If you’re using your quad bike like you’re meant to, thrashing it down trails at full throttle, or doing the rounds at the worksite, you’ll know that regular maintenance is what keeps it going. These are high-revving machines based around CVT transmission in most iterations, getting the power down with the help of a drive belt. This unsurprisingly is one of the first parts that you’ll change, considering the high torque it needs to transfer while faced with huge amounts of friction and heat.
Belts can get you anywhere between 5 and 5000 miles. There are a few factors at play here. How hard or easy you are on the throttle is possibly what kills most belts early on. The tensile cords can easily give way, and snap the belt in half, or loosen up until deforming to the point that there’s no engine power reaching the wheels. This is down to repetitive high loads, high engine speeds and accompanying heat when you’re having too much fun or trying to wiggle your way out of deep sand or mud.
Related is the wear that belts go through in everyday riding. Cogs wear out or go missing in action, cracks start to appear, or high-spinning clutch pulleys disfigure or burn the drive belt to shreds. These are just a few symptoms you’ll notice, and more so as your ATV or UTV starts to lose power. Checking up on the belt from time to time is what keeps the fun going. Having a spare around is a good idea too.
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Why Choose Gates Belts for Your Quad?
Gates is a huge name in power transmission. Its belts feature as factory-fitted gear in some of the biggest ATV, UTV and snowmobile names, often in top-tier range-topping models with the highest power numbers. While none of the manufacturers give away details as to what’s behind all that performance, specialist belt brands like Gates have a detailed selection of belts for almost anything on four wheels. The company is one of the leading OEM belt suppliers, respected for its push for innovative materials and designs to get the most out of your machine. If you’re looking for high power transfer, optimal efficiency, and parts made to handle all riding and driving scenarios, then you can’t go wrong with Gates drive belts.
A Detailed Look at the Gates Powersports Drive Belt Range
Whatever you ride or drive, Gates has the right belt for you. One that runs circles around anything else on the market, but without the huge price tag. The company has four defined lines of drive belts suited for different applications. All are of the drop-in type, so no messing around with tweaking or calibrating the belt. Plus, the whole line wears well, keeps width for longer, and is a value for money, considering how tough and dependable they are. To help you choose which of the Gates G-Force drive belts best works on your quad, here’s how they compare:
These may be the least expensive of the Gates drive belts but deliver on all fronts. They bring performance, durability and unrivalled value using innovative and flexible materials that provide all the grab-and-go to maintain the acceleration your quad can muster. All that comes from tough aramid tensile cords to deal with stretching and tensioning, paired with a fibre loaded under the cord to keep the belt intact even under the highest loads. Gates boasts its standard G-Force line is up to 5 times as durable as competing lines from other manufacturers at the same price point. Ideal uses are in low to mid-displacement (150 to 800cc) machines.
G-Force C12 Belts
For more of everything, go with the G-Force C12 line. These Gates ATV drive belts get excellent strength and minimal elongation with the use of innovative materials. The carbon tensile cords are like nothing on the market, offering exceptional durability when paired with aramid fibre-loaded rubber with specially formulated adhesion gum to better handle side loading, prevent distortion and edge cord pullout. To deal with excess heat and friction, the company also throws in neoprene in the trapezoidal top notches, and couples this with rounded bottom cogs. The material and design improvements over the standard belt and rival units lead to faster acceleration, better throttle response and smoother power transfer with effortless shifting.
Workhorse CVT Belts
The best performance in ATVs and side-by-sides with engines under 800ccs is provided by the Workhorse line. These are some of the newer offerings in the Gates drive belt range. They’re great for extreme uses, when pushing the engine and quad hard over demanding terrain or when repeatedly lugging huge loads at the ranch or construction site. The belts are meant to last and are advertised as having twice the lifespan of regular G-Force types, much higher heat resistance to counter friction at higher RPMs, and more in the way of crack and wear resistance.
RedLine CVT Belts
Gates recognised the push for bigger and more powerful quad bikes with its own set of innovations. The company’s RedLine range is tailored to high-powered and big-engined machines putting out more than 100hp at the wheels. The belts are also what you’d want in turbocharged powertrains, or in the likes of the Can-Am Maverick X ds Turbo and the Polaris RZR Turbo R. The same applies to high-torque diesel engines across multiple brands.
What makes RedLine belts special is their patented formula of ethylene elastomer compounds to up stiffness when facing higher engine loads and torque. The material is also miles ahead in terms of heat, compression and abrasion resistance. There’s optimal performance in sub-zero ambient temperatures, and when things get sticky with engines pushed to redlines, meaning flexibility across the board. Wear, damage and cracks are also minimised. All this translates to linear acceleration, smooth gear changes, and no power loss, even in the most demanding conditions. These Gates drive belts will also outlast comparable types regardless of which manufacturer you choose. And they undercut rivals for price.
Get the belt in the right size (width and length) and the right tooth count for your ATV or UTV make and model. Spares should be kept clean and in no way twisted or bent to fit confined spaces. Moreover, keep drive belts away from direct sunlight and water. This is just general info so that your purchase works as it should when you need it.
Maintenance and care for the clutch system, such as the Polaris clutch, involve inspecting the belt for wear, ensuring proper tension, and keeping the clutch components clean. When replacing a torn or tired unit, ensure that the clutch pulleys are clean and clear of anything that can damage teeth and cords. This should also prevent clutch slippage. To the same end, wash a new belt to remove silicone residue and ensure you install it correctly. This is one area where newbies get it wrong and why belts fail prematurely.
Lastly, ensure to rein in your enthusiasm that comes with new parts or major upgrades. The break-in is critical, so be gentler on the throttle, take shorter rides, and for the first few miles avoid technical terrain. To get more thrills and belts that last longer gradual break-in should also be matched with the right Gates drive belt for your riding style.