How to Check & Adjust the Motorcycle Belt Tension?

Why does belt tension matter?

  • Too little tension results in slippage, excess heat squeak noise, and premature the belt & pulley wear
  • Too much tension results in excessive stress on belts, bearings, and shafts, leading to early life failure.

It’s necessary to check belt tension after 500 miles with a new belt and then every 5,000 miles thereafter.


How to check the belt tension?

To check the belt tension, you will need a specialty tool.

The tool you’re looking for is appropriately named a belt tension gauge from KiWAV.


All you need is following these steps:

  1. Set motorcycle upright.
  2. Put transmission in neutral.
  3. Allow vehicle to cool.
  4. Remove all load (rider, passenger and cargo).
  5. Remove the main fuse.
  6. Slide small o-ring to 10 lbs mark.
  7. Place the gauge squarely against belt at center and keep it at a 90-degree angle to the belt surface.
  8. Push up until small o-ring touches tool body.
  9. Check belt tension specifications. (There are some models’ specifications below)
  10. If the belt deflects more/less than specified, tighten/loosen the belt and job done.


Belt Tension Deflection Table

Recommended belt tension deflection of some common brands:

Brand Model Force Deflection OEM gauge part #
Harley Davidson All except FLHX/S, FLTRX/S and Low models
*(standard shock absorbers)
10 lbs 3/8"~9/16" (9.5~14.3 mm) HD­35381­A
Harley Davidson FLHX/S, FLTRX/S, and Low models
*(low profile shock absorbers)
10 lbs 1/4"~7/16" (6.4~11.1 mm) HD­35381­A
Harley Davidson Sportster 10 lbs 1/4"~5/16" (6.4~7.9 mm) HD­35381­A
Harley Davidson XG 500/750 10 lbs 1/2" (12.72 mm)/td> HD­35381­A
Indian Scout 10 lbs 0.472" (12mm) (+/- .5) PV-43532
Triumph Thunderbird 10 lbs On side stand:
5.5 to 7.0 mm(0.20 to 0.27 in)
On Support stand T3880803:
7.5 to 9.0 mm(0.30 to 0.35 in)
Victory Octane 10 lbs 0.472" (12mm) (+/- .5) PV-43532
Victory Vegas 10 lbs 0.472" (12mm) (+/- .5) PV-43532



Shop the KiWAV Belt Tension Gauge


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