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Old 03-08-2010, 10:30 PM   #1
Sauce
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Chain, Belt, Shaft

I'm completely new to motorcycles and I was wondering if someone could tell me what the pros and cons of each type of drive are. I'm currently on my first bike and will have it for a while but I wondered about this particular subject.
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Old 03-08-2010, 10:37 PM   #2
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I know the benefit of Shaft and Belt are they require less maintenance
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Old 03-08-2010, 11:19 PM   #3
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Chain/sprockets
Pros: Easier to switch gear ratios, light weight, cheaper to replace/build.
Cons: Messy, requires more maintanaince(lube, adjustments, replacing worn parts).

Shaft drive
Pros: Little/no maintanaince, easier to remove rear wheel.
Cons: Heavier, more expensive, rear bike lifts when accellerating(soo I hear).
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Old 03-08-2010, 11:56 PM   #4
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Belt - Pro: no lubing, no cleaning, no adjustments (tension), no wearing of sprockets (must replace sprockets when teeth wear down, I'm guessing around 10-20k miles), very quiet, last a long time (expect a chain to last around 10k miles, belts 40k+)
Con: very difficult to switch drive gear ratios (need custom sprockets made and custom belt made) can't hold up to VERY high HP (but is fine for 140 at least, see Buell 1125R, but if you're bumping up HP a lot then recommend switching to chain), can be damaged by rocks, etc (in 40k miles on belts, I've only had one break - 3 months after being damaged by a rock), probably will need to get a replacement ordered from a dealer (most replacement chains can be found at almost any motorsports shop)
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Old 03-09-2010, 12:01 AM   #5
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Shafts require diff oil changes. Wear items are easily replaced on chain/sprocket set up. True belts will last longer w less maintenance.

As with anything, the better its maintained the longer the item and system will last and operate efficiently.
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Old 03-09-2010, 01:15 AM   #6
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DEPEND on the bike that suit's you at the time ,the new shafts of today are sweet on the KAWASAKI 14 CONCOURS,feel more like chain action,, i also love the softness of the belt on the roadstars...but the ole75-78 z1 900&1000 had a nice feel back THEN, but they had a sweet tooth for chains...
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Old 03-09-2010, 09:31 AM   #7
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Correct me if Im wrong, but dont you have to remove the swingarm to replace a belt?
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Old 03-10-2010, 01:20 AM   #8
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I guess it depends on the bike. The Buells have a removable part of the swingarm so it's real easy, two bolts for the swingarm, one or two for the tensioner, presto. I've replaced belts and chains, and at least on the bikes I've done they're about the same difficulty level. Belt is way less messy of course though, and for a chain you need a tool to shorten it to the correct length for your bike.

Another note on belts, DO NOT TWIST them, They are insanely strong, but not in that direction, apparently.
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