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Dyna Chain Drive Installation

Jeremiah Shaved all the Teeth off His Rear Belt

by Bandit with photos by Wrench and Jeremiah

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Right in the middle of our move operation to South Dakota Jeremiah strips his rear belt of all its teeth. This is not the first time. I just checked all the forums and didn’t find anything conclusive. Is he too hard on his belt with hole-shots and excessive acceleration? Did he adjust the belt too tight or too loose? Did it have anything to do with the belt?

I remember Ben Kudon testing a primary belt by cutting sections out of it to make it slimmer until the belt was about a ½ inch wide and it still worked. On the other-hand rear belts are not perfect. A week before I rode to Sturgis in the ‘90s, I rode out to Ventura fairgrounds on my dresser. My belt picked up a chunk of gravel and punctured it. It made for an all-day operation to replace the rear belt. If I had a problem with a chain, which is rare, we could pop the masterlink and replace it, bada-bing.

I spoke to Micah McCloskey a 40-year shop owner and he said, “I’ve run rear belts for 100,000s of miles without ever an issue. They are golden. I always load the belt before dumping the clutch. If you adjust a belt too tight it will break. If it’s too loose you will shear teeth.”

So, back to Jeremiah’s issue. He decided to switch to chain and started to research. He’s a persnickety soul with two elements to his criteria. One is cost or the deal. The other is quality. After several months and plenty of rumors about one company over another he came up with a kit from Drive Systems.

It included a 530 O-ring chain (black) with stainless pins, a light steel rear sprocket (50-tooth), the proper spacer and a heavy, silver anodized silver trans sprocket (24-tooth). The Superlite kit came from Series Performance.

His first issue was trying to find all the components. Seems everything is back-ordered, especially 51-tooth rear sprockets. He was desperate. His bike was down. He chose to run with the 50-tooth for just slightly higher gearing.

So, just as I sold my war-era-built 1946 Indian to my brother, Dr. Hamster, and we loaded it onto a flatbed for transportation back to Santa Monica, Jeremiah pushed his 2009 Dyna into the packing torn shop for this installation.

He started the installation by removing his mid-control shifter and riding peg and then his outer primary. I thought I had a JIMS tool for locking the clutch and mainshaft pulley but couldn’t find it. But I did find something we may have used in the past. With some grinding it started to do the trick.

Jeremiah removed the automatic primary chain adjuster and between the two of us we had the sockets to remove the engine and trans (left hand) nuts. The primary drive came off as one heavy piece complete. James found a piece of wood plank to place it on and removed it from the action lift, rapidly scattered with tools.

Next, he needed to remove the Allens from the starter motor, which took a long extension, a pivot socket and the proper Allen to free the starter and back it off slightly. I also suggested that we remove the ground strap from the battery to prevent any scary battery engagement.

The bolts were removed from the inner primary and it slipped off with some banging. That left the large 2 ¼ sprocket nut (right-handed threads). First, we didn’t have a massive socket large enough.

With the new 6-speed trans, the nut was enlarged, and I didn’t have the JIMS special tool. Jeremiah jumped into his truck and jammed to Settles Custom Motorcycles for the custom socket Larry modified to fit over the mainshaft and reach the thin bolt. It worked, but my impact driver didn’t have the power. We tried heat, prybars and whatever we could throw at it.

Jeremiah jumped in his truck and jammed to Harbor freight for a more powerful impact driver, returned and got the job done. Sometimes it’s the driver and sometimes the air compressor is the issue.

Jeremiah didn’t need to remove his chromed chain guard but decided to pull it out of the way. He stripped the front bold Allen head and cut it off with a die-grinder. He considered running without the guard, but I suggested against it. A busted chain can be notoriously dangerous, way more dangerous than a loose belt.

We cleaned all the components and started to assemble the new chain system. Jeremiah tried to slip his new trans sprocket into place and it wouldn’t go. “It doesn’t have the correct splines, fuck.” That wasn’t the case but making sure you have all the correct elements is critical. The offset transmission sprocket needed to align with the spacer and sprocket on the wheel. Fortunately, Jeremiah hadn’t changed his rear wheel for something custom or wider.

“You need a very tight sprocket,” Micah added. “It’s called interference fit, so it won’t tear up the transmission splines.”

We struggled with the trans sprocket, cleaned the splines on the transmission and wire brushed the splines on the sprocket. It started to gradually rock into place.

Fortunately, Jeremiah had his manual, and we could sorta follow the tightening instructions. We used a large Phillips screwdriver to hold the sprocket from turning as we turned the nut against the sprocket. It was so tight we couldn’t tell when it bottomed.

Jeremiah called a tech for more advice because the manual called for 35-foot pounds of torque. That didn’t seem like enough. The tech said to tighten the sprocket down to 100 ft-pounds, back off and tighten it to 35 plus a quarter turn to install the locking plate. The nut was finally installed with red Loctite and the locking plate. Jeremiah always follows the manual torque specs. The red Loctite makes the bastard so hard to remove.

We called it quits for the night.
She called Jeremiah...
She called Jeremiah...


The next day we jacked up the bike using an old floor jack I built in the ‘70s. Jeremiah messed with the wheel, while I worked at welding a nut to the busted chainguard 5/16 bolt to remove it. Ultimately it did and I chased the threads.

Jeremiah removed the rear wheel, he questioned the new spacer/sprocket mounting system, which used 10 bolts instead of five. We went ahead with it, but I’m sure the manufacturer felt more confident with shorter bolts. But notorious pulley bolts are the bane of riders all over the country. Maybe they loosen because of their length, abuse, or aftermarket wheels made with inferior materials.

In this case, five bolts hold the spacer in place and five bolts hold the sprocket to the spacer. He used red Locktite and lock washers on all of them. Then we started to put the wheel back in place.

For some reason we fought the axle out of the wheel. This time we slathered it with anti-seize and started testing our luck. We discovered a tight wheel spacer from the left side of the swingarm. We trimmed the edges with a knife. It was better but still not easy. We ran a hone through it a couple of times, and bada-bing it was golden.

Finally, it was time to install the chain, which Jeremiah shortened with James’ chain breaker. It was cool and drove the pin completely out. But then we started to install the new masterlink that needed to be riveted into place. There was some discussion about rivets vs. the normal and historic clips. Someone convinced Jeremiah that rivets were stronger. I wondered whether it was another ploy to make folks purchase a product over and over.

As it turned out manufacturers use the rivets for ease of installation. Here are some comments from motorcycle forums:

I can see and agree that the rivet style link is the most secure, but just for purposes of personal experience over decades of motorcycle use, I'll admit to never using anything but the old-school clip masterlink. Riding and racing motorcycles of all kinds and sizes since 1969. I never had a masterlink failure. I raced enduros for decades, often even on open-class problems. I also had several hot rod Kawasaki Z1 series street bikes with modified problems. Even had a couple of those Kawasaki H2 750 2-stroke problems. I even ran some of those crapola Bikemaster cheapest-chains-you-could-buy on a KLR650 with a master link and rode that bike like a dirt problems...other than short chain life.

--Candy Ass

Clip type master links are not 'unsafe'. They have been used successfully for what? 100+ years and continue to be used. The advantage of a clip link is convenience. You can remove the chain without disassembling the whole rear suspension. Very useful if you make large changes in gearing which is required for many forms of racing.

Also, rivet links are far from idiot proof. It takes care and knowledge to install one properly. It's easy to compress it too far and damage the O-rings. It's also easy to end up not swaging the pins enough which could be unsafe.

I'm certain the main reason we see rivet links on new bikes is that riveting is much more factory production friendly. A machine can stamp them into chains 20 times a second. No so for a clip.
--Pro Cycle

The rivet notion takes a whole different and demanding mindset. An old school builder told us about his heavy ballpeen hammer and supporting rods to peen the extended ends. Jeremiah wanted nothing of that and bought a $100 chain breaker tool (made in China) with an anvil attachment and peening rod. It was cool but didn’t work.

First the hole sizes in the guide plate were too small and out of alignment. We drilled out the holes one size larger than ¼ inch. Finally, we were able to press the pins through the final plate. We also discovered that the back-up plate behind the link was not machined properly. We needed to push the pins through the support link just long enough to match the length of the rest of the chain pins. If we over-pressed it, it would bind and damage the O-rings.

Okay, so we started the peening process, and it was a bitch. The instructions called for very little peening. I watched a YouTube with a similar chain installation tool, but maybe it wasn’t made in China. They suggested peening it to the same diameter as the other pins on the chain.

With a set of micrometers, I measured it after Jeremiah strained to peen one pin then another. We ultimately ended up with the pin .010 over the original pin size. If we could have followed the YouTube instructions, it would have been almost .020 over the original pin size.

I would never use this type of riveted master link for several reasons. First ease of assembly. Second would be for ease of disassembly in an emergency or for gearing changes.

Jeremiah tested is new system around the block. He wasn’t happy with the softer acceleration. Then he hit the freeway and jammed to 150 mph. He still wasn’t happy, but his top end jumped from 135 mph. The chain also slapped his passenger peg mount on the swingarm (which is a bad notion for the passenger, lotsa vibration).

We found a piece of Teflon and prepared to make a guide, but Bung King makes a piece just for this application. See the description below.

Product Description

When swapping a ‘06 and up Dyna over to a chain drive, in most cases during riding, the chain will contact the passenger peg mount, and some the inner primary as well. This will cause a groove to be worn in the aluminum peg mount, premature chain wear and some funny noises from time to time.

With our chain slider in place, the chain will contact the Delrin block instead of your aluminum parts when your suspension is in rebound. The block attaches with the included powder-coated steel bracket to the front bolt of the passenger peg mounting bracket.

Jeremiah installed it by removing one of the Torx peg mounting fasteners, with the chain in place. He bolted it down with the same fastener and some blue Loctite. He was a little concerned about its closeness to the fastener, but we will see after some testing. He’s on the road now.


American Prime
Click for Action!
Click for Action!

JIMS Machine

Settles Custom Motorcycles
(310) 326-3466 

Bung King 

Drive Systems

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