I have a 1955 Panhead that I want to make as reliable and smooth/quite as possible, and low maintenance what parts do I need to convert the current chain drive over to a belt?
(The part numbers would be awesome if you know them......)
It has a stock wishbone frame with a 1968 rear wheel right now.
Post by 2dogs on Mar 26, 2004, 11:08pm
Scott: Are you thinking primary belt drive or rear wheel belt drive?
I considered a primary belt drive so I have some information on that. Many others including an H-D service manager I know recommend Phil Ross's Super Max belt drives (http://www.supermax.net). Your '55 would take his Silent Drive kit #SKK 55-64. They are more expensive than Primo's and BDL's and therefore not seen as often.
Incidently, smoother and quieter you'll get with a belt, especially a primary but reliability and belt life is not on par with chain. Chains aren't likely to break without warning, belts are.
Post by Weez on Mar 27, 2004, 8:59am
Scott, I been running a KARATA for almost 25 yrs. with little problems, it has been updated twice since I got and the guy treated me righteously on updating it. It is very reasonably priced last I knew Just another in a wide world of aftermarket parts. Good Luck
Post by 2dogs on Mar 28, 2004, 2:48am
weezeo: Those Karata units run around $420 now for the 1-1/2" pulley/belt kits for 1955-84 kick only. They look like real nice kits, a cut above the usual BDL and Primo drive units...not that there is anything wrong with those either.
Post by Weez on Mar 29, 2004, 6:04am
Thats still not a bad price, last time I had to get a new belt I had to update as they didn't make that belt anymore But I got a nice belt and pulleys and the belt is like steel belted or some thing it was a Gates and extra heavy duty. I am not saying they are better than the rest just that I was treated well and very happy with the product.
Post by john HD on Mar 30, 2004, 6:08am
i had a belt on my '55.
wasn't really happy with it. the amount of tension needed to run properly played hell with my clutch.
my bike drives better with the chain anyway, because of the compensating sprocket. i believe there is more cushioning in the driveline.
food for thought anyway.
Post by Weez on Mar 30, 2004, 9:58am
Sorry but I have to disagree with John's comments. I believe that the reasons that it played hell with his clutch, He was running with too much tension on the belt, you really don't need that much tension. I been running for many years as stated above with little problems and am a staunch believer that the belt is one of the top improvements made to modern day rides.(factory has even incorporated into new models) You have to agree when you think of the weight, less, the noise, less, the maintenence, less and the ease of replacing one if need. Me I never cared for a compensator sprockett and think that a little power has to be lost somewhere in the conversion. IMHO ty
Post by 2dogs on Mar 31, 2004, 9:57pm
I can confirm Weez's statement about belt tension, based on at least one belt drive manufacturer's statement: Phil Ross at Super Max advised me of the importance of 1" belt deflection on his setups. On our chain drive primaries 1/2" deflection is the norm. I could not use the SuperMax setup I bought because I could not get my tranny far enough forward to obtain the necessary 1" deflection.
Post by Sidecar on Apr 1, 2004, 2:25pm
I just got a 1 1/2 inch BDL installed. I haven't ridden enough to get the whole experience yet. I don't notice much difference at low speed, but it seems to be a hell of a lot smoother going fast !!!! I ran it up to 70mph to see what would happen. I was suprised to say the least. Feels like I have an overdrive. I think it's well worth the investment.
Just my .02
Post by JohnHD on Apr 3, 2004, 3:35am
nope, still disagree.Sorry but I have to disagree with John's comments. I believe that the reasons that it played hell with his clutch, He was running with too much tension on the belt, you really don't need that much tension. I been running for many years as stated above with little problems and am a staunch believer that the belt is one of the top improvements made to modern day rides.(factory has even incorporated into new models) You have to agree when you think of the weight, less, the noise, less, the maintenance, less and the ease of replacing one if need. Me I never cared for a compensator sprockett and think that a little power has to be lost somewhere in the conversion. IMHO ty
belts are o.k. for choppers, mine was one once.
but for every day driving the chain is king!
Post by Weez on Apr 3, 2004, 1:40pm
wanna arm wrestle
Post by VintageTwin on Apr 3, 2004, 8:42pm
2dogs said, "I could not get my tranny far enough forward to obtain the necessary 1" deflection."
Lonnie said they lengthened the slots in the transmission plates 1/4" to be able to move the trans up further. They were using a BDLÃ‚Â® belt. Stett told me that he has never had a problem with PrimoÃ‚Â® belts fitting and still having the 1" slack.
Post by kell on Apr 4, 2004, 2:16am
I've been reading these posts with some interest, and have a couple newbie-ish questions.
I have no idea what brand belt I have, the previous owner put it on. But looking forward to when I replace it -- do all the belts come in one standard size, or do I have to count teeth or measure it, or something?
It's a three-inch belt, may go to two of the 1 1/2 inch belts.
Also... the State where I registered my bike doesn't allow exposed primary. (I just was lucky to find an old boy with a garage back in the woods who gave me a sticker.) So I'm contemplating the best way to fab a primary cover, in particular how to mount it, since I don't intend to spend the big bucks for an aftermarket cover. If anybody made their own cover for a three-inch belt primary, I'd like to hear the gory details.
Post by fasted53 on Apr 4, 2004, 2:21am
While were on this subject lets hash out some of the ratio's on the belt drives. Mine has got a 24 tooth eng. with a 38 tooth clutch,stock trans sprocket width 48 tooth wheel sprocket. I was looking to drop my rpm's at cruising speed. Overall ratio looks good but how will it effect the kick start. How about some imput? Thanks, Ed
Post by Jack Hester on Apr 4, 2004, 2:35am
I did some calculating on your numbers, using a 24 tranny sprocket, and find that you will be running some mighty low rpms at anything but fast interstate. Be careful, as you want good oir circulation, and low rpms and hot oil make for poor circulation. Running a 25 tranny sprocket makes rpms very low.
Post by fasted53 on Apr 4, 2004, 2:40am
Kell, I'm putting on a 1-1/2" belt and installing it in a stock tin,not quite there let but Im getting close. I've seen 8mm and 11mm advertised not sure if thats thickness or center to center on rib's.Ran a 3" on a shovel chop back in the 80's set it up right and cranked the trans down, no problems other than a couple rock holes. I like the 3" just thought I'd try something different.
Post by fasted53 on Apr 4, 2004, 2:49am
Andrew,Thanks for the imput,10-4 on the oil temp. I ran the #'s on the ratios and believe I was going to drop about 350 rpm's at 65 mph. Do you think I misfigured? I dont remember where I got the formula's. I'm running a 22 tooth counter shaft sprocket. Thanks, Ed
Post by JohnHD on Apr 4, 2004, 3:52am
yer on!''wanna arm wrestle''
Post by Jack Hester on Apr 5, 2004, 6:27pm
With a 22T tranny sprocket, your engine/wheel ratio will be 3.45 to 1. This is figuring from a tire diameter of 26.5". At 2800 rpms, you will be running a little better than 63 mph. I would recommend that you not go higher with the countershaft sprocket, if you intend to run the present setup. You may even want to go a tooth larger on the wheel sprocket, if you plan to do some around town riding. Otherwise, keep it in a lower gear.
Post by Scott Bullene on Apr 7, 2004, 11:46pm
Hey everyone, Thanks for all your help!
and don't get into a brawl over the chain vs. belt preference!
Happy riding.....Scott Wink
Post by Weez on Apr 12, 2004, 8:22am
OK I give Unckle Unckle >Sad
But on the post about getting new belt you have to match pulleys up an the config of the nubs on the Belt some are points like pyramids an some are flat top pyramids and some are round and some are...........get the picture Wink
Post by VintageTwin on Apr 12, 2004, 2:09pm
I put a pix of the 11mm belt and how the teeth are measured over on the re-pop > projects.