Review: Gates Carbon Belt Drive Centertrack (Tandem)

After my bad experience with the Gates CDC tandem belt kit, I was hoping that the Centertrack design would eliminate the excessive wear and noise of the original. After two years of cycling between Turkey and Australia, I’m happy to share that it still runs perfectly. I’ve found that the Centertrack belts allow for lower tension when compared to the CDC design. This has dramatically reduced tandem chainring wear and overall noise.

I generally recommend that tandem touring with belt drive is best left to sealed roads as I’ve experienced noise on the tandem side on sandy or dusty roads. This is especially the case for the tandem belts and chainrings, and less-so for the drive-side belt and cog. If you’re just riding a small percentage on dirt, then you can eliminate the noise easily by cleaning the belt with a bit of water every 50-100km. It’s pretty rare to experience noise on sealed roads.

Click HERE to see the standard Centertrack review.


– Lighter in weight by 450g than standard chain/chainrings, – a great weight saving for your tandem
– A longer wear life than a chain/chainring
– I’ve never have to clean or lube the drivetrain, although a bit of water keeps it clean
– Runs practically silent all the time on the road
– Greatly improved design over the Gates CDC tandem belt kit

Why Not?

– The belt makes a lot of noise on sandy, dry roads; I recommend using belts for primarily tandem road touring
– Expensive compared to a regular chain/chainring setup
– Hard to obtain spares in remote areas of the world – I always carry a spare.

  1. Hello Alee, I have read extensively your reviews on gates belt drives and your comotion tandem. I have a comotion tandem that I would like to convert but it seems like I cannot. Timing belt is simple and the parts are on the way. But I do not have horizontal drop outs for the rear axle. It looks like yours does not either. How do you handle tension adjustment on the drive belt? Did you have your frame modified to split the seat stays or did you wisely order a spilt frame? Thanks in advance!

  2. Hi Tom. My Co-Motion tandem came from the factory with a break in the seatstay (for the belt), an eccentric bottom bracket (to tension the belt) and with Rohloff-specific dropouts (to fasten the internally geared hub). For your tandem to get the same setup, you’d need to get some significant modifications made to your frame. It’s possible, but expensive. I did these same modifications to a Surly LHT about five years ago: https://www.cyclingabout.com/alexs-touring-bike/ Alee

  3. Alee thanks for the reply. I could not see the pilot’s eccentric hub, and that would be a major difference. I was really scratching my head on how you did it to the co-motion when I saw the same rear drop outs as mine has. Fortunately we have a couple great frame builders in Philly (incl. Bilenky) so I will have to evaluate costs with them. I’ll share your Surly build with them for guidance. What a great ride that co-motion must be…. – thanks!

  4. Do the sprockets outlast the belt normally? I’m thinking of using a belt on our tandem and looking at the prices, it’s the sprockets that cost the most.

  5. In other words when the time comes to replace the belt, it’s very likely that the sprockets will also need replacing?

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