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Gates is Offering a €100K "Belted Purse" Bounty for First World Cup DH Win on a Belt-Driven Bike

Mar 6, 2024 at 18:04
by Brian Park  
Gates 100K Belted Purse
Another twist in the 2024 WCDH season.

Gates is a manufacturer of belts for belt-drive bikes (and cars, motorcycles, race cars, and I assume tanks, spaceships, etc.), and at the back of their Taipei Cycle Show booth was this announcement. It looks like they're soft-launching a €100K bounty for the first World Cup win on a belt-driven bike. It does sound like there will be some fine print around how belt-driven a bike has to be (eg. would it count if Bernard Kerr slaps a belt drive on the chainring-to-idler part of his prototype Pivot DH bike? Probably not.). We did ask—but we'll have to wait for their official announcements around Sea Otter time.

Gates currently sponsors the Zerode DH team with Sam Blenkinsop and Taylor Vernon, and the Gamux DH team with Mike Huter and Lino Lehmann. I hope that other teams are eligible if they run an Alfine + Gates setup or some other way to do it—it'd be fun for this to kick off some more belt-drive development in the DH world. Imagine the scenes if Neko Mullaly does a belt-drive version of his Frameworks bike, and then Asa Vermette wins his first World Cup on one?

Gates 100K Belted Purse
The Gamux Sego semi-automatic gearbox DH bike is available to preorder. I think it looks incredible, like Brooklyn Machine Works from the future.

Gates 100K Belted Purse
Gates 100K Belted Purse

Gates 100K Belted Purse
Gates 100K Belted Purse

Gates 100K Belted Purse
The Zerode G3 will be piloted by Sam Blenkinsop and Taylor Vernon this year. Maybe some teams without a frame deal will consider buying Zerodes and Gamuxes now, to get themselves in the running?

Gates 100K Belted Purse
Gates 100K Belted Purse

Gates 100K Belted Purse





So, who do you think has the best chance of claiming the cash?

Author Info:
brianpark avatar

Member since Dec 29, 2010
217 articles

102 Comments
  • 137 0
 Back when I raced motorcycles, many motorcycle brands and parts brands did this. Not sure if they still do. This is awesome and I hope it is only the start.
  • 20 36
flag nickfranko (Mar 6, 2024 at 18:51) (Below Threshold)
 Some brands are still using belt drive to this day. And many, many cars still use belts for timing
  • 70 0
 @nickfranko: pretty sure he meant the advertising strategy/incentive, not the use of belts.
  • 11 0
 @takeiteasyridehard: yes that's what I meant,sorry,yah I wasn't clear. I was showing the parallel use as a method of product placement in a similar industry.
  • 36 0
 @nickfranko: FYI, I also use belts to hold up my trousers.
  • 1 0
 You must've missed the Jorts bounty last season. Keep it going!
  • 1 0
 The Orteig Prize!
  • 3 0
 @bigtim: My shop pants have a Gates timing belt that was turned into a belt belt.
  • 67 4
 Weird flex in a sport where races can/have been won without a drive train at all, but ok.
  • 52 0
 AG will stuff one in his pocket. Or maybe…wear one as a…belt.
  • 11 0
 Like energy drinks?
  • 59 0
 So with Frameworks experimenting with everything. Asa has to be the odds on favorite here, right?
  • 8 0
 elite class only according to the post
  • 1 0
 Isn't he in junior cat? Or the assumption is it'll go unclaimed until he's in elite? Which is fair; time to sort the bike out and him to hone his skill to elite top step contender.... cool!
  • 4 2
 @nateb: is he allowed to bump up? I reckon he could pull it off.
  • 9 0
 If it's elite only, Angel has to be the best bet.
  • 46 0
 Price Money for a DH World Cup Win ~4000USD
Price Money for a DH World Cup Win on a Gamux or Zerode ~104'000USD
  • 8 0
 Back room deals - sandbagging - split the purse on a massive party!
  • 10 0
 @Lumenous1: sounds like a head like a hole song.
  • 30 0
 Sam's done it once before!
  • 19 0
 That Gamux looks fucking godly Wish they would make a trail bike
  • 9 0
 The Zerode trail bike isn't too bad looking:

zerodebikes.com/collections/katipo
  • 4 0
 @mkul7r4 it is an absolutely gorgeous piece of machinery.
  • 2 0
 I’m already preparing my wallet to buy the dh frame once it is available in the US.
  • 5 0
 @Austink: round trip tickets to Switzerland are right around $500.

Not that I’be looked into it or gotten a partial build quote from Gamux or anything.
  • 1 0
 www.gamuxbikes.com/nostra-lt

does not look like the dh rig but i guess they're working on it
  • 12 0
 Add in the Jorts bounty and someone could have a solid payday coming!
  • 1 0
 Vital wya with $100k to match?
  • 10 2
 Because bicycle companies are doing so well right now! I think a company with a large automotive, industrial, and material handling presence, and wants to get a foothold in our sport is exactly what we need.
  • 2 0
 This is an advertising push for them. They’ve been dallying in it for a while now. Bike are not a great moneymaker compared to the other industries they dominate.
  • 4 0
 Benoit Coulange used to race on a Belt driven Nicolai and Effigear gearbox. Would be sick to see a gearboxed Supreme.
  • 3 0
 I’ve been harping on about this sort of thing for years! Get in Gates!! Are we maybe seeing our sport starting to sort itself out? Fingers crossed.
  • 1 0
 One of these belt drive riders could win a world cup if it's a washout rain event, but I think the odds are even less than years past because of the new quali-semi-finals format. But still, if I were one of those riders I would look at the weather very closely.
  • 2 1
 this is an easy one to claim! the conversion to a belt drive isnt that hard and the drawbacks are least present in DH. Could be an interesting side quest! love it when companies keep it interesting!
  • 5 0
 This is sick
  • 3 3
 Good press for the money, since they won't have to give the 100k to anyone but their own sponsored riders.
Top riders in the circuit are already on a bounty to ride whatever drivetrain is sponsoring them, which is also usually giving them brakes, shocks, wheels, etc.

Would have been a more effective campaign to highlight the validity of belts for MTB, if they gave $100 to 1000 winners of ANY organized race who is on a belt drive MTB.
If you use social media posts w/a tag for submissions, you'll be increasing engagement numbers, which for Zerode, appear to be hit or miss.
  • 3 0
 But then they actually need to spend the $100k, whereas this is free marketing. Note that it says first to win "in 2024"
  • 2 1
 @L0rdTom: Well, as I said "Good press for the money." I guess my implication that they won't actually actually have to spend anything except what they paid to have the lil trophy and graphics made, was too oblique.

Seems like they don't really need it anyway, since belt drives are very popular on town/ebikes, and they sell to consumer direct companies as readily as Trek.

The MTB market will just be a fun side-project until Fox buys Pinion, and coincidentally, every major MTB brand comes out with a belt drive ePinion bike, IF, that is, Fox buys a brake manufacturer too, so they can complete the set. Probably be able to pick some brands out of the scrap pile after 2024-25 nuclear winter.
(Or make TRP brakes rebranded as RaceFace?? You heard it hear first)
  • 3 0
 I'm so glad zerode is still around. I always thought their bikes were so cool.
  • 2 0
 Not unreasonably priced either.
  • 1 1
 I think everyone should try a belt drive before they comment on the pros and cons of belt drives.

As a belt drive user for the past few years, soon to be changing back to a chain, I will say this about belts:

They do not like mud and will derail if clogged. Belts are also higher friction than chains.

So yeah, clearly this is going to a gearbox only award unless someone decides to run single speed DH.
  • 1 0
 How else would you change gears with a belt?
  • 1 0
 What's the school of thought on the elasticity (or lack there of) of the belt? On one hand, I could see you wanting it rigid like a chain, but on the other, it would be cool if it worked like a tow strap.
  • 4 1
 Too bad they didn’t announce this before all the teams were confirmed.
  • 22 0
 It sounds like this is something that will roll over into future years as well if it goes unclaimed... curious to see how some teams react to it if so.
  • 19 0
 @brianpark: correct, the prize money will roll over if not claimed this season.
  • 4 0
 @gatesbeltdrive: You should add an extra, say, 50k every year it's not claimed.
  • 1 2
 I'd like to see the fine print, it's probably a pretty safe bet for them that they won't be paying it out and therefore great free marketing to get awareness out.. Quick look at gates website and all I see is Nicolai and Zerode making dh rigs, Gamux aren't even listed on the site.. Prob have to run it all season to qualify and with all the teams at the pointy end already locked into big $ contracts with sram/shimano I can't see a belt on the top box. Blenki could take the hot seat early followed by a torrential downpour leading to victory?? No offence to Blenki I love his riding and been a fan for years but I can't see him snagging a wc win
  • 1 0
 Does it still count if the belt rips at the first pedal stroke but the rider goes ahead and wins? Just asking for Aaron Gwin.
  • 3 0
 Super sweet rigs
  • 2 4
 The old Nukeproof team (Veronika Widman etc) hasn't announced their new bike, so maybe....Zerode?

Danny Hart has been banging around on a Nukeproof, and only UCI says he's on that frame, so he could be another possibility to go Zerode or Gamux if he wanted.
  • 3 0
 He is on gt. Announced earlier today
  • 4 0
 ...and then I scroll down the homepage and see Danny is on a GT... lol..
  • 2 0
 @adrennan: yeah, bud...I just saw...Vero too! So my ideas are like, poof, out the window!

Maybe Rob Metz should just go win one himself...
  • 2 0
 This is very cool. I hope someone makes it happen this season.
  • 2 4
 Good bit of viral advertising. Nothing more than that.
Which elite DHer is going to switch out their sponsored parts? That means it is Gates sponsored riders who are a.) already paid by them and b.) Have no chance of winning an elite world cup.
Or privateers who are going to fork out thousands to change their setup? In the ridiculously low chance they get 1st?.

Creative marketing but nonsense
  • 2 0
 Should do the same thing with gearboxes.
  • 1 0
 Gates when they find out Frameworks has a DH frame in testing with a Pinion gear box: *spits out their coffee
  • 1 0
 The zerode looks like it is using a hair elastic to keep the belt tensioned
  • 3 3
 If someone wants to give me a 100k sponsorship, there's at least a 0.1% chance that I repay it
  • 1 0
 Should be asking for £100 sponsorship with those odds...
  • 1 0
 You must be pretty fast to be in with a 1/1000 odds!
  • 1 0
 @L0rdTom: IDK, I've never had 100k to use solely for racing, I reckon 1/1000 is roughly reasonable
  • 2 0
 @rojo-1: yeah, but that's outside of the realm of being silly to request for such a low chance endeavor. $100 would then be excessively generous.
  • 1 0
 This is rad. What WC contenders will look to use a belt to claim this.
  • 2 0
 Hold my beer
  • 1 0
 Here's your chance CarbonShmarbon!
  • 1 0
 $100K. Could buy some sweet lederhosen.
  • 1 4
 This is the only discipline that those belts could potentially win a title in. Lots of snapped belts in BMX, and not efficient enough for road. Would still be cool to see this happen
  • 2 0
 A little off topic . But there are a few brands of tandem road bikes that use them for the non drive side instead of a traditional chain linking the two riders cranks.
  • 3 0
 I would like to see more jump bikes with belts. Light weight, and the belt tension would keep the pedals in place.
  • 2 0
 @w00dreau: i looked into it at one time. few issues, you would have to run largers sprockets and chain rings was the main issue. most jump bikes dont have the split stay you need.
  • 1 1
 Gigachad move
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