanism as a timing belt in a car or those found in certain types of machinery. Instead of a linked chain that moves across the cassette and the chain rings, you have a single belt that has teeth that fit into compatible sprockets. The most popular of the carbon variety is the Gates CDX CenterTrack belt drive, which doesn’t stretch too much and is therefore, better tensioned and also has a groove running through the center of the belt so it doesn’t slide off the sprocket.

There are a number of perks to a carbon belt drive bike:

  1. They do not rust and are easy to maintain. Which mean no messy lubricants and a longer chain life.  Just a spritz of water is all you need to keep it clean.
  2. They provide for a quiet ride, great for when you’d rather hear the birds chirping and the grass growing.
  3. They’re as efficient as regular chains and may last up to twice as long.

These bikes are becoming more and more popular as a casual option for your around-the-town needs, as well as for those who are looking for a different type of cycling experience.

Here’s a list of some of your favorite makers who have put out carbon belt drive bikes. This was only to contain five bikes but I couldn’t decide so I’ve kept it to six.

In alphabetical order, they are:​

BMC urbanchallenge UC01 – A combination of the urban ride with a mountain bike bite, the UC01 comes with a discreet set of fenders and lights, fantastic for your Main Street purchases as well as your evening rides. A known choice for the BMC pro riders’ downtime.


Budnitz No. 3 Honey Edition – With creamy white tires and a camel-colored saddle, this is the option that both the fashionista and the speed demon in your family are going to want. With 29 inch tires, you’ll probably be flying and turning heads at the same time.

Budnitz No. 3 Honey Edition

Focus Planet TR 1.0 8-G – Deceptively subtle in its styling, the Planet is available in either a titanium or a hydroformed aluminum frame in an attractive stripe pattern. This intergalactic bike comes in Magicblack.

Focus Planet TR 1.0 8-G


Specialized Source Eleven – A commuter bike with disk brakes, lights, fenders and a rack, it comes standard with an aluminum bell, a useful device which you can use on idle pedestrians who won’t get out of the way. 

Specialized Source Eleven


Spot Brand – Having partnered with Gates, Spot is the only brand that offers the carbon belt in your choice of mountain, street or cyclocross bikes, as well as a variety of colors to boot. Plus, with fun names like Honey Badger, Acme and Ajax, “boring” is most definitely not in the SB vocabulary. The bike featured here is the Spot Brand Dualie in Scooter Blue. 

Spot Brand Dualie in Scooter Blue


Trek District – For those on the go who are looking for a subdued look in their daily ride, the District boasts road-bike acceleration, Bontrager All-Weather tires and dual-pivot brakes. Comes in Smoke Grey and a lot of attitude.

Trek District 2013