12T - anyone runs this?
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Thread: 12T - anyone runs this?

  1. #1
    Member Yan's Avatar
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    12T - anyone runs this?

    We bought a 2013 TW for my wife last fall. Took it out twice so far, it already has almost 50 miles on the odometer I want to re-gear it low (ideally, in the long term, as low as 13/60), but don't want to do it now as it would mean throwing out a brand new chain, so the rear has to stay stock for now. Can I go with 12T in the front though, and keep the stock chain that is? I realize that 12T is pretty small and will probably result in premature wear of the chain, but I am guessing this setup will still last a few thousand miles (a couple of years for us - we only ride TW's offroad and haul them around on a trailer), so I could live with that.

    Any experience with running 12T in the front is highly appreciated!

    Thanks,
    Yan

  2. #2
    Senior Member RockyTFS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yan View Post
    .... I realize that 12T is pretty small and will probably result in premature wear of the chain, but I am guessing this setup will still last a few thousand miles (a couple of years for us - we only ride TW's offroad and haul them around on a trailer), so I could live with that. Thanks,
    Yan
    Yup, you got that just about right.....a 12 tooth front will wear out the chain (and sprocket) in 2-3,000 miles. However, the real issue is whether you can get it on the shaft to stay and not have the keeper or set screws chew the chain to bits in just a few hundred miles. As far as I know no-one has successfully done this.

    It is probably cheaper to add some links and run two masters to get a 13/60 setup. I have a 13/55 on my low dual sprocket and that's pretty low gearing. In anything but the most extreme technical tracks or at 12,000 plus altitude it might be all you need.
    Rocky
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  3. #3
    Senior Member rm_hm's Avatar
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    Too small of a forward sprocket will also cause the chain to tear up the rubber chain pad mounted to the swingarm. It's about $40.00 and you have to take the swingarm off to replace it. Once it wears out your chain will drag across the swingarm.

    Part #14


    One member made himself a new one from scratch. I think he used something like UHMW plastic

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    Last edited by rm_hm; 05-09-2014 at 11:06 PM.
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  5. #4
    Member Yan's Avatar
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    12T - anyone runs this?

    Quote Originally Posted by rm_hm View Post
    Too small of a forward sprocket will also cause the chain to tear up the rubber chain pad mounted the swingarm.
    I see. Any clue as to how fast it will wear it out? If we are talking about 2-3k miles it may as well be replaced when it's time to get a new (O-ring) chain and a 60T sprocket for the rear in a couple years. I don't think it's a very expensive part, is it? Not over $50 I would hope.

    Thanks!

  6. #5
    Member Yan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RockyTFS View Post
    It is probably cheaper to add some links and run two masters to get a 13/60 setup.
    Thanks, didn't think of adding links to the existing chain. I have no experience with chain links (always had that done by a shop, not myself), but if that is doable then it will be super easy to go to 14/55 (I already have a 55T sitting in the garage), and with the next oil change will go to 13T in the front.

  7. #6
    Senior Member GaryL's Avatar
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    Changing the front sprocket is not as simple as it sounds and requires a new side cover gasket and a couple hours. I seriously doubt the TW engine has the power to run a 12T. There is a sprocket/ratio guide here somewhere and I would advise referring to it before experimenting with numerous front sprocket changes. You have not mentioned what you find wrong with the stock 14/50 gearing.

    GaryL
    Last edited by GaryL; 05-10-2014 at 12:34 PM.
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  8. #7
    Banned qwerty's Avatar
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    12T has never worked well on any bike I've ever tried one on. I expect 13-60 would be the way to go, or even bigger on the wheel, even if it means modifying the chain guard and guides to fit. The TW trans ratios are quite wide and 1st will be down in the basement. Probably would be able to use a 3-point hitch with 13/60.

    If you actually need such low gearing you'd probably be better off going ahead with the sprocket change and a new chain before you tear up the clutch with the stock parts.

  9. #8
    Member Yan's Avatar
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    GaryL: I find stock (14/50) gearing to be a compromise between street and trails. It probably always is with dual-sport bikes, I've owned a KLR650 and it seemed to be the same, stock 15T was neither there nor here. It doesn't take nearly as much time to change the front sprocket on a KLR though, so you can always switch between 14T for the trails and 16T for the highway. So I want the bike to be re-geared lower. I run 14/55 on mine (the one I was asking is my wife's), and like it much better than stock, but the slower it crawls the better, especially considering we'll be riding around Moab this summer with a 9 year old son as a passenger, total weight around 260-280lbs with gear and cargo.

    GaryL: does it really take that long to change the front sprocket? I had it done on my bike by a shop, so I had no idea it was THAT involved!

    Qwerty: Sounds like 12T is out of the question then. I will ask the shop if they can insert links into the existing chain and put a 55 or 60 in the rear. That would be a temporary solution, next would be to change front to 13T, chain to o-ring, and rear to 60. Ideally I want the 2nd gear to act as 1st on stock, and the 1st to be like 'low' on a Jeep. We don't need to ride over 40mph on these bikes, we haul them around, so no need for the 5th gear really.
    Last edited by Yan; 05-10-2014 at 07:51 AM.

  10. #9
    Senior Member trailscout's Avatar
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    If anybody wants to try a 12T I'll make ya a good deal. I bought one, took one look at it, decided.....don't think so.
    Ya gotta finish the loop, it's your only way out!

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  11. #10
    Senior Member RockyTFS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yan View Post
    ......
    GaryL: does it really take that long to change the front sprocket? I had it done on my bike by a shop, so I had no idea it was THAT involved!
    It isn't that involved, but having a new gasket in case the old one gets trashed is smart. I've done it three times now and it takes about an hour. You can lay the bike on its side so you don't have to drain the oil. You just need to be careful that you don't crush the wires from the stator and that the locating dowels don't fall out during re-assembly. Also, the bolts are not all identical lengths so you need to identify them. Use a piece of cardboard with a rough tracing of the case and punch them in it as you remove.

    There are several threads with pictures in here, try searching for "Front sprocket change" or similar.

    From my experience with 13/55 I would guess that 13/60 would be wound out at 50mph, normally you would start in 2nd, and 1st would be wound out at about 6 mph! There is such a thing as gearing the bike so low that you can't actually balance it and have to put your feet down at crawling speeds. This leads to unweighting the rear tire and losing traction. It's not a Jeep! I can't see any need to go further than 13/55 in any of the riding I have ever done except for very high altitude riding where the engine is only putting out about 8 HP. That's a power issue, not a speed issue. Only one way to find out, but I might suggest you try 55 first. That is nearly the same as 14/60. It fits my definition of a crawler gear. YMMV.
    Rocky
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