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How To Regear Your Motorcycle, And Why You Might Want To

Posted on 15 Apr 2019 in Powersports | 0 comments

Motorcycle regearing is a great way for riders to customize the performance of their ride. It’s relatively easy and it produces noticeable results that you can feel immediately! There are plenty of reasons that you might want to change the gearing of your bike. Maybe you want better acceleration while navigating the busy city streets. Maybe it’s better acceleration for a day at the track that you’re after. Or maybe you just want lower RPMs while riding at highway speeds. Whatever your reason might be, you are in the right place. We’d be happy to walk you through what regearing your bike actually does, and how to do it.

What Does Regearing Your Motorcycle Actually Do?

We’ll start with the basics. Regearing your motorcycle is the process of changing the size and number of teeth on either your front or rear sprocket or both. When you change the number of teeth on one of your sprockets, it’ll change the relationship between them. More specifically, it changes the number of times that your front sprocket needs to spin to make your back tire rotate one complete rotation.  

Raising The Gear Ratio

If you add a tooth to the front sprocket, or take one from the rear, you’ll be you’ll be raising the gear ratio of your bike. This will result in greater top end speeds, and lower RPMs at highway speeds, but it will also result in slower acceleration.

Lowering The Gear Ratio

If you remove a tooth from the front sprocket, or add teeth to the rear sprocket, you’ll be lowering the gear ratio. This means that your bike will have better acceleration, but will have a lower top speed than before. Riding at highway speeds can also be less smooth, as your bike’s RPMs are higher than they would have been at that speed with your previous gear setup. 

Can’t Have It Both Ways

As you can see, there is always a trade off when changing your gearing. There is no right or wrong way to gear your bike, and it’s your job to find what will serve you best. 

Important Note

When changing the gear setup, changing just one tooth on the front sprocket is the equivalent of changing about three on the back. Keep this in mind while deciding just how much of a change you want to make.

Change The Set

Sprockets and chains are best changed as a set. When you pair a new sprocket with an old chain, it can cause uneven wearing, which will result in shorter sprocket life. By changing everything at once, you are giving them a better chance to become acquainted and wear evenly.

How Do I Change My Chain And Sprockets?

Now that you have a basic understanding of why you’d want to change your gear ratio and what it can do for you, we should probably tell you how to do it. We’ve made some simple instructions for you to follow. Certain motorcycles might have slightly different processes, but this is a general format that will be applicable to the majority of bikes.  

  1. Loosen Front Sprocket: Before we take off the old chain, break loose the bolt that holds your front sprocket. You might need to stand on your rear brake while you do it, or you can thread a bar through your back tire. Whatever it takes to hold it still!
  2. Take Off The Old Chain: Use your chain breaker tool to break your old chain, and pull it out of there.
  3. Remove The Rear Tire: Pull the rear axle and tire, and put the tire down sprocket-side up.
  4. Take The Rear Sprocket Off The Wheel: Not much to say about this one… It’s just a few bolts really, you’ll figure it out…
  5. Put The Rear Sprocket On The Wheel: Again, this step is really quite straightforward… You can probably figure it out just by looking at it…
  6. Put The Back Tire Back On The Bike: Bring the axle adjusters in as much as possible, and put your axle and tire back in place. Keep it loose.
  7. Replace the Front Sprocket: Now, you can fully pull the old front sprocket, and put the new one in its place! Make sure that you torque it properly. 
  8. Thread Chain: Now that both sprockets are mounted, we can turn our attention back back to your chain. Start by laying your chain in the teeth of your new sprockets, just to see how many of your links you’ll actually need. It’s possible that your chain might have too many links. If this is the case, you’ll need to pull the extra couple links to make it a perfect fit. Use your chain tool for this, and use it to link your chain together!
  9. Align Chain: With your chain mounted, you just need to make sure that it’s lined up. Use your axle adjusters to make sure that your chain has the right amount of chain slack, and that your chain and sprocket are all perfectly straight.
  10. Finishing Touches: Snug up the bolts, replace any covers you might have had to remove, and pat yourself on the back. Your work is done. 

You’ve Done It!

Well, you’ve done it. You now know why you might want to regear your motorcycle, what it actually does, and how to do it. (Assuming you didn’t skim to the final paragraph.) You’re one step closer to being a certified garage mechanic! If you have any questions or comments, let us know down below.

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