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Discussion Starter #1
It seems rather strange to me that H/D would have gone to all the trouble of producing such a high tech ride as our V-Rods and not have designed it with shaft drive. Not only would this save weight vs. belt drive but is a much better look, makes for a less cluttered lower left side of bike, and its easier to work on the rear end!

Pete
 

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This may not be correct. It probabably has to with geometry. Sport bikes don't respond well to shaft drive. Its not a real problem on cruisers, but when accelerating with shaft drive, you can feel the machines suspension stretch outward. In a straight line you can feel the bike rise a little and in corners the geometry change is not a good thing. Chain or belt drive does not transmit the tourque of the engine to the swing arm like a shaft drive does. Just my oh 2.
 

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I agree w. 2Deuce. Shaft drive is pretty much maintenance free, but under heavy acceleration the rear end lifting up is annoying to say the least. I think BMW came up with a way to counteract it.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
There are several high performance, high HP, cruisers and touring bikes that have successfully imployed shaft drive for years, some for almost two decades. The V-Max for instance which is nothing more than a sport bike without all the plastic, and every Honda Cruiser/Touring bike over 1100cc. Several of these have more HP and/or gobs more torque than the V-Rod. Drivability, durability and maintenance issues are vertually non-existant.

My experience with a Honda Sabre (my other ride) is that there is no directional change or lift in the rear suspension due to the shaft drive.

After seeing many snomobilers dynamite their Gates belts under hard excelleration (I realize this is a different engagement but power is still transmitted via the belt) I am a little worried about the belt standing up to the power and high RPM of the V-Rod in the long run.

I like a solid mechanical connection between the various mechanical components of my machines, it just seems like shaft drive should have been the logical choice with the V-Rod.

Just my 2c Pete
 

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PAS22

I for one think that belt drive has several advantages. The biggest would be initial cost to implement. Next would be transfer power without driven gear loss that occurs with a shaft system of about 10%. Don't forget ease of maintenance of the rear tire.

One thing about your statement of " I am a little worried about the belt standing up to the power and high RPM of the V-Rod in the long run", Engine rpm has nothing to do at all with the drive belt. And I would think that torque would be a much tougher load on the belt then HP and the belt has already proven very dependable on much higher torque engines.

IMHO
 

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I can testify to the "rise" issue with a shaft drive. My 2nd bike was the Honda V65 Magna. A buddy of mine & I were riding side by side when I decided to see just how fast it would go. I dropped down into 3rd & nailed the throttle. Much to my surprise I felt the back come up (not what I was expecting). My buddy had no idea what I was up to & happened to be looking over just at the right moment & confirmned that the rear end actually to come up a good couple of inches.

Since then I have gotten used to shaft drives, but they are always a little squirlly in the corners if your pushin it.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for your responses. The V65 was a v-four with tons of HP and was developed in the very early days of shaft drive. I too, remember reading about rear end lift in these early models. I don't know that this is true anymore today. Maybe I just don't get on the power hard enough in the turns with the Sabre to notice anything, being the old fart that I am. And then, we don't have alot of twisty roads around here anyway.

As far as removing the rear tire, I recently had the rear tire repairing on the Sabre and removing the driveshaft simply envolved backing off four bolts, no belt covers to remove, no belt adjustment check needed on reasembly. Other than annually checking rear differential fluid, no maintenance required, no belt or chain to wear or adjust.

The rear wheel power loss I don't know. H/D has always used this as a marketing point for belt drives. A friend of mine said the reason H/D uses belt drives is because they have a long standing deal with the belt manufacturer to use belts on their machines.

I will say this, power transfer to rear wheel of my V-Rod is very smooth and quiet. If belt durability and longevity isn't a issue, than I guess if it works, don't fix it. But a chrome covered driveshaft would look great on this machine!!!

Pete
 
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