How to Check Drive Belt Tension on a Kawasaki Vulcan 

If you have a belt drive motorcycle, checking the belt tension is an important part of your maintenance schedule. 

Here's how to check the belt tension on a Kawasaki Vulcan Vaquero motorcycle.

NOTE: We performed this belt tension check on our 2016 Vaquero 1700, but you may have similar steps to follow on your motorcycle.

Tools Needed - Kawasaki Vulcan Vaquero Drive Belt Tension Check 

Kawasaki Vulcan motorcycle drive belt tension check

Kawasaki Vulcan Vaquero Belt Tension Check 

Step 1. Jack up the back of the motorcycle to get an accurate measurement. 

NOTE: The window to look into to check the tension on the Kawasaki Vulcan Vaquero is on the left hand side, behind the exhaust pipe. We removed the exhaust pipe and left-side saddle bag so that you can see where we worked, as shown in the image below. 

Kawasaki motorcycle drive belt tension check

Step 2. Check with your motorcycle manufacturer to know precisely what tension you'll need on your gauge. Using the window on your motorcycle, take note of where the belt is located using the marks on either side of the window.

NOTE: The motorcycle belt tension gauge is calibrated to a specific tension. In the case of the Vaquero, the service manual specifies checking with a 45 newton- or 10 pound-gauge. 

Kawasaki Vulcan belt tension check

Kawasaki Vulcan Vaquero drive belt tension check

Step 3. Find the plunger on the tension gauge. The top of the gauge, where the thumb is pushing, will be centered underneath the belt. Push upward on the belt. 

NOTE: What you're looking for is for the plunger to compress to the mark on the plunger shaft while the plunger pushes the belt one notch. Essentially, it should take 10 lbs. of pressure to push the belt one notch. 

Kawasaki Vulcan motorcycle belt tension plunger

Step 4. Push the plunger up onto the belt to flex it. 

NOTE: What's being measured here is how much the belt moves with 10 lbs/45 newtons. In this case, the belt moves one notch up. This represents a healthy belt. 

Kawasaki Vaquero motorcycle drive belt tension

Step 5. Rotate the rear wheel a quarter-turn clockwise (backwards) and repeat. 

NOTE:  If the belt pushes up too far, representing a loose belt, you'll need to loosen the axle and move the wheel back along this guide. 

Kawasaki motorcycle drive belt tension check

Doing a little maintenance work on your Kawasaki Vulcan motorcycle? Watch the video below to see how to change the oil on a Vaquero 1700 model. 


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