Final Drive: Belt to chain conversion, Part 1

Chain, Chain, Chain

harley chain drive

The first in a four-part series on converting to chain drive.

Words and Photos: John Zamora

If your riding primarily involves going from point A to point B without much concern for how fast you get there, belt drives make the perfect method for harnessing the motor’s power and transferring it to the rear wheel. They are clean, quiet, and require very little adjustment. But if you have some serious power behind your punch or you need that instant response, a chain conversion might be necessary. Our resident test rider, Troy Hoff, was building a purpose-built stunt 1998 Dyna and needed a more snappy response to help with his drifting, wheelies, and burnouts. The conversion itself is relatively straightforward, using PBI offset front and rear sprockets along with a sturdy chain from RK Excel. For the wrenching, we took Troy’s bike to one of the best mechanics we know, T-Rod of T-Rod’s Speed Shop in Anaheim, California. Please note, this is intended to be an overview only. Always consult a manual for step-by-step directions.

Find even more tech ideas and how-to's here.

harley chain drive

Here’s the stock belt system complete with lots of unnecessary chrome pieces that have no functional purpose.

Words and Photos: John Zamora

Harley chain drive

In order to get to the axle easier, remove the lower shock mounts on both sides after placing the motorcycle on a jack.

Words and Photos: John Zamora

harley chain drive

Remove the rear axle pins, the chrome cover, and chain guard.

Words and Photos: John Zamora

harley chain drive

After making sure there is nothing obstructing the axle, gently tap out the axle and set aside.

Words and Photos: John Zamora

harley chain drive

Raise the bike on the jack and take off the belt and rear tire.

Words and Photos: John Zamora

Harley chain drive

Remove the stock pulley and place it in the eBay pile. Stocks parts are still worth money, so don’t throw them away.

Words and Photos: John Zamora