Jump to content

Recommended Posts

I need some feedback on gearing. I have a 500EXC which came with 15/45 gearing. First gear was about the same as my last Honda motocross bike, while sixth gear was so high you have to be going 65 mph, to shift into it an cruise at 80. I put on a 14 tooth countershaft and it really feels lower. First gear is low enough for must stuff so far, and 6th gear seems about right for 55 mph cruising without over- revving the motor in the highway between trails. My question is this: I keep reading that everyone with a 350/450/500 off road model is using either a 14/48, 13/48, or 14/50 combination. I can't see how 6th gear doesn't end up the same as a close ratio 5 speed with one of these combinations. Remember, I have NOT tried any of these, so I'm reaching out for some feedback?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I need some feedback on gearing. I have a 500EXC which came with 15/45 gearing. First gear was about the same as my last Honda motocross bike, while sixth gear was so high you have to be going 65 mph, to shift into it an cruise at 80. I put on a 14 tooth countershaft and it really feels lower. First gear is low enough for must stuff so far, and 6th gear seems about right for 55 mph cruising without over- revving the motor in the highway between trails. My question is this: I keep reading that everyone with a 350/450/500 off road model is using either a 14/48, 13/48, or 14/50 combination. I can't see how 6th gear doesn't end up the same as a close ratio 5 speed with one of these combinations. Remember, I have NOT tried any of these, so I'm reaching out for some feedback?

Well I have the 14/50 combo. Seems I dont see 1st gear to often.I normaly hit a mid size hill in 2nd,but with this comb Im in 3rd (single track stuff in sand hills and rocks) I like to keep the rpms down low so I wont loose traction.Cruising speed around 55-60mph

Going to try a 15/50 comb see what happens,if anybody else has let us know?

Edited by mojave1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You two don't find 6th gear too low with the 50T rear?

I dont do a lot of pavement,but if I was 50T on the fwy would suck with the 14 counter.The motor would be working IMO. Im  going to install a G2 throttle tamer on my bike and up the counter just to see if I can get it under control in the ruff single track,sometimes it can be a handfull lol. Maybe it will work. dont know will see.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mojave 1 - I wouldn't suggest the freeway with any gearing unless you go to 17" wheels and street tires. In the canyons where I live in So. Cal, the speed limit is 50-55 on the highways between the mostly legal trails. Great place to ride street bikes too. So, with the 14/45, I can live with the 55 mph 6th gear cruise, and if I want to wick it up to say 80ish (although this has never happened (cough)), I am good with the top end. I wouldn't mind seeing what a 48 or 50 would do  to my 2nd/3rd gear ratios though.That is what is really more important.

 

Is there a "best combo" for 2nd/3rd/4th that hasn't been discussed? I think that first doesn't matter, it's just for dead stop-technical stuff. But 6th gear is good for fire roads out in the desert and the connecting highways.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For what it's worth, I've got an '08 450 EXC, which also came new with 15/45 gearing. I'm not sure if KTM has maybe revised the transmission ratio's when they switched to the 350/500 combo, but if they stayed the same, then what works for the older bikes should be similar to what you'd need.

It really all depends on how/where you ride. My bike had been updated to 15/48 a while back, but I found that to be still too high geared for any tighter woods work, and I could hardly use 6th even on the freeway. I've just recently switched to 14/51 after reading a bunch of threads on the subject, and believe it or not I still find the gearing a slight bit too tall. First gear is quite tall for whatever reason, and so is sixth. So even with the 14/51 gearing I find single track riding still needs a fair amount of clutch slipping, and in steep, slow downhill descents it's not low enough to use engine braking effectively. And on the highway I still don't get into 6th until over 100km/hr (60+mph), and there is a lot more rpm to go, so the engine isn't revving or working hard at all.

Now of course I'm coming from riding a DRZ400 with a 5 speed, which was very hard to setup for both tight dirt work and freeway droning, it had to be one or the other. But with the KTM's 6 speeds I find it heaven in comparison. And most everything else about the bike for that matter. But I digress.

like I say, it all depends on your riding style.......do you like revving the snot out of your engines and keeping close to that high power at the top end, or do you like lugging the engine, just putting along and using all that nice available torque, or are you somewhere in between? Mostly highway, or city, or dirt? Tight dirt or fast fire roads?

And personally I like going bigger on the back sprocket to lower gearing rather than too small on the front. A 13 tooth or smaller front is harder on the chain and swing arm sliders. 14 tooth is a good front size, and then play with the rear sizing to find your sweet spot.

Just thought of something else......my bike is fairly new to me, and I've only ran a Motoz Tractionator desert on the back (what a freaking tire!), which seems to be bigger in diameter than most, which might have some bearing on why I find the gearing still a little on the tall side with 14/51.

image.jpg

Edited by rosok
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I run 13/52 on my 500 and off road it's great, and on the road 6th gear is still plenty tall. It's still pulling hard and accelerating at 85mph with this gearing and cruising at 55-60 is definitely not revving up much. My only complaint is that on the motocross track 3rd gear is a little short, I think 14/49 would be better on the track, but with 13/52 I can putt around at walking speed without slipping the clutch which is great for tight trails and following the kids around.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

14/48 for me, first is only used on real tight single track - otherwise most of the stuff in NJ is faster terrain.  The bike will still cruise at 60 without too much strain, had it over 80 just to see a couple times and it still had throttle left - my guess is top end is around 90 or so with this gearing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm running 13/48 on my 500. I don't use 1st much except at walking speeds and can still cruse at 60-70 comfortably. I've even had it up to 90 with plenty left. In stock trim this bike will easily do 120.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm running 13/48 on my 500. I don't use 1st much except at walking speeds and can still cruse at 60-70 comfortably. I've even had it up to 90 with plenty left. In stock trim this bike will easily do 120.

 

 

In stock trim this bike will easily do 120.

 

 

Not likely.  

 

Nowhere near enough HP regardless of gearing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm getting the idea that the bike may actually have higher top speed with gearing that is shorter than stock. I'm thinking in stock trim it runs out of horsepower before it runs out of RPM. There's a video around YouTube somewhere with a pair of guys blasting around with different gearing but both topping out around 100mph.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My 09 530EXC

14/52 100mph. Done.

14/52  90mph. Easily pulls this on dirt with knobbies.

Geared right with street tires on pavement I have no doubt it could make 120mph with all conditions being good.

A beat 450 with knobbies on a hot day with a dirty airfilter, Not a chance of hitting 120mph.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There's a video around YouTube somewhere with a pair of guys blasting around with different gearing but both topping out around 100mph.

Hehe, Mike Tucson maybe? Rides a very nice wheelie!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am still confused. Why are so many people significantly gearing their bikes down so low? If first gear is a crawler with just one tooth on the counter and maybe three on the back, what benefit is there going to a 13 or a 50/52? In my mind higher gearing mean lower revs, which means less engine wear, longer oil life, and better gas mileage. I must be missing something?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

All I can tell you is that I am also gearing with a 14-50 on my 2013 500 EXC.  1st is rather useless I agree other than super tight single track like up in Hesperia, or a few other woody trails we ride.  I saw 100 mph last weekend, and felt it could get up to 105 mph.  The engine actually runs a little stronger in mid to higher rpm, so I think I am gonna stick with this setup.  I also noticed that the bike still wants a lower gear going through the sand or soft stuff ….so 50-60 mph is a 4th gear puller, while 5th gear at this same speed doesn't feel strong enough to keep you powering through the crud.  Granted I am 200 lbs plus gear…..240 lbs all in? I am 90% dirt as well…..and still getting 100 miles plus per full tank. If you are a lighter in weight than I am, you might like a 14-48 setup.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting. I'm going to have to do a top speed run tomorrow to see what mine will pull in 5th and 6th with my 14/45 gears. I just hope I don't get caught. I usually hit the desert toward summer, once my local trails get too hard packed and rocky, I go out to Cal City and ride. I don't mind the heat. I'll check out my gear ratios in the sand to see if they need to be tweaked for that sweet spot at high speed whoop velocity. I'm also looking forward to playing with the suspension a bit, as I just got stiffer springs front and back to go with my Scott's steering damper, but this is off-topic..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am still confused. Why are so many people significantly gearing their bikes down so low? If first gear is a crawler with just one tooth on the counter and maybe three on the back, what benefit is there going to a 13 or a 50/52? In my mind higher gearing mean lower revs, which means less engine wear, longer oil life, and better gas mileage. I must be missing something?

But once again, it comes down to the type of riding you are doing. If you are into more highway/fast fire road type riding for longer distances, then sure, you'd want to make sure you kept the revs down. But really, how fast do you intend to cruise at? First and foremost, it's a dirt bike, which usually involves lower speeds than freeway cruising. And for the dirt, at those lower speeds, 6th gear would be fairly useless if you run stock or even slightly lower gearing. It's a matter of tailoring it to yourself, because the gearing ain't right if you don't like it. That simple. And that's the nice thing about it, we can set the bikes up the way WE like, and not how someone else might like to ride it. Some of us don't care about the really high top speeds, we just want the engine/trans to be used in the most productive manner, with a good fun factor mixed in, keeping the engine on the boil, ready for anything, and who cares about longevity. How's that Trooper song go......"we're here for a good time, not a long time..."

Set it up how YOU'd like, cause you can. If your priority is maximizing gas mileage, engine life and such, then gear it high and you'll be happy with that. Ah, the sweat smell of freedom, isn't it great!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Different riding areas have different requirements. I ride on the east coast, trails are relatively tight and there's very few long distance straits. I rode about 50 miles the other day of mixed road and trails and despite about 20 miles of pavement, some at 80+ mph, i still averaged under 30mph. So 13/52 is more than tall enough, especially since top speed is still north of 85mph! Also lower revs is not always better for long engine life, especially if there's a significant load on the motor. If you're in soft sand, hills, etc it's often better to let it Rev a bit. High load at low revs can build a lot of heat.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am still confused. Why are so many people significantly gearing their bikes down so low? If first gear is a crawler with just one tooth on the counter and maybe three on the back, what benefit is there going to a 13 or a 50/52? In my mind higher gearing mean lower revs, which means less engine wear, longer oil life, and better gas mileage. I must be missing something?

Up here in NorCal the tight singletrack is TIGHT with rocks and roots and at times you wish you were on a trials bike. Also with really low gearing you don't end up slipping or even using the clutch as much when going real slow. Not abusing the clutch makes a huge difference when the temp is up and you're going slow.

Edited by 4strokeridertt
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Reply with:


×