Wow, that's one scary possible outcome from one very small design flaw. Just goes to show how important every component can be and why design for failure mode and effects analysis needs to be a critical part of the development workflow.
That's why bikes used to use chains. Seriously, though, this column points to a common design flaw found in many products, where there's a single point of failure. And when I say point, I mean it literally, in that it often comes down to a single screw or fastener. Further, when that fastener comes loose (and usually not in the way it was intended; i.e., it comes out violently), you often get a stripped, ripped, or otherwise broken mounting point, which makes repair difficult.
Glancing briefly at Harley owner fourms, I couldn't find any mentions of this problem. On the other hand, there were a lot of comments from people who take the belt guard off because they don't like the way it looks. Apparently, they prefer to take their chances with stones and gravel possibly taking out a belt! So it's possible that Harley is careless about the fastening strategy because they assume owners will just remove the part anyway.
Hopefully someone from Harley is reading this, because this sounds like a very risky bit of carelessness.
Good observation, Ann. I checked the forums as well, just to see if the problem was widespread. I couldn't find anything. I went back to David for more info. Sure enough, there seems to be a design flaw.
I second what Alex said: It's hard to imagine that the belt guard has a single point of failure. Even the most insignificant components on many machines have some form of redundancy. Looks like someone decided the belt guard was too insignificant for redundancy. How scary.
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