front or rear sprocket change for more low end

I changed the front sprocket on my DR650 ($3200 if anyone is interested 1800 miles 1999) to get a lower gear ratio. It works well, but now I have a WR450 and want to do the same to allow me to putt putt real slow through the trails. Should I go with a smaller front sprocket or larger rear? The front is less expensive, will it matter?

I have a 1 tooth larger and 1 and 2 teeth smaller front sprockets for my WR. They're quick to swap and you don't have to change the chain. I bought a set of chain adjuster spacers for a couple of bucks to help when the wheel is all the way back in the swingarm for the smallest sprocket. You can't fine tune as much since 1 tooth up front is like 3 to 4 teeth on the rear, but I'm not racing and it works for me. Changing rears means removing the wheel and usually a different chain length. You can swap front sprockets in about 10 minutes.

52 - 53 on the rear should do the trick.

Make sure to replace both sprockets and the chain as a set.

Use a steel (or Ironman as Indy would recommend) rear sprocket. The WR will trash aluminum in a ride or two!!

I run 14/50 in my 426, and unless you plan to sit on the front mudguard, this setup has more low down grunt than you can use. It does run out at just under 130Km/h (80 Mi/h) in top which can be annoying, but thats the price you pay for 3rd gear roll on wheelies and nice gear spacing.


I think droping 1 tooth on the front equates to adding 3 teeth on the back.

If you want just a little more low end get a slightly bigger rear sprocket. If you want a lot more low end, go 1 tooth lower on your counter sprocket. I think the smallest counter sprocket you can get for the WR is 12 teeth, but that's really small and might cause problems.

One thing about a smaller front sprocket is that they wear quicker than a 14 tooth or higher. They can't handle the torque as well. I have almost always ran 13T front sprockets on my 400 and 450 and both bikes eat them up quick. It's a cheap fix for gearing but it sucks when you loose about 3 or 4 teeth out on the trail. :) I think I'm going to go with a 53 or 54 rear soon, since my current 13 toother on the 450 is about to self destruct!

I ran a 12 front sproket 50 rear,

and first gear became redundant on rocky wet climes i had to pull off in second as first wanted to loop.

I'm now back to stock and much happier but top speed is blinding !!!!!

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