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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-23-2014, 10:15 PM Thread Starter
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CAM Question - Gear vs. Chain

I talked to my independent mechanic today about cams in my bike, and after discussing the cams and the oil leak on the back cylinder, we are also adding a 95 kit to my little 88.

I just really have to decide whether I want to do a gear drive or chain drive. He recommends a gear drive but I am concerned about a new noise on the bike.

Who has gear drive cams and what do they think about them?

Thanks in advance


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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-23-2014, 10:26 PM
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I have them in my 95", if crank run-out is in tolerance and the lash is set properly there will be no noticeable difference in noise. The only way people know I have a gear drive setup is if I tell them...
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-24-2014, 09:04 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Dfwhockey17 View Post
I have them in my 95", if crank run-out is in tolerance and the lash is set properly there will be no noticeable difference in noise. The only way people know I have a gear drive setup is if I tell them...
Thank you sir,

Anyone else?


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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-25-2014, 05:05 AM
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Unless you are going to build a big HP 95" I wouldn't spend the money for the gear driven cams. Use the chain and put the extra money in some basic head work.

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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-25-2014, 05:43 AM
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Originally Posted by FrankieB View Post
Unless you are going to build a big HP 95" I wouldn't spend the money for the gear driven cams. Use the chain and put the extra money in some basic head work.
+1 on that, head work, air flow, and a proper tune will benefit you way more than gear drive for the cams, the lower end is basically just a air compressor, getting air/fuel in and out correctly makes the power.


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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-25-2014, 06:55 AM
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Why not bore to 98"?
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-25-2014, 12:36 PM
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I ran Andrews 37g cams in a 2000 Road King for years. Noise was not an issue.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-25-2014, 04:17 PM
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When spec'ing out the 117 Build, the run-out on the S&S Crank was .0005 installed, making it a viable candidate for Gear Drives (noise was never a concern with me).

When I asked several Builders on both sides of The Mississippi about Gear Drives, all told me basically the same thing; " If a failure occurs with Gear Drives (as opposed to Chain Drives) it is more likely to be catastrophic (than with Chain Drives)"

'Went with the Zipper's Dual Hydraulic Tensioners.

Also, much more Cam selection available with Chain Drive Cams.

"I've read dozens of books about heros and crooks, and learned much from both of their styles"

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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-26-2014, 06:20 AM
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We tested gear to chain back/back back in 2001.
The gear-driven cams showed 2.5-3 more hp and torque.
As already mentioned, if the crank slips, it will be a fugly mess with a gear-drive.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-26-2014, 08:22 AM
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Noise is not a factor on my bike, but if you decide to put gear drive cams in, I would recommend spending a few more dollars and getting your crank trued up and welded. I had a crank twist on me with gear cams and the motor cratered on me it was not pretty or cheap. I now have 30,000+ on my bike with the same set up and zero issues, and I'm not easy on it. Just my two
cents but start at the bottom and work up.

S&S 106 big bore, 585 cams, headwork, timken conversion, welded and trued crank, foundation done the rest is trivial and fun to change
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