Is a chain driven two-wheeler as reliable as a scooter's belt drive?

Primary contenders are the TVS XL and the Honda Activa.

BHPian yatin recently shared this with other enthusiasts.


As a relative was looking for a 2nd-hand 2-wheeler for use around his farm, I suggested a good old TVS 50/60 instead of his choice of an ubiquitous Activa. He had an interesting objection to the TVS 50 - its chain drive! He felt it wasn't as reliable as a gear-less scooter's belt drive.

Do share your thoughts. Personally, in over 2 decades of riding commuter motorbikes in the city, I haven't given a 2nd thought to the drive chain! It doesn't matter to the rugged/rural use-case, but I also hate the acceleration characteristics of gear-less scooters; I am sure I would hate cars with CVT's too.

I was also thinking if a TVS 50/60 frame would take heavier loads than the floorboard of an Activa.

Here's what BHPian aargee had to say on the matter:

Chain is cheap & best to maintain. Period!! Only drawback being - noise. Other than this, the next superior technology is shaft, which requires negligible maintenance, but when it needs, it axes the wallet.

Overall, Activa as a scooter is closed to being rugged & in my point of view slightly superior to TVS XL. The only place where TVS excels Activa is the price point & lower cost of ownership, perhaps; maybe, the 16" wheels might offer better comfort ride than Activa, however, the long handlebar & load carrying capacity of Activa is as good as TVS XL.

Other than this, XL or Activa - my vote is always for Japanese engineering.

Here's what BHPian IshaanIan had to say on the matter:

Chain drive is the cheapest to maintain, easiest to tinker with (removing adding links, going up or down a few teeth on the sprockets), and offers the least power transmission losses which makes it the most efficient (hence why any two-wheelers in motor-sport will be chain driven).

Belt drive is smoother and does require far less maintenance as one does not have to clean, lube and adjust it as often as one does a chain. That said, when something does go wrong, fixing it is a bigger hassle.

Ideally an used impulse 150 would be best for the farm but if one has their eyes set on an activa with tiny wheels, there isn't really much else to recommend; although buying an Acitva used might not be the best idea considering one cannot say for sure how the previous owner has maintained it and considering it is an Activa, one will not benefit much from the depreciation we expect as buyers in the used market.

Read BHPian comments for more insights and information.

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