More mutterings about Orange’s work with belt drive technology.
During our visit to the 2007 London Cycle Show at Earl’s Court we chanced upon the Singletrack stand which was creating quite a bit of fuss by having on show the P7 belt drive prototype they’ve been hacking around the country.
I mentioned that when they spoke to Orange they could put me down for one and Matt said – why not tell him yourself, he’s just over there. So it was I got to speak to (I believe), Michael Bonney from Orange who groaned and said he wished they hadn’t announced the P7 so soon as they were struggling to keep on top of the development such was the interest from riders.
This information has been supported and interestingly expanded in the ‘Belt drives on bikes‘ podcast at Quickrelease.tv in which David Arthur from Gates (the belt manufacturers) and Michael Bonney talk about how they got together and what progress they are making. Michael predicted that the system would first appear in an urban/commuter style bike which Orange were hoping to produce from mid 2008 onwards which may also use a Shimano Alfine gear hub. He also admitted that singlespeeds would be pretty easy to produce so I’m hoping there’s some inevitability to my owning a P7 singlespeed at some point.
I’ve also found evidence of how Orange are really pushing the boundaries of what’s possible with the belt technology, in the shape of an ST4 (their new four bar design) fitted with a belt and an Alfine hub. Most interesting is the remarks on how quiet the system is, which you can read more of on Descent-World in their Orange Belt Drive prototype article.
It’s going to be interesting to see where we go from here.