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Motorcycle Chain Drive vs. Belt Drive vs. Shaft Drive

Shaft, Chain or Belt Final Drive – What Would You Rather Wednesday

In the past we discussed motorcycle final drives in our post, Motorcycle Chain Drive vs. Belt Drive vs. Shaft Drive, but for this week’s What Would You Rather Wednesday, we’re opening up the floor to you. Here’s what you motorcyclists had to say…

Motorcycle Chain Drive vs. Belt Drive vs. Shaft Drive

Madeline “MISSRIDER”: “Belt no need to lube”

Jake Bunger: Chain for the win: easy to re-gear; no jacking effect; simple maintenance & replacement; withstands abuse well & relatively cheap to replace/upgrade. I think there’s less power loss with a chain (vs. shaft) but I haven’t ridden any terribly new shafties to compare. Plus, the way I ride … needs a chain. ;)

David Cook: I like open belt drive in the primary and chain rear — I like the sound of it, and the look of it, on an old pan …

Mark Amyot: After having a belt break and never a problem with a chain (except that my whitewall is spotted black on the drive side), I’ll stick with the chain.

John Cloonan: I’ve read that the new belt technology is actually better than chain, and lighter. With that said, I don’t see any sportbikes with belts, so I’ll stick with my chain until someone does. Shafties = too much weight.

YouMotorcycle Trivia Question: Actually, one manufacturer of sportbikes relied on belt drive heavily. Can you guess who?

Joe Dolai: I’ve owned all options. It is a tough argument, a bit like which bike is best… It all depends upon your particular needs. For SUPER long distance touring, I’d go for my Beemer. Just change the oil every 12,000 miles and your set. Right now I have a Honda CB 750, and I really like it, but I don’t like having lost my mornings off due to chain maintenance rituals. As an everyday rider, a bit annoying… But belt, having never broken one myself, seems the most appropriate choice for a good all rounder. If you’re super paranoid about belt breakage, just carry a spare. Probably best for the person who doesn’t believe they are Rossi.

You can join the conversation on this week’s What Would You Rather Wednesday or if you aren’t on Facebook, shoot us an email with your comments.

YouMotorcycle Trivia Answer: The Buell Motorcycle Company used belt drive across its lineup of 1,200cc Sportster-derived engine sportbikes.

Don’t forget to check out our Motorcycle Chain Drive vs. Belt Drive vs. Shaft Drive post!

Adrian S.

UPDATE: Check out the following week’s What Would You Rather Wednesday, a shoot out between these four custom motorcycles, built by two brothers.

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YouMotorcycle is a lifestyle motorcycle blog to be appreciated by those who see motorcycling as a lifestyle and not simply a hobby, sport, or method of transportation. Most of the posts on the site are written by past and present motorcycle industry staff. We remain fiercely independent, innovative, and unconventional. Our goal is to encourage more people to enjoy the world's greatest outdoor sport by helping new riders get started and inspiring current riders to get out more. We motorcycle, do You?

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