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Regular readers know I’m into simple, lightweight XC bikes that just work and today I rode what is perhaps my new favorite: The Spot Longboard. This is a steel frame, 29er (natch), single speed mountain bike with a twist. See that drivetrain? It’s a Gates Carbon Belt system.

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We’ve written about the Gates carbon drive belt before but today I got the chance to actually ride the thing and I gotta say it’s pretty incredible. Imagine a conveyor belt powering your bike and you’ll start to get the idea. No slippage, no chain slap, and it’s super lightweight.

My initial concern with the Gates system was mud but check out the close-up of the crank. The back side of the cogs are actually open to allow mud and crud to be pushed out as you pedal. The carbon belt doesn’t have “chain stretch” issues and should get about 2X the lifespan of a regular chain (no lube required). Talk about low maintenance!

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Overall the Longboard is perhaps the softest hard tail I’ve ever ridden. The steel frame soaks up vibrations and the 29″ wheels smooth out the bumps.

This bike got the most looks and comments on the trail and not just for the carbon drivetrain – the paint job is pretty sweet too! Spot is located in Golden, CO and while they may not be all that well known yet, it’s only a matter of time…

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