Belt drives are not mainstream… yet. The Fixie Inc. Peacemaker was my weapon of choice for my first Belt Drive ride and the main thought in my mind was how direct the transmission would actually be.
Fixie Inc are a cult German brand who make fixies, road bikes and a cyclocross bike. As a relatively young bike company, they have been capturing attention with fantastic concept bikes (see the current projects). The Peacemaker for 2010 (mentioned on BNA last year) comes standard with the Gates Carbon Belt Drive and quite simply offers a new dimension in cycling.
The Peacemaker I was able to test had a flipflop hub with freewheel side hooked up and even with the first pedal strokes I notice absolutely no give – transmission was direct. Actually, there shouldn’t be any give, carbon bands inside run along the length of the belt however with the rubber casing you get the impression that it should be elastic.
Of interest, a belt will last much longer than a chain (I have heard five times longer) and while it is low maintenance as it doesn’t stretch or need oil. That being said, it can’t be as easily removed like a chain as it can’t be broken. That means that the bicycles rear triangle has to somehow be broken in order to remove and replace the belt drive. The “JigSaw Coupler” on the rear seat stay is compact and nicely integrated and allows the frame to be broken so the belt can be replace. Fixie Inc argue that the position will least affect frame strength.
Even more striking than the transmission was the quiet, just the sound of the air rushing past. The 9 kilogram bike is zippy and almost silent meaning that it is just you with your spinning legs, and the city.
The only criticism is the braking power, I am used to more direct and grippy braking however during my short test this may be simply due to the factory fresh brake pads that need to be worn in.
Fixie Inc. don’t have an Aussie distributer (at the time of writing) however a rough currency conversion would put the purchase price in Aussie dollars at around $2,200 – very fair for a low maintenance, high enjoyment ride.
Visit Fixie Inc. online.