Motorcycle Club » The Yamaha Shop Talk

shaft drive vs chain drive

17 posts from 16 voices
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  1. wzdarpiger54

    This is my first motorcycle(2008 V-Star 650 Custom) in 30 years. What's the advantage of a shaft drive over a chain drive?

  2. ROB2

    The main advantages are smoothness, ease of maintenance and reliability.and a whole lot less mess

  3. cendrex

    Quiter than a belt/chain. Less maintence. You dont have to adjust them. Better gas milage. Main disadvantage is they cost more to replace.

  4. maxcruizer

    Main advantage is that you won't find yourself on the side of the road with either a belt or chain laying on the ground. I have had both happen at one time or another and it's a sure fire way to ruin your ride.


  5. 9Sdarz

    Chain= more maintenance...better power delivery.

    Drive Shaft= less maintenance...small loss of power not much though.

  6. cptallaz

    It's the type of drive that you can worry about the least. Chains have to be cleaned and oiled, and can be a big mess. Belts are nice and quiet and pretty much maintenance free, but need replacing and break more often, with no warning.

    With shaft, you just change the oil occasionally and ride. The weight and small parasitic loss is worth it.

  7. hantzomeman

    why do harleys all have belts, and not shafts?

  8. LDIRebroPhil

    why do harleys all have belts, and not shafts?
    I think the V-Rod is water cooled/shaft driven.

  9. cptallaz

    They probably figured their bikes are already expensive enough.

  10. MorkKW

    Actually, the V-Rod is belt driven. It also doesn't provide near the handling many had hoped to discover with its new design, which has nothing, whatsoever, to do with its type of final drive. Power...TONS of it, but uncomfortable to ride and lacks handling.

    Don't shoot the messenger... just sharing what's already been reported time and time again.

    To the topic at hand:
    Shaft drive...nothing smoother while cruising; virtually bullet-proof and maintenance-free; has driveline lash; slightly heavier than belt drive.

    If I had to choose either type of final drive at no additional cost on my specific bike, the V Star 1300, I most definitely would choose the belt. There are other makes and models where this would differ and I would opt for shaft drive.

    Be well,


    edited: Although, once upon a time, I would have been less likely to choose a belt drive, but not today with their strength and long lasting durability.

  11. rocgman

    a small disadvantage is the torsional force. you can feel the rear end twist a little.

  12. zhovman

    I asked our local Harley dealer why Harley did not offer Shaft Drive and I was told that Harley did not think that Shaft Drive was any better than their Belt Drive so Harley would not invest the money to offer it as an option or primary final drive on their motorcycles. I have heard several motorcycle mech's state that for longevity they would opt for Shaft Drive over Belt any day. I have also been told that if I was to tow a small trailer that I would be much better off with a Shaft drive as the belt would have a tendency to over heat and stretch then break. Just my 0.02 worth.

  13. retzdarraiter

    my dealer told me that the belt will last 100,000 miles with normal operation. BS or what

  14. moriwerrad

    What zhovman said is true about pulling a trailer. My buddy used to pull a trailer with his Electra Gluide - he went thru 3 100,000 mile belts in 70,000 miles. Where as I have pulled a trailer with my Venture for almost 60,000 miles and no repair to the shaft.

    You can feel the torque on acceleration and deceleration as stated earlier.

  15. VENTURER519

    My biggest complaint with my new Roadliner is the slop or driveline lash with the belt. Right out of the box in noticed it and @ 600 miles I had it checked. Servicer said everything was fine. I noticed it on another Roady I test drove also.

  16. PDXScodd

    Chain= more maintenance...better power delivery.Drive Shaft= less maintenance...small loss of power not much though.

    Just to include Belt Drives...

    Belt Drive = Better power delivery + Less maintenance.

    Well sort of... <grin>

    Scott T

  17. quicgmicg

    If I had a choice, it would probably be belt drive too.

    It's a little more maintenance cost than a shaft, but a bit more power delivered to the rear wheel...and you've got a MUCH wider range of aftermarket wheels that will fit.

    All the new R6'er's, GSX'ers and ZX6'ers are still chain....just better power delivery for that type of bike.


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