Convert A Motorcycle Chain Drive To A Belt Drive

Convert a Motorcycle Chain Drive to a Belt Drive

Belt drives are popular alternatives to chain drives on motorcycles. Belt drives are quieter and require less maintenance. Unlike chain drives, the belt does not require oil, so you never get oil-sling problems. The belt will outlast the chain, providing that the pulleys are properly aligned and the belt tension is correct. Small rocks pose the main threat to belts. A rock can become trapped between the belt and the rear pulley. The rock will then punch a hole through the belt as the rear pulley rotates. A hole in the center of the belt will not break the belt, but a hole in either edge will start a tear that will part easily under the strain of riding.


1. Lift the bike with the bike lift. Place the lift towards the rear of the frame so that the rear tire is lifted off the ground.

2. Remove the rear axle nut and release the rear axle adjusters to de-tension the chain. Remove the chain from the rear sprocket. Remove the rear wheel and the wheel spacers.

3. Remove the two shock mount nuts and pull the shock off the chain side of the bike (softails disregard). Remove and replace the rear wheel sprocket with the rear wheel pulley.

4. Remove the upper and lower chain guard from the swing arm. Remove the transmission drive sprocket cover. Remove the chain and the transmission drive sprocket and replace it with the drive pulley.

5. Thread the belt onto the bike and place it on the transmission drive pulley. Reinstall the drive pulley cover. Ensure that there is clearance inside the cover and the pulley does not hit the cover.

6. Reinstall the rear wheel, spacers and axle. Place the belt onto the rear pulley. Tighten up the adjusters to tension the belt. Check rear axle alignment. Adjust the rear wheel alignment by varying the thickness of the rear wheel spacers.

7. Check belt tension as per the belt manufacturer’s instructions. Install and torque the rear axle nut to factory specifications.

8. Reinstall the upper and lower chain guards. Ensure that there is clearance for the belt and that the belt does not touch the guards. Switch to belt guards that are built to accommodate the width of the belt if the old chain guards interfere with the belt.