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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Although it took a quick trip to a tire store to break the old one free, I managed to get the front sprocket replaced from a 14-tooth to a 15 following Dave 300x’s clear tutorial. It‘s exactly what I’d hoped for. The bike shifts for me much better. and it’s happy on the road and trails. I took it into the Tate’s Hell state forest yesterday near the coast and ended up on some fairly narrow, degraded limestone and sand trails. The bike handled everything well. I did manage to drop it later that day in several inches of sugar sand on the way home, but that was my fault for not gearing down early enough. No damage except a bruised shin and a bit of chagrin.
 

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For solo riding on the open road, the 15-tooth front sprocket makes the bike much more pleasant to ride.
On the other hand, the stock 14-tooth front sprocket is slightly better for gravel roads and for carrying a pillion passenger. For "off-road" usage (tracks and forestry trails) then the stock 14-tooth front sprocket would be an advantage in territory where you would rarely shift above 4th gear.
 

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2017 Kawasaki Versys-x 300 (non ABS)
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I definitely remember driving through Tate's Hell on the way to St George Island. Glad you had fun with minimal collateral damage 👍🏻
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
For solo riding on the open road, the 15-tooth front sprocket makes the bike much more pleasant to ride.
On the other hand, the stock 14-tooth front sprocket is slightly better for gravel roads and for carrying a pillion passenger. For "off-road" usage (tracks and forestry trails) then the stock 14-tooth front sprocket would be an advantage in territory where you would rarely shift above 4th gear.
Perhaps, but most people have to ride on public roads to ”territory where you would rarely shift above 4th gear.” The 15 works significantly better for that in my opinion, especially in the States where distances are often longer and straighter than those in Europe and many other countries. And it worked just fine for me on the trails and gravel roads I was on this past weekend. It might be different if I was wandering along goat tracks in the Himalayans or creeping through traffic in Tokyo or if I carried It to trailheads, but I don’t. I also really liked having a slightly stretched-out 2nd and 3rd gear I could use on trails where I didn’t want to ride fast.

Carrying a passenger in traffic with the 14 is also uncomfortable in my experience for both riders due to the necessary and sometimes frantic shifting. In my view, the 15–just one tooth more—spreads the ratios out just enough to reduce the anxiety, jerkiness, and frustration caused by the need to shift so quickly and often in an urban setting. It’s not a radical change of gear ratios, but effective enough to warrant the time and modest expense.
 

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Well, y'all sure do make it sound good. I may yet try a 43-44 rear or 15 front sprocket.

Two situations recently have made me appreciate the 14/46 stock setup though:
1) Riding up a fairly steep section of a gravel road with some flat loose shale-like sections ... came to a spot where I stopped to check foe the best line to proceed. I really liked that low 1st gear feathering the clutch a little and easing back up the hill without any trouble.

2) Steep pitch coming out of a parking area at the state park: traffic coming, so had to stop at the very top of the hill and wait. My wife was with me, and even 2up - was able to ease out on the clutch and crest the hill without even making her nervous.

Maybe I could have done this geared a little higher too ... but for now, I haven't been in a situation where I really wished for taller gears.

Glad we have configurable machines 👍🏻
 

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Momentum is what you need to get up loose steep hills. On dirt bikes when down to first gear and realising that I would not make the crest I would turn side on, stop and look for the good line, and then go back down and reattack with more vigor and insight.
More power in first gear on steep loose hills just turns into wheelspin.
 

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Momentum is what you need to get up loose steep hills. On dirt bikes when down to first gear and realising that I would not make the crest I would turn side on, stop and look for the good line, and then go back down and reattack with more vigor and insight.
More power in first gear on steep loose hills just turns into wheelspin.
You are right @Brockie. If I had the inclination (or youth) to ramble up steep, loose, dirt bike hills any more ... momentum would be the likely tool of choice (y)

Just to clarify my steep gravel road wasn't "dirt bike" steep or loose 😂... it was still just a gravel road (unsealed?). And even there, I still had to feather the clutch a little to keep the rear tire planted. But the low gears made it easy.
 

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As a new member it’s good to read the experiences of other owners. I am thinking of converting to a 15 tooth front, without going down on rear sprocket.
Does it make that much of a difference as it sounds like a no brainier if most miles are on road ? I live in quite hilly area of Wales.
Wondering if it has any effect on bikes other systems like ABS …does it throw any warnings on dash Or does it just work seamlessly ?
 

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So now that I’m running a 15 front and 44 back I’m really liking this, but I’ve noticed there’s a 16 tooth front sprocket available. Has anyone heard of anyone using this setup? My whole reason for using a larger front sprocket was lowering my RPM’s on the highway and my current setup 15/44 still allows me to do gravel.
 

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So now that I’m running a 15 front and 44 back I’m really liking this, but I’ve noticed there’s a 16 tooth front sprocket available. Has anyone heard of anyone using this setup? My whole reason for using a larger front sprocket was lowering my RPM’s on the highway and my current setup 15/44 still allows me to do gravel.
Does the Engine Management System function normally with the 15 x 44 combo ?
 

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Yes it’s fine, buzzing down interstate, 85 with the highway patrol next to me tells me I wasn’t speeding and my odometer and speedometer was correct or could be that he didn’t want to bother with me but I don’t think so
Just remember I’m on a 300 versys and life is all good, I’m done with the big bikes, I’ve got a triumph Bonneville T100 with a cozy sidecar collecting dust, and I’m fine with that.
 

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Just remember I’m on a 300 versys and life is all good, I’m done with the big bikes, I’ve got a triumph Bonneville T100 with a cozy sidecar collecting dust, and I’m fine with that.
I agree … I can throw this bugger around easily. I couldn’t do that with Transalp or Africa twin. It carries enough and does it really well with good fuel economy.
I am no boy racer either….practical and does what it says on the tin is my mantra.
 
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