Motorcycle Drive-Belt Technology Gets Lighter and Stronger (Gates)

Motorcycle Drive-Belt Technology Gets Lighter and Stronger (Gates)

Charles C. Gates acquired a tire and rubber company in 1911 operating out of Denver, Colo. In only a few years, Gates moved beyond tires and invented the V-belt, and with it, a revolutionary option in power transmission.

The company has gone on to introduce a range of innovations in power transmission and fluid power with impacts on virtually every industry. Today, Gates has more than 15,000 employees in over 100 locations in 30 countries.

Since 1980, Gates has been manufacturing high-strength, high-efficiency final drive belts that have become popular alternatives to metallic chain drives for motorcycles and scooters.

In 1999, Gates rolled out its 14mm pitch high-torque belts that are now narrower than 530 chain. The company introduced its first carbon tensile cord motorcycle drive belt in 2003. Then in 2010, Gates’ 11mm pitch medium-torque belts, now in Moto X9 construction, rival 520 chain width.

This cut-away view shows the key components of the Gates Carbon Drive Moto X9 drive belt.
This cut-away view shows the key components of the Gates Carbon Drive Moto X9 drive belt.

“For more than 40 years, Gates products have demonstrated the benefits of a durable, quiet, low-maintenance belt-drive over traditional chain-drive for all kinds of two-wheel applications, and we never stop innovating,” said Joe Menzel, general manager, Gates mobility. “Moto X9 is our latest evolution designed specifically for personal and micro-mobility. Leveraging our materials science expertise and engineering advances, Moto X9 is stronger, allowing it to handle high torque with a narrower belt. With Moto X9, OEM engineers and product managers can specify more compact drivetrains on new or existing designs, optimizing packaging, saving production cost and enhancing their products’ performance and value for end users.”

The new Carbon Drive Moto X9 synchronous drive belt is designed especially for motor-driven two-wheelers, including internal-combustion-powered motorcycles, and electric motorcycles and scooters. Gates says the new product’s “high power density delivers the most compact and lightweight drive designs, high flex fatigue resistance that exceeds steel, glass, and aramid fibers, high modulus and negligible elongation keep pitch fit constant at various loads with low noise.”

The product also offers high resistance to environmental conditions and “no degradation from water, oil, and most contaminants.”

The new Gates Moto X9 drive belt can transmit the same power with less size and mass than the previous generation drive belt.

The Moto X9 is an advancement for product designers looking for ways to innovate in power transmission final drive systems. Gates explains it this way: “Combining Gates’ latest ultra-high tensile carbon fiber cord construction with an optimized 11-millimeter tooth profile, Moto X9 can handle the same torque with a 9 percent narrower belt or a 10 percent smaller sprocket compared to Gates’ previous generation drive belt. This yields packaging, cost and weight savings, and potentially improves fuel efficiency or extends the range of an electric vehicle, while also enabling better acceleration, ride feel, and handling due to reduced mass. Alternatively, improvements in Moto X9 construction can offer up to 84 percent longer service life vs. its predecessor, assuming the same torque, belt width, and sprocket size. Better performance and reduced maintenance mean increased customer satisfaction.”

All of that is great news, but you won’t be able to switch to this advanced product for your old belt-drive bike or scooter. Since the Moto X9 facilitates advancement in final driveline design, the product will be rolled out to original equipment manufacturers first for incorporation in future models. Ultimately, the product will likely appear in aftermarket distribution, but that, as they say, is down the road.

Gates’ New Moto X9 drive belt has increased strength to allow a 9% narrower belt or a 10% smaller sprocket.
Gates’ New Moto X9 drive belt has increased strength to allow a 9% narrower belt or a 10% smaller sprocket.

Visit Gates Carbon Drive to learn more. Also, more about Gates can be found at www.gates.com.

Images courtesy Gates.

For more on drive belts, see: https://ultimatemotorcycling.com/2019/11/26/4-steps-to-avoid-motorcycle-final-drive-belt-drama-secrets-from-experience/