mechanical question

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bigbeakmacaw
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mechanical question

#1 Unread post by bigbeakmacaw » Tue Sep 02, 2008 10:30 pm

Can anybody give me an opinion about whether chain drive or shaft drive is better, or does it matter? Thanks!

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#2 Unread post by mgdavis » Wed Sep 03, 2008 12:23 am

Ford vs. Chevy.

Shaft is cleaner and lower maintenance. Chain is cheaper and more efficient. It all depends upon the usage and user.
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#3 Unread post by HYPERR » Wed Sep 03, 2008 5:51 am

Chain all the way.

More efficient.

Lighter.

Less complicated.

You can change gear ratio easily.

You can see the condition of the chain where the shaft is somewhat of a mystery.

I don't see how a modern o-ring chain maintenance is a big deal. It's virtually maintenance free. A shaft still needs to be maintained. You need to change the axle oil and some need spline lubes, etc.

Lot less things that can go wrong.

And most important for me, a chain does not hinder the handling of a bike.
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#4 Unread post by Magna » Thu Sep 04, 2008 10:47 am

Well I have only been a rider for 18 months now and I have a '97 Magna with a chain. I was always told that a shaft drive was way better. I am glad to hear that a chain drive is better in some ways. Also, I was under the understanding that a shaft drive was way less in need of maintenance. Is there another side to this discussion ?

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#5 Unread post by Johnj » Thu Sep 04, 2008 10:52 am

I love shaft drive bikes. I have a Kawasaki Concours and a Yamaha XS750F. Both have shaft drives.
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#6 Unread post by jonnythan » Thu Sep 04, 2008 11:39 am

HYPERR wrote:Chain all the way.

More efficient.

Lighter.

Less complicated.

You can change gear ratio easily.

You can see the condition of the chain where the shaft is somewhat of a mystery.

I don't see how a modern o-ring chain maintenance is a big deal. It's virtually maintenance free. A shaft still needs to be maintained. You need to change the axle oil and some need spline lubes, etc.

Lot less things that can go wrong.

And most important for me, a chain does not hinder the handling of a bike.
Less things to go wrong on a chain? Virtually maintenance free? It's a "mystery"?

Are you mad?

With a shaft drive, you change the oil once every few years. And... oh, wait, that's it. Chains need to be oiled every few weeks.

Chains do have advantages, but maintenance and complexity are not among them.
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#7 Unread post by HYPERR » Thu Sep 04, 2008 12:21 pm

jonnythan wrote:
HYPERR wrote:Chain all the way.

More efficient.

Lighter.

Less complicated.

You can change gear ratio easily.

You can see the condition of the chain where the shaft is somewhat of a mystery.

I don't see how a modern o-ring chain maintenance is a big deal. It's virtually maintenance free. A shaft still needs to be maintained. You need to change the axle oil and some need spline lubes, etc.

Lot less things that can go wrong.

And most important for me, a chain does not hinder the handling of a bike.
Less things to go wrong on a chain? Virtually maintenance free? It's a "mystery"?

Are you mad?

With a shaft drive, you change the oil once every few years. And... oh, wait, that's it. Chains need to be oiled every few weeks.

Chains do have advantages, but maintenance and complexity are not among them.
You obviously don't know much about spline lubes and clutch spline problems with BMW shafties do you?

There are tell-tale signs that a shaft may be failing but nothing is certain. And it certainly is a mystery in many cases. With a chain, everything is out in the open and any deterioration to the chain is right there for you to see.

I change the axle oil in my bike every year, not every few years.

Shafts are not maintenance free and modern o-ring chains are not maintenance intensive.

There is no need to be sarcastic or insulting.

Am I mad? No, but if you think chains are more complicated than Shafts, maybe you are. :roll:
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#8 Unread post by msh-1156 » Thu Sep 04, 2008 12:39 pm

Belt Drive - best of both worlds.
And I am quite mad.

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Re: mechanical question

#9 Unread post by Lion_Lady » Thu Sep 04, 2008 1:03 pm

bigbeakmacaw wrote:Can anybody give me an opinion about whether chain drive or shaft drive is better, or does it matter? Thanks!
Depends on what you're looking for in the rest of the bike... Shaft drives aren't found on smaller displacement engines. So, if you're looking for a "first motorcycle" then a chain drive is the way to go. Or belt drive... now THAT is virtually maintenance free. Just do a visual check (for damage) periodically and know what the proper belt tension is.

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#10 Unread post by flynrider » Thu Sep 04, 2008 3:38 pm

jonnythan wrote: With a shaft drive, you change the oil once every few years. And... oh, wait, that's it. Chains need to be oiled every few weeks.

Chains do have advantages, but maintenance and complexity are not among them.
With modern O-ring chains, maintenance is not much of an issue. A huge change from the standard chains of yesteryear. Since the primary lube is sealed in the rollers, all that is required is an occasional spritz of light lube to keep the O-rings sliding and link plates from rusting. On my bike, this takes less than a minute, every few weeks.

With the improved lubrication, the O-ring chains wear better than the old ones too. My current chain has reached the end of it's life at 23K miles. Over that period, I only had to do a chain adjustment (15 min.) twice.

A lot of the complaints I hear about chains come from folks that are treating their O-ring chains like the old standard chains. Dumping heavy, sticky lube on them, which attracts dirt and requires the chain to be cleaned occasionally.

IMHO, the final drive on a bike should be way down on the list of things to look for in a new bike.
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Thanks, all!

#11 Unread post by bigbeakmacaw » Thu Sep 04, 2008 4:23 pm

I really appreciate all the input from all of you. I'm not sure I'm closer to a decision, but then I have time. The two bikes I have had recommended and that I am reading up on are the 2008 Honda Shadow 750 Aero (shaft drive) and the 2008/09 Harley 883 Sportster or Sportster Low. Not enough price difference to sway me. Guess I'll just have to keep asking questions. LOL

Thanks again!

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Re: Thanks, all!

#12 Unread post by jonnythan » Thu Sep 04, 2008 4:26 pm

bigbeakmacaw wrote:I really appreciate all the input from all of you. I'm not sure I'm closer to a decision, but then I have time. The two bikes I have had recommended and that I am reading up on are the 2008 Honda Shadow 750 Aero (shaft drive) and the 2008/09 Harley 883 Sportster or Sportster Low. Not enough price difference to sway me. Guess I'll just have to keep asking questions. LOL

Thanks again!
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#13 Unread post by bigbeakmacaw » Thu Sep 04, 2008 5:20 pm

Hmm--sounds like the belt drive would be great. However, the Harley website says it's a "Chain, 34/57 ratio" I'll have to check it out, but it sounds like it's not that critical.

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#14 Unread post by CYNWAGON » Thu Sep 04, 2008 5:34 pm

Which one feels better?
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#15 Unread post by Skier » Thu Sep 04, 2008 6:40 pm

msh-1156 wrote:Belt Drive - best of both worlds.
And I am quite mad.
Best of both worlds with the crippling downside of not handling any kind of non-pavement situation. A misplaced chunk of gravel and you're walking to the dealer to get another belt.
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#16 Unread post by msh-1156 » Fri Sep 05, 2008 9:17 am

Skier wrote:
msh-1156 wrote:Belt Drive - best of both worlds.
And I am quite mad.
Best of both worlds with the crippling downside of not handling any kind of non-pavement situation. A misplaced chunk of gravel and you're walking to the dealer to get another belt.
Everything has a downside. It all depends on whether one focuses on what can go right or what can go wrong. I tend to think in terms of what can go right, and in the case of belt drives the upside column has many more check marks than the downside. I'm curious - why is it Harley Davidson puts belt drives on their bikes? Do you think they're really worried about that chunk of gravel? Personally, I'm not.

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#17 Unread post by Skier » Sat Sep 06, 2008 2:47 am

msh-1156 wrote:
Skier wrote:
msh-1156 wrote:Belt Drive - best of both worlds.
And I am quite mad.
Best of both worlds with the crippling downside of not handling any kind of non-pavement situation. A misplaced chunk of gravel and you're walking to the dealer to get another belt.
Everything has a downside. It all depends on whether one focuses on what can go right or what can go wrong. I tend to think in terms of what can go right, and in the case of belt drives the upside column has many more check marks than the downside. I'm curious - why is it Harley Davidson puts belt drives on their bikes? Do you think they're really worried about that chunk of gravel? Personally, I'm not.
Don't get me wrong: for a street bike, a belt final drive is a wonderful thing. For a dual purpose bike or one needing every bit of power and weight reduction, chain is the only way to go.

Harley doesn't market nor intend their bikes to be taken off tarmac. They sell cruisers not dual purpose bikes. For their intended road surface, a belt is very difficult to beat for a final drive system.

Obviously the belt isn't going to self-destruct the moment it is taken off the beaten path, but I sure wouldn't trust a single belt to carry me over thousands and thousands of dirt and gravel roads. Chain drive, no worries, shaft, not a problem.
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#18 Unread post by msh-1156 » Sat Sep 06, 2008 7:31 am

Well that just goes to show you how narrow my focus is. Our original poster didn't mention a thing about dual purpose or dirt bikes, and so I didn't give a single thought to anything other than street machines.

In fact all three are good, depending on the use of the machine, and now we're back to where we started!! :D

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#19 Unread post by RhadamYgg » Sun Sep 07, 2008 12:21 pm

As a commuter - I really hate messing with the damned chain. Plus I have lovely little marks on my driveway with white chain oil all over the place.

Oh, and I know I'm supposed to apply the chain lube sparingly, but I can't seem to help gloping the crap all over the place. :(

My next bike will be belt of shaft. I lean toward shaft, but I feel it will be unlikely that I'll be ready to upgrade from a 250 to a Honda ST1300.

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#20 Unread post by falcon93 » Mon Sep 08, 2008 11:00 pm

I'm a little late to this discussion, but I for one will not ever buy another bike with a chain. I am already on my second chain. First one wore out at 6,000 miles and that was with following the Owner's manual recommendations of oiling every 200 miles and cleaning every 500 miles. The second chain is almost 1/2 worn out with another 2000 miles following the same procedures. After I'm done with my current bike, I'm done with chains. I hate them. Just my personal oppinion.
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