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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I did a search and wasn't able to find any topics on here posted about this, so here goes...

Why did Suzuki use a shaft drive on this bike, versus a chain drive like many others use?

Also, if this bike was not shaft driven, but chain driven, how much more HP do you think it would have?

Just curious if there is an easy answer why a shaft drive is best for the 109, versus it having been a chain drive.
 
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Ben, I don't know why the 109 is shaft drive, but i've ridden both chain and drive shaft.

I bought a couple 700 Nighthawk Ss for JR and I and they were driveshaft  bikes that would beat 1000s and bigger.  And, of course JRs V=Max was drive shaft and it was extremely fast.

There's no question that drive shaft is alot less maintenance, but I don't know why manufactures use one as opposed to the other.....but, there sure doesn't seem to be any power loss.

Of course, drag bikes are chain drive.....so, who knows.....but I sure like the lesser maintenance of a drive shaft.

I forgot to add.....I'm not technical.....you need to ask JR for that stuff,

The only thing that I should mention is that there is a "lift" in the rear, each time you shift, with a drive shaft bike.....and, who knows.....that may be a reason for accidents by those who have never ridden drive shaft bikes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
JRs DAD said:
Ben, I don't know why the 109 is shaft drive, but i've ridden both chain and drive shaft.

I bought a couple 700 Nighthawk Ss for JR and I and they were driveshaft bikes that would beat 1000s and bigger. And, of course JRs V=Max was drive shaft and it was extremely fast.

There's no question that drive shaft is alot less maintenance, but I don't know why manufactures use one as opposed to the other.....but, there sure doesn't seem to be any power loss.

Of course, drag bikes are chain drive.....so, who knows.....but I sure like the lesser maintenance of a drive shaft.

The only thing that I should mention is that there is a "lift" in the rear, each time you shift, with a drive shaft bike.....and, who knows.....that may be a reason for accidents by those who have never ridden drive shaft bikes.
Drive Shafts seem a lot smarter to me as well, since there is no chain exposed that can just get dirty and covered with road grease and grime, not to mention snapping a link...

I've never ridden another bike on the street, so am used to how the shaft drive shifts.... am sure I would notice the difference if I rode a chain based bike, but since all I've ever known is the shaft drive, no big deal :)

What about money? Is the shaft drive cheaper to make and implement in a bike?

Is it safer to have then a chain drive?

Oh well :)
 
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I'm sure that a chain drive is cheaper.....but, is also what most riders are used to.

A chain driven bike seems to sit down under exceleration, but I'm sure a drive shaft bake can be made to do the same,
 

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BigBen said:
Just curious if there is an easy answer why a shaft drive is best for the 109, versus it having been a chain drive.
Just my opinion, but the word "best" is subjective. Best in terms of what? The 109 is a cruiser, so why would the designers put a drive on the bike that is optimal for acceleration? For me personally, I like the idea of a shaft drive for ease of maintenance.
 

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I dont think the choice would have been shaft or chain, more likely shaft or belt.

I believe the chain is the most high performance type, the belt a low maintenance alternative to the chain, and the shaft the lowest maint and "possibly" the most reliable.

Yes yes, the others can last a long time too, but I think shaft drives have a better overall maintenance record.

I am just glad its not a chain.

Sledzep
 

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You can also see more of that fat wheel on the left side with shaft! :bigthumbsup:
 

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I wish Honda and Suzuki would have used a belt drive. You are very limited to what you can customize when you use a shaft drive. ::) If you use a belt there are all sorts of possibilities. We are getting close to 100,000 miles on the belts on our Boss Hosses and they handle the power just fine.
 

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I think for the most part, bike owners/riders out there today would rather be racking up miles enjoying their rides rather than be spending time doing maintenance. Shaft and belt drive systems offer such "clean" alternatives to "dirty" chains. Replacing chains and sprockets is rather expensive and they do little to enhance the appearance on any machine. I think most owners would agree that the open, clean lines and hidden shock really enhance the overall appearance of the 109. There have been several posts by folks who have done conversions from shaft to chain/belt drive, on other bikes, and the majority of them, in retrospect, would not do another conversion. The time and effort and of course the high cost were not worth the increase in performance. I'm sure that there will be a few individuals who "like climbing Mt. Everest" will do a conversion just to "conquer the challenge" of having a "one off 109".
 

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I think they picked shaft for sales reason.... They felt the shaft would sell more overall than the others... I for one would not have bought chain... I have had belt drives and would have no problem with one... but I am done cleaing chain wax off my wheels, fenders, jackets, boots, and anything else on that side of the bike... ;)

khrome
 

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J R said:
Theres no doubt a chain or belt would have put more power to the back wheel verses the shaft.But honestly,Im so sick of dealing with chains ,sprockets, oiling them ,adjusting them ect .The driveshaft really attracted me Big time,just cause I dont have to mess with it .The negatives are just like Lamont said customizing and in my case I like playing with gearing on bikes and all thats out with the driveshaft ( in general ) unless of course you wanna spend big bucks to change it out.Im pretty happy with the bike all the way around and shaftdrive may not be the in thing and may use a little more h.p but man its nice to not even think about having to mess with anything back there.As far as the lift and handling.I think its just somthing ya get used to after ya ride it a while.The belt would have worked but im guessing Suzuki already had the tooling set up for there other shaft drive bikes ect and it was just cost effective for them to go that route .
The rear on the 109 is a take-off from another Zuki product. If it wasn't, why is there a tapped hole to accommodate the bottom of a shock absorber??? No question they tried to keep manufacturing costs to a minimum when designing the bike. Next time I visit the dealer I'm going to take a close look at the Zuki C-90 and see if the rears are the same as the 109!
 

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I too like the maintenance free qualities of a shaft drive. I don't believe we are giving up 25Hp. Maybe 5 or less but not 25.

This happened to me a long time ago when I was hurrying to high school and going about 60 MPH or a little better when my chain broke and wrapped around the sprocket. I can tell you this, it was a long crazy ride before the bike stopped and this was on a Honda CB160 which is rather lite compared with the bikes today!

I believe driveshafts are safer than chains based on that experience. :bigthumbsup: :doorag:
 
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my buddy owns LCR Performance & his specialty is v-max chain conversion's says 12 - 15 hp on the dyno from shaft to chain at a price tag of close to $4000.00 (he makes all the parts) all his customers who i race with swear by it. the only way to go
 

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Ok....chains are light strong cheap easy to change gearing and easy to manufacture as well as replace. They also have little give, some , but not alot. Downs- dirty , relatively high maintenance, noise, safety.

Belts are light clean more duable these days easy to maintain and replace . They give or flex the most with a relatively tunable or controllable hit of power if designed that way.

Shafts offer little maintenance, strength, durability. Downs...heavy, more costly to make and build, jacking affect under power.

So.....for racing , chain is best because of its performance qualities mentioned. For touring , shaft rules for its benefits. Personally for other apps I think that belt drive is a pretty good compromise of the two.

Shaft gives up ~5 to 10 % power wise over a chain from what I have seen actually documented . This is tough to figure though because of the variables involved. The aforementioned V Max conversions....do they have the exact same gearing in fourth gear and are they dynoed on the same machine , same day with the same gearing ???

That would be the ONLY way to accurately assess how much the shaft is eating.
 
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a lot of work to convert the v max lots of custom parts but he is a carb, chain & street race guy & thoes hard core v max guys are in a class of their own the bike has been around 20 years and the parts are still interchangeable  some say the king of the straight line muscle bikes. the 109 works for my fat A$$ the bike is a rock and will only get better. JR did'nt you have the v max hot rod bike at one time? 
 

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All I've owned are shaft driven bikes so it's all I really know. I'm not sure the bike would have had the same appeal to me had it been belt or chain driven. :)
 

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Stopped buy the dealer this evening and checked out the rear on the Suzuki C90 Cruiser. The exterior of the rear is identical to the 109 only it's polished and not powder coated. Not sure if the gearing is the same. I'll have to do some additional research.
 
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