Final Drive: Belt to chain conversion, Part 4

Chain, Chain, Chain

We’re on the last installment of swapping over from a belt final drive to a more durable chain. It’s a pretty straightforward op that makes sense for the powered up Harley that’s our Guinea pig in this story. 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.


T-Rod’s Speed Shop

RK Excel

PBI Sprockets

Go to our Tech section for info on customizing your ride.

After cleaning the surfaces thoroughly, put on the outer primary and gasket making sure there are no leaks.

Words and Photos: John Zamora

Refill the oil to the recommend amount.

Words and Photos: John Zamora

Replace the rear wheel with the new sprocket, and make sure both sprockets line up perfectly.

Words and Photos: John Zamora

Attach the chain and see how many links will need to be removed. We ordered a bit too much chain, but it’s better to be too long than too short. A new chain will stretch, so it’s best to set it as far forward as possible but still allow the chain to be put on.

Words and Photos: John Zamora

Mark the link that needs to be cut and remove the excess links. Using a chain tool, attach the master link.

Words and Photos: John Zamora

After adjusting the chain, reattach the shocks and axle nuts and torque everything to spec.

Words and Photos: John Zamora