Bike finder: Which lightweight belt-drive hybrid should I buy?

Clare needs a lightweight belt-drive commuter hybrid
Clare Dixon from Woking is looking for a lightweight belt-drive hybrid to use the bike for shopping and on canal paths and bridleways. Our Cycle magazine panel of experts found a few options

Lightweight belt-drive hybrid

For: Clare Dixon, age 72, from Woking.

‘Bike’ needs: I want to use the bike for shopping and on canal paths and bridleways. I have a Gazelle e-bike, which is great for keeping up when I go out on the hills with my son, but I would like a non-electric to give me a lighter bike for everyday use.

Must have: Belt drive, Nexus 8 hub gears, step-through frame, carrier, lights, disc brakes. Be as light as possible.

Must not have: Derailleur gears, rim brakes.

Budget: up to £1,800.

Matt Lamy

I recently tested a diamond-frame version of a bike that – almost – meets your requirements. Canyon’s Commuter 5 (£999) features a smart modern frame with a Shimano Nexus 8-speed hub, Gates Carbon belt drive, superb Shimano M200 hydraulic brakes, and a very reasonable total weight of just over 11kg. It was one of the most fun hubgeared bikes I’ve ridden, and it’s available in what Canyon calls a ‘mid-step’ option.

But (there’s always a but): not only does it not come with a rear rack but Canyon’s aluminium ‘Commuter’ frame doesn’t even feature rear rack mounts. There is an answer. If you spend more to get Canyon’s Commuter 6 WMN (£1,499), it comes with an ALUMEE mudguard that has an integrated rear rack. It also comes with dynamo-powered Supernova E3 lights. Even with the extras, it weighs just under 13kg.

If you’d prefer a more traditional step-through design, though, there’s Trek’s District 2 Equipped Lowstep (£1,120). This comes with a classic low step-through aluminium frame, a more upright riding position, a rear rack, integrated lock, suspension fork, dynamo lights and kickstand. However, there are roller brakes rather than discs, the rear hub is only a 7-speed Nexus, and it’s driven by a chain rather than a belt. It also hits the scales at a fairly hefty 18.8kg.

Canyon Commuter 6 WMN £1,499

A commuter style bicycle

Dan Joyce

My first thought was Cube, another German bike company with belt-drive hybrids in its range. The Cube Travel EXC (£1,499, is available with a ‘trapeze’ frame that's just like the ‘mid-step' of the Canyon Commuter 6 WMN that Matt recommends. It's the same price and is equipped with a Shimano Alfine 8-speed hub, a Gates belt drive, hydraulic disc brakes, rack, mudguards, kickstand, and hub dynamo lighting. It’s over a kilo heavier, at 14.2kg. That will nevertheless feel light compared to your Gazelle e-bike.

The trapeze-frame version of Cube’s Hyde Race (£1,199) is another option. While it weighs only 11.5kg, once you’ve added a rear rack, mudguards, and battery lights, it’ll be at least as heavy as the Canyon Commuter 6 WMN – probably heavier.

Then there’s the ARCC Bespoke Rosemont (from £1,300,, which is made in Britain. Compared to the Canyons and Cubes it has a lower step-through frame and a more upright riding position, with a backswept handlebar that will put less weight on your hands.

It is more expensive: £1,694.99 with an Alfine 8-speed hub, SKS mudguards, and a rear pannier rack – plus a delivery charge of £60-100 unless you pick it up from Cambridge in person. You can choose the colour, however. You’ll need to add lights. I’d suggest a Busch+Muller Eyro 30 Lux front light (£60) and a Busch+Müller Toplight Flat S (£31) as they bolt in place. I’d expect it to weigh around 14kg with this specification. 

Arcc Bespoke Rosemont £1785.99 (suggested spec)

A dutch-style step-through commuter bicycle

What bike should I buy?

It’s a question that comes up again and again – and Cycle’s experts are here to help.

In each issue of the magazine we provide expert advice and suggestions for one cyclist on buying, equipping and even adapting their perfect bike.

Everyone is welcome to submit queries and we particularly welcome questions from new and returnee cyclists; cyclists looking to get started in another cycling discipline that they’re unfamiliar with; and cyclists who can’t find the kind of cycle they’re looking for in their local shop.

If you need help finding the right bike for you, let us help.