Gates Carbon Drive is a global leader in belt drives, used to replace chains on two-wheeled vehicles such as bicycles, scooters and motorcycles. The company’s new Gates Carbon Drive Moto X5 product line, just unveiled this morning, is helping to make already quiet electric motorcycles even quieter.
Gates Moto X5 belt drive revealed
Gates belt drives are constructed with highly rigid, durable synthetic compounds coated with carbon fiber cords for superior strength and durability.
The new nylon cog weave improves the durability of the Moto X5 drivetrain, and the tooth profile is backwards compatible with the company’s Moto X9 cogs.
Depending on the vehicle and equipment, Gates belts are often designed for tens of thousands of kilometers. Compared to chain drives – these are also significantly quieter kilometers.
According to independent lab tests, the Gates Moto X5 belt drive system is up to 15 decibels quieter than chain drives at a range of operating speeds.
However, the noise reduction is only one of the many advantages of such belt drive systems. Reduced maintenance and efficiency gains are also key benefits.
Unlike chains, which require regular maintenance to clean, oil, and check tension, belt drives are essentially maintenance-free.
And because they long outlast the life of chains, this maintenance-free operation has an even greater impact on the time drivers spend screwing, not riding.
Gates also claims that the Moto X5 has an efficiency advantage over chain drives.
As the company explained:
Throughout the life of the vehicle and under normal operating and maintenance conditions, the Moto X5 is more energy efficient than chain, which can result in improved vehicle range, a critical factor in EV applications.
I’ve always heard that chains are a few percentage points more efficient than belts, but that may only be true for new chains. As the chain wears out quickly, its efficiency decreases. Belts maintain their high efficiency on a more linear curve throughout their lifetime, which means they can be more efficient over the life of the drive train compared to chains.
Gates is targeting the large markets of electric seated scooters and electric motorcycles used for commuter applications. These types of two-wheel electric vehicles are growing rapidly across Asia, although their numbers are growing more slowly in Europe and North America.
According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), new registrations of electric two- and three-wheelers reached over 10 million units in 2021, with the majority coming from China, India and Vietnam.
By the end of this decade, the IEA expects that over 80% of two- and three-wheelers sold in China will be electric.
Tom Pitstick, Gates’ chief marketing officer and senior vice president of strategic planning, further explained:
As the transition from internal combustion engines to electric scooters accelerates in core markets such as India, Southeast Asia and China, we expect powertrain noise, efficiency and durability to become increasingly important to customers. The Moto X5 was developed to meet the demands for quiet, long-lasting and low-maintenance operation. Congratulations to the efforts of our global R&D teams in making this breakthrough possible.
Those interested in seeing the new Moto X5 system in person can view it at the China International Motorcycle Show from November 3rd to 5th and at the EICMA Milan Motorcycle Show from November 8th to 13th.
I’ve been a Gates fan for a while, and some of my favorite everyday electric bikes use a Gates carbon drivetrain.
Every time I hop on a Zero motorcycle or one of Harley-Davidson’s LiveWire motorcycles, I enjoy the smooth ride that Gates belt drives provide.
In fact, it’s rare that I see a new electric scooter or chain-drive motorcycle at all anymore. The only two I own (yes, I own a lot of of electric two-wheelers) are a Sur Ron Light Bee and a Gogoro S2 ABS Performance. I love both, but it’s frankly surprising how loud each vehicle is. All you hear while riding is chain noise, accentuated by the lack of exhaust noise to drown it out like an ICE-powered scooter or motorcycle. I also know that I’ll occasionally need to check the chains on both, which is pretty much the only maintenance I need to do on a two-wheeled electric vehicle aside from normal brake and tire wear. Both Sur Rons and Gogoro have belt drive options from Gates and I think I’ll have to explore those two soon.
So yes, I’m sure the Moto X5 will be a resounding hit on this massively growing wave of new electric scooters and motorcycles. The noise alone is a huge benefit, but the longevity and lack of maintenance are the real benefits.
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