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Discussion Starter #1
I am getting my first bike at the age of 46. A used Boulevard C50/M50 is my top choice at the moment.

The shaft drive is one of my determining factors. I'm not much of a mechanic, and I have no interest in becoming one. The low-maintenance nature of shaft driven bikes appeals to me.

But then I learned I shouldn't rule out belts as they are about as low maintenance as shaft drives. BUT if a belt fails, that's relatively inexpensive while a shaft drive failure would be expensive.

I know there are other posts comparing drives, but here's my more specific question:

Would I be wrong to compare the replacement/repair cost of shaft vs belt when deciding on a bike? Or to put it another way: is it truly rare that a shaft drive would fail on a Suzuki? Should I not worry about all that and just get the bike that I like (having ruled out carbs).
 

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OMG fuel injection fails it'll cost fortune

Everytime you have to change a tire you have to deal........oh wait you won't be doing it anyway

Don't worry about either drive
 

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Ban Hammer, Try Me.
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Shaft drives do require maintenance and if you fail to do it, it will become expensive. Although my 1977 Goldwing was still doing well and was maintained about 4 times in its life that I know of.

Chains are not that bad, just got to do it.

Belts do seem relatively easy to do it sounds to me but never personally had to maintain one.

My take on it, and my experience is you are far better off learning to do the work, if you pay someone to do it is ok, but what if they do it wrong? Learn to do. Try the belt drive it sounds promising from someone who has had the other two.
 

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So far, I like belt drive. It's very quiet. Don't know about repair/replacement costs of a shaft
vs. belt. But I suspect if a belt fails, its not likely to damage the transmission or any other parts.
 

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Buells, Hardley, Suzuki, Beemer, and a big Katoom
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I've had numerous bikes with belts, three bikes with shafts, and a ton of bikes with chains.
First off, I hate chains, maintenance sucks
Belts are great, just maintain proper tension and you are good to go. they recommend replacement around 75,000 miles, I've doubled that on a couple of bikes, and abused many belts with only one failure that still got me home from a state away...
Drives shafts are great, my first shafty was a honda ST1300. Beauty of a bike, fast, heavy, maintenance free. Too heavy for my old arse, so i traded it for a Yamaha Super Tenere. Great bike, knobbies, rocky mountains, lots of abuse, a little maintenance, an easy 100K miles with zero problems. Traded it for my Beemer, RS1200R another shafty, sweet bike. I'm still on the fence about this single sided swingarm/shaft drive thing, but it seems to work...
 

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It's possible for a shaft drive to last for the life of the motorcycle. No guarantee, of course, and you do need to change the gear oil on schedule. Changing gear oil is usually a pretty simple and easy task.

A drive belt has a limited lifetime (60000 miles? 80000 miles?). But if you keep your motorcycle long enough, you will certainly need to replace it. Replacing a drive belt will be more difficult than changing gear oil.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
OMG fuel injection fails it'll cost fortune

Everytime you have to change a tire you have to deal........oh wait you won't be doing it anyway

Don't worry about either drive
Thanks. Right...I won't be doing it. But don't wanna be paying for it either.
 

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It is possible for a seal to leak on a shaft drive. The mid drive has a 90 degree bend on some shaft bikes. That means a crown and pinion type gear. It is possible to get a seal, but impossible to get a crush washer to set the play in the gears. There is no info in the manual. It means you need to find another mid drive. Getting that will depend on the bike, age, junk yard availability. Other wise shafts are fine. Chains are fine. Belts are fine. UK
 

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Just a different perspective...it's your first bike and probably not your forever dream bike. The chances of you buying this bike and it being your last bike are REALLY slim. I would pay closer attention to whether or not the bike fits you comfortably, will do what you want to do, and it a reasonable size/weight/power to be a starter bike to build good riding habits with. Chances are in 3 years you'll be itching to buy a new Harley or a Goldwing or whatever, as our taste tends to change as we gain experience. Just my $.02
 

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Only shafties I've owned are older models that still had the rear lift under hard acceleration trait so really can't comment on newer models. I found it fun actually.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Just a different perspective...it's your first bike and probably not your forever dream bike. The chances of you buying this bike and it being your last bike are REALLY slim. I would pay closer attention to whether or not the bike fits you comfortably, will do what you want to do, and it a reasonable size/weight/power to be a starter bike to build good riding habits with. Chances are in 3 years you'll be itching to buy a new Harley or a Goldwing or whatever, as our taste tends to change as we gain experience. Just my $.02
Good insight. Diving into the world of motorcycles, I've learned this is true - it won't be my last bike. But I'm researching the heck out of it because I want to still be happy with my first for, say, 5-10 years. Partly for my wife's sanity.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I should clarify...kinda made myself sound like a moron. I'm not afraid to work on a bike. I've somehow kept an old boat/outboard alive for years. I'm simply not the kind of guy to take on a project. No carbs, no chain sounds like the ticket for me.
 

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Chains require regular but easy care, belts are generally free from work except ocassional eye-balling to make sure no cuts and alignment is still on... shafts, are generally overbuilt and with lube changes, should last the life... Many shade-tree wrenches won't touch a HD big-twin belt because of the primary case... Have had them all; not a big difference in the scheme of things...
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Good insight. Diving into the world of motorcycles, I've learned this is true - it won't be my last bike. But I'm researching the heck out of it because I want to still be happy with my first for, say, 5-10 years. Partly for my wife's sanity.
...and to that end I've found the Boulevard the most comfy. Which is all I can do at this point - sit on 'em.
 

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On The Road Again!
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Been riding for 52 years. Out of the 15 bikes I've owned, 7 have been shaft drive. Not one has ever failed or given me a problem. I prefer shaft drive.
Plenty of stories out there of Honda and BMW shaft drive bikes that have run for hundreds of thousands of miles with no problem.
See that Goldwing in the photo below? Over 108,000 miles on it right now. Just barely broken in.
 

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Good insight. Diving into the world of motorcycles, I've learned this is true - it won't be my last bike. But I'm researching the heck out of it because I want to still be happy with my first for, say, 5-10 years. Partly for my wife's sanity.
I hear that!!! I've found the best way to have a wife and bikes is to get her to fall in love with them. We've bought a bunch of bikes since I met her last April. 3 of them are hers ;)

Something else I thought of...and I can't stress this enough...motorcycling isn't cheap. Gas is cheaper on a bike than a car usually. EVERYTHING else is more expensive. A great example is tires. There are only two, and they are about the same cost as small car tires, but car tires last 70,000 miles while bike tires last 7,000 miles...that makes them 5 times more expensive. You're also looking at a minimum of several hundred dollars for gear, depending how far you want to take it. If cost is a big thing and your wife isn't on board, and every time you spend money on your bike she will throw it in your face...."THAT bike eats us out of house and home"...then it probably won't be a good experience for you. Repairs and maintenance are really important with a bike. With a car, if your tires go bald too long, you get a flat and you're stuck on the side of the road. On a bike, you have SERIOUS problems RIGHT NOW. I'm not trying to instill fear; this is just the reality of it.
 

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I should clarify...kinda made myself sound like a moron. I'm not afraid to work on a bike. I've somehow kept an old boat/outboard alive for years. I'm simply not the kind of guy to take on a project. No carbs, no chain sounds like the ticket for me.
What outboard motor. UK
 

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I've got a C50t. My first bike. I love it. Porky taught me how to change the shaft drive oil. Easy! If I had to do over again I'd have saved a little more and bought the C90, or better yet, a C109rt. All shaft driven.
 
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