We’ve ridden and tested Gates’ belt-drive system in the pages of Bike and walked away impressed–it’s a nearly zero maintenance product. Sure, you have to buy off on the whole notion of going single speed and you need a frame with a split drop-out that will accommodate a belt (and those two things eliminate a lot of folks), but if you are in the mood to ditch the gears, you might also consider ditching the greasy chain.
Or not. It’s a free world. We can say, however, that the system works and that the CenterTrack version of Gates’ belt drive is worlds better than the original (Carbon Drive) flavor of Gates, which had a tendency to “walk” off the gear rings if not perfectly aligned.
One hitch for some people, however, is the technical aspect of making the conversion: the process of switching from chain to belt is terra incognita and that, in and of itself, scares some folks away. It shouldn’t. As the video above illustrates, setting up a bike with a belt is not rocket science. Hell, it’s about as technically challenging as pouring a bowl of Cheerios.