How to convert from a belt to chain drive on a motorcycle- Harley-Davidson Sportster


A diy, step by step video demonstration on how to convert from a belt to chain drive on a motorcycle : Harley-Davidson Sportster.

This includes how to remove the belt, rear wheel and replace it with a chain drive. This is also know as a Sportster chain conversion, using Harley-Davidson Forty-Eight.


In this video we are going to convert a drive belt to a drive chain on a Harley-Davidson Sportster.

We are going to begin by removing the fasteners on the front sprocket cover.

We are then going to remove the fasteners on the rider foot controls mid mount this includes the right foot rest and rear brake pedal assembly.

With the foot controls removed we will now have access to remove the front sprocket cover.

Once the front sprocket cover is removed we will now remove the fasteners on the front sprocket lock plate.

We will remove the front sprocket lock plate then the front sprocket nut.

The front sprocket nut is reverse threaded, it will remove with a clockwise turn.

We will remove the debris deflector from the rear fork which may also be referred to as the rear swingarm.

We will remove the rear exhaust mount so that the drive belt will be able to be removed without cutting it.

We will now remove the belt guard.

The video footage shows me loosening the axle on the right before removing the clip and the nut on the left side.

This is incorrect.

The clip must be removed on the left side then the axle nut removed on the left side.

I kept the footage in this video to show we all make mistakes when we try but we still can adapt and learn to move forward.

I use an impact socket and a soft hammer to remove the axle.

Once the rear axle is removed from the rear fork of this will allow access to remove the drive belt and rear wheel.

With the rear wheel removed we can remove the fasteners for the rear sprocket.

We will also remove the rear shock mount on the rear fork so that the drive belt will be able to be removed without cutting it.

Although the roller bearing is sealed we will clean the area and add additional lubrication using synthetic grease.

We will first install the spacer then the new rear sprocket for the drive chain.

We will start the rear sprocket fasteners by hand then use an electric impact to drive them close to flush.

Do not tighten with the impact, instead tighten by hand or hand tool then use a torque wrench to tighten them properly.

The rear sprocket needs to be tightened and torqued in a star pattern.

For this application the rear sprocket torque is first 60 foot pounds then 80 foot pounds to finish.

Clean the area and add additional lubrication using grease wherever possible.

The installation of the rear axle rear wheel is reverse of the removal.

Replace the drive belt front sprocket with the drive chain front sprocket.

Fit the drive chain by using a chain breaker and chain press tool.

We used an impact to tighten the front I could nut and lock plate.

As seen the front sprocket cover and rider foot controls mid mount were reinstalled.

Along with chain alignment check your chain slack.

Tighten the axle adjuster nuts to finalize the settings of the chain alignment and chain slack.

Use a service manual, chain manufacturer instructions or consult a professional for recommendations on specifications for chain slack.

Chain slack should be checked every time you clean and lubricate your chain.

Double check that the rear axle is torqued down to specifications.

Do not forget to reinstall the clip for the rear axle.

Hey, Thank you very much. I had a great time making this video and I hope you did watching it.


The nut in front of the sprocket needs a socket that is 29mm or 1 1/8 inch. The axle nut with pin in the other side will need a 36mm or 1 7/16 inch socket.

In this video:
RK Racing Chain 120-Links X-Ring Chain

Venom Motorcycle Bike Front Tire Wheel Chock Lift Stand

Chain conversion kits (not affiliated):

Chain Breaker:
ABN Chain Breaker Chain Cutter and Riveter
RK Racing Universal Chain Breaker, Cutter, Press-Fit and Rivet Tool
Motion Pro Chain Breaker and Riveting Tool
Motion Pro PBR Chain Breaker

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This video is for demonstration and entertainment purposes only. All viewers must take responsibility for their own choices and actions. The creators of this video and anyone recorded in the video are not responsible and do not assume any responsibility for all purchases, damage, injury, death or dismemberment resulting from the performance of any operation in this video. Use the proper parts, specifications and safety procedures for your own application.

01/06/2019 | How to convert from a belt to chain drive on a motorcycle- Harley-Davidson Sportster