10 Belt Drive Bikes That Will Have You Going Chainless (And Quite Possibly Never Going Back)

The Priority E-Classic Plus is one of ten belt-driven bikes on our list.<p>Bruno Long</p>
The Priority E-Classic Plus is one of ten belt-driven bikes on our list.

Bruno Long

If you have spent any significant time on a bike throughout your life, you know that you get as you pedal along, maybe on your way to a first date with that cute girl you met at the farmer's market last week, and all of a sudden you feel like you are pedalling in thin air.

You look down and notice that your chain has fallen off. You desperately search your pockets for a tissue or a handkerchief (oh to be a 1920s gentleman at this exact moment) but you only find a bit of pocket lint and a few measly dollars, which isn't enough for flowers AND dinner.

Your only choice is to use your bare hands to wrench that chain back into place and then try to find a nice piece of grass to try and wipe the chain grease off your hands so you don't show up to your date with greasy hands that probably wouldn't give a great first impression.

Well, fear not my intrepid dating commuter, there is a solution to your greasy hand problem. Ditch the chain and derailleur for the latest technical innovation you didn't know you needed; a belt drive.

Related: 10 Electric Cargo Bikes to Carry You (and Your Kids) Into A Pedal-Powered Future

Belt Drives and How They Work

Having evolved over three decades, the Carbon Belt Drive stands as a robust power transmission technology with diverse applications. It was originally designed for applications such as propelling the blowers on 10,000 horsepower racing engines and powering the drivetrains of 150 horsepower motorbikes. More recently, they have found their way into the drivetrains of bicycles and electric bikes.

Comprising a series of nylon teeth reinforced by multiple carbon fiber cords, the belts are paired with stainless steel cogs and durable alloy chainrings. This combination results in a remarkably sturdy chain alternative capable of withstanding both very cold and very hot temperatures, is almost maintenance-free, has an extremely long lifespan, and will keep your hands nice and clean for your date.

Belt drive cannot be used with conventional drivetrains and derailleurs, which is one of the main reasons that mainstream adoption is still limited. Instead, the belt drives are coupled with internal hubs, either an internally-geared rear hub or crank-based gearbox.

This combination of teeth and strong materials is designed to withstand more abuse than a traditional chain.<p>Gates Carbon Drive</p>
This combination of teeth and strong materials is designed to withstand more abuse than a traditional chain.

Gates Carbon Drive

Gates Carbon Drive Experience

The Gates Belt Drive System offers a multitude of benefits that enhance the cycling experience. With a focus on cleanliness, this system stands out for being clean and lubrication-free, preventing the accumulation of dirt on hands, clothes, and even ensuring the cleanliness of children.

The Carbon Drive System introduces a new level of smoothness by eliminating metal-to-metal contact, providing an unparalleled riding experience that must be felt to be believed. Additionally, the system boasts virtual silence in most riding conditions, enhancing the overall riding experience.

The lightweight design, comprising two sprockets and a belt, weighs less than a typical chain, contributing to a more agile and efficient ride. Noteworthy is the absence of belt stretch over time, eliminating the need for constant re-tensioning or replacement.

This is a great example of a rear internal hub and Gates Carbon Drive system.<p>Priority Bicycles</p>
This is a great example of a rear internal hub and Gates Carbon Drive system.

Priority Bicycles

The patented CenterTrack and MudPort profiles make the system self-cleaning, shedding mud, dirt, snow, and other debris. Extensive testing has demonstrated that the Carbon Drive belt lasts more than twice the life of traditional chains, ensuring durability. Moreover, the system provides consistent efficiency throughout its lifetime, in stark contrast to the decreasing efficiency of chains with wear and dirt.

If you haven't tried a belt-driven electric bike yet, do yourself a favour and seek one out. They are a revelation, shifting your mindset about how bikes should be designed and enjoyed. The smooth, almost glide-like feeling as you pedal silently, the lack of maintenance to the belt, as well as the seamless shifting of the internal hubs, are all benefits of the belt drive that has slowly been shifting e-bike manufacturers to incorporate a belt-drive system into their design process.

10 Bikes That Have Shifted to A Belt-Driven System

While adoption is growing, it is a slow shift in mindset. But here are 10 bikes from seven companies that are banking on belt drives being a major part of the future in the electric bike market.

<p>Priority Bicycles</p>Priority E-Classic Plus<ul><li>Motor: 250W front hub motor</li><li>Battery: 374 Wh</li><li>Weight: 49 pounds</li><li>Range: Between 20-60 miles</li><li>Hydraulic disk brakes</li></ul><p><a href="https://clicks.trx-hub.com/xid/arena_0b263_bikemag?event_type=click&q=https%3A%2F%2Fgo.skimresources.com%3Fid%3D106246X1715787%26xs%3D1%26url%3Dhttps%3A%2F%2Fwww.prioritybicycles.com%2Fproducts%2Feclassicplus&p=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bikemag.com%2Febikes%2F10-belt-drive-bikes-that-will-have-you-going-chainless-and-quite-possibly-never-going-back&ContentId=ci02c8cd4db000246c&author=Bruno%20Long&page_type=Article%20Page&site_id=cs02b509c8100626e2&mc=www.bikemag.com" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:The E-Classic Plus marks Priority's fourth electric bicycle model;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">The E-Classic Plus marks Priority's fourth electric bicycle model</a>, expanding its lineup with step-over and step-through frames for a natural, comfortable ride. Powered by a low-drag 250W motor and a removable 374Wh battery integrated into the downtube, it provides up to 60 miles of silent, efficient fun. Inspired by the maintenance-free Classic model, the e-Classic Plus offers intelligent electric power for longer, hassle-free rides. </p><p>The highlights of the E-Classic Plus are comfort, lightweight design, and low maintenance, making it an ideal choice for daily riders seeking an easy-to-operate e-bike for errands or leisurely rides. Plus, most people won't even know you are riding an e-bike as you leisurely cruise past them on the pavement. Its 'classic' design brilliantly integrates new technology with old-timey style to bring you <a href="https://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/priority-bicycles-e-classic-plus-140000670.html" data-ylk="slk:one of our favorite reviewed bikes;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas;outcm:mb_qualified_link;_E:mb_qualified_link;ct:story;" class="link  yahoo-link">one of our favorite reviewed bikes</a>.</p>
Tenways CGO600 Pro<ul><li>Motor: 350W rear hub motor</li><li>Battery: 360 Wh LG cells</li><li>Weight: 37 lbs</li><li>Range: Up to 62 miles</li><li>Class 1: Up to 20 MPH with no throttle</li></ul><p>Tenways, a company based in the bike-crazy country of the Netherlands, is focused on making commuting effortless, eco-friendly, fun and fast. With the <a href="https://clicks.trx-hub.com/xid/arena_0b263_bikemag?event_type=click&q=https%3A%2F%2Fgo.skimresources.com%3Fid%3D106246X1715787%26xs%3D1%26url%3Dhttps%3A%2F%2Fwww.tenways.com%2Fproducts%2Fcgo600-pro%23specs&p=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bikemag.com%2Febikes%2F10-belt-drive-bikes-that-will-have-you-going-chainless-and-quite-possibly-never-going-back&ContentId=ci02c8cd4db000246c&author=Bruno%20Long&page_type=Article%20Page&site_id=cs02b509c8100626e2&mc=www.bikemag.com" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:CGO600 Pro;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">CGO600 Pro</a>, they have created a stealthy commuter that at first glance looks like a bike that a courier would be riding as they deftly deliver packages in a city. But a closer look reveals an integrated battery that is barely perceptible, a belt-drive couple with a rear hub motor that delivers 350W of assistance while still making you earn your miles.</p><p>Coming in at a few ounces shy of 40 lbs, this lightweight commuter also has an integrated headlight, hydraulic disk brakes, up to 62 miles of range and a minimalist aesthetic that will turn heads around every corner, especially with its four exciting colorways.</p>
<p>VVolt</p>VVolt Slice Lite<ul><li>Motor: 350W rear hub motor</li><li>Battery: 500 Wh</li><li>Range: 20-55 miles</li><li>Weight: 52 lbs</li><li>Class 1: Up to 20 mph with pedal-assist only</li><li>Front cargo weight: Up to 40 lbs</li><li>One-size fits most</li></ul><p>VVolt, a Portland, Oregon-based e-bike company, is an eccentric brand, with colorful marketing, a fun aesthetic and a keen sense of community. However, VVolt is also about making functional and efficient electric bikes, which is exactly what the <a href="https://clicks.trx-hub.com/xid/arena_0b263_bikemag?event_type=click&q=https%3A%2F%2Fgo.skimresources.com%3Fid%3D106246X1715787%26xs%3D1%26url%3Dhttps%3A%2F%2Fvvolt.com%2Fproducts%2Fslice-lite&p=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bikemag.com%2Febikes%2F10-belt-drive-bikes-that-will-have-you-going-chainless-and-quite-possibly-never-going-back&ContentId=ci02c8cd4db000246c&author=Bruno%20Long&page_type=Article%20Page&site_id=cs02b509c8100626e2&mc=www.bikemag.com" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Slice Lite, part of VVolt's new Utility Series;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Slice Lite, part of VVolt's new Utility Series</a>, is aiming to be.</p><p>Think of the Slice Lite as a mini-cargo bike, allowing you to do most of your day-to-day errands with the ease and quickness that everyone wants out of their commuter e-bike. The detachable front basket can carry up to 40 lbs, allowing you to grab most of the grocery list that was stuck to the fridge door when you got home from work.</p><p> Safety is also a major concern with the team at VVolt, which is why they went above & beyond with their 360-degree illumination, all of which comes from integrated front, rear and even side lights, making sure that no one missed you out on the road at night. And if someone does happen to miss you, you'll have the confidence of hydraulic disk brakes to help you stop on a dime when needed.</p><p>The real beauty of this design is an e-bike that is made for just about every size, with a range from 4'9 to 6'4, making this bike a commuter that can be used by every member of your family for whatever errands they need it for.</p>
<p>Tern Bicycles</p>Tern HSD P5i<ul><li>Motor: Bosch Performance Series 250 W</li><li>Battery: Bosch PowerPack 545Wh</li><li>Range: Up to 76 miles</li><li>Weight: 61.5 lbs</li><li>Class 1: Up to 20mph</li><li>Cargo Capacity: 176 lbs</li><li>One-size-fits-most</li></ul><p>When you want to haul not only your groceries but maybe even a passenger, on your electric bike, look no further than <a href="https://clicks.trx-hub.com/xid/arena_0b263_bikemag?event_type=click&q=https%3A%2F%2Fgo.skimresources.com%3Fid%3D106246X1715787%26xs%3D1%26url%3Dhttps%3A%2F%2Fstore.ternbicycles.com%2Fcollections%2Fbike%2Fproducts%2Fhsd-p5i-gen-2&p=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bikemag.com%2Febikes%2F10-belt-drive-bikes-that-will-have-you-going-chainless-and-quite-possibly-never-going-back&ContentId=ci02c8cd4db000246c&author=Bruno%20Long&page_type=Article%20Page&site_id=cs02b509c8100626e2&mc=www.bikemag.com" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:the compact offering from Tern Bicycles, the HSD P5i.;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">the compact offering from Tern Bicycles, the HSD P5i. </a>While it isn't the full-fledged cargo bike that most people think of, don't let that fool you. The HSD P5i can do just about everything a larger cargo bike can, but it can also fit into a small space with its foldable stem design.</p><p>Equipped with the Bosch Performance Line, the HSD P5i not only has the reliability of one of the most trusted names in the e-bike industry, it is coupled with the Gates Carbon Drive and Shimano Nexus rear hub, making it a seamless (and powerful with 75 Nm of torque) system for any commuter.</p><p>It also comes stock with hydraulic brakes, integrated front and rear lights, a rear cargo rack and an Abus rear-wheel lock, for those quick in & out trips to the store for milk, eggs or tofu. Plus, if you need something from that specialty grocery store across town, the HSD P5i has a range of up to 76 miles, easing your mind about getting stuck far from home.</p>
<p>Specialized Bicycles</p>Specialized Turbo Como SL<ul><li>Motor: Specialized SL 1.1 (240W)</li><li>Battery: Specialized SL 1 (320Wh)</li><li>Range: Up to 62 miles</li><li>Weight: 44 lbs</li><li>Class 3: Up to 28 mph without throttle assist</li></ul><p>If you are looking for an electric commuter bike with clean lines and a slick style, look no further than the <a href="https://clicks.trx-hub.com/xid/arena_0b263_bikemag?event_type=click&q=https%3A%2F%2Fgo.skimresources.com%3Fid%3D106246X1715787%26xs%3D1%26url%3Dhttps%3A%2F%2Fwww.specialized.com%2Fus%2Fen%2Fturbo-como-sl-50%2Fp%2F216527%3Fcolor%3D348463-216527&p=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bikemag.com%2Febikes%2F10-belt-drive-bikes-that-will-have-you-going-chainless-and-quite-possibly-never-going-back&ContentId=ci02c8cd4db000246c&author=Bruno%20Long&page_type=Article%20Page&site_id=cs02b509c8100626e2&mc=www.bikemag.com" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Specialized Turbo Como SL;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Specialized Turbo Como SL</a>. This futuristic-looking bike, from one of the biggest bike manufacturers in the world, has gone through a few iterations over the past few years. The newest model (5.0) comes with a proprietary motor and battery combo, delivering a smooth ride that integrates perfectly with the Gates Carbon Drive and Shimano Alfine 8-speed internal rear hub.</p><p>When it comes to high-quality bicycles, Specialized always decks out their bikes with quality components, making sure that the rider can rely on the bike to get them to and from their destination with style and grace.</p><p>The Turbo Como SL isn't just nice to look at, it also comes with some great utility features, such as a sturdy front rack and basket combination, as well as an integrated rear rack that almost invisibly melds into the rear fender, showing how much thought went into the design of this high-end commuter bike. If you are looking for a beautiful, yet very functional commuter bike, make sure to get your hands on a Tirbo Como SL as soon as you can.</p>
<p>Ride1Up</p>Ride1Up Gravel Roadster V2<ul><li>Motor: 350 W rear hub motor</li><li>Battery: 252 Wh Samsung 35e cells</li><li>Torque: 40Nm</li><li>Range: 20-30 miles</li><li>Weight: 34 lbs</li><li>Class 3: Up to 28 mph with no throttle</li></ul><p>Now this is a bit of a change from the normal commuter bikes shown on this page. But it is hard to look away from this sleek offering from Ride1Up. The <a href="https://clicks.trx-hub.com/xid/arena_0b263_bikemag?event_type=click&q=https%3A%2F%2Fgo.skimresources.com%3Fid%3D106246X1715787%26xs%3D1%26url%3Dhttps%3A%2F%2Fride1up.com%2Fproduct%2Froadster-v2-gravel-roadster%2F&p=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bikemag.com%2Febikes%2F10-belt-drive-bikes-that-will-have-you-going-chainless-and-quite-possibly-never-going-back&ContentId=ci02c8cd4db000246c&author=Bruno%20Long&page_type=Article%20Page&site_id=cs02b509c8100626e2&mc=www.bikemag.com" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Gravel Roadster;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Gravel Roadster </a>is a hard-charging commuter that is comfortable on both smooth pavement and rough gravel roads, offering you the option to cruise to work in the morning and then burn off that work stress on some gravel paths on the way home.</p><p>The Gravel Roadster is about as simple as it gets, with a single-speed belt drive, narrow road riser bars, and a small handlebar display. While the single-speed design might not be for everyone, this bike appeals to the fixie or single-speed crowd who still love that style of bike but could use a little assistance from time to time. </p><p>Don't want to hit the gravel trails and simply want to rip the pavement, Ride1Up also offers a single-speed belt drive <a href="https://clicks.trx-hub.com/xid/arena_0b263_bikemag?event_type=click&q=https%3A%2F%2Fgo.skimresources.com%3Fid%3D106246X1715787%26xs%3D1%26url%3Dhttps%3A%2F%2Fride1up.com%2Fproduct%2Froadster-v2%2F&p=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bikemag.com%2Febikes%2F10-belt-drive-bikes-that-will-have-you-going-chainless-and-quite-possibly-never-going-back&ContentId=ci02c8cd4db000246c&author=Bruno%20Long&page_type=Article%20Page&site_id=cs02b509c8100626e2&mc=www.bikemag.com" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Roadster V2 at a ridiculously low price of $795;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Roadster V2 at a ridiculously low price of $795</a>.</p>
<p>Priority Bicycles</p>Priority Current<ul><li>Motor: 500W mid-drive motor</li><li>Battery: 500Wh frame integrated battery</li><li>Torque: 140 Nm (class-leading)</li><li>Range: 20-50 miles</li><li>Weight: 53 lbs</li><li>Class 1: up to 20 mph with no throttle assist (can be changed to Class 3)</li></ul><p>Priority Bicycles is back with its second bike on this list, the <a href="https://clicks.trx-hub.com/xid/arena_0b263_bikemag?event_type=click&q=https%3A%2F%2Fgo.skimresources.com%3Fid%3D106246X1715787%26xs%3D1%26url%3Dhttps%3A%2F%2Fwww.prioritybicycles.com%2Fproducts%2Fcurrent&p=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bikemag.com%2Febikes%2F10-belt-drive-bikes-that-will-have-you-going-chainless-and-quite-possibly-never-going-back&ContentId=ci02c8cd4db000246c&author=Bruno%20Long&page_type=Article%20Page&site_id=cs02b509c8100626e2&mc=www.bikemag.com" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Priority Current;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Priority Current</a>. This powerful commuter bike is a bit of a sneaky bike, kind of like that unassuming guy who shows up at the local YMCA for drop-in basketball and then drops 50 on you and the other Dads who are still trying to relive their high school glory days. </p><p>The Current comes with class-leading 140 Nm of torque, pretty much unheard of in this style of commuter e-bike. That means better climbing ability than any bike in its class. Coupled with the Enviolo transmission, which allows for a very low gearing ratio, you can pretty much tackle the steepest hills you can find. If you live in a town or city full of steep roads, having great gearing and a massive amount of torque are key features for an e-bike.</p>
<p>Tenways</p>Tenways AGO T<ul><li>Motor: Bafang M420 Mid drive 250W</li><li>Battery: 504Wh Lithium-ion with LG cells</li><li>Torque: 80Nm</li><li>Range: Up to 63 miles</li><li>Class 1: Up to 20 mph with no throttle assist</li><li>Weight: 68 lbs</li></ul><p>The Tenways AGO T is a beautifully designed step-thru bike that has a classic commuter look with a touch of sophisticated style. As with all the bikes in this article, the Gates Carbon Drive helps give it a simplistic look while at the same time creating a more efficient e-bike. The GCD is paired with an Enviolo internal hub, creating a vast range of gearing on the AGO T. Coupled with the Bafang mid-drive motor and powerful battery, this commuter might look classy but is also a workhorse on the climbs, pumping out 80 Nm of torque for those challenging hills.</p><p>With integrated front and rear lights, a sleek & simple rear rack, as well as an intuitive app from Tenways, the AGO T is a high-end commuter that comes in at a reasonable price of $2699. With the type of components, motor and transmission, Tenways seems to have found a nice middle ground between luxury and reliability with the AGO T.</p>
Vvolt Alpha<ul><li>Motor: 350W rear hub motor</li><li>Battery: 375 Wh</li><li>Torque: 45 Nm</li><li>Range: 15-40 miles</li><li>Class 1: Up to 20 mph without throttle assist</li><li>Weight: 43 lbs</li></ul><p><a href="https://clicks.trx-hub.com/xid/arena_0b263_bikemag?event_type=click&q=https%3A%2F%2Fgo.skimresources.com%3Fid%3D106246X1715787%26xs%3D1%26url%3Dhttps%3A%2F%2Fvvolt.com%2Fproducts%2Falpha&p=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bikemag.com%2Febikes%2F10-belt-drive-bikes-that-will-have-you-going-chainless-and-quite-possibly-never-going-back&ContentId=ci02c8cd4db000246c&author=Bruno%20Long&page_type=Article%20Page&site_id=cs02b509c8100626e2&mc=www.bikemag.com" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:The VVolt Alpha;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">The VVolt Alpha</a> is another single-speed electric bike that comes fitted with the Gates Cabon Drive system. Using a rear-hub motor, you decide on what pedal-assist level you want to use and the motor does the rest as you pedal your way to your next destination. Ideal for flatter terrain and more casual cruising, the Alpha will zip you around town with ease, although with 40 Nm of torque, it won't shy away from the occasional hill when needed.</p><p>If you are looking for a simple commuter bike that is going to be relatively hassle-free, the Alpha is worth checking out. It comes with quality components, like hydraulic brakes and front & rear lights, but won't hit your bank account too hard. Coming in at just under $1500, you'll still have money left over for any of your other needs. But you almost certainly won't be spending it on repairs for your e-bike, due to its simple and durable design.</p>
<p>Evelo</p>Evelo Galaxy Lux<ul><li>Motor: Dapu 500W mid-drive motor</li><li>Battery: 557 Wh battery with Advanced Battery Management Software</li><li>Torque: 100 Nm</li><li>Range: Up to 55 miles</li><li>Class 2: Up to 20 mph with throttle assist</li><li>Weight: 52 lbs</li></ul><p>If you are looking for a stable, no-hassle, easy-to-ride electric bike, you might have just found the right bike for you. The <a href="https://clicks.trx-hub.com/xid/arena_0b263_bikemag?event_type=click&q=https%3A%2F%2Fgo.skimresources.com%3Fid%3D106246X1715787%26xs%3D1%26url%3Dhttps%3A%2F%2Fevelo.com%2Fproducts%2Fgalaxy-lux%23full-specs&p=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bikemag.com%2Febikes%2F10-belt-drive-bikes-that-will-have-you-going-chainless-and-quite-possibly-never-going-back&ContentId=ci02c8cd4db000246c&author=Bruno%20Long&page_type=Article%20Page&site_id=cs02b509c8100626e2&mc=www.bikemag.com" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Evelo Galaxy Lux;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Evelo Galaxy Lux</a> is designed to fit riders comfortably while also making it easier to mount (and dismount) without much trouble. </p><p>But the real beauty lies in the combination of belt drive and Enviolo Automatiq shifting platform, which does all the shifting for you based on the dual torque and cadence sensors, taking away the need to shift manually. </p><p>If you haven't ridden a bike in a while or are taking it up again after many years, the Automatiq platform lets you 'set & forget' the shifting through their app, meaning you can leave it just the way you like it, or change the settings on your phone if you are going to a different type of ride.</p>

Is a Belt Drive E-bike For You?

The answer to this question depends on a few factors. If you hate dropping your chain and having to get greasy hands when putting your chain back on, then belt drives are for you. If you constantly forget to lube your chain and just roll with a loud, rusty chain thinking: "I'll for sure lube my chain tomorrow!", then a belt drive is most likely for you. If you just enjoy new technology that works better, lasts longer and is generally maintenance-free, then a belt drive is probably in your future.

Obviously, belt drive e-bikes are not going to take over the entire industry in the next few weeks. Technology needs time to enter the market and adoption rates for anything that shakes up the standard system are gradual. People generally don't like change when they are comfortable with what they know. Familiarity is safe and comforting, like a warm blanket on a cold day. But personally, I prefer my warm blankets not to be covered in greasy chain oil.