Modifications - Performance Discuss aftermarket and DIY performance modifications

15/41 or 16/43

Old 12-10-2011, 04:16 AM
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15/41 or 16/43

I know I know...here we go again. I have searched and spent many hours reading many posts but still not gotten an answer that particularly affects me.
I never do track, I don't take it to the drag strip, not really interested in popping wheelies all the time.
I do enjoy taking it out on some nice windy roads but keep it in a comfortable situation and not pushing it too far. I commute about 100 miles daily to and from work. On my way to work in the morning I generally take a major hwy to work but on my way home I have a couple options of some nice windy roads. I enjoy taking long trips but generally try to take fun routes rather than interstate hways.
Acceleration is acceptable as is but more sure would be nice.
Ok starting to sound too much like a personal add.......
I have a coworker that says go -1 in front and I'll never regret it but I read more posts about 16/43 setup than 15/41. Will the chain length be the same 102 for both?
Any input on which to go with?

Last edited by archaicguy; 12-10-2011 at 04:24 AM.
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Old 12-10-2011, 04:57 AM
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about a 2% difference between the two (with the 15/41, obviously, being lower). Either option will allow you to retain the stock chain but longevity is compromised slightly with the 15/41 (due to smaller front sprocket).

It's your call, how low do you want to go?
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Old 12-10-2011, 05:24 AM
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They look so close to being the same they're practically interchangeable. I'd do the 16/43 because the larger 16 will cause less wear, as was stated, than the 15. The two tooth difference in the rear is not an issue.

Based on what you have said about acceleration, you need to actually consider your riding and what the engine is doing. If, in your riding, you seem to find you're constantly at the very bottom of your power in the rpm range for the speed, you should either go larger front/smaller rear for taller gearing to run one gear lower or go smaller front/larger rear for shorter gearing to get a higher rpm at given speed.

My own personal example was that the 550 stuck me at a known vibration point in the engine rpm (6000 rpm) when doing 65-70, so I went one tooth taller on the front. It helped for the higher back road and freeway range, but now the other known vibration point (4000 rpm) is right at 50 mph where most of the drivers taking "personal vacations" on the back roads seem to be rolling. I'm thinking of going down a few teeth on the rear since I am maxed out on the front, to get the vibration range down about 5 mph more, which will also push the other point up more.

When wheelies and stop light to stop light type runs aren't important, it takes a thinking rider to know what to do. It seems most riders instantly jump at the 1 tooth smaller front sprocket because either they play the stop light to stop light gran prix, they want to do power wheelies, or "it's what my buddy told me to do, adds 5 hp."

Think about what's going on while you're commuting the next few times and make a well thought out decision where to go with gearing. Most of the time the chain adjustment is adequate for one or two teeth up or down on the front or 3-4 up or down on the back without adding links if the present adjusment is about middling. More extreme changes may require differing length.

One good reason too, for going to a change up on the front, besides ease and price, is that you can always drop down a tooth or two for some acceleration should you want to do so, with only a change of chain adjustment, without going to some tiny 12-14 tooth sprocket that wraps the chain really tight and distributes the load over way fewer teeth.

For what it's worth, I have an excel file I made up with gearing up to six speeds, primary, and secondary ratios tire diameter or circumference, and rpm variables. You can set up the ratios of the Superhawk/Firetorm in it, set the rpm wanted and the tire diameter wanted (actual or mfr site spec) then alter the final drive and see what the changes are in the speeds at the given rpm. If one needs Kliks one would need to alter the calculations to metric or add a conversion column. Not too tough. Plus it has two of them on the spread sheet so you can compare two different combinations without deleting one or the other.

PM or email me to get the file forwarded to you by email. I don't think I can attach a file here and am not a member of any site where I can do that.

Last edited by klx678; 12-10-2011 at 07:10 PM.
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Old 12-10-2011, 10:19 AM
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To stay away from the merits of different gearing and stick to your question.

On the choice between 16\43 & 15\41 I would run the 16\43 for the reason that the larger chain wheels will give longer chain life.

The one thing you have overlooked is both will change the wheelbase of the bike. With 16\43 you will end up with a shorter wheelbase and with 15\41 it will be longer.

This will change how the bike turns in and overall stability.

Though all this is a topic for a different thread.

Also if you would like to look at the gearing numbers you just need to go to this site:
Gearing Commander: Motorcycle Speed, RPM, Chain & Sprockets Calculator
and they have the VTR in their data base to make it even easier.

Last edited by 8541Hawk; 12-19-2011 at 01:42 PM.
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Old 12-11-2011, 10:24 AM
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Alright, here's your answer. This is how and why I run my gearing.

Chain life and sprocket life are maximized with a 16/43 gear choice.
The lower gearing is enouph for the twistys and not so extrem when on the highway. Its a great setup and you will notice a difference. The cost of the 43 sprocket is the only drawback.

That being said, I now run a 17/43. This combo is slightly taller then the stock 16/41 and now if I want to change up ratios for a twisty ride I need only to swap my front sprocket. 15min and its done. I suppose you could even carry the extra sprocket in the tank-bag and should you need to, a change by the side of the road is not out of the question....

I have yet to see this gearing choice discussed on here, and I haven't been able to find a negative aspect to this arrangement.... but I believe this to be the best choice.

The wheel base aspects of the change are not included in my statement though. I hope you try this setup and report on it as well.
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Old 12-11-2011, 01:51 PM
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Thanks everyone, the gearing commander website is awesome, exactly what I wanted to see.....it tells me the rpm range I will be running at 75 to 80. Looks like only a gain of 200 rpm with the 16/43 setup.

Never heard of the 17/43 setup.....That's a little taller than stock which would allow me to drop a few rpms on the highway. Not bad since I do try to ride as sensible as possible and if I get to the twisties i can always downshift and run higher rpm than normal. Hmmmm

As far as acceleration goes that's just the gearhead in me talking. The Hawk has enough power for me stock....I think I can count on 2 hands the amount of times i've gone full throttle.
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Old 12-11-2011, 08:45 PM
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I wanted to chime in -and say I changed to a 16/43 with stock 102 link chain.
There are Pros/Cons to this.
I am an aggressive rider.

I noticed the tip-in and bar pressure are lighter. However, the front end is slightly less planted when I pin it to the throttle stop on corner exits. There is more weight on the back and less on the front. I also added a 3mm shim on the rear shock to put more weight on the front and quicken the steering by lowering trail a tad. This combated the shorter swingarm (so to speak).

The 16/43 gearing is perfect, but when I replace to a 520 set-up, I will be running a 104 link chain to effectively lengthen the rear wheel to where it was. It looks like I lost about 5mm of swingarm ( effective).

Granted, when I calm down- then the more sensitivity and lighter pressure is nice. But, I don't ride quite are hard as I am afraid of front wheel wash out. On a right hand turn...uh..no thanks.

Last edited by Matt_Hawk; 12-11-2011 at 08:55 PM.
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Old 04-15-2013, 04:38 AM
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Here's a question, will changing the sprockets effect the speedo reading to the point where one needs to convert too 'actual road speed on the fly'as it were?
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Old 04-15-2013, 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Blackbetty View Post
Here's a question, will changing the sprockets effect the speedo reading to the point where one needs to convert too 'actual road speed on the fly'as it were?
Nah, OEM speedometer calibration are typically optimistic, give you higher speed than actual speed, changing to a taller gearing would likely make your speedo reading closer to actual speed.
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Old 04-15-2013, 04:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Blackbetty View Post
Here's a question, will changing the sprockets effect the speedo reading to the point where one needs to convert too 'actual road speed on the fly'as it were?
Yes it will. W/ 15-41 my gps reads [about]10 mph slower than my speedo.
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Old 04-27-2013, 04:36 PM
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I agree. I was running 16/43 and I was 10MPH off from what the speedo indicated. easy conversion on the fly
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Old 04-27-2013, 05:00 PM
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Originally Posted by crackerjackman View Post
I agree. I was running 16/43 and I was 10MPH off from what the speedo indicated. easy conversion on the fly

Do you mean 10% ??? If so, yeah that is what mine was off also when I ran 16\43..............before I saw the light and went back to stock gearing...
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Old 04-28-2013, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by 8541Hawk View Post
Do you mean 10% ??? If so, yeah that is what mine was off also when I ran 16\43..............before I saw the light and went back to stock gearing...
have the same experience. 5% comes from stock speedo setup, 5% was gear change (16/41 to 16/43 is roughly this 5%).
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Old 04-30-2013, 05:51 AM
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Think I might just factor in a Speedohealer thingie into any set-up purchase.. hey sound to be the goods.
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Old 04-30-2013, 06:07 AM
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FWIW, I am currently running 16/44, virtually identical to 15/41 numerically, while keeping the benefit of the larger front sprocket (less wear). As I installed them with a new chain, I simply cut it to 104 links instead of 102 and the deed is done. On the corrected speedo (accurate via Speedohealer), it runs exactly 4500 rpm at 120 km/h (74 mph) in sixth.

cheers
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Old 04-01-2019, 10:48 PM
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Ok so ended up going 16/43 gearing based on how many people on both site run this, from the 15/42 that the bike came to me with, feels really good, just wondering how many links of chain you guys run with that set up? I ended up going the stock 102 but im only like half a turn out from all the way in. Thinking i should have gone 104 now. Brain fart moment, didn realise i had it all the way in when i wrapped the chain around, marked it and cut it.
Will it affect handling much? I imagine having another 2 links will do the opposite and have the axle near all the way maxed rearwards..
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Old 04-02-2019, 04:10 AM
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Originally Posted by VTRsquid View Post
Ok so ended up going 16/43 gearing based on how many people on both site run this, from the 15/42 that the bike came to me with, feels really good, just wondering how many links of chain you guys run with that set up? I ended up going the stock 102 but im only like half a turn out from all the way in. Thinking i should have gone 104 now. Brain fart moment, didn realise i had it all the way in when i wrapped the chain around, marked it and cut it.
Will it affect handling much? I imagine having another 2 links will do the opposite and have the axle near all the way maxed rearwards..
Not much, at all. If you are sensitive to mm's of adjustment in this area, you missed your calling.
And since the chain is new, it will stretch a little allowing you to move the wheel back a bit. Don't sweat it. I'm very sure mine is OE length as well.
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Old 04-02-2019, 04:46 AM
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Thanks! Yeah havnt had a chance to ride it except around the block to the mechanic for a roadworthy. When i get it back it will be a slightly different animal with a new front tyre and head stem bearings.
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Old 04-02-2019, 01:36 PM
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I've experimented with multiple ratios for two reasons. One being the best compromise of acceleration vs economy, the other top speed runs at El Mirage Dry Lake (SCTA timed) My Hawk couldn't pull redline with 17/43 gearing. Stock gearing would just hit redline in 6th and ran 150.786mph My best run was with 16/43 gears. I clocked out at 158.231mph well into the red zone! Probably could have done better with some jet tweaking due to the altitude. Listed Highest to lowest; Sprocket sizes/gear ratio; 17/43=2.529:1, 16/41(Stk)=2.562:1, 16/43=2.6875:1, 15/41=2.733:1 I run 16/43 Calibrated and corrected rpm-speed 5000rpm=81mph
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Old 04-02-2019, 07:51 PM
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I live in Texas, land of the non curvy road.... but we have a few... I ride mostly short rides under 200 miles and lots of short tripes.
I have settled on -1+2I simply am not interested in higher top speed on the street. I have ridden at almost 200 MPH, driven at 203. I love going fast, but will do it on the closed course only.
I LOVE acceleration though and enjoy it from 15 to 75, 45 to 80, or 4 to 80 plus a "bit" (note we have common 75 MPH roads and a few 80 MPH roads) So am happy with the lower gearing of -1+2 at a sacrifice of top end and higher rpms when cruising the slab at 75-80 MPH
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Old 04-27-2019, 11:07 PM
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In " normal use", say 120 to 130 km/h in highways, I feel more comfortable in 5th gear than in 6th gear. Yes, if the max speed is 260km/h, it has no sense to use the same gear at 120km/h. Probably I will go to 16/43 next change.

And, the fuel consumption doesn´t increase for using higher rpm at the same speed, in fact, the minimum sfc is at max torque, and this happens at 7000 rpm. The only concern for high rpm is the engine wearing.
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Old 05-02-2019, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by CaryDG View Post
My Hawk couldn't pull redline with 17/43 gearing. Stock gearing would just hit redline in 6th and ran 150.786mph My best run was with 16/43 gears. I clocked out at 158.231mph well into the red zone! Sprocket sizes/gear ratio; 17/43=2.529:1, 16/41(Stk)=2.562:1, 16/43=2.6875:1, 15/41=2.733:1 I run 16/43 Calibrated and corrected rpm-speed 5000rpm=81mph
Well, this is difficult to understand. Taking into account that the Superhawk has its power maximum at 8.700 rpm, the 17/43 gearing should give you the highest velocity. Shorter gearing will give better acceleration, but less maximum speed, as the power output of the engine drpos > 8.700 rpm. At the red line 9.500 rpm the engine has about % less power, then at 8.700 rpm. This is just my observation when experimenting with different gearings. So in the end its (as usual) a compromise between best acceleration, top speed and smooth riding (avoiding vibrations at a certain speed).
PS. I ride 15/41 for best accelaration and a convenient 1st gear engine speed (we have not only the Autobahn in Germany, but a lot of 30 km/h (18mls/h) restrictions.
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Old 05-02-2019, 09:02 PM
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Red Fox, According to the Dyno Jet Dyno I used, with the setup I currently run, Two Bros Full Exhaust, Dr. Honda Velocity Stacks, my SH make max HP (110.2) @9100 rpm. Regardless of what, and where, the power peak is, I believe the SCTA Timing lights at El Mirage Dry Lake. After 9 runs through the speed traps with 4 different gear sets, my best run was with 16 CS and a 43 Rear sprocket. I might do better next time as I'm going to drop my main jets a bit as I was running rich due to the altitude. I don't worry about the Pilots, fuel screws or needles as at El Mirage or Bonneville, it's you run WOT. Idle and mid throttle be damned! It's a thrill at 64 to go 150+ on salt or clay with 50 psi in the tires. I run a non-o-ring 520 clip type master link chain to ease gear changes and have less friction. Just a few things I've picked up to gain a 1/10 of and MPH
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Old 05-03-2019, 04:37 AM
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I always like these threads. I recently was enlightened when I had to remove my swingarm of my daily vtr so was "forced" to ride my "B" bike which has a VFR800 single sided swingarm and CBR1000 front end.

Anyway, it has taller gearing than the daily bike but this allowed it to pull much longer per gear. It felt worlds faster. I don't care much about the hard numbers but not winding out each gear so quickly as with shorter gearing made it so much more fun to ride.

In all fairness, the SSS bike has a lightened flywheel which is now up my list (Erik) of mods. It feels like a different bike. SO much faster.

So my next experiment is back to taller gearing on the daily bike since shifting so often is a pain & pointless on such a torque monster as the beloved VTR.

Just my 2 cents. Enjoyment is way more important than hard numbers.
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Old 05-03-2019, 05:02 AM
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Originally Posted by smokinjoe73 View Post
I always like these threads. I recently was enlightened when I had to remove my swingarm of my daily vtr so was "forced" to ride my "B" bike which has a VFR800 single sided swingarm and CBR1000 front end.

Anyway, it has taller gearing than the daily bike but this allowed it to pull much longer per gear. It felt worlds faster. I don't care much about the hard numbers but not winding out each gear so quickly as with shorter gearing made it so much more fun to ride.

In all fairness, the SSS bike has a lightened flywheel which is now up my list (Erik) of mods. It feels like a different bike. SO much faster.

So my next experiment is back to taller gearing on the daily bike since shifting so often is a pain & pointless on such a torque monster as the beloved VTR.

Just my 2 cents. Enjoyment is way more important than hard numbers.
Yeah Im thinking that way too. My other bike, a trx850, is only 5 speed but 1st goes to over 60mph on sotck gearing and is just generally less work gear wise and feels faster for it. Might swap the 43 for a 39 rear on the vtr and see how that feels.
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Old 05-03-2019, 06:28 AM
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Squid 4 teeth at once? That's pretty drastic.
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Old 05-03-2019, 06:33 AM
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Originally Posted by smokinjoe73 View Post
Squid 4 teeth at once? That's pretty drastic.
In the name of science! Or maybe just a stock 41er then.. I do like to know its made a difference though. Bikes got a speedo healer on it.
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Old 05-03-2019, 08:50 AM
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You do know you can visualize all these gearing possibilities before going live yes?
https://www.gearingcommander.com/
Load the stock gearing, then two Alt and see what the numbers look like before you hassle with changing sprockets
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Old 05-03-2019, 06:57 PM
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It just seems you may overshoot the mark. Ive spent a lot of time changing gearing on the racetrack and even a 1 tooth change was noticeable. I know the street isn't as precise but 4 teeth is a lot.

Erik you cant drag math or science or good sense into this. hehe

Last edited by smokinjoe73; 05-03-2019 at 08:12 PM.
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Old 05-03-2019, 07:05 PM
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Yeah i was playing with the link Erik posted (thanks man!) And going from 43 to 39 netted a 10kmh difference in first, but still not cracking 100 which would be handy for the street.
Not chasing numbers , just that lazy torque feeling and less shifting.

Last edited by VTRsquid; 05-03-2019 at 07:08 PM.
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