By: Matty (offline) Saturday, 14 May 2011 @ 12:18 AM ICT
Im sure someone will give you more detailed info but basically
Shaft drive is similar to a tailshaft in a rear wheel drive car,The power is transmitted from the engine to the rear bike wheel via a rotating shaft ( usually steel im guessing ) Im not a full bottle on the arrangement at the rear wheel but im guessing there is a pinion gear and a larger gear similar to a rear differential in a car.
Chain and sprocket is fairly self explanetary. There is a small front sprocket driven by the motor, a larger sprocket bolted to the rear wheel and a linked chain around these sprockets.
Advantages/dis advantages are basically shaft drives require very little maintenance or adjusting, and run smoothly with little vibration. Downside is they generally rob more power from the engine as the power transfer to the rear wheel is not as direct as a chain/sprocket set up. And its alot more expensive to manufacture This system is usually only used on larger touring style bikes.
Chain and sprockets do wear out and need replacing ( but if the chain is kept lubricated and adjusted correctly will last quite a long time ) They give better performance and are not expensive or difficult to replace and the final drive ratio is easy to adjust for quicker acceleration or higher top speed by swapping to larger or smaller diameter sprockets. ( this is why they are used on race bikes/ sports bikes and almost every small to medium sized bike wether a road bike, trail bike or motocrosser. 95% of all bikes manufactured come with the chain and sprocket style of final drive system.
Hope this helps a bit.
My wife and I are first-time riders and we want to buy good motorcycles. Would you explain the difference between shaft drive and chain drive, and which is better?
A short question that could lead to a very long answer. Both means of power transmission have been around for hundreds of years, and both have been used on motorcycles since the beginning. Modern shaft drives are fully enclosed and essentially trouble free, while chain drives are exposed and require a certain amount of regular maintenance. In most applications, shaft drive uses a set of angled gears at the transmission and another set of angled gear at the rear wheel. The two sets of gears are joined by a shaft which transmits power.
All those gears, bearings and the cases which enclose them add complexity, expense and weight to the motorcycle. Being fully enclosed and running in its own oil supply is what lends a shaft drive its reliability, but also robs some power in the process.
Sprockets and a chain, on the other hand, are comparatively simple and offer a more direct path for transmitting power. The nature of your question indicates ease of maintenance, rather than performance, as a priority. For that reason I'd recommend a motorcycle with shaft drive.
You may also want to look at some of the maxi scooters, and have another type of drive mechanism – fully automatic belt drive. You can also find cruiser motorcycles like the Kawasaki Vulcan 900 who also use a drive belt mechanism while still using regular gears and clutch operation.
Whatever you choose , shop around and do business with a motorcycle dealer who inspires confidence, and look-up the reputation of the selected motorcycle shop/dealer. In the long run, service will be more important than price. We can recommend Red Baron for selling excellent motorcycle with all the correct paperwork...