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Best Belt-Drive Bicycles in 2024: Low-Maintenance Chainless Bike Picks

By Mark   /  Last updated - June 26, 2024   /  Belt-Drive, Best-Of-Reviews

man riding best belt drive bike

Belt-drive bicycles have passed the initial ‘testing’ period and have proven to offer a great alternative to classical chain and derailleur systems.

We wouldn’t go as far as to say that belt-drive bikes are better than the traditional drivetrain system, but they definitely offer some major advantages, such as durability and low maintenance.

In this article, we’ll show you a quick guide to belt-drive bikes that will answer any questions you might have about this innovative technology and share our selection of the best belt-drive bikes you can get in 2024 that offer the most value for the money.

So, first things first…

What Are Belt-Drive Bikes and Why Get One?

belt drive bike

Belt-drive bicycles use a polyurethane or carbon fiber belt instead of the traditional steel chain. This provides several advantages, most notably a cleaner, quieter bike that requires less maintenance.

Belt-drive bikes gained popularity in Japan when Bridgestone released the Picnica folding belt-drive bike in 1980. In 1984, Gate Corporation took the belt drive design to the US, although it only really caught on in 2007 with the modern Carbon Drive system.

Belt drives can typically last for around 19,000 miles before they need replacement, whereas a traditional chain usually needs to be replaced after 3,000-4,000 miles.

Moreover, these belts require no maintenance, which means you do not need to lubricate them regularly like you need to do with a chain. They are also much cleaner, which means belt-drive bikes work great as commuter bikes.

These are just some of the main reasons why you should consider getting a belt-drive bike instead of a bike with a chain. 

Find out which models we recommend below!

1. Gazelle Ultimate C380 Plus

Gazelle Ultimate C380 Plus e-Bike

MSRP: $5,000

  • Frame: 6061 Aluminum Alloy
  • Fork: Suspension fork, 80 mm
  • Gearing: Enviollo 380 Trekking Hub
  • Brakes: Shimano MT420, Hydraulic
  • Tires: 28″ x 47 mm

The Gazelle Ultimate C380+ is a unique city bike in many ways, not least due to the belt drive and internal Enviolo 380 hub. 

The classic city bike design not only gives the bike a stylish look but also provides excellent comfort and practicality – not to mention integrated electronics.

The C380 Plus is a very cool Dutch-style commuter bike that means business. It has fast 700c wheels with thick 47mm Schwalbe Energizer Plus tires, and Shimano MT420 hydraulic disc brakes, so it’s stable and safe even at high speeds. 

When it comes to its electronics, the Gazelle Ultimate boasts a Bosch Performance Line Speed mid-drive motor with 85 Nm of power and a 500 Wh battery, so you ride for hours with assistance. 

This bike also comes with an Enviolo 380 Trekking stepless gearing system that’s completely enclosed and lets you easily choose the perfect resistance for any gradient.

All in all, if you want a premium electric belt-drive bike with high-end features, the Gazelle Ultimate C380 is your best bet on this list.

Buy on MikesBikes.com

2. Cannondale Mavaro Neo 2

Cannondale Mavaro Neo 2

MSRP: $4,000

  • Frame: 6061 Aluminum Alloy
  • Fork: 63 mm travel fork
  • Gearing: Shimano Nexus 5-speed
  • Brakes: Hydraulic disc brakes
  • Tires: 27.5″ or 29″ x 2.2″

If you are looking for a belt drive bike and you’re willing to pay well for it, the Cannondale Mavaro Neo 2 is one of the best options on the market.

The Mavaro Neo 2 is a high-end electric bicycle with a streamlined setup and fast 27″ or 29″ wheels, depending on the frame size. It’s also one of the best equipped electric bikes you can get, as it comes with all the bells and whistles you could ask for.

This Cannondale e-bike also boasts a 250W Bosch mid-drive motor and a 625 Wh integrated battery that provide pedal assistance up to 28 mph and a range of up to 87 miles per charge. That’s pretty good stats for such lightweight components. 

This bike also boasts a fully internal Shimano Nexus 5-speed gear hub and powerful hydraulic disc brakes. So, no matter if you live in a relatively flat area or hilly area, the Cannondale Mavaro Neo 2 is a perfect match for you.

So if you have a high budget and you want a high-quality belt-drive ebike that also looks good, this is a model worth shortlisting.

Buy from REI.com

3. Gazelle Ultimate C8 HMB

Gazelle Ultimate C8 HMB

MSRP: $3,750

  • Frame: 6061 Aluminum Alloy
  • Fork: Suspension fork, 40 mm
  • Gearing: 8-speed Shimano Nexus
  • Brakes: Shimano MT200, Hydraulic
  • Tires: Schwalbe Energizer Plus

The Gazelle Ultimate C8 HMB is a versatile belt-drive city bike. It uses a belt drive with an 8-speed Shimano Nexus internal hub and 2-piston hydraulic disc brakes.

It makes an excellent commuter bike that’s also versatile enough for longer weekend rides through the city or countryside thanks to a 40 mm suspension fork.

The frame is made from lightweight 6061 aluminum, with 28″ (700c) wheels and 1.75″ Schwalbe Energizer Plus puncture-resistant tires.

With an additional rear rack and fenders, this is an ideal bike for shopping or delivering goods, and could even be used for short weekend camping trips.

The Gazelle Ultimate C8 HMB also has a rear wheel lock to keep your bike safe during quick stops, and you also get a kickstand. 

Finally, this ebike is powered by a Bosch Active Line Plus 50 Nm mid-drive motor and a 500 Wh battery, so you can expect a 70-mile range and 20 mph top speed.

Buy from Mike's Bikes

4. Lectric XP Lite 2.0

XP Lite 2.0 JW Black eBike with a belt drive

MSRP: $1,099

  • Frame: 6061 Aluminum Alloy
  • Fork: Rigid
  • Gearing: Single-speed
  • Brakes: Hydraulic disc brakes
  • Tires: 20″ x 2.5″

The Lectric XP Lite 2.0 is a budget commuter e-bike aimed at cyclists who need to commute quickly through the city and want to keep maintenance to a minimum.

The maintenance-free belt drive combined with a punchy 300W hub motor means you’ll barely have to do any upkeep on this machine. It comes with hydraulic disc brakes, lights, and rack mounts for carrying cargo.

The Lectric XP Lite 2.0 is a class 2 electric bike, so you get both pedal assistance and a throttle. Fully charged, you can ride it for 45 miles with a standard battery or 80 miles with a long-range battery.

Unfortunately, the Lectric XP Lite 2.0 does not come with fenders, but you can easily install them if you plan to ride in damp weather. What’s great is that you get a kickstand, so you can easily park it when making a quick stop. 

If you have a limited budget and you want a belt drive bike with electric assistance, we recommend considering the XP Lite 2.0.

Buy from Lectric Bikes

5. Priority Bicycles Classic Plus

Priority Bicycles - Classic Plus

MSRP: $599

  • Frame: 6061 Aluminum Alloy
  • Fork: Rigid
  • Gearing: 3-speed Shimano Nexus
  • Brakes: V-Brakes
  • Tires: 700C x 35 mm

The Classic Plus Gotham Edition from Priority Bicycles is an all-black commuter bike inspired by the streets of New York City.

It has a comfortable upright seating position and comes equipped with all the necessary city-cycling add-ons like a kickstand, bottle cage, and puncture-resistant tires.

It uses a Gates Carbon Drive belt with a 3-speed Shimano Nexus internal hub, which is perfect for city commuting but could be a bit difficult on hills or over a long distance.

Its lightweight aluminum frame comes in three sizes with both a standard ‘Diamond’ or ‘Step-through’ style for easy mounting.

The only downside is the lack of disc brakes, as the Priority Classic Plus features alloy V-brakes. These are a decent choice, but not as good as mechanical or hydraulic disc brakes.

If you want to spend as little as possible but get a reliable low-maintenance belt-drive bike, we don’t know of a better choice than the Classic Plus Gotham edition.

Buy from Priority Bicycles

6. Cannondale Bad Boy 1

Cannondale Bad Boy 1

MSRP: $2,325

  • Frame: SmartForm C1 Aluminum
  • Fork: Lefty LightPipe rigid
  • Gearing: Shimano Alfine Rapidfire, 8-speed
  • Brakes: Shimano MT400
  • Tires: 27.5″ x 40 mm

Where else to look for the latest trends of cycling than in a world-renowned brand such as Cannondale.

The Bad Boy 1 is an authentic hybrid bike with a unique lefty fork found only on Cannondale bikes. It comes with a mid-range price tag and packs some surprisingly good components. 

This bike is built for versatile, convenient, and low-maintenance riding. Of course, the star of the show is the carbon belt drive connected to Shimano Alfine Rapidfire 8-speed gearing that will help you climb with more ease. 

The Bad Boy 1 also boasts mid-range Shimano MT400 hydraulic disc brakes and multi-surface 27.5″ x 40 mm tires, which means you can ride it on gravel and forest roads as well as on paved city streets. 

Get the Cannondale Bad Boy 1 if you’re looking for forward-thinking features in a good-looking package with a reasonable price tag.

Buy on REI.com

7. Priority Bicycles Ace

Priority Bicycles Ace

MSRP: $599

  • Frame: Aluminum frame
  • Fork: Rigid fork
  • Gearing: Single-speed
  • Brakes: Dual-pivot calipers
  • Tires: 700C x 28 mm

The Priority Bicycles Ace is one of the most stylish belt-drive bicycles on the market and a steal for just $600.

The Ace is inspired by the hassle-free single-speed and fixie bikes used by bike messengers in big cities. That’s why it features a single-speed drivetrain and a flip-flop hub, so you can easily turn it into a fixie.

Belt-drive bikes require maintenance every 19,000 miles, making them an ideal choice for city commuting. The bike is perfect for both a beginner and a seasoned cyclist due to its ease of use and durability.

The Priority Ace also features dual-pivot caliper brakes, which is understandable considering the low price. The 700C x 28 mm tires are pretty fast and offer a good balance of stability and speed. 

Buy from Priority Bicycles

8.  Vvolt Alpha

vvolt alpha

MSRP: $1,599

  • Frame: Aluminum frame
  • Fork: Rigid fork
  • Gearing: Single-speed
  • Brakes: Hydraulic disc brakes
  • Tires: 27.5″ x 1.95″

This rather stylish-looking belt drive bike from Vvolt is a lightweight hybrid designed for durability and comfort.

The strikingly simplistic look could fool the eye, as the Alpha comes with everything you need for city commuting or recreational riding.

It sports a punchy 350W motor and a 375 Wh battery that together deliver 20-40 miles of range and a 20 mph maximum assisted speed.

The Vvolt Alpha also comes with a single-speed drivetrain, so it’s not ideal for climbing steep hills, but the 350W rear hub motor can still get the job done.

The 27.5″ x 1.95″ tires are perfect for multi-surface riding, meaning that the Alpha is a decent choice for smooth roads and hard-packed gravel roads. 

You also get front and rear battery-powered lights, so you can keep riding even after nightfall.

Buy from Vvolt

9. Priority Bicycles Coast

Priority Coast belt drive bike

MSRP: from $599

  • Frame: Aluminum frame
  • Fork: Rigid fork
  • Gearing: 1-speed, 3-speed, 7-speed, or Enviolo CVT
  • Brakes: Rim brakes or Hydraulic disc brakes
  • Tires: 26″ x 2.125″

This attractive-looking bike from Priority Bicycles is a lovely old-style cruiser with a modern twist.

The 3-speed or 7-speed sealed Shimano internal hub is driven by a Gates Carbon Drive belt, making the entire drivetrain impervious to the damage of salty and humid air. This is where the Priority Bicycles Coast gets its name — as the perfect bicycle for coastal living by the sea.  

But you can also get the Coast as a single-speed bike or featuring an Enviolo CVT hub and hydraulic disc brakes if you’re willing to pay slightly more. 

This bike also features 26” rustproof alloy wheels, stainless steel fenders, and an ultralight rustproof aluminum frame. The Priority Bicycles Coast comes in both traditional and step-through models, with a one-size-fits-all build and a selection of four colors.

Get it if you’re looking for a streamlined beach cruiser that keeps things simple and gets the job done.

Buy from Priority Bicycles

10. Belsize 20″ Kids’ Bike

belsize 20" kids belt drive bike

MSRP: Check on Amazon

  • Frame: Aluminum frame
  • Fork: Rigid fork
  • Gearing: Single-speed
  • Brakes: Rim brakes
  • Tires: 20″ x 1.75″

The 20″ kids’ bike by Belsize is a belt-driven, lightweight bike, with knobbly 1.75”  Kenda tires, an aluminum frame, and Tektro V-brakes. It’s one of very few belt-drive kids’ bikes on the market, incorporating this great technology to make it an impressive piece of kit.

This Belsize bike has ergonomic soft grips, a kids’ saddle, and a 560mm riser handlebar which makes riding super comfortable. 

The Belsize kids’ bike weighs around 14 lb, which is decently lightweight for an entry-level model. It rolls on 20″ wheels, so it’s suitable for boys and girls aged around 7-10. 

Kids love riding bikes, but parents typically don’t like or know how to work on them. Thanks to the belt drive, you won’t need to do almost any maintenance, except for periodically inflating the tires and readjusting the brakes.

Buy on Amazon.com

11. Priority Apollo Gravel

PRIORITY APOLLO GRAVEL belt drive bicycle

MSRP: $2,000

  • Frame: Aluminum or Titanium frame
  • Fork: Rigid carbon fork
  • Gearing: Shimano Alfine 11
  • Brakes: Semi-hydraulic disc Brakes
  • Tires: 700C x 40 mm

The Priority Apollo Gravel is a tough and versatile gravel/adventure bike that comes with mounts for a rack, fenders, bags, and bottle cages. Its Gates Carbon Belt drive and Shimano Alfine 11, 409% range rear hub ensure everything stays squeaky clean and requires minimal maintenance. 

The innovative hydroformed aluminum frame is designed to be lightweight, responsive, and stable off-road and comes with 700c rims,, 40 mm tires, and cable-actuated hydraulic disc brakes.

The Apollo belt-drive bike is also available with a titanium frame, offering exceptional strength and corrosion resistance while maintaining a lightweight profile, which enhances the overall ride quality and longevity of the bike.

Altogether, the Apollo Gravel is an impressive, mid-range bike that comes at an affordable price. It’s a popular choice for bikepackers and gravel adventurers who want a low-maintenance ride.

Buy from PriorityBicycles.com

Main Considerations When Buying a Belt-Drive Bike

Belt-drive bicycles are not new, but a lot of people are still not closely familiar with this innovative technology. Here are some of the main questions and considerations that might come to your mind when shopping for a belt-drive bike.

Are belt-drive bikes any good?

6 best belt drive bikes

Belt-drive bikes require less maintenance than traditional chain-drive bicycles because they don’t need to be lubricated.

Therefore, belt-driven bikes don’t attract as much dirt and are less prone to wear and tear. However, on a rare occasion when the belt does break, you’ll need to get a spare and replace it, which can be challenging if you’re bikepacking in a remote area. 

Overall, belts are much more durable than chains, lasting around 19,000 miles on average, compared to the 3,000-4,000 miles you can get out of a chain. 

So if you want a setup that requires minimal effort when it comes to maintenance and upkeep, belt-driven bikes should be your choice.

Belt-Drive Bikes Pros and Cons

Belt-drive bicycles are not ideal, there are certain pros and cons you should be aware of if you plan to buy a belt-driven bike for the first time. 


  • Low maintenance
  • Longer lifespan
  • Clean to handle and maintain
  • Quiet and smooth ride
  • Resistant to elements like rain, snow or mud
  • Consistent performance


  • Higher innitial cost
  • Less gear range
  • Limited compatibility with bike frames
  • More complex repair and replacement

How do belt-drive bikes work?

Belt drives work the same way as a chain, the belt is driven by the crank and turns the rear wheel. However, belts can’t be shifted between cogs like a chain so they require an internal hub gearing system to change gears.

The main advantage of belts compared to chains is that they do not require lubrication to run smoothly. 

If you ride a bike with a chain regularly, chances are you’ll need to clean and re-lube the chain once a week or even more often if you ride in the rain. On the other hand, a belt doesn’t need any of that. You can ride for thousands of miles without giving it a second thought.

Can you turn a reagular bike into a belt-drive bike?

It’s possible to install a belt drive on a normal bike but you would need to replace the crank and install a single speed or geared hub on the rear wheel.

You would also need to splice open your frame on the rear triangle to install the belt as they can’t be split apart like a chain. To modify the frame, you could remove a small section of the seat stay and replace it with a custom splitter matched to the seat stay diameter

There are certain companies that can do this for you, but a much better option is to buy a belt-drive compatible frame and build a bike from scratch, if you don’t like what’s already available on the market.

How long does a belt drive last on a bicycle?

Gates Carbon Belts’ maintenance schedule is after every 19,000mi / 30.000km. That is much longer than a standard chain that usually needs to be replaced after around 3,000-4,000 miles due to stretching.

For the majority of average riders, a Gates Carbon Belt will last for at least 10 years if cleaned regularly with soapy water and a rag.

Many riders of belt-driven bikes report that they got more than 20,000 miles out of their belts before they needed replacement, so it all depends on how you ride and take care of your bike.

How to adjust a belt drive?

In order to know if your bicycle’s belt has the correct tension, there’s a Gates Carbon Drive Application that allows you to set the recommended tension with your smartphone.

Basically, the app uses your phone’s microphone to listen to the sound frequency the belt makes when strummed, assessing the amount of tension.

You can also use a dedicated belt tension gauge or just estimate the tension with your eyes. When pressing on the belt midway, it should have a little give, but not be too loose or too tight.

Finally, to adjust the tension, most belt-drive bikes have specific tensioning systems or screws that help make fine adjustments. If yours doesn’t come with one, you need to loosen the rear wheel slightly and move it a few millimeters front or back to readjust the tension.

Where to shop for the best belt-drive bicycles?

  • Priority Bicycles 🏆- Whole range of Belt-drive bicycles
  • REI – Cannondale, Co-op, Ghost Bikes
  • Trek – Bikes & parts

About the Author

Mark Hartley

Mark is a cycling enthusiast and freelance writer specializing in travel and technology. He has traveled to 56 countries worldwide, cycling through Africa and Europe. You can contact him on Twitter @splshrollstmble. Mark is behind most of the current bicycle reviews in Bikexchange today. You can check his journeys @splashrollstumble. Specializes in best-of reviews, bike brand reviews, bicycle reviews.

3 thoughts on “Best Belt-Drive Bicycles in 2024: Low-Maintenance Chainless Bike Picks

  1. Dennis Parrott says:

    I am looking for a belt drive beach cruiser bike (with multiple speeds) in Sarasota, FL.

  2. David Wright says:

    REI hasnt sold that bike in years. Stop cut and pasting your list from year to year and do some research.

    1. Sam Millers says:

      Which bike do you mean – I suppose the Cannondale Bad Boy? We check REI’s selection weekly (if not daily), and seen the Bad Boy 1,2,3 pop up every now and then.

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