Belt or Chain



I am planning a future build whenever I get the cash. What I would like to do is to build a long distance high speed cruiser, possibly a low recumbent with a full fairing. I am hoping for 55mph continuous on the flats to keep up with traffic or at least the speed limits on the 2 lane roads. Of course slopes will slow the bike down. This is a transcontinental design concept, I am looking at Detroit to California. The motor will be about 50cc, probably 2 stroke but maybe 4. In any case it would have pedal power to get it up to walking speed before needing to engage the motor.

The question is, sort of as a starting point, what is the better final drive to the wheel, belt or chain drive? Which can handle the speed and is most reliable over long distances? Think lots of vibration, mud, water, grit, snow, ice, stress, altitude changes, slope climbing, temp differentials, ease of repair in the boonies, etc.

I have not decided whether it will be a centrifugal clutch /jackshaft or /torque converter or /gearbox driving the final, but either way, what are the advantages and disadvantages of belt vs chain for the final drive?

go you good thing

I'd go the chain due to the mud alone. I have cleaned my motox bike after a good run in the mud and have noticed the mud has escaped out of the holes in the chain around the sprocket so it hasn't come off. I guess the belt would collect the mud and possibly come off due to it caking up around the V.

I don't own anything with a v belt but currently am collecting parts to build a motorised scooter (as in push scooter) and have a belt system in mind with a weed wacker motor so would be interested in what the crew here have to say.
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I will avoid discussion of legal difficulties with your proposition. I don't think you'd want to use a v-belt. The people who should know about belts; Whizzer, Gebe, Harley, etc. don't use a vee for the final drive. I think they all use a flat toothed belt (I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong). On a cross country trip you might have problems with availability (again, someone may correct me). I would tend toward chain.


"Ease of repair in the boonies" means that chain wins, assuming you pick a standard size like #415 or whatever.

When it comes to touring aspirations, I'm also generally an advocate of sticking with common tire sizes. My bikes use either 26"/MTB or 20"/406mm/standard-BMX wheels, you can get tires and tubes in this size at every bike shop and even at Wal-Mart. Not the best tires in the world mind you, but tires that will work.
There was some guy around who had a faired recumbent, he got it up to something like 82 MPH with only two horsepower. He was posting on bentrider online and here also (on the older site) if I remember right....

If you used a front fairing with a windsock I'd bet that 50 mph is doable. Full fairings aren't popular on bicycles because they have handling problems in crosswinds. The sides of a windsock will "give" somewhat (being lycra) so that's not so much of a problem--and you still gain most of the aerodynamic advantages of a hard fairing.

....The problem with touring is that the guy who was doing 80 mph didn't need much of any carrying capacity. Hauling a full touring load makes it a lot more difficult even assuming level ground, just because of the additional bulk. I'd say skip the bicycle drives and go directly to the Lifan geared engine setups, myself.

One issue I can tell you with (bicycles in general and recumbents in particular) is that you want some kind of suspension--either a very-well-sprung seat (like Augdog's setup) or full actual suspension on the bike itself. There's a lot of road damage out there that's no big deal for a car to hit at 50 mph, but that will kill an unsuspended bicycle wheel running at the same speed.
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Master Links

I am at a loss as to where to purchase about Six #415 Master Links?
Motorcycle shop says they start at 420?
Bike Shop says they don't go that BIG?
Is there anyone who can send me the right direction on this.....?
New frame and need to extend chain again... (after shortening)


Active Member
Dec 15, 2006
try dax's site
he sells a short piece like that
I think it's on the 1st or 2nd page of parts

Large Filipino

Believe it or not,Lowes has them in those specialty fastener drawers in hardware. They have half links too.
I would say chain for all you need in your tool pouch is a chain breaker and some extra links and you have no worries.

Large Filipino

Just bring a few links of your chain and match it up. I definetly seen them there. I just didn't get the numbers.