chain v.s. geared cam? - Harley Davidson Forums: Harley Davidson Motorcycle Forum
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-14-2017, 12:29 PM Thread Starter
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chain v.s. geared cam?

hello, ive been doing much research on the differences, benefits and down sides to gear driven cam shafts or chain driven. I plan on installing one in my bike in a few months. In short, the only difference I can really find is that the gear driven is more meant for high end all out racing, and loses low end torque, and is more expensive. while chain driven is cheaper, easier to fix, and for street riding (conservative or aggressive) low-end. from what I could find, is this pretty much it or am I missing something?
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-14-2017, 12:58 PM
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I prefer rebuilding the chain / tensioner cam plates. That's just my IMO. Less modifying and they last upwards of 50k miles.
Gear drive is noisy, bikes , cars, trucks ... that's why the MoCo didn't go gear drive in the first place, EPA noise regulations!
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-14-2017, 02:48 PM Thread Starter
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I prefer rebuilding the chain / tensioner cam plates. That's just my IMO. Less modifying and they last upwards of 50k miles.
Gear drive is noisy, bikes , cars, trucks ... that's why the MoCo didn't go gear drive in the first place, EPA noise regulations!
yes. way cheaper to fix/ replace chain than cam

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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-14-2017, 03:49 PM
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The drive of the cam and the performance of the cam are two completely different things. If they have the same specs (lift, duration , etc) the motor is going to perform the essentially same without regard to the method it's being rotated.

The benefits of the chain drive is that they are less expensive to install, quieter and allow for the crank runout.

The benefit of the gear drive is there are no chains or tensioners to fail. The downside is the lash can stress the crank bearings.

A lot of bikes built with chain drives don't have the tolerance for a gear drive. If the crank runout is too high, you can't even use a gear drive cam without taking the whole motor apart.
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-19-2017, 06:59 PM
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Your 13 street bob has the good factory hydraulic tensioners, vs the crappy spring loaded tensioners in my 05 Super. Unless you're putting in different cams this is a waste of money project. If you're going to take it apart, check the runout of the pinion shaft, if it's true go gear drive...most reliable setup. People say gears make more noise, they probably do, but I can't hear the cam gears in our Sportster when I ride it...
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-19-2017, 07:04 PM
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Originally Posted by SCHMIDTY View Post
I prefer rebuilding the chain / tensioner cam plates. That's just my IMO. Less modifying and they last upwards of 50k miles.
Gear drive is noisy, bikes , cars, trucks ... that's why the MoCo didn't go gear drive in the first place, EPA noise regulations!
HaHa, you believe that?!? They did it so they didn't have to hold their manufacturing tolerances as tight. I've never heard a bikes cam gears, when it has them, running over the noise of the exhaust...

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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-19-2017, 08:46 PM
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I have two guys I ride with and both have gear driven cams. I've never heard any noise from the cams. Since they are 255 lift and 285 lift I can hear a little more noise from the valves closing...also called lifter noise.

If you have to replace a cam for whatever reason the gear driven cam is gonna cost more. Chains need tension devices and I never cared for them. Had a 2003 Electra Glide Classic and the tension devices came apart and plugged my oil lines. There used to be a lot of problems with the tension devices. Better now I guess??? I'm for the gear driven cams!
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-20-2017, 08:13 AM
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HaHa, you believe that?!? They did it so they didn't have to hold their manufacturing tolerances as tight. I've never heard a bikes cam gears, when it has them, running over the noise of the exhaust...
Yes. Long explanation in short... that's how the MoCo reps explained it to us back in '99 !
EPA measures total vehicle decibels output at specific RPMs at specific distances, not just exhaust noise.

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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-20-2017, 08:39 AM
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Originally Posted by SCHMIDTY View Post
Yes. Long explanation in short... that's how the MoCo reps explained it to us back in '99 !
EPA measures total vehicle decibels output at specific RPMs at specific distances, not just exhaust noise.
Yep...that's another EPA reg we need to roll back...come on Mr. Prez...do it!!! Oops, that's for another thread!!!

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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-20-2017, 09:18 AM
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Gear drives make a distinct whine ,it may overpowered by other noise but its there. S&S claims another advantage to there gear drive dealing with timing or ratatuin direction I dont recall exactly and can't find the info right now. The crank run out is a critical factor for a gear drive , if its out of spec you have to split the cases and have the crank trued. Big expensive job. So before you purchase you need to know your run out .003 or less.

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