Rear Sprocket Size? - Kawasaki Versys Forum
View Poll Results: Rear Sprocket Size?
Keep it stock - 15/46 7 77.78%
Standard drop - 15/43 2 22.22%
Get low - 15/41 0 0%
Slow and smooth - 15/39 0 0%
Voters: 9. You may not vote on this poll

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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-20-2018, 03:49 PM Thread Starter
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Rear Sprocket Size?

I have a 2009 650, and am looking at a number of good length road trips coming up. I use the bike for commuting in all weather, and find it to be a bit high-vibration on highways. So I was looking at dropping my rear sprocket size down sometime here soon to hopefully lower the RPM's I'm at when cruising. Most the highway riding and roadtripping happens around 70-80mph, but a fair bit of my commute driving occurs around 40mph.

I see a lot of people drop from the stock 46T down to 43T, but was wondering if anyone has gone lower than that?

Here's the current differences I'm looking at:

15/46T (stock) - 69.4mph @5200rpm / 5618rpm @75mph

15/43T (common) - 74.3mph @5200rpm / 5252rpm @75mph
+4.9mph / -366rpm vs stock

15/41T (lower) - 77.9mph @5200rpm / 5008rpm @75mph
+8.5mph / -610rpm vs stock

15/39T (lowest) - 81.9mph @5200rpm / 4763rpm @75mph
+12.5mph / -855rpm vs stock

(information pulled from gearingcommander.com)

Has anyone dropped below a 43T rear? The 41 is looking pretty tempting for dropping another 240 something rpm over the 43T, but I'm wondering if it might just be a little small for commuting without enough gain on touring. The 39 looks like it'd be great on trips, but I'm thinking it'd almost certainly be too low for touring. I do have a fun canyon ride in August, but wouldn't mind grabbing some sprockets and a chain on the opposite end of the spectrum for that as the bike would be getting loaded on a trailer for that (figure a 14/50 or 15/52 should be fun up there).

For any of y'all that have dropped below the lauded 43T, or those of y'all that just know a lot more than I do - would going down to a 41T or 39T be a solid, smooth commuter and touring bike? Or would I be nuking my city use and highway merging capabilities going that low?
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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-20-2018, 08:22 PM
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15/44

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I still have a full deck.
I just shuffle slower.
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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-20-2018, 11:35 PM
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i run a 43 and have been loving it. speedo is now almost spot on and does 70(ish) at around 5k and still has plenty of pull to shoot up to 90+ without needing to down shift and will do 110 2up(over 300#of people+gear) with the givi sail on the front. and still can get the front wheel up in first and second gear if you try

yes im a guy.
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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-21-2018, 05:06 AM
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I'm at 15/45 which works quite well overall... 15/43 would be the tallest acceptable gearing, although potentially overkill. If you're hauling over 200 lbs (rider(s) and cargo) and use an oversized windscreen, 15/44 may provide the ideal final gearing.
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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-21-2018, 05:47 AM
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15/44 here for abt 25,000 miles with luggage, 195 lbs me & happy.
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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-21-2018, 08:06 AM
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I think I went 15/44 as well... have to count teeth when I get home. I'm very happy where it's at.

'08 Versys.. Givi rear rack, JCW trunk and E21's, Givi shield, Madstad bracket, Speedy peg and mirror brackets, lowering kit, SC Seat, R1 Shock.. other stuff. '09 KLX250 setup for singletrack. 2011 Xterra, '80 CJ-7

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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-21-2018, 12:05 PM
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Standard gearing (15/46) on ALL three V 650s, for a grand total of 148,6xx miles, which includes THREE LON-N-G rides to Dawson City (and on to AK on two of those) as well as an "across-Canada odyssey" last summer, and MANY 'shorter' adventures.

Personally I would NOT go to higher gearing (ie - larger front/ smaller rear sprockets) because there've been times when my first gear wasn't as LOW as the conditions warranted, or I felt I needed.

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IF anyone cares - I get 50+ mpgUS on my '08, as well as 55+ on my '15.

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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-21-2018, 02:53 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by invader View Post
I'm at 15/45 which works quite well overall... 15/43 would be the tallest acceptable gearing, although potentially overkill. If you're hauling over 200 lbs (rider(s) and cargo) and use an oversized windscreen, 15/44 may provide the ideal final gearing.
So it doesn't look like I'll be going below 43T then.

I myself am (currently, but working on it) over 200lbs, and I have a V-Stream with MRA X-Screen. How much of a difference am I going to see in that 1T?

Quote:
Originally Posted by fasteddiecopeman View Post
Personally I would NOT go to higher gearing (ie - larger front/ smaller rear sprockets) because there've been times when my first gear wasn't as LOW as the conditions warranted, or I felt I needed.
I don't really find a need for my 1st gear all that much, and if anything would prefer to not be shifting right off the line every time I come off a green light. I'm likely going to pick up a spare chain and a 14/50T setup for when I want to go canyon running or hoon around, so if I did find a need to step back up I could mix and match between 14/15T front and a 43/46/50T rear.
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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-21-2018, 03:59 PM
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I've never changed sprocket gearing on any street bike............dirt bikes, yes, but not street bikes. I find the Versys 15-46 "works fine" for me.
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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-22-2018, 01:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 09Greeny View Post
So it doesn't look like I'll be going below 43T then.

I myself am (currently, but working on it) over 200lbs, and I have a V-Stream with MRA X-Screen. How much of a difference am I going to see in that 1T?



I don't really find a need for my 1st gear all that much, and if anything would prefer to not be shifting right off the line every time I come off a green light. I'm likely going to pick up a spare chain and a 14/50T setup for when I want to go canyon running or hoon around, so if I did find a need to step back up I could mix and match between 14/15T front and a 43/46/50T rear.
Air drag/resistance adds up with large handguards and luggage as well... I think you'd be good with no less than 44T rear with a 15T front. I'm completely out of the vibes only when I can travel fast enough to be at 5,000 to 6,100 rpm.

Last edited by invader; 03-22-2018 at 02:06 AM.
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post #11 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-22-2018, 09:15 AM
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I agree with silviefox, 15 x 43 is the setup that works well for me. Speedo, as he said, is virtually spot on when compared with my trusty GPS and the revs at highway speed are comfortable for me. But, in the end, it's a case of "to each his (or her) own."
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post #12 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-22-2018, 10:20 AM
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This question is like what oil do I use or what is the best religion?

Since there is a transmission between the engine and final drive, changing the final drive should only have the effect of changing the engine speed wrt road speed and selected gear. It will also raise or lower the engine speed in top gear at a given speed.

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post #13 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-14-2019, 07:13 AM
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Went with a 43, not sure I would do it again. I have to be careful off the line, lots of clutch slip and a real drag in stop and go traffic. I have gotten caught in 30 minute stop and go traffic, very fatiguing. Riding below 55 mph I don't use 6th gear, as this is too tall. 43 is really good for all day freeway crusing, good power but pulls kind of hard if going up hill or a stiff head wind, to I do slow up a bit and shift down when needed, the bike is happier that way. I think I would go with a 44 If I had to do it again. I can now see the wisdom of Kawasaki for using the sprocket size in a stock machine. Changing the gearing made the 650 feel like a different bike, so think before you make the change. Your mileage may vary!
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post #14 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-14-2019, 08:44 AM
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I have been running with a 44T rear sprocket on my Gen 3 650 for 2 seasons and am quite happy with the results.

I still have a full deck.
I just shuffle slower.
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post #15 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-14-2019, 12:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quexpress View Post
Yea,15/44 for me too. At this ratio you have to let out more clutch to get going,its a little different. Any taller and the on-call acceleration would suffer a bit for me anyways. Ive got the Shodabeen flash and its runnin real sporty now in the lower mid range.Dont wanna give that up!
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post #16 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-14-2019, 12:49 PM
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I run (and have ALWAYS - for about 165,000 miles among THREE V650s) the stock 15/46 combination. I get VG fuel mileage (around 53mpgUS on my Gen 1 V650// around 58mpgUS on my Gen3), and that includes long rides like my cross-Canada ride, summer '17, during which, over the 8,668 miles my fuel mileage was 72.4 mpgImperial (57.9 mpgUS).

I also occasionally ride when the 'pavement' ends, so I'm NOT interested in having my first gear any 'higher' than Kawi made it, as I don't want any clutch issues in the "out back"....


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post #17 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-15-2019, 12:22 AM
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My 2 cents .
With a smaller rear sprocket you run faster at the same rpms, but for the engine is like the bike become heavier. You notice this in the acceleration, in the traffic, hills or curvy roads.
I done this on my previous bike, an Aprilia Pegaso 650cc. I installed a 2 teeth smaller rear sprocket: the difference was very noticeable. The direction was what I wanted, but in fact it was a bit too much. The bike became less elastic and left a lot at low rpms. It was manageable, but a bit too much.
Considering tha Versys is twin (Pegaso was 1 cyl) and it's 13 HP powerful, I think 44 teeth is enough in order to have a good balance between your goal and the engine working.

Nobody thinks that something is so easy like who is totally unable to do it.

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post #18 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-15-2019, 07:25 AM
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16T front, the stock 46T rear is a perfect compromise, I find. It was once very popular here. Also better for the chain with a larger front, so the wise guys say.
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post #19 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-29-2019, 12:48 PM
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Rear Steel Sprocket

I am looking for a compromise, I have had the 16T rubber dampened front and prefer staying away from it, as very little clearance. So I am trying to get together a order for Fortnine and am unable to find a steel sprocket in 45 teeth for 520 chain that fits.The 1 tooth drop would bring my speedo back to bang on, even though the same size tire, the PR-5 are slightly smaller in circumference.
I may call my dealer as that is where I will get the new front 15T from. may also look at Twisted Throttle. So I went to the Sunstar site and it came up with 1-3356-45
SUNSTAR
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post #20 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-29-2019, 01:04 PM
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Rear Steel Sprocket / Fortnine

So I found a Bikemaster 45 tooth in steel ,that checking says it will fit, the reviews to me are suspicious like the same person did 3 or 4 , as the spelling reflects my suspicion,anyone with experience with BikeMaster sprockets??

https://fortnine.ca/en/bikemaster-rear-sprocket
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