Thinking of taking the plunge and ditching the chains for a belt-driven bike? Well, read on, because we’ve picked out seven of the best for you to pick from below.
Made from carbon fibre, belt-drive bikes work similarly to a chain – the crank drives the belt and turns the rear wheel. The difference is that belts can’t shift between cogs like a chain – they have an internal hub gearing system instead.
Sound intriguing? Let’s crack on with seven of our favourites, as well as looking at their pros and cons and addressing some belt-drive bike FAQs:
Are Belt-Drive Bikes Any Good?
Of course, especially if you’re a commuter or a more leisurely cyclist, given how little hassle belt-drive bikes generally cause you.
For starters, they’re more durable, lasting up twice as long as a typical bike chain. They’re also cleaner – there’s no grease marks or rust, nor will dirt stick to it like it will to an oiled chain, which in turn means you won’t risk spilling oil or dirty water on you or the floor.
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Belt drives are also lighter and quieter than a chain bicycle, and they also work with fitness and stationary bikes, too.
That said, they lack the same flexibility as chains and are more likely to cause friction, tend to cost about £200 more than a bike with chain, and can only be used with bikes with internal-gear, fixed-gear and single-speed hubs – not derailleurs.
You also can’t take it apart and re-install like you can with a chain; there is a more limited selection of belt-drive bike lengths, consequently.
Best Belt-Drive Bicycles for Commuting [GUIDE]
Best Belt-Drive Bike for Commuters
Stylish urban bicycle perfect for cycling to and from work
- Quiet, low-maintenance Gates belt drive system
- 8-speed Shimano Alfine internal gears bicycle
- Comfortable, upright positioning
Looking for internal gear hub bikes for sale which look as great as they feel? The District 4 Equipped could be the bike for you.
Tailor-made for trips around urban towns and cities, it boasts a quiet, low-maintenance Gates CDN belt drive system and an eight-speed Shimano Alfine internal hub for easy gear shifting.
If you’re keen, but find it’s out of your price range, check out their previous model, the District 3, which is £350 cheaper, here.
Best Belt-Drive Bicycle under £1000
A speedy belt-driven bikes with larger gear range
- Quality belt-driven bike, commuter or otherwise
- 7-speed internal hub
- Lightweight bicycle belt drive
While this is a terrific commuter bike, the Priority Brilliant L Train is equally ‘brilliant’ if you just fancy touring the city, or are strapping yourself in for a longer, more adventurous ride.
What makes this bike great? Well, its lightweight Chromoly frame is a big plus, as is its grease and rust-free Gates Carbon belt drive.
And with a seven-gear internal hub to add a speedy touch, the Brilliant L Train could hardly offer more for cyclists of any sort.
Best Belt Bike under £500
Best budget belt bike
- Grease and rust-free Gates carbon belt drive bike
- Enhanced wheels and pedals – enhanced durability
- Lightweight design at just 25 lbs
But if you’re working on tighter financial constraints, fear not – the Priority Classic Plus should still have all you need and more.
An incredibly light model at just 25 lbs, it’s easy to ride, with enhanced wheels and pedals for that extra bit of durability, too.
And it’s another to offer the services of the Gates Carbon Drive Belt, keeping it free of grease and rust, and providing a longer shelf life than your everyday bike chain.
Best Belt Drive Hybrid Bike
Best belt drive hybrid bike for city riding
- 7-speed internal gearing
- Powerful brakes for all weather conditions
- 3.0-watt Dynamo hub
Into hybrid bikes with internal hub gears? This is a great choice for a belt drive bike, commuter or not.
The District 1 Equipped offers low maintenance, seven-speed internal gearing, a road-smoothing suspension fork and great speed thanks to its 3.0-watt Dynamo hub.
What’s more, its Shimano roller brakes will deliver firm stopping power, no matter how treacherous the weather conditions may be during your cycle.
Best Belt Drive Gravel Bike
Ideal belt drive bike for both beginners and experienced cyclists
- First of its kind to possess a 11-speed gear range
- Lightest, fastest Apollo model
- Reliable on all surfaces and in all conditions
If a single-figure range of gears just isn’t enough for you, you might be tempted by the Apollo Gravel instead; the first gravel grinder with an internally-geared 11-speed hub and drop bar shifters.
It’s Priority’s lightest model at 24 lbs, yet also their fastest, offering stability on looser surfaces and reliable gear shifting and braking no matter what the elements throw your way.
Of course, it’s not the cheapest of its range at $1,699, but if you want the optimum experience of all-road cycling with a belt-drive bike, the Apollo is your first port of call.
Best Single Speed Belt Bike
Only single-speed belt drive featuring Gates Carbon Drive
- Single-speed belt drive
- Flip-flor rear hub to adjust how you ride
- Accommodates cyclists preferring to ride either full-throttle or with simplicity
Alternatively, if you’re not fussy about a wide array of gears, the Ace is the only single-speed belt to boast the Gates Carbon Drive.
Its flip-flor rear hub offers great flexibility in how you: either The Ace of Clubs, for more recreational riders, or The Ace of Spades, for performance riders who want to eke every last drop out of their model.
Whichever you prefer, you’ll be safe in knowledge that the Ace can be ‘geared’ to your style of cycling, even with just the one actual gear in its arsenal.
Best Electric Belt Bike
A one-of-a-kind e-bike
- Bosch Performance CX Speed motor
- Gates belt drive
- Combines stylish and retro looks and old and new technology
Last but not least, if you’re an electric bike fan, no problem – there’s a belt-driven bicycle for that, too.
This limited edition Café Moto Go! possesses all you could ever want from this kind of bike, including a Bosch Performance CX Speed motor, a Gates belt drive, and Enviolo rear hub – indeed, it can reach top assisted speeds as high as 25 km/h.
Or if you fancy something slightly simpler, less flashy and (slightly) cheaper, be sure to have look at Trek’s District +9 model, another high-end city e-bike, here.
Belt Bikes – FAQs
Why are bikes belt-driven?
To provide cyclists with a low-maintenance alternative, which should last longer, weigh less, stay cleaner and make less noise than a ‘normal’ bike with a chain.
Do Trek make a belt drive bike?
Yes – Trek have a substantial range of belt-driven bikes.
The Trek District 4 Hybrid Belt Bike is one of their most popular models, while they also have electric bikes in the form of the District 9+ and the eye-catching Café Moto Go! e-bike.
Where to buy a belt-driven bike?
Belt-driven bikes are still something of a rarity. However, there are a few specialist manufacturers that make them. You can find several hub gear bikes at the likes of: