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Topic: Chain drive for sport-touring bikes  (Read 944 times)

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jay547
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« on: September 17, 2021, 05:11:35 pm »

I've had probably 30+ motorcycles. Only one was shaft drive. I didn't like it.

Your turn.
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« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2021, 05:32:03 pm »

Good job, Jay!!

I don't have a problem with chain drive for long distance sport touring for several good reasons. Of course, this comes with the proviso that the bike has a center stand or some convenient way to get the rear tire off the ground by the rider. I am obsessive about chain lubing/cleaning. It doesn't take much time and extends wear to incredible lengths. My procedure, without fail, is to lube the chain every other gas tank. About 200-250 miles. The chain is nice and hot and I put the bike on the center stand and lube then do the gas fill up/drink/stretch leg routine. By the time I leave, fifteen minutes?, the lube is congealed.

I'll start since 2000. You know, modern chains, etc.

2000 Suzuki Bandit 1200- Stock center stand. Scrape pegs often, dragstrip several times and sport touring over long distances. Sold at 30,000 miles and chain/sprockets were like new.
2007 Kawasaki ZX14- Added Kawasaki accessary center stand. Scrape pegs, dragstrip, sport touring over long distance. Sold at 30,000 and chain/sprockets were like new.
2016 Suzuki Bandit 1250- Stock center stand. Scrape pegs, and long distance sport touring. Sold at 19,000 miles and chain/sprockets were like new. Adjusted chain once?

The chain drive gives the rider the ability to change gearing without issue.
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« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2021, 06:18:48 pm »

Well, here is my old-school perspective. Before there were modern shaft drive bikes from Japan, all we had were chain drives. There shafties from Europe obviously (Moto Guzzi and BMW) but no models fit my riding style.

My last chain drive bike was a 1970 Honda CB750. This was way before modern X-ring chains and hi-tech chain lubes. The result was a mess if one were to keep up with chain lubrication, especially on road trips. Issues I had with chain drive bikes of that era were:

1) Lubrication and cleaning up the mess.
2) Chain adjustment and rear wheel alignment. This was way before eccentric axles making it much easier.
3) Chain wear and replacement of chain and sprockets. They didn't last long.
4) Risk of chain breakage. This was an issue with the 1969 CB750 and there was a recall to that effect.

My previous chain drive bikes were:

1) 1969 Honda CB750, an early sand cast model.
2) 1968 Harley-Davidson XLCH Sportster.
3) 1965 Honda CB77 305 Super Hawk.
4) 1961 Honda C115 55cc Super Cub. This bike had a fully enclosed chain so no mess and the chain stayed clean and well lubed.
5) No known year, Suzuki Diamond-Free 67cc "moped" that wanted to be a real motorcycle.
6) 1964 (or so) Honda CR110 road racing motorcycle I bought in 1971. I only raced it once and sold it to an expert restorer in 1991.

When Yamaha introduced the XS1100 in 1978, I made it a point of getting one. I bought a new 1979 XS1100F in the fall of 1978. Next shaft drive bikes:

1) 1985 Honda CB700SC Nighthawk. One of the most maintenance-free motorcycles I ever owned.
2) 2003 Kawasaki ZG1000 Concours (converted to 1200cc in 2007).
3) Current ride - 2014 Yamaha FJR1300.

I swore off chains due to my previous experiences. Closed minded, yes, but all of my shaft drive bikes have been supremely reliable, smooth and without issues. Easy rear oil changes every 24,000 miles or so. Easy rear wheel removal without getting all greased up. No wheel alignment issues.

I briefly owned a 2003 Kawasaki ZRX1200 chain drive but only to swipe the engine out of it and convert it to shaft drive to replace the 1000cc engine in the Concours. That was a fabulous bike (and terrific project) that I rode for 7 years prior to getting the FJR.

Dan
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jay547
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« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2021, 06:19:07 pm »

I do the "every other tank" method too. Although my current bike is the first one I've ever had with a centerstand.

Many times, Lisa and I did the walk alongside with the spray can while the other pushed method.
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« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2021, 07:15:45 pm »

Dan- I get the older chain fiasco business. That is why I started in 2,000!!!  I love my shaft on the FJR but I just won't hesitate to go chain at all. BUT, has to have a way to get the rear wheel off the ground.

As for the push and crawl method? Nah!



FYI- a couple of weeks ago I was sitting in the garage staring at my GSX S1000 and got a chain lube idea.      Nuts      I took a small stretchy and wrapped it around the front brake lever, then I cut a piece of 3/4" schedule 80(the real thick stuff) PVC and when I push the bike to the left with my left hand I place the 3/4" PVC under the rear swingarm spool and BINGO! the rear tire is 1/2" off the ground. I can lube and then pull out the piece of PVC and with the stretchy I wrap the PVC to the side of the chain lube can and in the tank bag it goes.

I now have an overnight bike!!
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« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2021, 07:18:30 pm »

Iíve only had one shaft drive bike (1st Gen Connie) and Iíve got hundreds of thousands of miles on chain driven bikes.  So Iíve no problem with chain drive.  I usually get 20-30K out of a chain and sprocket set. I do lube them pretty often, always when the chains are hot.  But Iíd still consider a shaft drive bike with no reservations.
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« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2021, 07:35:49 pm »

Chain is pretty simple

Simple is good
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« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2021, 03:31:40 pm »

I completely understand Bergmen's reasoning.  However...

1) Modern lubes are a breeze to apply without making a mess. I like the older DuPont teflon more than the modern stuff, but other kinds are great too.  I'm on my last blue can before having to go to the thinner yellow can branded as chain lube.
2) Chains are a lot easier to adjust now...and with a SSSA, they are super simple and quick! With proper care, good ones don't need adjusting often.
3) Chains and sprockets, with decent maintenance will last multi-thousands of miles, probably more than the shaft oil change interval.
4) I've never broke a chain, nor ridden with anyone who did, including high horsepower bikes.  I even know a few wheelie riding squids that don't have breakage issues.  I don't ride with them, though.

Just my experiences, YMMV.  
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« Reply #8 on: September 20, 2021, 06:04:37 pm »

Really - modern chains don't need to be lubed often -- certainly not every other tank!!!    the "lube" isn't lubing the chain at all and just providing a bit of rust inhibition.   I lube if I ride in the rain and anytime I wash the bike- other than that it's a monthly maintainance item - a quick wipe down and re-spray  --  And I have a center stand on 1 bike and swingarm stands for the other two...   My mtn bikes get much more thorough chain mantenance than the motorcycles...    

Oh and shafts -- well -- I like being able to adjust my bike's gearing for how I want to use it.   I'm not likely to need to go 170mph very often...  (stupid sportbike track oriented gearing)   
« Last Edit: September 20, 2021, 06:07:45 pm by kver » Logged
rajflyboy
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« Reply #9 on: September 20, 2021, 06:33:06 pm »


I completely understand Bergmen's reasoning.  However...

1) Modern lubes are a breeze to apply without making a mess. I like the older DuPont teflon more than the modern stuff, but other kinds are great too.  I'm on my last blue can before having to go to the thinner yellow can branded as chain lube.
2) Chains are a lot easier to adjust now...and with a SSSA, they are super simple and quick! With proper care, good ones don't need adjusting often.
3) Chains and sprockets, with decent maintenance will last multi-thousands of miles, probably more than the shaft oil change interval.
4) I've never broke a chain, nor ridden with anyone who did, including high horsepower bikes.  I even know a few wheelie riding squids that don't have breakage issues.  I don't ride with them, though.

Just my experiences, YMMV.  


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« Reply #10 on: September 20, 2021, 06:49:22 pm »

It's not a make or break for me, I've had chain drive, shaft drive and belt drive bikes, all have their strong points. If I had a preference it would be chain drive, simply because less moving parts is better and it makes gearing changes easy. Other than that I don't give it much thought.

When I was a kid my dad rode enduros and 6 days type of trials. He had first an ISDT CZ 250 and later a Bultaco Matador, both with enclosed chain drives, which I thought were the shit. I had a Hodaka 100 and we did quite a bit of woods riding together as well as a few poker runs and enduros, not having mud and sand turn to grinding paste on your chain was a definite plus.
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« Reply #11 on: September 20, 2021, 08:34:10 pm »

For the record: I've changed the gearing on nearly every dirt bike and dual-sport bike I've ever had. And probably half the street bikes.
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« Reply #12 on: September 20, 2021, 11:01:49 pm »


Dan- I get the older chain fiasco business. That is why I started in 2,000!!!

My first so-called motorcycle was the Diamond-Free in #5 above. I bought this in the late spring of 1961 for 4,000 yen ($11.11 in those days) and earned the money washing cars at 300 yen each. I rode it to school when I was in the 6th grade (living on an air base in Japan at the time).

Been riding ever since.

As I mentioned, I'm closed minded on the chain issue. I certainly recognize how modern and easy to maintain chain drive bikes are these days. I just shifted away from them and never looked back.

Dan
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« Reply #13 on: September 21, 2021, 03:08:13 pm »

I think if I were going to have a shaft drive bike, it would have to tickle several areas of interest for me beyond the shaft drive itself.  I'd go for the mid 80's Honda 700S (750S in Canada) Nighthawk.

It's vintage.
It has looks.  
It sounds great, even with quiet OEM exhaust.
It has a shaft drive.  Low maintenance for bergmen.
It has lifters.  No valve adjustments! Even lower maintenance!
It even has a gear indicator that a lot of ST.Ners used to wish for on other bikes.

The only thing missing is modern radial tires and fuel injection.  Obviously with lifters, it won't rev to the moon, but it gets the job done.  I rode my niece's newer 90's model 750 Nighthawk after installing some BT-045's on it for her.  I had to scrub them in before giving it back. (safety first)  Bigsmile  I'd have to get used to the upright seating position, and I almost threw myself off the bike when the pegs dug into the pavement way too soon, but it was still fun to ride. No shaft drive on that one, though.  
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« Reply #14 on: September 21, 2021, 04:34:12 pm »

It just hit me. Bergman has a phycological aversion to chains. Most of us have no problem with them and experience with the newer bikes proves this. Maybe we can kick in a few bucks each and get him some counseling.


                                             Bigok
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« Reply #15 on: September 21, 2021, 05:54:27 pm »

Racers use chains.  Thatís all I need to know.  
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« Reply #16 on: September 21, 2021, 07:18:33 pm »


It just hit me. Bergman has a phycological aversion to chains. Most of us have no problem with them and experience with the newer bikes proves this. Maybe we can kick in a few bucks each and get him some counseling.


                                             Bigok

Man, you wouldn't want to see my long list of psychological aversions, you would have me committed  Lol Lol

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« Reply #17 on: September 21, 2021, 08:04:49 pm »



Man, you wouldn't want to see my long list of psychological aversions, you would have me committed  Lol Lol

Dan


Or, all here couldn't come up with enough money to get you straightened out!!
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« Reply #18 on: September 21, 2021, 10:26:33 pm »

Wait, I thought you never saw a motorcycle parked in front of a psychologist's office?
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« Reply #19 on: September 22, 2021, 06:59:42 am »


Wait, I thought you never saw a motorcycle parked in front of a psychologist's office?


That's right. Big mistake on my part.
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 Street- '74 S3400, H1500, '72 H2750 x 2, '78 GS1000C, GS1000EC x 2, '80 GS1000S, '00 1200 Bandit, '05 FJR1300, '07 ZX14, '16 1250 Bandit, '17 KTM SD GT
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