New sprocket?

I am thinking that I would like to change my gearing in my bike and be able to lug it easier for the tight trail riding that I do. To do this I need to go down in the front or up in the back, correct? My dealer said he would recommend going up (I think) two teeth in the back rather than change the front but I thought I would run it through here to see if anyone has any comments on it. If I switch the back sprocket what if anything do I need to do with the chain? Also, is it easy to switch back to the stock sprocket for times when I am riding in the more wide-open. I would be especially interested to hear from anyone who has done this in terms of how the bike felt and if it was worth doing. As always, thanks for any help.


There are ups and downs to either choice...

Changing the front is much easier and takes all of about 90 seconds. The problem is that a smaller front sprocket is harder on the chain as it is forced into a smaller diameter turn, causing it to wear faster. You may also end up with too much chain and the adjustment range may not be enough to compensate, forcing you to cut out a link.

A larger rear sprocket doesn't effect the chain wear but you may have an issue with chain length being too short. Changing it is also quite a bit more time consuming and you can't readily swap back and forth. Also, a new rear sprocket is generally more expensive.

Anybody got anything else?...SC

I opted to replace my stock 50 tooth rear with a 52 tooth and leave my front 14 stock.

Chains get expensive. "It is now like a tractor down low." I have very limited knowledge on bikes but I think I made a good move in this case.

My two cents.


I strongly recommend 13/50 (stock chain length) or 13/52 gearing for low speed lugging. You almost never need to use the clutch except when you want to. :)

On the same topic, what is the proper torque spec for the front sprocket of a WR450? I couldn't find it in the manual. Thank you.

Another thing to consider about running a smaller font is that along with accelerated chain wear, it will also wear through the swingarm chain slider much faster, just ask the guys who have done supermoto conversions.

You might be able to go up 2 teeth on the rear, with the stock length chain, by running your wheel as far forward (adjust the bolts on the axle blocks all the way in) as possible, but it'd probably be pretty tight if it did work, & you'd have shortened your wheelbase by about an inch.

For my riding a 14-48 gearing set-up does me fine. I needed a little more mph. in the desert.

The torque for the front sprocket nut is 54 ft/lbs, found on page 2-12 of the factory owners service manual, under drive sprocket

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