The Gear Junkie Scoop: Gates Carbon Upgrade

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By Stephen Regenold

In a column last year, “Belt Drive Mountain Bike,” I covered the bike-chain-replacing Carbon Drive System from Gates, writing that “the humble bike chain — greasy, gunk-prone, finicky if not lubed and maintained — has been standard equipment for decades, but belt drives, which employ a flexible loop of polyurethane embedded with carbon-fiber cords, give bikers a new option.”

This week, Gates ( announced a new option itself and an upgrade from the belt-drive system I reviewed last year. The company's CenterTrack system, which recently debuted on bicycles from Spot Brand, has a new design said to offer a 20-percent tensile strength increase and a slimmer profile from the current Gates system. 

CenterTrack, officially called CDX-CT, includes a complete pulley and sprocket redesign. The side flanges have been removed and replaced with a center track where the belt aligns. Other upgrades: The rear pulley is now stainless steel instead of alloy, and the new belt design is slightly wider, both strength-increasers according to a company rep.

Spot Brand, which is based in Golden, Colo., began shipping bikes with CenterTrack to shops in May, including single-speed mountain bikes and internally-geared commuter models. Other brands will introduce CenterTrack-equipped bikes this summer, a Gates rep says.

–Stephen Regenold is founder and editor of Connect with Regenold at or on Twitter via @TheGearJunkie.