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Thread: Road Gearing

  1. #1
    Senior Member HKLBRY's Avatar
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    Road Gearing

    OK, so lets forget about "Off Road" capabilities for a minute.

    Has anyone ran anything smaller than a 47 tooth rear sprocket for road riding? I.E. Commuting or a bobber build. I have seen a few people talk about using a 42 or a 45 and I see the sprocket manufacturers offer even smaller and want to know what the pros and cons might be for these smaller sprockets. I would like to hear from people who have actually tried them.

    Thanks,

    Dan
    Last edited by HKLBRY; 05-13-2015 at 11:03 AM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Mr.Paynter's Avatar
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    I ride 95% road so I would be interested to hear back too!
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    Finally picked up a Tdub...

  3. #3
    Senior Member TopPredator's Avatar
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    I run a 14/45 I'm in the process of replacing my sprockets and chain. I contemplated changing my front sprocket to a 15 tooth and whatever rear sprocket that gives me the same ratio. I can get close to what I have but no cigar. I keeping my 14/45 configuration even it wears my chain out sooner. I have no problem enjoying off-road trails and the bike runs 55/65 with ease.
    Last edited by TopPredator; 05-12-2015 at 05:40 AM.
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  5. #4
    Senior Member oilhed's Avatar
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    I'm 5'8" and 220#. Plan on riding off road some but mostly street & dirt roads. I'm still at 14/50 but thinking 15/50, 14/47 or maybe even 15/49.
    Mark Flanagan
    aka OILHED
    2014 Yamaha TW200 &
    2001 BMW R1150GS

  6. #5
    Senior Member jb882's Avatar
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    On one of my TW's the prior owner geared it 14/45. I rode it around that way for a little while until i changed my chain and sprockets, my impressions are as follows.

    Pro's
    Its "faster", yes in theory its faster on top. I would get mine up over 70mph( clocked by a cop buddy of mine) but needed to be going down a hill to do it.
    It revs less at speed but not that much less ~700rpm at 55mph or so if you calculate it out
    1st-2nd gear shift does not need to happen instantly.

    Cons,
    Acceleration is glacial at around town speeds
    Cant climb a hill in 5th without downshifting at any speed.
    Constantly rowing at the gearbox.

    While i do a fair bit off off road the majority of my miles are on the street. I personally think the 14/50 gearing is really spot on for the TW. 14/50 is great for around town riding which is really when it comes to roads what this bike is best suited for. Its not a highway machine and no amount of gearing is going to fix that, it simply does not have enough power to sustain freeway speeds if there are hills involved. If there are no hills your going to wear the engine out trying to do it( I own one that's a fine example of that) . When mine had the 45 on the rear it was a joke trying to climb a hill on the road. I tried commuting to work on it more than once and almost got run over going up a hill in a 45mph zone on rt9 headed into Boston since the bike could not sustain 45 up this hill in 5th or 4th( same hill no problem in 4th with 14/50).

    Bottom line here and its not going to be a popular opinion in some circles. If you need a freeway bike, get rid of the TW and get one that's actually capable of highway speeds. The TW is simply not the right option for the freeway, it does not have enough power to sustain those speeds plus have some in reserve should you need it to get away from a situation.
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  7. #6
    Senior Member jb882's Avatar
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    Road Gearing

    If the speeds are 55 or less the stock gearing will be just fine.
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    Pair of 2006 TW's modded to the hilt and a Ducati Multistrada.

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  8. #7
    Senior Member TopPredator's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oilhed View Post
    I'm 5'8" and 220#. Plan on riding off road some but mostly street & dirt roads. I'm still at 14/50 but thinking 15/50, 14/47 or maybe even 15/49.
    I'm 5"7 195/200
    It will run comfortably at 55/65 all day long and 1st and 2nd are plenty low enough. I ran it up to 73 a couple times. It was probable WOT.
    I like going through the woods Hopping logs and it will spin the wheel. GPS is correct with my speedometer.
    We rode the 116 miles off road trails a few weeks ago and it performed extremely well. I love it!!!
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  9. #8
    Senior Member scotti158's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jb882 View Post
    If you need a freeway bike, get rid of the TW and get one that's actually capable of highway speeds. The TW is simply not the right option for the freeway, it does not have enough power to sustain those speeds plus have some in reserve should you need it to get away from a situation.
    Well said!
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  10. #9
    Senior Member TopPredator's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HKLBRY View Post
    There are alot of opinions on freeways, that is not my question nor do I plan on jumping from one motorcycle to another to chase the perfect bike. I am looking for "road" performance related information pertaining to lower tooth count sprockets. The sprocket manufacturers offer sprockets from 30-72 teeth and if sprockets below 45-47 are not useful for anything, then why are they offered. I am wanting to know "if" those lower numbered sprockets have any value to a particular type of riding I.E. commuting.
    Buy a 30 tooth and let us know how it performs. WTH there cheap.
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  11. #10
    Senior Member old w/2 many guns & bikes's Avatar
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    Instead of trying to tell you how to find this; I'll paste it here:

    45 tooth rear sprocket evaluation on pavement


    I may not do anything more off-pavement soon, other than dirt/gravel roads; so thought I'd test a 45 tooth. Only required: switch sprocket and shorten chain one set of links. No new chain required until I try a 55 tooth rear.

    2014 TW, no performance mods, 2,300 elev, 185 lb rider, 87 octane NON-ethanol. Not to compare mine to yours, just 50 tooth vs 45 tooth.

    Test #1: 60 miles, mostly flat with a few short hills, paved back country roads, 10 stop signs, steady 45 mph.
    50 tooth held 5th gear throughout.
    45 tooth had to use 4th gear once or twice for 5 seconds to maintain 45 mph on hills.
    Result: Smoother more comfortable ride due to less buzz/vibration and fuel mileage improved 6 mpg over 50 tooth.

    Test #2: 60 highway miles (30 each way), some slight grades, steady 60 mph.
    50 tooth held 5th gear throughout.
    45 tooth had to use 4th gear quite a bit to hold 60 mph on the grades, especially into the wind.
    Result: 4th gear 45 tooth had a little more buzz/vibration than 5th gear 50 tooth -but-
    45 tooth 5th gear was a MUCH smoother and more comfortable ride than 50 tooth.
    Even using 4th gear on the grades; fuel mileage improved 5 mpg over 50 tooth.

    Test #3: 2 miles, 6% grade, full throttle test.
    50 tooth 5th gear - 58 mph at bottom - 55 mph through middle - 58 mph at top.
    50 tooth 4th gear - 56 mph at bottom - 57 mph through middle - 58 mph at top.

    45 tooth 5th gear - 52 mph at bottom - 42 mph throughout most - 40 mph at top.
    45 tooth 4th gear - 57 to 59 mph with almost no fluctuation off 58 mph.
    45 tooth 3rd gear - 55 mph bottom to top.

    Test #4: Maybe 1/2 mile, steeper grade, full throttle test.
    50 tooth 5th gear - low of 46 mph - high of 48 mph.
    50 tooth 4th gear - low of 48 mph - high of 54 mph.

    45 tooth 5th gear - USELESS at steady 31 mph.
    45 tooth 4th gear - steady 50 mph.
    45 tooth 3rd gear - steady 52 mph.

    My opinion: For "street only bikes" or "those whose off-pavement riding may only be hard packed dirt, gravel, fire-roads etc.", a 45 tooth is a winning improvement. With a simple down-shift to 4th you pretty much give up nothing to a 50 tooth (even in 4th), and gain a much smoother, more comfortable bike with improved fuel economy.

    A lot of non hard-core off-road situations (and some hard) stock gearing, you may find 2nd gear a little too high and 1st gear a little too low. This might make 1st a sweet spot; like gearing lower and 2nd becoming perfect. -J-

    Update: February 2017: (my testing above had been done in calm weather) Have had a 65 tooth on for quite awhile. Tested a 35 tooth (failed) and then put the 45 tooth back on. Went out in strong winds and could barely hold 55 on a flat road into the wind and could barely hold 45 up a slight but long rise by shifting to 4th. So I am amending my opinion to: the 14-45 is lacking in very windy conditions. I put the 50 tooth on and got to 60 on the flats. In the future, I hope to try 14-47 or the equivalent 15-50.

    Update: March 2017: Tested 14-45, 15-50 and 15-45 (equivalents of 14-47 and 14-42) on the freeway. No gearing setup higher than stock would hold 60 mph in the wind in some sections regardless of being in 4th or 5th gear.

    So I just ordered a 42 tooth rear. The 15-42 is equal to a 14-39 setup.

    Update April 2017: Tested 15-42 which is equal to 14-39. My motor is totally stock - unlike some who have gone to this gearing set-up. I do not recommend these gear set-ups with a stock motor, as I felt there was too much lag (bogging taking off from a stop) for everyday use. I switched to 15-45 and had no problem - and was holding 60+ on sections I had problems before.

    Update June 2017. Admiral loaned me his 44 tooth and I tested it today 15-44 which is equal to a 14-41. It did not have the bogging problems taking off from a stop like the 15-42 did; and was able to hold 65 with a shift to 4th if necessary (where the 42 tooth wouldn't hold 60 in 5th or 4th).

    So: 15-44 / 14-41 is the highest gearing I can recommend for a stock motor - unless I get a 43 tooth to test with my 15 front (equal to 14-40 "within 15rpm").

    So, knowing 15-44 or 14-41 is good - and 15-42 or 14-39 fails with my stock motor:

    Anybody have a loose 43 tooth sitting around that I could borrow to complete this test. I would pay shipping both ways.
    Last edited by old w/2 many guns & bikes; 06-16-2017 at 01:33 PM.

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