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Old 12-05-2010, 09:32 AM   #1
Rider2898 OP
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Wicked How I did my Buell Uly chain conversion.

I mentioned a while ago on ADVrider that I was working on my own chain conversion for my Buell Ulysses. I got several responses asking me to share the results when I was finished. So here I go

First some history, I bought the bike last February with 11,500 miles on the clock. By 14,000 I had broken the belt that was on the bike. I then had to wait a couple months due to back order to get a new 2010 belt in at the dealer. I figured the new belt would last a bit longer seeing as how it was the new updated model. I was hoping for around 30-40 thousand miles out of the belt. Shortly before 19,000 I managed to snap the new belt. Perhaps there was something wrong with the alignment or some other problem with the bike. In any case I put my money on the fact that a certain 22 year old 260 pound rider (me) had been mercilessly riding the black beast for all it was worth, whenever possible. The belt, which acts as the cush drive, just couldn't handle the stress. Replacing the belt every 3-4 thousand miles would get expensive. Plus belts don't give much warning before they break and I don't want to carry a spare everywhere I go. I did really like the way the belt rode and I don't particularly like all the maintenance that the chain requires. However for the peace of mind it provides it was worth all the work.

The conversion changed the bike a bit in the way of rid-ability. Firstly Buells don't have a cush drive in the back wheel like chain driven bikes do. Instead the belt smooths the initial shock you get from accelattion. I didn't realize how much the belt stretched until I tried to use the last belt I broke to remove the countershaft sprocket nut. (I don't have to factory sprocket holding tool.) I wired the belt back together and had someone stand on the back brake while I tried to break the front sprocket nut free. I could move the breaker bar almost a quarter turn and it was all absorbed in belt stretch. The method didn't work. The front sprocket is on there REALLY tight complete with what must have been red Loctite. I ended up borrowing an electric impact driver. It worked quite well I know some people don't like using an impact driver on something delicate like a transmission. However I felt that since the bike was in neutral and there was no force pounding into the transmission that it would be fine. However when it really comes down to it I had tried everything else I could think of and the nut HAD to come off. I was worried that with out a cush drive the bike would be too harsh to ride. However my concerns were unfounded. The drive system is a little harsher but it isn't a big deal. It just takes a bit more clutch fineness. For me the wild animal nature of the bike is huge part of why I love it. So if you like a smooth sophisticated bike I would recommend against doing the conversion. But if you don't mind just adding a little bit more wild stallion to your Buell then go for it. The second way the conversion affected the rid-ability is that I took the opportunity to lower the gearing about 9%. I was aiming for 10% to imitate the XB9 primary conversion. However things just worked out to be a roughly 9% decrease. The change has been great. I live in Washington State where the speed limits on the freeways are usually 60 MPH. Stock 5th gear isn't really usable till around 65 or 70 mph. Now 5th is becomes usable around 55 and cruses comfortably up to around 80. First gear is also much more user friendly. Rush hour traffic no longer requires massive amounts of clutch work.

I got most of my inspiration and know how from this thread. http://www.badweatherbikers.com/buel...tml?1125186714

Picture time


The first thing I did was replace the stock metal pulley with this belt idler pulley. It's a gates #38023. I was not able to find one for $16 like they say in the badweb thread. Mine was closer to $35. After I got the pulley I noticed that the center of the bearing is significantly bigger than the bolt that goes thought the bracket. I bought a couple chromed bushing from my local hardware store and ground them down so they would fit in the inside diameter of the bearing and would still grip the side of the inner race so the pulley wouldn't be able to wander. I egged out the top hole in the bracket so I can adjust my chain tension. Just the amount I egged it out in the picture will probably be all the adjusting power I will need for the life of the chain. NOTE: You do not need to drill the adjustment hole in the pulley bracket until after the first thousand miles or so. A new chain fits just right with out egging any holes. This will give you time to decide whether or not you like the change without modifying any stock parts.



Here's the pulley installed.

For the front sprocket I used a 20 tooth 530 front sprocket from a 90-92 sportster. http://www.sprocketspecialists.com/ProductSearch2.aspx
The trick is that the new sprocket I got was quite a bit narrower than the belt sprocket that I pulled off and shimming was required. I need to shim it out about 3/16th's of an inch. So I headed down toTacoma screw (who sells all sorts of specialty washers, bushing, bolts... you get the idea ) brought my new sprocket and said I need need a bushing to fit the sprocket. The guy at the counter was very helpful and I walked out with 3 1/16th in thick bushings that fit the back of the sprocket just right. I figured after I got the front sprocket close I could use valve shims on the rear sprocket to make them line up perfectly. This time, however, I got lucky and no further shimming was required, everything lined up perfectly The stock nut lock plate doesn't work with the new sprocket so I just used some blue locktight to lock the nut on. It seems to be working just fine. We will just have to see how well it comes off And yes that is duct tape on my swing arm. The chain rubs very slightly. After 2,000 miles it has just started to eat through the top layer of tape. I just recently got a hold of some industrial teflon that I intend to replace the tape with when I get the chance.




For the rear sprocket I used a vortex 827-49 hard treated aluminum sprocket. I got the sprocket for a really good price from fatbikezs.com. Just be aware that vortex makes these sprockets on an order to order basis. It took over a month from time of order till it was on my door step. My first attempt I ordered the 50 tooth rear sprocket. I did so cause that is the size that was used in the thread I linked earlier and it seemed like a good place to start. Unfortunately the 50 tooth sprocket was one tooth to big. (It's for sale if anyone is interested )



I used a 112 link 530 chain. In the picture this is what you want the chain to do when there is no idler pulley.



All said and done this is what it looks like. It is important to note that the swing arm is unique on the xb12x and xb12ss. I found that a 20 tooth front sprocket, a 49 tooth rear sprocket and a 112 link chain works very well. If you decided to do any other gearing combos there is the possibility that they might not work together. I don't know if going for a lighter chain would change anything or not. I hope you found my write up helpfull or at least interesting If anyone has any questions at all please feel free to ask them.

Daniel
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Old 12-05-2010, 11:15 AM   #2
LuciferMutt
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I thought cush drives were a necessity to protect the transmission from shock?

Is a chain safe running on a tensioner/idler pulley?
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Old 12-05-2010, 11:24 AM   #3
Charlie Gary
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Nice work. All I can say is I hope your medium strength Loctite holds. Red would be the better choice.
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Old 12-05-2010, 11:41 AM   #4
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please get some red loctite on that nut, and you need to get a lock plate on there as well. even better would be a jim's mega nut.
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Old 12-05-2010, 01:59 PM   #5
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You can just put a socket head screw in the sprocket to keep it from backing out. No lock plate needed in 20 years on my '91 Buell.

An offset sprocket is available for them, too.
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Old 12-05-2010, 06:29 PM   #6
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DevilNinjaDog: I would imagine the cush drive helps protect and prolong the life of the entire drive train not just the transmission. However I have been able to compensate very well for not having the cush drive just by using my clutch. I'm not kidding when I say this mod has forced me to improve my finesse. Food for thought; if the shock is hitting the transmission like a freight train it's hitting me too. The tensioner pulley isn't something you normally see on a chain driven bike but it is the only way to work any sort of adjust ability into the beull. The reason being that the rear wheel is fixed in one position on the swing arm. Plus I haven't see anyone else who had done this sort of conversion to their buell mention any sort of reliability issues with the tensioner pulley.

Charlie Gray: Blue is medium but red is permanent strength. I do want to be able to change the sprocket when it wears out.

rouser: I haven't heard of Jim's Mega nut before. It's definitely an option.

Richy: Thanks for the bolt trick. I'll be sure to do that. As for the the offset sprocket I decided the first time around to go with as much established data as possible and it had already been confirmed that the sprocket I used worked. I intend to look into an offset sprocket when it comes time to buy a new one.

Thanks every one for your input
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Old 12-06-2010, 08:52 AM   #7
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Uly talk usually happens in Beasts, so I've moved from RW.
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Old 12-06-2010, 05:11 PM   #8
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Excellent write-up. I'm looking into the chain conversion once my new belt goes. I've already done the XB9 gear change, but kept the original parts as well. It appears that I would need to go back to that and get the gear reduction via the chain rig. The 10-11% gear reduction is the best mod I've made to my Uly, both on and off the road. It's a different bike.
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Old 12-06-2010, 09:06 PM   #9
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Thanks Gadget Boy. I should have stuck the thread in Beasts to begin with but I didn't pay attention to where I posted it. My mistake.

I would have to agree with Snr Moment about the reduction being one of the best mods you can do to a uly. It's much more low speed friendly. When you do your conversion you should post how you did it. I would be fun to see what you might come up with to do it better.
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Old 12-07-2010, 07:42 AM   #10
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keep a eye on the right side bearing

The chain conversion you have done looks the same as a "Saintly" chain conversion. I had it on my Uly for awhile. It WILL eat the right side bearing (DAMHIK) and from what I've been told from a few Buell racers... it will wear out the wheel where the bearing seats... Just a FYI
I was left stranded on I-71 on my way back from Marchbadness.
Went back to the belt and keep a spare under the seat.
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Old 12-07-2010, 06:21 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wolfridgerider View Post
The chain conversion you have done looks the same as a "Saintly" chain conversion. I had it on my Uly for awhile. It WILL eat the right side bearing (DAMHIK) and from what I've been told from a few Buell racers... it will wear out the wheel where the bearing seats... Just a FYI
I was left stranded on I-71 on my way back from Marchbadness.
Went back to the belt and keep a spare under the seat.

Thanks for the warning. I hadn't heard about that side effect. I'm planning on putting the 2010 wheel on the bike. Hopefully that should help. I've made a habit of checking on the bearings. I've already had a set fail with the belt.
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Old 07-21-2012, 08:04 PM   #12
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Whoa Dont Ride it like that

If you want to convert the uyl'y go to this site. These guys have done a good job of putting parts for a conversion together. Your half way there but just a few more mods. Have that thing running down the interstate and hwys in no time. The way it is now, just seem's way to problematic. There are pictures showing the finished product and it looks good enough for me to try out.
http://www.buellxb.com/Buell-XB-Foru...in-conversions
Please go there before you put that thing on the road.
You have a 49 rear gear thats fine, You need at least 21 tooth front gear to clear the swing arm. A 21 tooth front and 49 t rear will put you at ratio 2.3333333333 factory gear ratio is 2.407 So Your hwy miles will be good, lower rpm's at higher speed.
The problem is I have not seen a 530 sprocket for the trans. output (forward) May have to do some serious looking around, and get lucky, I agree a 530 chain on a adventure bike would probably help in case you need to chain saw through a down log in the road.

Peteyee screwed with this post 07-21-2012 at 08:20 PM
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Old 07-21-2012, 09:25 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peteyee View Post
If you want to convert the uyl'y go to this site. These guys have done a good job of putting parts for a conversion together. Your half way there but just a few more mods. Have that thing running down the interstate and hwys in no time. The way it is now, just seem's way to problematic. There are pictures showing the finished product and it looks good enough for me to try out.
http://www.buellxb.com/Buell-XB-Foru...in-conversions

Please go there before you put that thing on the road.

You have a 49 rear gear thats fine, You need at least 21 tooth front gear to clear the swing arm. A 21 tooth front and 49 t rear will put you at ratio 2.3333333333 factory gear ratio is 2.407 So Your hwy miles will be good, lower rpm's at higher speed.
The problem is I have not seen a 530 sprocket for the trans. output (forward) May have to do some serious looking around, and get lucky, I agree a 530 chain on a adventure bike would probably help in case you need to chain saw through a down log in the road.
Good info but way late for the OP
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Old 07-22-2012, 08:59 PM   #14
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All ready done, still chain or went back to belt? Either case show the new pic's
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Old 03-16-2013, 09:16 AM   #15
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Buell Uly chain conversion

Does anyone have a Vortex front or rear sprocket that will fit the Buell Uly they want to sell?
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