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Thread: Belt Life - The long walk home

  1. #1
    Senior Member pdksh's Avatar
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    Belt Life - The long walk home

    This is obviously not my season, third Buell breakdown, really starting to look at the Honda Africa. If I have to thumb it home one more time ALICE!, ONE MORE TIME!

    Pulling away from a 4-way stop I thought I accidentally shifted into Neutral, something I have NEVER done on any buell. I clicked the shiftier again, nothing. Possibly a false neutral? Again something I have never found on any buell. I find a good solid kick is what these ladies like. Just as I thought I blew out my transmission I looked behind me, just in time to see my drive belt flow off the rear sprocket. Good News! No need to split my engine case to fix a transmission issue. Bad News! Its 100 degrees and a long walk home for my spare belt.

    I purchased the bike about 3 years ago with approximately 7,000 miles. Since the belt was most likely original I replaced the belt with a new belt and kept the old belt as a spare. The bike now has 27,000 miles. So the belt lasted 20,000 miles, no stoppies or endos ever. I do enjoy a power wheelie or two. Who wouldn't.

    I'm not here to argue the merits of belt vs chain. I'm 100% sold on belt. I've had to replace a chain at 6,000 miles because of tight spots. I would like to know what the expected mileage and life span of an XB12 belt is. I'm not a fat-cat Bagger, so I don't expect 100,000 miles. I try to keep my wheelies to a minimum and generally don't abuse my bikes much. I can't wheelie worth a ****. The belt has tiny cracks between the teeth. There are no stone chips or holes. I run the full belt guard. The spare belt with 7,000 miles is significantly tighter than the 20,000 mile belt. I had to fully loosen the rear axle to get it installed. The throttle response is notably crisper with the replacement belt. The 20,000 mile belt would slip on with some work, without loosening the axle. My bike is garage stored so minimum UV exposure, only a savage would leave their baby outside.

    Are the micro cracks the sign that you should be looking to replace the belt?
    What sort of things should I be looking for during regular maintenance in regards to my belt and sprockets?
    What sort of mileage should I assume for a belt, assuming I'm not abusing the bike but not adverse to a little fun?

    I understand that a gravel road could spell the end of any belt, that's why I tour with a spare belt. It zip ties up nicely under the top box, in the luggage frame. I'll post pictures of the broken belt for forensic review.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by pdksh View Post
    This is obviously not my season, third Buell breakdown, really starting to look at the Honda Africa. If I have to thumb it home one more time ALICE!, ONE MORE TIME!

    Pulling away from a 4-way stop I thought I accidentally shifted into Neutral, something I have NEVER done on any buell. I clicked the shiftier again, nothing. Possibly a false neutral? Again something I have never found on any buell. I find a good solid kick is what these ladies like. Just as I thought I blew out my transmission I looked behind me, just in time to see my drive belt flow off the rear sprocket. Good News! No need to split my engine case to fix a transmission issue. Bad News! Its 100 degrees and a long walk home for my spare belt.

    I purchased the bike about 3 years ago with approximately 7,000 miles. Since the belt was most likely original I replaced the belt with a new belt and kept the old belt as a spare. The bike now has 27,000 miles. So the belt lasted 20,000 miles, no stoppies or endos ever. I do enjoy a power wheelie or two. Who wouldn't.

    I'm not here to argue the merits of belt vs chain. I'm 100% sold on belt. I've had to replace a chain at 6,000 miles because of tight spots. I would like to know what the expected mileage and life span of an XB12 belt is. I'm not a fat-cat Bagger, so I don't expect 100,000 miles. I try to keep my wheelies to a minimum and generally don't abuse my bikes much. I can't wheelie worth a ****. The belt has tiny cracks between the teeth. There are no stone chips or holes. I run the full belt guard. The spare belt with 7,000 miles is significantly tighter than the 20,000 mile belt. I had to fully loosen the rear axle to get it installed. The throttle response is notably crisper with the replacement belt. The 20,000 mile belt would slip on with some work, without loosening the axle. My bike is garage stored so minimum UV exposure, only a savage would leave their baby outside.

    Are the micro cracks the sign that you should be looking to replace the belt?
    What sort of things should I be looking for during regular maintenance in regards to my belt and sprockets?
    What sort of mileage should I assume for a belt, assuming I'm not abusing the bike but not adverse to a little fun?

    I understand that a gravel road could spell the end of any belt, that's why I tour with a spare belt. It zip ties up nicely under the top box, in the luggage frame. I'll post pictures of the broken belt for forensic review.
    I dont think I've ever replaced a belt on any of my XB's... and I think all were original as well. At that low of mileage, my guess is that maybe a rock or something got sucked in at some point and may have compromised the belt.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Cooter's Avatar
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    They *should last the life of the bike and don't have a service interval. I replace mine at 40K (why not?) and I don't carry a spare, even on the long trips.

    That said, there seems to be a correlation with a brand new super tight belt and rear bearing failure. Keep an eye on yours. A sure sign (without removing them) is to look for grease escaping from the bearing seal, especially on the belt side.

    (insert eminent foreshadowing sound here) lol

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    While that sucks, I've had a cracked frame on a Honda that was clearly a MFG defect and Honda made me pay half the cost of the repair !
    While nobody relishes the thought of breaking down, at least on a Buell , most of the time, you'll be able to fix it yourself. Also, if you bought it used, you don't know where the bike was stored or how it was taken care of.

  5. #5
    Senior Member pdksh's Avatar
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    The belt I put on was 100% my riding, overall I suspect the bike was not abused. It needed a battery and rockerbox gaskets, find me a used Buell that doesn't...

    Picks from my belt with approximate 20,000 miles. No obvious signs of holes. Just micro cracks. I'm going to order a new belt and continue with a spare. I'm also going to have all the needed tools on hand to replace the belt in my tool kit.

    001.jpg002.jpg003.jpg

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    I'm happy to say that, my Buells at present, don't need anything !
    I would look at the tension wheel, it might have had too much tension on the pulley. Possibly look into elongating the mounting holes a little, there is more than one post on here somewhere. Double check your pulleys for any sharp or worn area's, as stated above, it could have just been something that somehow got into it and put too much stress on it or cut into it.
    Let us know what you end up finding.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by pdksh View Post
    The belt I put on was 100% my riding, overall I suspect the bike was not abused. It needed a battery and rockerbox gaskets, find me a used Buell that doesn't...

    Picks from my belt with approximate 20,000 miles. No obvious signs of holes. Just micro cracks. I'm going to order a new belt and continue with a spare. I'm also going to have all the needed tools on hand to replace the belt in my tool kit.

    001.jpg002.jpg003.jpg
    Not to rub it in, but none of my XB's have ever needed rockerbox gaskets or a battery.


    Yeah, I'm an anomoly in that regard... I expected one of those to need replacing on one of the XB's I've bought.


    Back to your belt... do you still have the belt guards on? Most of the Uly guys are smart enough to leave them on, so my thought is yes.

    I'm still sticking to my vote of a rock or piece of debris got sucked up. It could have been a small one that got the rip started.... or maybe a bad belt?

    I feel for ya man, sorry all this stuff is going on all at once!



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