18,000mi is about twice what these usually last in my experience. While a failure while riding objectively sucks, I'd say you got your money's worth out of that one.I was hoping it wouldn’t break before 20k miles but managed to snap it in half climbing a steep hill having only done 18k. When it snapped, I was very fortunate not to come off the bike. However, it's so, so much better than the chains that I used to have on my other e-bikes. They normally needed replacing after every couple of thousand miles. There's also a spray they recommend (I bought one from Germany) which is supposed to make the belt to function better and apparently, make it last longer. We'll see.
You can change your gear ratios by replacing the Chain ring and rear cog. I’ve just built a non electric bike with Rohloff & Gates belt and spent quite a bit of time thinking through the right gearing ratio for bikepacking and adjusted the chainring and cog accordingly.They may last longer but....
- when they break, you're stuck. If I carry a spare link and chain tool, I can usually repair my chain on the road.
- when they break, they're much harder to replace and re-tension. Can you even do it in the field if you have a spare?
- a belt drive locks you into one set of gear ratios etc. unless you go through the expense of changing out the IGH. (ignoring single speeds...)
I don't ride in conditions that are hard on a chain, so I'm not ready to switch yet.