Question on sprockets, Front vs. Back.

Did my research, and couldn't get a EXACT answer..

Bought my first 2011 WR450F 4 months ago, and am loving it. Only complaint I personally find, is it's too speedy. Not a fan of doing over 140+ (Kms) on dirt road. Anyway, I'm looking for more power then speed, my friends tell me the easiest way is to change the sprockets. I was wondering what would have the most effect on dropping/adding teeth. Should I start with dropping a tooth or two on the front, or adding a few on the back. I am currently running the stock 13/50. Also, does gearing the bike down have any damaging effects on the bike?

Thanks guys.


I don't think you will need to worry about doing any damage to the bike with any gearing changes. If you went extremely small or large, there may be some clearance issues, but you are not likely to go that far. As far as what is easier to change for the desired effect, the front will have a bigger difference per tooth change. One tooth up front is about equal to 3 in the rear. To lower your gearing, you would want to go smaller in the front or larger in the back. I don't know what the recommended minimum size would be for the front though. Too small and the chain will have a harder time making the turn. Make sure you re-adjust your chain slack after making any changes, even just a tooth.

Alright, Thanks :thumbsup:

I found that after getting it jetted clean with good exhaust and stiffer AP Spring, it pulls 13/50 really well. 3rd gear was soft off the bottom before, now it has some nice yank in 3rd. Plus the engine braking is perfect now, where with 13/51 the engine braking would be stronger. I don't prefer a lot of engine braking, but if you do like that, 13/51 or 52 would do the trick.

Edited by Bandit9

Well that sounds pretty good to me. I'm gonna buy a couple front sprockets at different teeth sizes and see what I like most. Thanks for the help guys. :thumbsup:

I think the smallest they make for the front is a 12T and the largest for the rear is a 53T, at least what I found for my '08. Anything larger than the 50T rear will pull against the chain guide, but minimal increase in wear reported by others. Mine is showing faster wear on the top of the chain with the 51T through the stock guide. I don't think they make anything smaller than the 12T CSS for a reason, that being chain wrap would be too tight.

I went from a 13/51 to a 12/51 this last weekend and couldn't be happier with the results. Now it will 'tractor' in 1st when I need it climbing the steep and nasty boulder fields, but will still hit 80mph (indicated) on flat dirt roads. Comfortable engine speed in 5th is around 50-55mph (indicated). Pulls harder now all the way to the top of the RPM limit.

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