Before we launched Coast Cycles in 2012, we browsed many, many brands of products for our bicycles. We knew we had to select the best components so as to achieve our goal of offering the most “complete” bike ownership experience for our customers.
What does “complete” mean to us? It means that once the bicycle is purchased, your biggest ‘headaches’ should be wondering where to go or or who to go with. Not whether the parts will fail or when they need to have them replaced. In other words, every Coast Cycles bike should be as fuss-free and as “zero maintenance” as possible. That’s why for models in our urban range, we spec Gates Carbon Drive.
It doesn’t matter if you have your eyes on the Coastliner sportive city bike or desire to own the multiple award-winning Quinn compact commuting two-wheeler, both come with the Gates Carbon Drive system, Simply put, their carbon reinforced belts last longer than chains, never need grease and are nearly maintenance-free. They say: “Say goodbye to high-maintenance bike chains. Say hello to simplicity and fun.” We say: “That’s what we want for our bikes, and our customers!”
Recently, we caught up with Paul Tolme, the company’s Media and PR guy and the one who is responsible for all the interesting stories and features in Belted Blog, and here’s an update on what they have been up to.
When Gates Carbon Drive (Gates) first started selling products for bikes, how many different products were there?
The Gates Carbon Drive product line has grown immensely since our launch. Gates Carbon Drive belts and sprockets first appeared on 2008 model year bikes. It was a new product, so we had only a couple belt and sprocket sizes available. Today we have more than 30 belts across our CDX high-performance line and our CDN urban line, from 108-tooth for BMX bikes to 250-tooth for tandem bikes and everything in between, plus red belts for some extra bling. Plus we have a massive selection of sprockets to provide all of the popular gear ratios and engineered to fit onto the most popular internally geared hubs and gearboxes. We also sell cranksets, plus our own line of tools. Gates has come incredibly far in a decade! You can check out our product line here here.
What has Gates been focusing on in 2016 and how have the results been thus far?
Last year we focused on expanding the product line and also growing our sales around the globe. The results have been great. Gates has had double digit growth every year since its launch and more than 400 bike brands around the world use our belts and sprockets. But there are billions of bicycles in the world, so we have a lot more room to grow!
What will Gates be looking to do this year?
Gates Carbon Drive is most popular in Europe, countries such as Germany and The Netherlands and Denmark where everyone bicycles daily for getting to work or to the stores or around town. This is the perfect use for Gates Carbon Drive because it makes daily cycling simpler because you never have to oil it. So for 2017 we would like to expand our sales in North America and in Asia. We have some bike share programs in China that will begin using Gates. That is very exciting because it will expose more people to our belts in the most populous country in the world.
What are the largest obstacles to the growth and acceptance of Gates?
It is a little more expensive than a chain drive, so this is an obstacle. But sometimes you must pay more for things that are better, right? That’s why people pay more for an Apple iPhone than a cheap imitation smartphone; it will last longer and work better. It is why people will pay more for a Coast bicycle, because it is higher quality. The same is true for Gates Carbon Drive. Our belts last longer than chains, they never need to be tightened or cleaned or lubricated.
What are some of the qualities that Gates looks for in a bike brand?
We appreciate brands that have a goal to get more people onto bicycles and out of cars for transportation. This is a solution to many of the world’s transportation problems. We also enjoy working with brands such as Coast that have a strong sense of style and a unique aesthetic to their bikes and their design philosophy. We have thought Coast was super cool since the first time we saw your bikes!
Can you give me an example or two of how Gates has benefited the end-user?
Clean, Smooth, Strong are some of the words we use. Gates Carbon Drive never needs to be lubricated. That means it is grease-free and clean. Oiling and cleaning a chain takes time. You never have to do that with Gates. It’s smooth because there is no metal-on-metal friction like with a chain. You can feel the smoothness in every pedal stroke. The patented carbon fiber cord technology makes our belts super strong, stronger than a chain. All of this means you can ride more and work on your bike less. We like to say this is Cycling Simplified, or that Gates simplifies your life.
Will the material used for making the belts ever change?
Yes, of course! We are experimenting with new materials, composites, metals and alloys all the time. This is part of our R&D process. But it is top-secret so we can’t tell you too much!
If you could say anything to a cyclist, what would it be and why?
Simplify your life by getting onto a Coast Cycles bicycle like the gorgeous Coastliner which comes with Gates Carbon Drive only. You will save time on chain maintenance, ride more and everyone will admire your bike and say how cool it is. So, when am I getting mine? (Just kidding!)