Chain drive, Belt drive and Shaft drive; Which is the best final drive system for two-wheelers

The three final drive systems commonly used on motorbikes are chain drive, belt drive, and shaft drive. Which of these final drive systems is best for bikes? Why chain drive is used as the final drive system in most bikes? Let us know more about these three types of final drive systems.

Chain drive system


The chain drive system is used on almost every bike we see on the road, This is because chain drive is a relatively cost-effective system.

Its main components are the two sprockets and the chain that connects them. Here the power loss is minimal when it transfers from the front sprocket to the rear sprocket, Power loss is only about 3 percent.

This is a huge advantage when compared to other final drive systems. That is why the chain drive system is more efficient than the other ones.

Advantages of chain drive system

  • Cost-efficient.
  • Efficient system, Energy loss is very low compared to other systems.
  • Gear shifting is very smooth.
  • Easy to repair, because it is a simple mechanism.
  • Running cost is low.
  • We can change the final drive ratio if want, Just change the sprocket.

Disadvantages of chain drive system

  • Low life, its life is about 20,000 km.
  • Maintaining is difficult, The chain should be tightened and lubricated from time to time. If the chain tension is not maintained correctly, it will adversely affect the performance and mileage of the vehicle.
  • The chain drive system will not work efficiently if the rear wheel alignment is not correct.
  • Noisier
  • Less safe, If the chain breaks while going at speed, the rear wheel may be locked.

Belt drive


It uses a belt instead of a chain and a pulley instead of the sprocket. The belt drive system is also an efficient final drive system, Its energy loss is about 10 percent. The belt drive is mostly used on cruiser bikes.

Advantages of belt drive system

  • If the belt is damaged, just change the belt and the pulley can reuse.
  • The belt does not require lubrication, so it should always be clean.
  • The life of the belt is longer, the belt life is two times that of a chain.
  • The belt can be used until it breaks.
  • Low maintenance.
  • Safe, Even if the belt breaks during the ride, the wheel will not lock.
  • Not noisy

Disadvantages of belt drive system

  • Repairing costs high
  • Need a skilled mechanic to repair

Shaft drive


The shaft drive system is used on cruiser bikes and some sports bikes. This is similar to the final drive system used in cars, A ring and pinion system is used here.

The shaft drive is the least efficient of the three final drive systems. About 30% of energy loss occurs, so this system is used on bikes with heavier engines.

Advantages of shaft drive system

  • Long life, Life is over ten years.
  • Clean and secure,  The shaft and gear are all housed inside a casing, so it is less likely to be damaged by dust and water.
  • Differences in wheel alignment do not significantly affect the power transmission.

Disadvantages of shaft drive system

  • High manufacturing cost.
  • High repairing cost.
  • Due to the high energy loss, this system can only be used on power bikes.
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