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1986 Honda Shadow VT1100CG
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, first and foremost, there is still no conversion kit for converting the Honda Shadow VT1100CG from shaft-driven to chain-driven. My hopes for this discussion is to brainstorm with other shadow enthusiasts in order to custom build the parts required to convert a 1986 Honda Shadow VT1100CG from the stock shaft driven final gear to a custom chain driven final gear. I've been playing around with the idea quite a bit for some months now and finally found someone who's crazy enough, like me, to actually CNC me a forward sprocket for my 1100. I know as it stands right now, the VT600 ACE and the VT750 ACE are the only chain driven Shadows to my knowledge and I just don't like that. So, I'm gonna make my own conversion kit for the 1100's. I figure the swingarm off a '86 VT750 ACE should line up with fitment just beautifully to an '86 1100. However, I don't feel like buying a used 750 swingarm and find out. If I need to custom make a swingarm then so be it, but the only real issues I'm coming across is gearing. Assuming that all my fitment is easy and lines up, I now run into the issue of the bike being set up for a shaft final drive compared to the chain final drive, and maybe compression but I think the compression should be good. Correct me if I'm wrong but there shouldn't be any difference between shaft driven bikes and chain driven bikes. So gear heads, I'm all ears, I want all your options, thoughts, concerns -- anything and everything that gets me to that chain drive conversion I want.
 

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1983 Honda vt750 Shadow
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20,337 Posts
Seems like a lot of work with no real gain in the end.
Unless it is to say it can be done.
But take pictures for us .

A lot of custom motorcycles with nearly impossible drivetrains.
GO BIG !!!
 

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1999 Shadow 750 ACE VT750CD3 Modified
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4,969 Posts
I'm thinking there is no easy way to do this Honda shaft drive V-twins use different crankcases and gearbox internals than the chain drive bikes.
There is possible mix and match of these pieces within the 52 degree engine family for some. However the 45 degree 1980's 750/700/800 and all 1100 V-twins were shaft drive cruiser power plants only. So unless you have Allen Millyard style skills, pinch yourself you are dreaming.

If you want a chain drive bike, sell what you have and buy one.
 

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Yes it CAN be done. But that's not the question to ask, The proper question is: How much time and money will it take to convert this? I suspect the answer is WAY too much of both. Someone did it on a 1500 Vulcan once, but he had access to a machine shop... and iirc, said it was not worth the trouble, no gain and more maintenance.

The VT750DC Spirit is chain drive also. while the VT750C2 Spirit is shaft.
 

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1996 Honda Shadow VT1100-C2
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229 Posts
I've never owned a real street motorcycle that used a chain, just my dirt bikes.

So My shadow VT 1100 C2 ACE has the shaft drive ...should that worry me?

Is there some kind of defect in that design,
or a quirk about riding a motorcycle with a shaft drive like this?
 

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785 Posts
I've never owned a real street motorcycle that used a chain, just my dirt bikes.

So My shadow VT 1100 C2 ACE has the shaft drive ...should that worry me?

Is there some kind of defect in that design,
or a quirk about riding a motorcycle with a shaft drive like this?
In my opinion, the three biggest drawbacks of shaft drives are:
- Inflexible, can't change ratio to customize to a riding style or preference
- Less efficient than chain, wastes something like 10% more of power produced, vs. chain drive. This comes from friction in the sets of right-angle gears at each end.
- Expensive to repair. IF and when they fail.

To the OP, I found the drawing below of an '85 Honda 1100 engine, which gives an idea of how difficult a task converting the drive train on one of these engines will be. The power output shaft is parallel to the fore-aft axis of the motorcycle. It looks to me like one would have to create a place for the sprocket to live inside the housing, adjacent to where the small helical gear lives, or come up with an even more imaginative scheme. It looks pretty crowded in there.
Map Font Auto part Art Line art


I would think adapting another, already chain drive engine, would be a more satisfying path. Maybe one of these?:

Motor vehicle Automotive tire Automotive design Font Automotive wheel system
 

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1986 Honda Shadow VT1100CG
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22 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Yes it CAN be done. But that's not the question to ask, The proper question is: How much time and money will it take to convert this? I suspect the answer is WAY too much of both. Someone did it on a 1500 Vulcan once, but he had access to a machine shop... and iirc, said it was not worth the trouble, no gain and more maintenance.

The VT750DC Spirit is chain drive also. while the VT750C2 Spirit is shaft.
So would a belt driven conversation be any easier?
 

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3,278 Posts
You would need verify the output shaft will be turning the correct direction 1st, then make a new longer output shaft with splines for a sprocket to replace #8 coming out of the transmission. Machine the cross shaft case to accept the new longer shaft and a seal, then you need to calculate the gearing,,,
Not to mention building a new swingarm...

1986 Honda VT1100C A CROSS SHAFT | Ron Ayers
 

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1986 Honda Shadow VT1100CG
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Okay, so what I'm hearing is that my first idea of taking the swingarm off a 750VLX or other chain driven shadow isn't an option? That's cool, given me an excuse to buy more tools. But in all seriousness, how would you recommend I calculate the gearing on it? Also, I want to stoke the motor and I know that changes the compression, would that affect the gearing at all?
 

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2013 Honda Shadow Phantom 750
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4,801 Posts
Okay, so what I'm hearing is that my first idea of taking the swingarm off a 750VLX or other chain driven shadow isn't an option? That's cool, given me an excuse to buy more tools. But in all seriousness, how would you recommend I calculate the gearing on it? Also, I want to stoke the motor and I know that changes the compression, would that affect the gearing at all?
Changing the compression ratio will not directly affect the gearing, however since the change will change HP/Torque it will affect the efficiency of the gearing.

Why are you wanting to do this mod? I do understand being bored and wanting something to keep busy with you are looking at a lot of work, both mental and physical, to accomplish this with no real benefit to the bike. If it is because you have a shaft driven bike and want a chain driven bike, I would think it is not worth it. Sell the shaft drive and buy a chain driven bike. If it is because you don’t have much money but you want a chain drive, you will spend more in tools than it would cost to buy the tools you will need.

I am not trying to keep you from doing this, quite the opposite. So if you do this by all means keep us updated.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Buy a 600cc sportbike and keep the shadow for cruising, you'll come out money ahead and have a faster bike that will out-run and out-handle the Shadow no matter what you do to the Shadow..

Edit: Dang, I sound like all those old hot-rodders who told me to swap in a v8 instead of hot-rodding the 6 cylinder in my old Falcon. I didn't listen either,,, had a 60 Falcon 2 door, 144ci inline 6. Took a 200 6 out of a Maverick, 4 speed from a Fairlane, rear axle from a Mustang, bored the 6 .030 over, forged pistons, Crane cam with solid lifters, dual point ignition, Hooker headers,,, And picked up a 64 Falcon Sprint body so swapped everything over again, Had a 9" limited slip from an older Fairlane wagon under the 64 Falcon.

edit Edit: The V8 would have cost less and been faster with the same hot-rod money spent.
 

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'08 Spirit 750
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235 Posts
Dang, I sound like all those old hot-rodders who told me to swap in a v8 instead of hot-rodding the 6 cylinder in my old Falcon. I didn't listen either,,, had a 60 Falcon 2 door, 144ci inline 6. Took a 200 6 out of a Maverick, 4 speed from a Fairlane, rear axle from a Mustang, bored the 6 .030 over, forged pistons, Crane cam with solid lifters, dual point ignition, Hooker headers,,, And picked up a 64 Falcon Sprint body so swapped everything over again, Had a 9" limited slip from an older Fairlane wagon under the 64 Falcon.
Yeah, but whuppin'em with a six banger's a lot more fun. :devilish:
Sometimes doing something out of the ordinary's the most enjoyable way to go. :cool:
Wheel Tire Vehicle Car Motor vehicle
 

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So, first and foremost, there is still no conversion kit for converting the Honda Shadow VT1100CG from shaft-driven to chain-driven. My hopes for this discussion is to brainstorm with other shadow enthusiasts in order to custom build the parts required to convert a 1986 Honda Shadow VT1100CG from the stock shaft driven final gear to a custom chain driven final gear. I've been playing around with the idea quite a bit for some months now and finally found someone who's crazy enough, like me, to actually CNC me a forward sprocket for my 1100. I know as it stands right now, the VT600 ACE and the VT750 ACE are the only chain driven Shadows to my knowledge and I just don't like that. So, I'm gonna make my own conversion kit for the 1100's. I figure the swingarm off a '86 VT750 ACE should line up with fitment just beautifully to an '86 1100. However, I don't feel like buying a used 750 swingarm and find out. If I need to custom make a swingarm then so be it, but the only real issues I'm coming across is gearing. Assuming that all my fitment is easy and lines up, I now run into the issue of the bike being set up for a shaft final drive compared to the chain final drive, and maybe compression but I think the compression should be good. Correct me if I'm wrong but there shouldn't be any difference between shaft driven bikes and chain driven bikes. So gear heads, I'm all ears, I want all your options, thoughts, concerns -- anything and everything that gets me to that chain drive conversion I want.
Think there might be characteristics engineered into the frame and the engine to account for the forces a shaft drive generates? There are differences.


If you want chain drive...buy a bike with a chain drive.
 
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