Learn how to regear your motorcycle for more oomph on the street or track.
Earlier this season, we decided our 2014 Suzuki GSX-R600 project bike needed some added performance (especially in the acceleration department) but didn’t want to break the bank or invest hours on end in the garage tearing he bike down to the internals in pursuit of such performance. We decided a new chain and sprocket kit with an increasing gearing ratio was the best bang for the buck and Motorcycle Superstore had just what we needed. Here's how to regear your motorcycle.
For a variety of reasons listed in the review (More Oomph! Regearing the RideApart Suzuki GSX-R600 Project Bike), we went with the aforementioned specifications and the results were stellar. Despite our specific application however, installing new chains and sprockets becomes routine maintenance on any chain-driven motorcycle and is a procedure that is generally universal despite your particular bike model.
STEP 1: Remove the stock hardware. A quick and easy way to remove the chain is to cut both side plates of the master link with a grinder or cutting wheel such as a Dremel tool.
STEP 2: Next, remove the sprocket cover concealing the main output gear on the side of the transmission/motor. Removing the main bolt securing the drive sprocket to the drive shaft can be tricky so research this step by consulting the service manual for your specific bike model.
STEP 3: Once the front sprocket is uninstalled, remove the rear wheel from the swing arm. The rear sprocket is removed from the carrier by simply cracking the bolts loose but this may require some extra muscle as the stock bolts/nuts are torqued pretty heavily from the factory and further adhered from months or years of riding.
STEP 4: Next, install the new sprockets making sure orientation is correct and remount the rear wheel.
STEP 5: Installing the new chain can be a bit of a process as well. An aftermarket chain will likely have extra links in order to accommodate a wide variety of models so extra links will have to be removed before installation can be finalize. For this, we recommend laying the new chain on the newly installed sprockets. Making sure the rear axle is firmly butted up against the axle adjusters (with the adjusters set so the wheel is forward quite a bit, towards the engine), wrap the ends of the chain over themselves taking as much slack out of the chain as possible and seating two link ends in neighboring sprocket teeth. This will show you which chain links need to be removed.
STEP 6: With the grinder or cutting wheel tool, grind the flanged end of the link rivet pin down to the plate face. Then, punch the pin out of the link (using a chain tool such as will make things much easier) freeing the links from the remainder of the chain.
STEP 7: Finally, lube up and install the master link, button up the rest of the bike without forgetting to torque down each fastener to the proper specification, and you’re good to go. However, note that we HIGHLY recommend the use of a rivet-type master link as opposed to a C-clip type. The rivet master link will require a chain tool and must be cut off in a similar manner described above to remove the excess links but the added strength and reliability is well worth the price.
This process can be a bit challenging the first couple of go-arounds, but will become routine with practice. This is a very important job and must be conducted with precision so close attention must be paid to the details and the proper time allotted in order to avoid any unwanted damage down the line.
What tips and/or tricks have you picked up over the years that help with your chain and sprocket installation jobs?
READ MORE: Summer Project: Suzuki GSX-R600
Photos by CaliPhotography and Bob Hartman at eTech Photo