The Advantages of an Open Belt Drive

//The Advantages of an Open Belt Drive

The Advantages of an Open Belt Drive

Today’s discussion is regarding Primary Belt Drives. I’m going to give you the basics, and the advantages of an open belt system.

First, let’s lay out the advantages of a primary belt over a chain. Belt technology these days has produced tough strong belts that are not quite as strong as a chain, but are coming very, very close. These are being produced at a fraction of the weight of a chain. Chain drive sprockets are made of steel, while most belt pulleys are hard anodized aluminum. These pulleys are a fraction of the weight of the sprockets (hmmmm, see a trend here?).  When a Belt Drive is installed, you are shaving a big chunk of rotating weight out if your driveline.

What does that do for us? When you twist the throttle, your engine accelerates. It has to move all the components hooking the engine to the tranny, the tranny itself, and the rear drive and wheel. There is a law in Physics that states “everything at rest or in motion tries to stay in that state until an outside force works upon it”. Because of this law, it takes a certain amount of force to make that change. Now, going back to our twisted throttle, it takes a certain amount of time (and force) to accelerate the mass of all the components. If we reduce that mass, the engine doesn’t have to work as hard, and it will accelerate faster. If you have 2 bikes set up the same way, except one has the stock chain primary and the other with a belt drive. Put them side by side and accelerate, the bike with the belt drive will pull away every time.

Ok, now that we know what the advantage of running a belt is, let’s talk about Open Belt drives. The first advantage is we are shaving another 20-25 LBS off the bike by removing the inner and outer primaries. Shaving your bikes weight doesn’t make more power, but that law of Physics jumps back in there and accelerates things faster. That makes it seem like there is more power. The next big advantage of an open primary is you are not limited to the space inside the cases as far as belt width. Higher Horsepower applications require wider belts to handle the stress. Today, we can buy belt drives as wide as 4”. If you can break a 4” belt, you have got extra serious power!!

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  1. Dragon July 8, 2016 at 6:30 am

    They are totally junk. Hardly anyone can get them put on correctly. Everyone I know that tried them ended up having starter angle problems. They are dangerous and can snag your pants and pull your leg in. No advantage except looks. Once they get wet you are all done…and will have to suffer chirping and squealing noises as they allow moisture to get inside and then require dismantling to clean or replace clutch plates. My stock yamaha V-star has beaten every big dog, aih and harley that had an open primary on it.

    • Fd August 7, 2016 at 1:49 am

      I 100000000% agree

  2. Scott May 2, 2016 at 8:00 pm

    I bought a 5 yr warranty extension on the Harley with 2 years to go. Once it expires, I am installing a belt drive primary.

  3. Christopher Albaugh April 25, 2016 at 9:53 pm

    I’m trying to find a belt drive kit for my 2003 rev-tech 100ci, 5 speed,custom chopper,need some help,would appreciate any info!

  4. Gary June 14, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    That all said the heavy sprokets help continue work like a flywheel does…also I am guessing we now have a dry clutch that wont take as much slipping and abuse as a wet clutch.

  5. Thomas March 21, 2013 at 11:22 am

    I am looking seriously at ultima belt drive with outer bearings support.This has total of 8 points connecting outer support and inner plate,surrounding motor and clutch pulleys compared to bdl or primo 4 in center leaving support ends hangen where support is immportant. Let me hear if this sounds solid!

  6. Greg B Rice January 11, 2013 at 10:23 pm

    do you guys make a open belt primary for 117 S/S withwith Baker right hand drive6speed

    • John Toews November 12, 2016 at 5:09 pm

      On a motorcycle with a belt-drive primary, is the belt always moving? Even when the bike is idling?

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