I am planning on a new bicycle and one idea is a Fat bike with the corresponding Rohloff and a Gates carbon drive. I am using Rohloff's for more than 10 years and know what to expect. I am absolutely new to Gates carbon drive and I am unsure, whether these can be recommended on MTBs or for off-road usage. I've heard that dirt is a problem. However, the problem, according to corrsponding stories, is chiefly acoustics, i.e. sequaky noise. I've never heard that the drive would break or not perform as intended.

Do the pros of a carbon drive system still outweigh it's number of drawbacks, even when when the latter is increased due to off-road usage?

  • Do you know of a fat bike frame that will take a gates?
    – paparazzo
    Jan 29, 2016 at 16:31
  • Just for fun I Googled for fat bikes with gates carbon and there are a few, but they mostly seem to be custom bikes. However once you've gone to the point of using a Rohloff hub and a carbon drive, custom frame modifications probably would be out of the question.
    – Kibbee
    Jan 30, 2016 at 12:15

1 Answer 1


The main problem I see with Gates Carbon Drive on a fat bike is that you have to have a frame that "breaks" in the rear triangle to accommodate threading the belt. Have you checked to make sure there's a frame available that supports fat bike tires and also supports breaking the chainstays. As far as off-roading goes, that would create a potential weak spot in the frame. Although I"m sure any quality bike manufacturer would account for that when building such a frame.

  • This is exactly the bottom line of the answers I've got from several bike dealers, i.e. the necessary frame modification to use the Gates Drive weakens frame stability beyond a degree, where hard MTBiking is feasible from a mechanical stability point of view - even if some bike / frame manufacturers sell those.
    – StefG
    Feb 3, 2016 at 6:21
  • I would think the only way to really do it properly would be to have a frame builder build the frame around the belt. I'm not a frame builder so I couldn't say if one couldn't rebuild the frame every time the belt needed to be changed, which hopefully wouldn't be that often. Another option would be to use a frame design such as this so that the belt doesn't have to go through the frame. I can't speak to how strong it was. The article does mention some strength problems around the bottom bracket.
    – Kibbee
    Feb 3, 2016 at 13:53
  • 1
    There is a German manufacturer Maxx who sells a customisable hardtail, which allows for a gates drive. See here. It is called Jagamoasta, which is Bavarian dialect for hunting master. I've decided against such experiments and bought the Dude, also German manufacturer, which was not my focus at all ;-).
    – StefG
    Mar 10, 2016 at 6:43

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