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Old 11-08-2011, 12:20 PM   #1
nihaikitty
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Chain v. Belt v. Shaft Drive; Insight?

Ok, so I know that chain is the highest maintenance and it puts out the most torque, but what about belt and shaft drives?
I never hear about these in the sportbike world so I'm clueless as to their advantages and disadvantages.
Does anyone have any info on the maintenance and power output on belt and shaft drives?

If you've owned a bike with one of these kinds of drives, what do you think about it?

Any info would be appreciated, thanks ya'll!
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Old 11-08-2011, 12:23 PM   #2
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My bike has a belt, love it because, obviously, is maintenance free, and as far as I know, at least in my bike, it is rated at 40k miles.
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Old 11-08-2011, 12:23 PM   #3
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Don't know that I've ever heard of a sportbike that's shaft driven, normaly found on 'cruisers' and maybe some sport-touring bikes.
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Old 11-08-2011, 12:25 PM   #4
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Quote:
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Don't know that I've ever heard of a sportbike that's shaft driven, normaly [sic] found on 'cruisers' and maybe some sport-touring bikes.
The big K series BMW is probably the sportiest shaft driven bike. My dad has 1200 GS and I don't think it's shaft has requires any maintenance.
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Old 11-08-2011, 12:28 PM   #5
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The big K series BMW is probably the sportiest shaft driven bike. My dad has 1200 GS and I don't think it's shaft has requires any maintenance.
Dont think i'd call that a...sportbike :-)
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Old 11-08-2011, 12:29 PM   #6
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I know an old dude in his 70's that still races flat track. He keeps breaking belts on his Harley bagger and I don't think it's moded.
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Old 11-08-2011, 12:29 PM   #7
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Dont think i'd call that a...sportbike :-)
Hey its pretty close to a Honda blackbird, but for rich old people.
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Old 11-08-2011, 12:29 PM   #8
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shaft does not require any maintenence but when it packs (unlikely but..) this is it
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Old 11-08-2011, 12:29 PM   #9
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just a guess. perhaps chain has less frictional losses than a belt also.
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Old 11-08-2011, 12:30 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 91stunna View Post
The big K series BMW is probably the sportiest shaft driven bike. My dad has 1200 GS and I don't think it's shaft has requires any maintenance.
Except final drive meltdown.
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Old 11-08-2011, 12:31 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nihaikitty View Post
Ok, so I know that chain is the highest maintenance and it puts out the most torque, but what about belt and shaft drives?
I never hear about these in the sportbike world so I'm clueless as to their advantages and disadvantages.
Does anyone have any info on the maintenance and power output on belt and shaft drives?

If you've owned a bike with one of these kinds of drives, what do you think about it?

Any info would be appreciated, thanks ya'll!
Chains are the simplest, lightest and capable of handling the most power. They make noise, they require regular oiling, and they need to be replaced often.

Belts not much more complex than a chain, little more weight, and a little more power loss due to stretch. Cannot handle as much power just due to how they're made. Silent, maintenance free for their lifespan. Can last a VERY long time if no abused.

Shaft drive? Virtually zero maintenance. You throw some gear oil in them about every 10 billion miles or so. You do lose power due to the change of direction in power delivery and they produce some odd handling characteristics at the edges of capability. For most riders, the behavior is near invisible. Oh yeah - they add weight.

The type of bike is largely going to determine the type of drive mechanism. Supersports will be a chain. Shafts typically show up on sport-tourers or "universal" type bikes. Belts are pretty much the exclusive domain of cruisers.
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Old 11-08-2011, 12:33 PM   #12
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just a guess. perhaps chain has less frictional losses than a belt also.
It does. People who have actually managed to get something like acceptable power out of an Hardley-Abelson usually change over to chain drive at some point.
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Old 11-08-2011, 12:33 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KEM View Post
shaft does not require any maintenence but when it packs (unlikely but..) this is it
I think that shaft driven has some sort of oil reservior that has to be changed every once and awhile. that's the only maintenance that I've ever read about on a shaft drive.

Also, I think that the drive shaft converts power directly from the motor into rear wheel spinning, right? So, if this is the case, where does the torque get lost (since I know that they have less torque output than a chain or belt)?
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Old 11-08-2011, 12:34 PM   #14
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Except final drive meltdown.
Does this happen a lot? lol
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Old 11-08-2011, 12:36 PM   #15
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Quote:
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Chains are the simplest, lightest and capable of handling the most power. They make noise, they require regular oiling, and they need to be replaced often.

Belts not much more complex than a chain, little more weight, and a little more power loss due to stretch. Cannot handle as much power just due to how they're made. Silent, maintenance free for their lifespan. Can last a VERY long time if no abused.

Shaft drive? Virtually zero maintenance. You throw some gear oil in them about every 10 billion miles or so. You do lose power due to the change of direction in power delivery and they produce some odd handling characteristics at the edges of capability. For most riders, the behavior is near invisible. Oh yeah - they add weight.

The type of bike is largely going to determine the type of drive mechanism. Supersports will be a chain. Shafts typically show up on sport-tourers or "universal" type bikes. Belts are pretty much the exclusive domain of cruisers.
Well put, Thank you!
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Old 11-08-2011, 12:36 PM   #16
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Old 11-08-2011, 12:37 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nihaikitty View Post
I think that shaft driven has some sort of oil reservior that has to be changed every once and awhile. that's the only maintenance that I've ever read about on a shaft drive.

Also, I think that the drive shaft converts power directly from the motor into rear wheel spinning, right? So, if this is the case, where does the torque get lost (since I know that they have less torque output than a chain or belt)?
standing for correction, but torque getting lost while changing direction of torque application
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Old 11-08-2011, 12:44 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nihaikitty View Post
I think that shaft driven has some sort of oil reservior that has to be changed every once and awhile. that's the only maintenance that I've ever read about on a shaft drive.

Also, I think that the drive shaft converts power directly from the motor into rear wheel spinning, right? So, if this is the case, where does the torque get lost (since I know that they have less torque output than a chain or belt)?
Most shaft drive bike are just like a car or truck drive shaft...they have a ring&pinion which I've been told at that 90 degree turn quite a lot of energy is used.

Ring20and20pinion20small20push20away

I didnt add that arrow. The power delivery goes the other way.
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Old 11-08-2011, 12:49 PM   #19
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Quote:
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standing for correction, but torque getting lost while changing direction of torque application
So, some of the torque gets scrubbed off in the gears and maybe in the shaft itself (probably in friction/heat) as the power gets transferred from the motor to the rear wheel? That makes sense, I guess, since in a chain drive the front sprocket is pretty much dead on connected to the motor and it spins the chain directly.
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Old 11-08-2011, 12:51 PM   #20
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I've had a shaft drive bike. Clean and near maint. Free. But bike tends to torque over and may cause a problem under hard acceleration in sand or wet conditions
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