XR650R gearing and chain length

I'm about to replace my chain and sprockets and I keep going round and round trying to figure out what I want/need as far as gearing. :thumbsup: Right now my XR650R has stock gearing and I ride everywhere from the highway to rock-strewn trails where I rarely get out of second gear. I'll also be riding with a paddle at the dunes so paddle-to-swingarm clearence (i.e. chain length) is a concern.

Gearing feels OK now but taller gears would be better on the street.

If I simply go to a 15t front sprocket (w/ stock 48t rear) am I going to have to lengthen the stock chain length (i.e. from 110 to 112 links)? If I go with 112 links can I still go back to the 14t for the trails?

What about going with a 47t rear and then swapping back and forth (as needed) between a 14t and 15t front? I figure this combo might get me good gearing options for both the trail and the street while giving be enough room for a paddle.

I can't really afford to figure out what works through trial and error so I'm trying to get it right the first time...


I have always just switched to a fifteen on the front with the stock 48 rear when I wanted to spend more time on the road. I never had any problems going to a 15 front with the stock chain length. In fact I would go from a 13 front for really tight stuff to a 15 front for more dual sport applications. Now that I have the 450 for the tight trails I switched to a 15/45 and road tires so it will cruise on the road.

I have the stock gearing with a 110 link chain and I have switch between a 14 and 15 tooth counter sprocket. It helps a little for the highway riding but it isn't a drastic difference. I'm currently replacing my chain and both sprockets. I went with a 47 rear because that is what the cycle shop had in stock. One tooth less probably won't make a noticeable difference, but when using the 15 tooth, it might be good enough for the street. I kept the 110 chain length because I know any of the above combo's will work.

With the stock 110L chain length I can run any combo of 13/14/15 and 45/48.


With the stock 110L chain length I can run any combo of 13/14/15 and 45/48.


My R must be different.

Sooo you are sayin I can use a 110 link chain with a 13/48 and a 15/48 combo. Good luck trying to get your 110 link chain on your 15/48 combo.

13/45 the axle is all the way back and the chain is a little loose with a new chain. I have used this with a 560 10 paddle. Same as 14/48 gearing.

Largest combo is 15/49 and you can't run a tire bigger (Taller) then 120/100. The axle is all the way forward with a new chain and just a little tight. 14/50, 13/52, 14/45, 15/44 are the extremes.

This summer I ran a Maxxis 7301HT 120/100 on the hard pack with a New 110 link chain. The chain/axle adjusters are all the way forward (in).

This is all with 110 link New X-Ring chain. I tested all but, the 15/44.



The bike handles much, much better with the axle forward off road. It's a big difference on the cornering with the axle forward then back.

So, do you all think a 13, 14, and 15 combined with a 47 would be a good way to go?

13/47 for slightly lower gearing and paddle clearence at the dunes

14/47 for gerneral purpose/trails

15/47 for street

Or maybe stay with a 48 rear instead of 47 so I'm not geared too high at the dunes and the trails? Problem with that is, according to the Excel spreadsheet, a 15/48 might be pushing the forward limits of the wheel adjustment. ??

I'm figuring all this using the stock chain length of 110 links. I'll be using a DID ERV3.

I'd prolly just start out with 14/47 get the 13 and 15 a little later.

The Excel chart is very helpful!

Good luck trying to get your 110 link chain on your 15/48 combo.

I've used a 15/48 with a 110 link chain several times. There is plenty of room to move the rear wheel forward. :thumbsup:

Honda's racing website actually recommends adjusting the rear wheel as close to the engine as possible. They claim it helps the balance on the bike under power, and it is also suppost the help stearing & handling. (What is really funny is, Honda also recommends buying a 1.6bar radiator cap from Kawasaki. Honda can't even make their own updated cap). Lazy bastards.

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