A properly cared for drive belt can last a hundred thousand miles, and maintaining it just means checking its condition and tension about as often as you change the oil and filter.
To inspect the belt, rotate the rear wheel and check the inside and outside surfaces, looking for cracks, missing teeth, tears, or holes. A few nicks in teeth or minor fraying along the edges is normal and nothing to worry about, but major damage means it’s time for replacement. Next, take a look at the pulleys. If they’re chromed, you want to ensure that the material isn’t flaking off since that serves as a hard, durable coating. Otherwise, you’re just looking for uneven teeth, chipping, or other signs of wear.
Looking for the survey we mention in the video? Here it is.
Please note that it’s fairly long and may take 15 minutes to complete. We appreciate your input!
Next up, belt tension. Some manufacturers want the bike on the sidestand or with a rider on board when you check the tension, so make sure to reference your owner’s manual for the exact procedure and deflection specification. The Harley we worked with can be on the sidestand or held vertically, and it’s supposed to have 1/2- to 9/16-inch deflection under 10 pounds of pressure. To apply exactly 10 pounds you’re going to need a very well calibrated finger or a special tool like this belt gauge from Motion Pro. Yup, you need a special tool, but it’s only $22, and that’s a small price to pay to only have to check your belt every 5,000 miles.