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Minimalistic road bike with Gates carbon drive

Meet your new therapist: the Schindelhauer Siegfried Road

Apr. 30, 2020 -

For the past few months I have been riding a special kind of bike, the minimalistic Siegfried Road from Schindelhauer. It is unlike most road bikes as it lacks a conventional chain and derailleur. It features the Gates CDX carbon drive. It's an exercise in minimal design. After riding it for nearly 1000KM, it's time to tell you all about it.

Schindelhauer

Since 2009 the Berlin based Schindelhauer has been designing bikes that are technologically advanced yet straightforward. They value good design and practicability, their minimalistic bikes are built for everyday use.

Schindelhauer Bikes designs belt drive bikes since 2009 (photos: schindelhauerbikes.com)
Schindelhauer Bikes designs belt drive bikes since 2009 (photos: schindelhauerbikes.com)

They use high-quality parts that are meant to last. From the very beginning Schindelhauer developed bikes with a Gates Carbon Belt drive.

Siegfried Road

Although my commuter bike is still going strong, I wondered what it would be like if one would design a road bike with the Gates Carbon Belt Drive. Schindelhauer designed such a bike, the Siegfried Road.

Siegried Road delivered through Kaptein Tweewielers Amsterdam
Siegried Road delivered through Kaptein Tweewielers Amsterdam

Adhering to the good Velominati rule #58, I supported the local bike shop and ordered the Siegfried Road to be delivered in Amsterdam, by Kaptein Tweewielers. It's a fabulous shop in downtown Amsterdam, if you're a local and in the need for some road bike advice you should check them out.

Siegfried Road as I got it from the bike shop - with a brown Brooks Swift saddle and matching Continental tires
Siegfried Road as I got it from the bike shop - with a brown Brooks Swift saddle and matching Continental tires

The Siegfried Road comes with a high quality, brown leather, Brooks Swift saddle, an absolute legend with lots of history. The bike comes with matching brown leather bar tape.

If you've got the shoes to match, brown bar tape looks magnificent
If you've got the shoes to match, brown bar tape looks magnificent

Although I appreciate the quality, I did not like the retro vibe of the brown colour. I couldn't help but feel that the bike would benefit from a little modernist touch, while staying respectful to the overall minimal design. Leave it to me to take a brand new bike apart...

Replacing the brown leather with black rubber bar tape (from Brooks)
Replacing the brown leather with black rubber bar tape (from Brooks)

It's amazing what you can learn from YouTube, replacing the bar tape takes a little practice but it's not that hard to do. I removed one of the cranks to install a power meter and fitted a Wahoo speed sensor to work with my favourite bike computer app.

Removing the Alfine, Hollowtech II crank
Removing the Alfine, Hollowtech II crank
The Shimano FC-R9100 Dura Ace power meter by 4iiii fits perfectly
The Shimano FC-R9100 Dura Ace power meter by 4iiii fits perfectly
One day I might remove the paint from the crank, but it's better for your warrantee to leave things in their original condition
One day I might remove the paint from the crank, but it's better for your warrantee to leave things in their original condition
The Wahoo Speed sensor installed on the flip-flop rear hub
The Wahoo Speed sensor installed on the flip-flop rear hub

Changing the tires on a bike with a belt drive can be a little tricky as the belt should not be 'flexed' in any direction. By loosening the rear axle it becomes possible to create just enough clearance to carefully take the belt from the sprocket. I installed the very dependable, durable, black, Schwable Durano Plus tires.

The Continental Grand Prix Classic tires are beautiful, if you like brown retro vibes
The Continental Grand Prix Classic tires are beautiful, if you like brown retro vibes
Loosen the rear axle to create just enough clearance to take the belt from the sprockets
Loosen the rear axle to create just enough clearance to take the belt from the sprockets
The CDX rear sprocket is designed to last
The CDX rear sprocket is designed to last

I replaced the Swift saddle with a high quality Brooks Cambium C13 carbon saddle and installed Look carbon click pedals. After some hours of tinkering on my new bike, I endend up with what one could call: "Siegfried Road with a touch of Willem"

Siegfried Road with a touch of Willem
Siegfried Road with a touch of Willem

Pure awesomeness

If you think it looks great, you're not alone. Over the past 1000 kilometers I have received numerous remarks from fellow cyclists, inquiring what bike it is that I'm riding. People notice the lack of screaming colours and decals. Its minimal design stands out in a good way.

The seatpost clamp is integrated in the minimal AL6061-T6 aluminium, triple butted aero tubing frame
The seatpost clamp is integrated in the minimal AL6061-T6 aluminium, triple butted aero tubing frame
The rear wheel is fixed using a 'crocodile' belt tensioning system
The rear wheel is fixed using a 'crocodile' belt tensioning system
Kleo Carbon pedals (by Look) on the front crank on the BSA bottom bracket
Kleo Carbon pedals (by Look) on the front crank on the BSA bottom bracket
Without the conventional derailleurs the drive train is rather straightforward (60T/22T gear ratio)
Without the conventional derailleurs the drive train is rather straightforward (60T/22T gear ratio)
Siegfried Road features simple, yet very functional Tektro R539 / TRP - RRL brakes
Siegfried Road features simple, yet very functional Tektro R539 / TRP - RRL brakes
The Alexrims CX30 silver high polished wheels have high quality hubs ensuring a smooth ride
The Alexrims CX30 silver high polished wheels have high quality hubs ensuring a smooth ride
The beautifully spoked wheel is nothing short of harmonious, simple yet beautiful
The beautifully spoked wheel is nothing short of harmonious, simple yet beautiful
The Schwalbe Durano Plus tire is the most puncture resistant road bike tire available
The Schwalbe Durano Plus tire is the most puncture resistant road bike tire available
Out in the wild: Siegfried Road x Willem
Out in the wild: Siegfried Road x Willem

Riding minimalism

If you like cycling, you probably know that it can clear your mind in a very refreshing way. Some say that riding your bike has a therapeutic effect, an exercise of mindfulness during your workout.

Happy chap riding a bike on an empty road
Happy chap riding a bike on an empty road

Fixed gear bike

The Siegfried Road is a single speed bike, I ride it in the so-called 'fixie'-configuration: where the drive train is fixed to the pedals, enforcing the pedals to rotate as the bike moves. You'd be surprised how much mental effort you unconsciously allocate to the continuous process of selecting the right gear while cycling.

Riding a fixed gear bike means that "you're always in the right gear", you just have to pedal a little harder or faster. It takes a little time to get used to. Some cyclist describe riding a fixed gear bike as something that makes them feel "more connected" to the cycling. I kind of understand what they mean with that. It's nice, in a therapeutic, tranquil way.

You, the bike, the road, nothing else: cycling in optima forma
You, the bike, the road, nothing else: cycling in optima forma

The belt drive advantage

The Gates Carbon drive on a road bike like the Siegfried is a perfect fit. It operates in absolute silence, there are no rattles, no chain-slap-sounds, nothing. Just you, the bike, the road and nothing else.

Adding to the riding pleasure, the Gates Carbon drive on the Siegfried Road means that maintaining your bike becomes a lot easier. If you ride your bike on a wet road, you can easily rinse of any dirt with a little bit of water.

No degreasing and oil required - simply rinse off your bike after a wet ride
No degreasing and oil required - simply rinse off your bike after a wet ride

Conclusion

The Siegfried Road is not for everyone, but for those who appreciate minimalistic design in a sporty package, it is great. Have it in single speed or fixed gear configuration and simply go out and ride.

Its timeless design, combined with long lasting components make the Siegfried Road a trustworthy companion for those times when you simply want to ride your bike. I love it for this!

Update

September, 2020: : I found a beautiful bike computer for this bike: Omata One

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