As urban and utility cycling has continued to transition from a long ignored market to a major driver of retail and aftermarket sales more and more bicycle industry R&D is being shifted from niche race bikes to those with more practical applications.
Many of the urban/utility developments have come in lock-step waves as bicycle components have a high reliance on widespread compatibility. Case in point: as more advances have been made with internally geared hubs (IGH) there have been corresponding moves toward low-maintenance solutions such as the belt drive systems offered by Gates, Schlumpf, and Veer.
Today there are of course ever increasing options for urban/utility cyclists, from car replacing cargo bikes to ultra minimalist eBikes. While recent advances in manufacturing technology have seen generally solid improvements in weight and durability of bikes and parts, one area of the urban/utility market that has not kept pace with the wider cycling world is the trickle down of new materials and technology. Even at price points reaching into the thousands of dollars, "commuter" bikes are generally still sporting cranksets that weigh 800 grams or more.
We continue to rely heavily on modern products such as Gates Carbon Drive for offering our customers the best value available. Being able to run the 130BCD Gates chainrings with the relatively lightweight and affordable new Shimano Ultegra R8000 crankset or the higher end Dura-Ace R9100 part would be a great step up from the typical clunky commuting cranks but without the steep price point of carbon fiber parts.
The catch, of course, is that proprietary non-compatibility is as baked into cycling as it is any industry, and the newest Shimano cranks use a stand-alone asymmetrical bolt circle diameter (BCD) that only a handful of aftermarket manufacturers have addressed. Gates Carbon Drive is not one of them, and their Centertrack rings are only offered in 104BCD (for mountain cranks) or 130BCD (for traditional road cranks).
Expanding our line of BCD adapters to include a solution for the Shimano Asym 110 4-bolt system has been on our radar for a while, and a recent custom order provided the necessary push to make it a reality.