Do you think we’ll ever see the demise of the bicycle chain? Well, belt drivetrains have been around for a few years now as mostly a novelty. For 2010, Norco is trying to bring it mainstream… well… sorta.

By sorta, I mean it’s a singlespeed, it’s a 29er, it’s Reynolds steel and it’s also a Norco, so not really mainstream in the States, but for a manufacturer as large as Norco to introduce their dealers and aficionados to the Gates Belt Drive, this is a big deal. While singlespeeds are appealing and fun, I’ve yet to spend much time on one, but this just might be my chance.


The thought of a simple drivetrain without shifters, chain grease and gear mashing sounds great until the trails get really steep at which point images of the pain cave come to mind. But, I’ll let you be the judge. Is the Norco Judan 29er belt-driven singlespeed hype-worthy?

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About Author

A Seattle native, Jason developed a love for the outdoors and a thing for mountains. That infatuation continues as he founded this site in 1999 --sharing his love of road biking, mountain biking, trail running and skiing. That passion is channeled into every article or gear review he writes. Utah's Wasatch Mountains are his playground.


  1. Mark… thanks for your poetic response. Maybe at least a haiku next time, please. 🙂

    I read Fatty’s assessment of the belt drive (here) and having not ridden one, his sentiments seem logical. Chains are troublesome, but they work. It’s a forgettable component until you snap one (which hasn’t happened to me in a long time… knocking on wood). As far as SS applications, the specialized frame design really limits compatibility, but it’s pretty fun to think about though. I’d still like to get onboard and give one a whirl. We’ll see.

  2. Love single speed pain cave
    It will be your f(r)iend forever
    Ride one or ride none

    As to the belt, meh. My chains work and even break, but I fix ’em (though, has not happened with single speed, come to think of it.). Still, cool idea but sounds too complex for now.

    As to Fatty. He is da man!

  3. I know this is a huge grave dig, but I thought I’d let you guys know that I’ve had the 2011 (white) model for quite some time now and have had no problems whatsoever with it for three years and counting. I love the Reynolds 525 Steel, it’s very forgiving and provides an incredibly enjoyable riding experience. This bike was “a little different” at the time for having 29er wheels, but it seems to have caught on now and every other XC/Trail bike has them, so the only thing that’s really different is the belt drive and steel frame.

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