Purpose

This page is to record my experience with a bike bought to learn about the Gates Carbon Drive system -- because I'm curious and might want to have it as an option on my next "nice" bike.

The bike

I bought a GT Aerostream on the spur of the moment when a friend pointed out it was available half-off at REI. $250 to learn about a cool new technology seems like a great deal, and I needed a beater bike -- something I could safely lock up outside a cafe during breakfast -- anyway. You might question whether experience on a low-end bike would predict anything at the other end, but Gates' stuff comes in only one line. My bike has the same belt, and presumably the same quality cog and chainring, as a $6K custom belt-driven single-speed. This isn't like judging DuraAce by the stamped Shimano parts on a $150 Walmart special.

The Rider

I'm a 5000 mile/year rider who weighs 175 lbs. Nearly all of my riding is commuting done on a custom Moots Ti frame. I used to race, and did pretty well when there was a lot of climbing involved, but even then I wasn't particularly strong (i.e. couldn't compete in a sprint), and I'm 20% slower now. So while I'm fitter than your average rider I'm not as strong as the guys entering races on bikes with Gates belt drives. I should not be able to break this stuff.

Initial impressions