why not belt drive? - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 27 (permalink) Old 10-17-2016, 05:03 PM Thread Starter
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why not belt drive?

Is there an advantage to chain drive over belt? I can imagine if you need every last ounce of HP, but if I rode like that. I'd probably have a Gixxer or Ninja. So why didn't the mothership design the Versys with belt drive?
2nd question: Does anyone know of a conversion kit?

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post #2 of 27 (permalink) Old 10-17-2016, 06:13 PM
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Is there an advantage to chain drive over belt?...
Yes. Belts require you to remove the swingarm to change them, as well as, BECAUSE of the 'intrinsic' lack of flexibility (going around a "sprocket") they have, BOTH "sprocket-ends" MUST have larger diameters, so BIGGER...!

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... can imagine if you need every last ounce of HP, but if I rode like that. I'd probably have a Gixxer or Ninja. So why didn't the mothership design the Versys with belt drive?...
See answer above, BUT belts take a LOT more HP to use!

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...2nd question: Does anyone know of a conversion kit?
Nope - not THIS 'cowboy'....


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post #3 of 27 (permalink) Old 10-17-2016, 06:23 PM Thread Starter
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Thx Eddie. Good answers and now I am not interested in converting.

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post #4 of 27 (permalink) Old 10-17-2016, 06:35 PM Thread Starter
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Back in the 80's I had a buddy who was number one in class A motocross (had the no. 1 plate!). After his dirt days, he got a Kawasaki 440 LTD. His brother bought an XS 11 Special, so he knew he had a severely underpowered bike. The 440 had a belt drive and my buddy could wheelie on that sucker for about a mile. Obviously, doing wheelies is far more technique than power, I know that (because I was also fairly good at wheelying my RD400 and RD 350's back then), but ever since those days and since that bike had belt drive, I always had a good impression of belt drive.
Why my buddy picked that bike is still a huge question. He coulda bought an Interceptor!

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post #5 of 27 (permalink) Old 10-17-2016, 09:07 PM
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Yes. Belts require you to remove the swingarm to change them

But, by the time the belt needs replacing, your probably pulling the swingarm for the second time to lube the bearings.

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post #6 of 27 (permalink) Old 10-17-2016, 09:50 PM
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The chain is looped into the swingarm, because of rear suspension design... You'd have to cut the swingarm to install or remove a belt.
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post #7 of 27 (permalink) Old 10-17-2016, 10:09 PM
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But, by the time the belt needs replacing, your probably pulling the swingarm for the second time to lube the bearings.
You'd simply replace the belt and loaded swingarm as an assembly.
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post #8 of 27 (permalink) Old 10-18-2016, 08:15 AM
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Is there an advantage to chain drive over belt? I can imagine if you need every last ounce of HP, but if I rode like that. I'd probably have a Gixxer or Ninja. So why didn't the mothership design the Versys with belt drive?
2nd question: Does anyone know of a conversion kit?
Had Belt on My Uly, 27,000 miles without issue that included gravel, fireroads, mild off-road on TKC's. It's quiet, no slack, and nearly zero Maintenance... and while Mine never broke, it does occasionally happen. I always carried a spare.. I could swap out a belt if needed in about the same time it takes to adjust the chain in the Versys. Make no Mistake a Chain Should be stronger, and handle more abusive situations better, but for the majority of folks, they don't see anything but pavement and dirt roads, Belt is a non issue for me.. and They dont all require swingarm removal.

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post #9 of 27 (permalink) Old 10-18-2016, 08:17 AM
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Originally Posted by fasteddiecopeman View Post
Yes. Belts require you to remove the swingarm to change them, as well as, BECAUSE of the 'intrinsic' lack of flexibility (going around a "sprocket") they have, BOTH "sprocket-ends" MUST have larger diameters, so BIGGER...!



See answer above, BUT belts take a LOT more HP to use!



Nope - not THIS 'cowboy'....


Belt on my uly required removing the right rear foot peg assembly, removing the tensioner and loosen rear axle.. no swingarm removal.. Took about 15 minutes.

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post #10 of 27 (permalink) Old 10-18-2016, 01:54 PM
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BTW - invader's right that the belt would NOT work because it'd have to "loop" thru the swingarm. Additionally - there's NOT enough room where the counter-shaft sprocket is, to put anything much larger in there.
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post #11 of 27 (permalink) Old 10-18-2016, 05:33 PM
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you can carry a spare chain and tool to change it on the road side by yourself if needed (assuming a long trip).

(not an original riveted which required grinding, but the subsequent ones with riveted master link (copper tips) (or clipstyle master link obviously) can be broken).

I would rather have a shaft drive than a belt... and would still miss having a chain.
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post #12 of 27 (permalink) Old 10-19-2016, 12:02 PM
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Years ago ('09) on a ride to AK on my '04 KLR650, seeing how many miles I could get on the OEM chain using ONLY WD40 for lube, I was carrying a chain AND my chain tool, and removed the old chain, then installed the new chain w/ RIVETED master beside our tents in Whitehorse, YT. Took about an hour (DIRTY job!!!).

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post #13 of 27 (permalink) Old 10-19-2016, 01:11 PM
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Depends on the design.

Victory motorcycles may have a belt change without removing the swing arm.

Probably others.

Getting a rock into a belt can be a very bad thing. Not sure how often this would happen - but I certainly would want a chain or maybe shaft ... if I were needing to traverse a lot of gravel roads

No matter where you go - there you are.
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post #14 of 27 (permalink) Old 10-19-2016, 05:51 PM
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Depends on the design.

Victory motorcycles may have a belt change without removing the swing arm.

Probably others.

Getting a rock into a belt can be a very bad thing. Not sure how often this would happen - but I certainly would want a chain or maybe shaft ... if I were needing to traverse a lot of gravel roads
You don't get it... Even if you removed the swingarm, you can't install the belt in it without cutting the swingarm.

A rock in a chain is worse than a rock in a belt.
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post #15 of 27 (permalink) Old 10-19-2016, 06:11 PM
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I get it.

Just saying that not all bikes require the swingarm removal for belt replacement.

If ya wanted to convert a Versys to belt drive as it is now, then yes the swingarm would need to be removed.

I disagree about the idea of a rock being worse on a chain than a belt.
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post #16 of 27 (permalink) Old 10-19-2016, 06:56 PM
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post #17 of 27 (permalink) Old 10-19-2016, 08:28 PM
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I get it.

Just saying that not all bikes require the swingarm removal for belt replacement.

If ya wanted to convert a Versys to belt drive as it is now, then yes the swingarm would need to be removed.

I disagree about the idea of a rock being worse on a chain than a belt.
No you don't get it at all. The swingarm does not need to be removed. It needs to be cut to install or remove a belt. Look at how your chain is looped into the swingarm.

A belt can swallow a rock much better than a chain.

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post #18 of 27 (permalink) Old 11-25-2016, 10:09 AM
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I get it.

Just saying that not all bikes require the swingarm removal for belt replacement.

If ya wanted to convert a Versys to belt drive as it is now, then yes the swingarm would need to be removed.

I disagree about the idea of a rock being worse on a chain than a belt.
Go out, look at the V swingarm and figure that you have to pass a close loop belt and you will find out that it cannot be done, on the V at least

I had this discussion, and per Invader advice, I got out and understood why it cannot be done on the V

A chain can be opened and pass true a part of the swingarm, not a belt

As far as a rock on a chain VS a belt, the belt as flexibility, not the chain
The rock will be crush between the steel of the chain and the steel of the sprocket, so chance of one "giving" some space for the rock to pass true without damage is none
On the other end, the belt will "give" a little and not damage everything
Now I'm not talking of a rock the size of a fist, but a small thing of reasonable size

LOP
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post #19 of 27 (permalink) Old 11-25-2016, 12:17 PM
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I have a friend who owns a Hardley (yes, I know) with a belt drive. When his belt broke (yes it can happen) it was a real nightmare to change, and not cheap to buy either. He swears that his next bike will have either a chain or a shaft drive.

Shafts are nice in terms of maintenance but add a lot of weight to the bike.
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post #20 of 27 (permalink) Old 11-29-2016, 12:06 PM
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I have a friend who owns a Hardley (yes, I know) with a belt drive. When his belt broke (yes it can happen) it was a real nightmare to change, and not cheap to buy either. He swears that his next bike will have either a chain or a shaft drive.

Shafts are nice in terms of maintenance but add a lot of weight to the bike.
Nothing is ever cheap for Harley's !

LOP
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