A Next-Generation Belt for the Next Generation of Performance UTVs
Story By: Kyle Callen
Photos by: Brandon Bunch
A belt is a belt, just like a tire is a tire, and beer is beer… Right? That’s not an entirely true statement. They are all made slightly different. Whether it’s material makeup, manufacturing style, or adding in more hops, everyone does things a little bit differently.
The Gates Corporation has been making belts for everything under the sun for a long time and making drive belts for UTVs since they hit the market. Gates didn’t just develop their belt and continue to build them for all the latest models. They knew that the material and manufacturing process they used for a 2006 Yamaha Rhino wouldn’t hold up to the power and speeds of today’s UTVs. So instead of sitting back on the decorated past, they improved.
Modern cars demand modern and strong parts, so Gates introduced their G-Force RedLine series of belts. We run them on our cars and have put a beating on these belts and still have yet to have an issue… But Gates didn’t just stop there. They have taken things one step further and are doing their best to teach their customers about belt maintenance and how to prolong the life of the drive belts.
Listening to racers, rec riders, service shops, and doing their own testing, Gates has found that if you take proper care of your belt and clutches, there is no reason a belt should break under normal driving. First and foremost, make sure your clutches are clean. This means blowing them out after a weekend of riding and also taking Scotch-Brite to your sheaves. Both primary and secondary clutch sheaves should be one consistent raw aluminum color. This cleanliness will keep any impurities from impregnating the belt when it goes through its heat cycles.
To take the cleanliness one step further, put some alcohol on a clean rag, and wipe the sheaves clean. Once these 3 easy steps are done, you are ready to slide on your new Gates G-Force RedLine belt. Gates recommended that you don’t bend or twist your belt prior to installation. Once on, reinstall your clutch cover and run the UTV between 20-30mph for 20 minutes or until the belt is up to full operating temperature. It’s important to keep a consistent throttle to let the belt wear in evenly. Once fully cooled, a second heat cycle is recommended.
All this is a pretty simple way to not only extend your belt life but also extend your clutch life. Between rides, when you pull your belt to clean, make sure it goes back in the same direction. Belts are expensive, breaking a belt on the trail isn’t fun, and these are some easy tips to save you money and keep you moving forward. Most of us carry a spare belt with us. Instead of letting the expensive and necessary spare part bounce around under the seat or in a tool bag, protect it from the elements in something like the Savage UTV case.
It is great to see companies like Gates stepping up and educating their customers on their product. They could continue to let you break belts and take in the profits, but they know this is a tight-knit community and they are really enjoying being a part of it.