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I'm curious if anyone has considered converting their ST chain drive to a belt drive. I note that the Buell's are belt final drive and I think it would be an interesting experiment on an ST. It just seems like it might be smother and less maintenance than a chain but with the potential to have some slippage under higher horsepower applications.

Forgive me if this has been posted before, I did a quick search but was unable to find any prior discussion.

Randy
 

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The problem with belt drives is they like to apply the power to a large surface area. The counter shaft sprocket area is pretty tight with a chain. A belt pulley that will fit, may not have enough belt surface contact, so you smoke the belt on an aggressive launch.

A large front pulley would mean a larger rear pulley on the rear wheel. Assuming the internal gearing stays the same.
 

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It just seems like it might be smother and less maintenance than a chain but with the potential to have some slippage under higher horsepower applications.
Final belt drives are generally toothed belts and slippage is not the issue. When too much HP is put through them, they snap (more like explode really). So they need to be rather wide for high HP applications. That creates two problems:

1) the width creates more leverage on the output shaft bearing so the case, bearing and shaft need to be designed to accomodate.

2) The extra width increases the chance a stray pebble will find it's way between the wide belt and wide pulley. It doesn't take a very large pebble to tear fibers in the belt because the fibers do not stretch. When this happens under power you can expect to hear a loud explosion. Hopefully it doesn't turn into a rats nest and lock up your rear wheel. Final drive belt failures are much more common that chain failures.

My advice, keep the belts where they work well (on the valve train) and put a chain on the final drive where it needs to handle a lot of HP.
 
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