Front sprockets - 14T, 15T, 16T review
I've used three different sizes now and I figured I'd report on my experiences. All of the below is with the stock rear sprocket size.
Everybody is pretty familiar with the 15 tooth stock sprocket. It's a nice balance of acceleration and top speed.
I ran a 14 tooth for a while to get quicker acceleration. It was a lot of fun and made the Versys feel nice and torquey, but the speedometer was WAY off. I'm not sure about everyone else's, but my V is pretty happy at 4k and 6k rpm. With the 14T front, at 6k rpm I'd be doing about 72mph (pretty average highway speed around here) with the speedo reading 82-83. Taking off from stops and driving out of corners was fun, but top speed left a *lot* to be desired. Basically the 14T front makes the Versys feel very twitchy, like it revs up very quickly and you're shifting very quickly.
Over the weekend I swapped from the 14T to a 16 tooth. Night and day difference. The speedo is now dead on with my GPS. The bike feels much more laid back, shifting doesn't happen as frequently, and the throttle feels less sensitive. I've also gained an entire gear--at the same 72mph at 6krpm, I'm in 5th gear instead of 6th.
I'd say my breakdown was kind of like this:
14T - run this if you want to ride aggressively while keeping your top speed down. The bike feels much more fun when you whack the throttle open, and the front wheel gets lighter more quickly.
15T - run this for a nice balance of power, speed, and smoothness. Kawasaki picked this for a reason, and now I get why. It's the right all-around gear.
16T - run this to mellow out your V. It's a great gear for touring, more laid-back riding, or if you need more top speed.
I'd rather be riding.
2005 Triumph Speed Triple | 2009 Blue Versys
1997 Suzuki DR350SE (sold) | 2004 Triumph Speed Four (sold) | 2008 ZX6R (sold) | 2008 Concours 14 (sold) | 2007 Suzuki M50 (sold) | 2006 Ninja 500 (sold)