Front sprockets are all made from a high quality steel, with suitable case hardening. Different brands have different quality steels, different designs and different manufacturing techniques. These contribute to wear resistance and longer life.
Grooved sprockets have a groove machined into them to allow mud to fling off easier such as on offroad bikes.
Ultralight sprockets have holes machines into them to reduce the weight of the sprocket. Typically used by racing teams.
Standard sprockets have no additional machining to them, and offer OEM type functionality.
Front sprocket sizes can be changed up to a point. Physically, there is a limitation to how big you can go and that this depends on the amount of clearance your bike has between the front sprocket shaft and surrounding casings and sprocket guards. Going too big may cause interference between the sprocket and casings which will lead to damage. Not a good thing.
A single tooth change on a front sprocket is about equal to a 2-tooth change on the rear sprocket.
Rear sprockets can be made either from steel or aluminium, depending on the application. We compare them in the following chart:
|Durability / Lifespan|
Changing rear sprocket sizes a tooth at a time results in a less severe changes, and is recommended if you are fine tuning your bikes response or are not wanting a radical change.
There are good chains and there bad chains. Don't expect a R300 chain to perform better or outlast a R2000 chain. Its one of those things where you pay for what you get! Having said that, lets look into the various technical aspects of a chain
The strength of the chain must be sufficient for the engine size and application of your motorcycle. Chain strengths are generally classified according to the engine capacity (CC) of the motorcycle. The higher the engine capacity, the stronger the chain needs to be.
Buying on price alone will likely end in disaster - chains for superbikes for example cost proportionately more than offroad and smaller capacity road bikes, so be sure that amazing deal you think you're getting does come at the cost of inferior strength.
Chain length is measured in the number of links a chain has, eg. 120L means 120 links long. Buying a chain that is too short will not provide enough chain for you to adequately adjust your chain. If anything, buy a length longer than is required as you can cut the chain to length. While on this topic, make sure to use a proper chain cutting and riveting tool! A grinder and chisel are not considered "proper"
This must be the correct size to fit the sprockets, as the sprockets are also measured and manufactured according to the chain size. Chain size is represented by a 3 digit number: 415, 420, 428,520, 525, 530, 630 etc. Effectively, two measurements define a chain size and these are shown in the table below:
Seal Type (Std vs O-Ring vs X-Ring)
The seal type of the chain defines the type of seal fitted on the links. If a chain does not have seals, it's considered a "standard chain". If it has a seal, it can have the traditional o-ring seal, or the more modern x-ring or z-ring variants. Let's understand them better by looking at the friction and wear-resistance capabilities in the charts below.
Chain friction is the highest on an O-Ring chain, and significantly less on an X or Z-Ring chain, due to the newer design. Standard chains have the least friction as they have no seal surfaces in contact with the steel links. Reduced friction = greater performance, and the less your engine has to work to turn the rear wheel!
Chain wear resistance is remarkeably better on sealed chains. That means, the standard chain will not last nearly as long as a sealed chain (all things being equal). O-Ring chains show their age yet again, and do not offer nearly as good wear resistance as the X or Z-Ring chain designs, which offer the most superior wear resistance.
Gear Ratio Formula
- Gear Ratio = Rear Teeth / Front Teeth
Example: Front sprocket = 12T, Rear sprocket = 52T. Gear ratio = 52/12 = 4.33
- The HIGHER the gear ratio, the faster you ACCELERATE
Increase your acceleration with:Smaller front sprocket
Bigger rear sprocket
- The LOWER the gear ratio, the greater your TOP SPEED
Increase your top speed with:Bigger front sprocket
Smaller rear sprocket
Gear Ratio Table
We've made your life easier by displaying a list of all the most common gear ratios below: