Kawasaki Motorcycle Forums banner

1 - 20 of 21 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
110 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
OK, I know it sounds nutty but I was just musing about it b/c my parents' Harleys have belt drive and it's pretty nice - no maintenence, completely silent, etc. On a scale of 1-100, how impossible do you think it would be to get a practical belt-setup on a 500R? My first thought is that it's gonna be wider, where there's really no room to put anything wider without modifying the whole rear frame - if it's wider it sticks out more (just how much more?), if the clearance problem were solved would you run into alignment issues? Could you fit a tensioning wheel like on an XB12R? Just an intellectual exercise more than anything - anybody got any ideas? If it is by some miracle doable, it would be a highly desirable mod for tourers - lubing your chain every day or two days is a pain in the rear!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Even though a belt would be quieter and have less maintenence, I don't think it would be worth the effort
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
110 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
We're assuming it is worth the effort... :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
110 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
I'm sorry, I wasn't clear - when you're touring, you do a lot of miles every day... when in FL, we did at least 200 miles/day - and you're supposed to lube up every 400 miles. Soo... that works out to 2 days for each lube. Kinda annoying, eh?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
63 Posts
It's certainly possible with some enginuity and a lot of time and effort, the question is would it be worth it to you to do that?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
65 Posts
Tobydawg said:
It'd probably be easier just to buy a belt driven bike.
yeah, but the only belt driven sportbikes are the Buells. Outside of that and the few big displacement sport touring bikes that use shaft drives every sportbike is a chain drive.

I personally would kill for a belt driven sport touring or sport standard bike that isn't either old and kinda ugly (Kawi Concours) or expensive as all to be ****ed (Honda ST1300 and Yamaha FJR1300). Give me a ZZR600 or Z750 or Z1000 with a belt drive, that's what I'm talkin' about.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
607 Posts
Daekar said:
I'm sorry, I wasn't clear - when you're touring, you do a lot of miles every day... when in FL, we did at least 200 miles/day - and you're supposed to lube up every 400 miles. Soo... that works out to 2 days for each lube. Kinda annoying, eh?
This "theoretical exercise" is especially pointless in an environment like this forum. We're not engineers or TIG-welders, we're riders. I do all my own maintenance (except tire mounting & balancing because I can't afford a spin balancer), but I know a money-sucking black hole when I see one. To be even remotely feasible, this would certainly require custom-machined parts that would cost more than the sum total of the stock bike's showroom cost. Let me put that another way: If you paid $4500 for the bike new, you will now spend more than $4500 in addition to that getting a machine-shop to make this possible.
A custom set of belt cogs, a new (and probably custom-machined) swingarm, a one-off machined drive sprocket cover, and probably also a custom-built frame. You might be able to cannibalize some belt-cogs from an old 454, but making them fit would be like growing a radish-tree from a peach-pit. Barnstorming a project like this sounds neat with an 80's soundtrack blasting in the garage, but the three possible outcomes to such a venture are:
a) massive expenditure,
b) catastrophic failure or
c) both
And what would you have at the end of it? You won't have to lube the chains, but you won't have a warranty on your bike any longer. You also won't have any real gain in performance or fuel-efficiency. $9000 would pay for a brand-new shaft-driven BMW R1150R, and this BMW will still have a warranty, unlike the poor EX500 you just butchered in the name of hypothetic mechanical enmity.
This year, my wife and I made a 6300-mile trip from San Diego to Philadelphia and back, averaging 550 miles a day for 12 days. Every evening, we were relaxing with a few drinks, we'd walk out to the hotel parking lot, talk about the things we saw that day and lube the chains. And while lubing the chains, you take time to notice little things like possible low tire pressure or low oil or coolant level. All mechanical things need love and the chain is just an invitation to give her the attention she wants and needs.
You don't have to lube the chains every 400 miles. Every 500 or 600 is fine. I have a few grease-spots on my banana touring suit, but I wear them with more pride than all the stupid military decorations I got during my 7+ years in the Army. Riding these things is only part of the whole experience.
If part of the whole experience to you is spending lots of money machining and experimenting, cool. But if your whole experience is primarily riding and not having to screw around with greasy metallic stuff, I strongly advise you to forego this experiment.
-CCinC
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
607 Posts
P.S. On a scale of 1-100, I personally would rate it 100. And your Harley parents are just trying to talk you into getting rid of your [email protected] and getting a Harley like theirs. If that's what you want to do, fine, otherwise show them this quarter-mile roster tell them to get bent:


-CCinC
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
110 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Well paint me black and call me a cherry bomb - I get the idea you hate the idea! No need to worry, this is not something I would ever consider trying - only if I had lots of money and a nice machine shop would it be something to do just for kicks. I'm all about the grease stains too, but riding is the best part. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
607 Posts
I don't hate the idea, I just put myself in your shoes tackling a problem like this. I know the arguments Harley people use because I used to be one of them. Belt drive works fine for sub-60-hp engines, but if you want enough power to pull the string out of a cat's @$$, you're either going to need a chain or shaft.
I'll bet your parents would help chip-in if you told them you really liked the looks of the V-rod.
-CCinC
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
110 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Well you're almost right - they would like to see me get out of sportbikes just because of the insurance premiums and the statistical increased probability of an accident (although I think I'd be more likely to wreck a Harley..) but they actually didn't say anything, this was just something I noticed myself. As far as quarter-mile times, they would just laugh because they don't care, Harley people are like that. There's an article somewhere in my IE history you might find interesting, where is it... aha

http://www.motorbikestoday.com/reviews/Articles/harley_fat_boy.htm

Now I'll be the first to object to a Harley because I like my revs, fairings, light weight and high lean-angles, everything a Harley doesn't have..that's what I like - BUT... there is something to be said for them nevertheless. The opportunities I've had to ride them were good because, well... read the article. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
607 Posts
A Harley Sportster will cost about the same to insure as an EX500. Even though the 500R will SPANK the Harley like a rented mule and will probably outlast the Harley too. I put 70,000 miles on my Sportster before it was stolen. Sure, Harley people "don't care about performance"! They have no other choice.
I bought my '93 Harley Sportster on Pearl Harbor Day in '92. I rode the bike 70,000 miles, from San Diego to Colorado, to Sturgis, SD to Key West, FL and it was a good bike. But I'll never go back. I currently ride a W650 (which is very similar to a Harley, but superior in so many ways) and a 170-mph '02 ZX9R and my dream bike is...
an '02 or '03 Ex500/Ninja 500R. No kidding. My wife had an ugly purple 500 that I would almost trade my ZX9R for right now. I nearly cried the day she traded her bike in for her current ZX6R, which requires lifting the cams every 7500 miles to adjust the valves.
But my dream bike is not everyone's dream bike. There are plenty of good arguments on both sides of the fence. I've ridden about 200,000 miles on Japanese bikes since my Sportster was stolen, and when I swapped bikes with Harley friends? Blech. They just don't do it for me anymore.
-CCinC

My W650, which will still smoke most Harleys, even with 45,000 miles on the odometer:
 

·
the "fun" guy
Joined
·
32,859 Posts
Chris....I just saw a bike like your W650 this summer. A guy where I work bought it in Spokane Washington from a couple selling their bikes. I think it had around 19,000 on it and always garaged and looked brand new. He was beaming ear to ear showing it to me. We both ride and park near each other in the summer so it turned out to be a fun show n tell session.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
607 Posts
The W650 is a lifetime bike for me. Bikes like my ZX9R will come and go, but this bike has really got a hold on me. When I rode up at my Mom's house the Sunday after buying my W, she said it looked just like my Dad's old Honda. I told her I didn't know what she was talking about so she gave me this photo:

I'm the little trailer-trash kid in the blue jumpsuit.
I put it in a frame, wrapped it in an old roadmap and gave it to my Pa (who rides a '98 Concours) when we stopped for gas once up around Lake Tahoe.
I might sell my ZX9R after I get my EX500, but the W650 is a lifetime bike for me. Like a two-wheeled wife she is.
-CCinC
http://www.chrisandlisachan.com/w650/w650.htm
 

·
the "fun" guy
Joined
·
32,859 Posts
Hmmmm....very similar in appearence aren't they?

My friend Dave (who bought the W650) seems to be somewhat of a collector cause after he rode the bike for a few day's it disappeared and he was then riding a small scooter instead. I asked him about it and he grinned and said...."Oh....it's in the garage being looked after". I'm sure that bike has found a good home.

Trailer Trash, eh? I remember living in a trailer while working on the ranch in Walnut Creek California.....so I must be Trailer Trash to? I love my roots! :)

Isn't it nice when your wife enjoys your "other two-wheeld wife"? :) I know she rides and I have to think she would want you to keep the W650....maybe pass it onto your kid/s when they are grown? What a gift that would make.

Thanks for sharing the picture. Somehow I think the little kid in that picture enjoyed being around bikes and no doubt learned alot along the way. ;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
110 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
Chris, that's a gorgeous bike! Styling reminds me of an old Triumph or BSA. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
607 Posts
Thanks Daeker. The pity is that no one bought them when they were available in the States. KHI really stuck their neck out, but it appears we Americans either want harley-lookalikes or racer-lookalikes.
Someone who wears glasses told me that KHI spent more money developing the W650 than any bike in their history. Given their normal use and cannibalization of parts (for example the Concours and the EX500 both sharing the same pistons and valve-components) I guess it's believable.
Triumph also brought back the Bonneville shortly after the W650 was introduced, but what was Triumph's best-selling bike that year?
The Bonneville America
Triumph's wannabe-Harley outsold the original Bonneville.

"Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just." -T. Jefferson

-CCinC
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,158 Posts
Hi, I usually hang out in the Cruiser Forum.
If you don't want to do a lot of maintenance on the chain, try the Scottoil which is an automatic chain lubing system. I got the toruing version for my ZRX1200 from here:http://www.actionstation.com/. No more chain lubing for me.
It is much cheaper than chain-belt conversion.
 
1 - 20 of 21 Posts
Top