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Drive Belt Questions

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Old 08-23-2011, 12:51 AM
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mikeallenbrown mikeallenbrown is offline
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Default Drive Belt Questions

On average, about how long does a belt last? ...on a stock 1200. I understand that the life of a belt depends on many things...riding conditions, how hard you ride, etc. I'm just looking for an educated guess.

Second question .... I remember seeing on the internet some "emergency belt splice kit" ....anyone ever use one? To temporarily get you home. Is it a good idea to have or is it junk?


EDIT: ...last question: OEM belts good enough? ...or is there a "better" "stronger" belt you'd recommend?
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2003 Sportster xl1200c

Last edited by mikeallenbrown; 08-23-2011 at 12:55 AM.
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Old 08-23-2011, 05:50 AM
turn8a turn8a is offline
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I'm close to 52000 miles on a 2004 1200r with the stock belt. And the belt still looks good.
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Old 08-23-2011, 06:09 AM
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Hi Mike, from another Brown! There is no simple answer to your question. I've just replied to another current post about a broken belt, so there is some attrition along the way. I have replaced one of my belts when it suffered stone damage, which eventually began to spread, so I replaced it to be on the safe side.

Even early belt drive bikes have been recorded going round the clock on the original belt, in other words over 100k miles. The solution is to keep the belt properly adjusted (apparently being too tight is the common cause of breakages) and keep the guards in place, to keep out debris.

I don't think you will find a stronger belt. Harley made a sidecar belt when they used 1 1/2" belts on the touring bikes, but since they fitted the later spec 1 1/8" narrow belt they no longer do. So I think we must conclude the latest belts are already super strong!

As for an emergency belt kit, how much stuff should we carry around with us, just in case? Much easier to carry a roadside recovery card! In 21 years of belt-drive Harleys I have not been left on the roadside with a broken belt. OMG, what have I said.....
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Old 08-23-2011, 04:51 PM
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My original belt broke at 63,000 miles. Other than a clean straight break, the belt looked perfect. It was at the proper tension.

I have heard of guys getting 80,000 - 100,000 miles on a belt.
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Old 08-23-2011, 09:15 PM
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The recommended tension is way too tight. If you lift the bike and remove the rear shocks the swing arm will stay up from the belt tension. It is actually preloading the shocks. It's also likely putting undue stress on the output shaft bearings and possibly skewing the engine in its mounts if you have an '04 or newer 'rubbermount.' It should be loosened off just enough to allow the swingarm to fall through the 'tight spot' under its own weight. Make sure the alignment is not changed by turning the adjusting nuts equally on both sides. That's my opinion ...your mileage may vary.

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