The How What & Why of Dirt Bike Sprockets and Gear Ratios - Risk Racing

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The How What & Why of Dirt Bike Sprockets and Gear Ratios

May 13, 2022

The How What & Why of Dirt Bike Sprockets and Gear Ratios

For the dirt bike enthusiast, finding the right sprockets and gear ratios is paramount to having a successful, fast and safe ride. The thrill of motocross can reach the highest level once you have a thorough understanding of the ins and outs of these key components and have the right equipment to help you with maintenance.

Risk Racing® continuously meets the needs of dirt bike riders, from novice to professional, by providing a wide variety of quality products and sharing valuable knowledge from pros in the field. With an abundance of sprockets available and endless tips for meeting the right gear ratio, Risk Racing® is a one-stop shop for gaining the right information and applying this with the right, quality-driven products to meet your needs. 

RISK Racing rider caught mid air during a training session at a motocross track wearing the new risk racing gear

With an abundance of products on the market, it is important to find the best bike sprockets and gear ratios for your specific wants and needs. Keep reading to learn more about these important areas and learn about an innovative product that will help you with your bike maintenance needs.

The Importance of Dirt Bike Sprockets in Maintenance

Whether you are a new dirt bike owner or an experienced professional, bike maintenance is a crucial element to your safety and enjoyment. Neglecting any part of your bike could not only render your bike unusable, costing you money and time, but it could also put your life at risk if something goes wrong during your ride. Keep a watchful eye on your dirt bike sprockets and know the signs of excessive wear and tear.

Replace your sprockets if:

  • You notice tooth damage or decay
  • You have cupping at the base of any teeth
  • Your teeth are leaning

A good rule to follow is to also replace your chain when you change out your sprockets. This will allow you to have a nice, clean transition to your new drive system and will increase the life of your new sprockets. 

Old sprocket being compared to a new sprocket. The old sprocket is what they call "shark toothed" which means use has worn the teeth of the sprocket to be cupped out at the bottom of the tooth.

How to Choose a Dirt Bike Sprocket

The type of sprocket you choose to incorporate depends largely on your specific skill level, the speed and/or acceleration you are wishing to meet, and the type of terrain you are riding. An individual enjoying the windy mountains and a rider training on a motocross track are likely going to use different types of sprockets for their bikes. Additionally, dirt bike sprockets and gear ratios are often different than in other cycling sports, so it’s important to have motocross-specific knowledge in this area. 

Questions you might be wondering: What does a larger rear sprocket do on a dirt bike, what is a good gear ratio for a dirt bike, and what size sprocket is right for me? We will answer these questions and much more in this section. First, it’s important to understand some of the vocabulary.

Understanding Gear Ratio

Don’t let the bike lingo intimidate you. Gear ratio, otherwise known as sprocket ratio, is simply the number of teeth on the rear sprocket divided by the number of teeth on the countershaft sprocket (aka the front sprocket). When the gear ratio number is higher, the gearing is then lower. The opposite is also true- when the gear ratio number is lower, the gearing is then higher. A basic rule to follow is that the more teeth on the rear sprocket, the lower the gearing is overall. 

Lower gearing leads to faster acceleration and quicker take-offs, which comes at the expense of a lower top speeds. This is also know as gearing down.

A higher gear ratio or gearing up will give you the opposite effect. You will be slower off the line but will be able to achieve higher top speeds.

Reaching the right gear level for your skill level and riding terrain will allow you to optimize your bike’s performance. To do this, you will want to choose your front and rear sprockets wisely, to meet the gearing that you hope to ride. 

A couple different chain and sprocket combos and showing different possible gear ratios.

WhatSprocket is Best for Top Speed? 

For the racing enthusiast or the rider who lives for the thrill of a faster ride overall, being able to reach top speed is paramount. Let’s pinpoint the sprockets that are best for this dirt bike rider.

  • Utilizing a larger front sprocket or a smaller rear sprocket will help you achieve faster top speeds
  • Your gearing ratio will increase with this sprocket setup
  • Beneficial for terrain with minimal turning, such as desert riding

What Sprocket is Best for Fastest Acceleration? 

Sometimes it’s less about consistent speed and more about faster transitions, especially for those riders enjoying frequent twists and turns in their ride. Here are some sprocket rules to live by for these transitional rides.

  • The opposite of top speed, you will want to use a smaller front sprocket or a larger rear sprocket for greatest acceleration ability
  • Your gearing ratio will decrease with this sprocket setup
  • Beneficial for motocross tracks, or any other terrain with few long straight sectionrisk racing rider racing motocross in risk racing's ventilate v2 gear. The rider utilizes a a larger rear sprocket to get faster acceleration but sacrifices some top speed.

The Best Product for Dirt Bike Maintenance

Changing out your sprockets by yourself will not only save you money but it will also give you an appreciation and further knowledge about your overall bike system, which can help you when you need to render aid while on a ride. This doesn’t have to be a laborious or overwhelming task. With the help of a good stand, changing out sprockets and other bike maintenance can be a pleasant experience. 

The Risk Racing® Magnetic Bike Stand That Can Level any Bike

Risk Racing® offers a bike stand unlike any other. The A.T.S. Magnetic Bike Stand can level any bike on the market, unlike other stands that can’t meet the needs of the ever-changing bike trends and the various makes and models of bikes available. The unique design and capabilities of this stand offer a safe and easy route for cleaning and fixing your bike.

GAS GAS dirt bike resting on risk racing A.T.S. stand

  • This Risk Racing® A.T.S. Bike Stand allows the user to set the angle of the top of the stand to fit their specific bike height and chassis angle. With both the front and rear tires in the air, the rider can now easily provide any maintenance required. 
  • Often one of the most frustrating aspects of fixing a bike is not the actual labor, but instead the commonly misplaced bolts, nuts, and other pieces that seem to never be where you need them to be. The A.T.S. Stand offers a remedy to this issue, with a magnetic bolt panel that can hold onto all of these small pieces until you need them. This eliminates the massive frustration that is otherwise bound to take hold.
  • The rubber top allows your bike to sit comfortably, without touching another hard surface. This allows for a safe and sturdy surface without risk of scratching or slipping.
  • The top of the stand includes a large oil drain hole, allowing for a fast, convenient clean-up.

The A.T.S. Magnetic Bike Stand offers incredible ease to a once difficult process. With all of the amenities included and the quality production, this stand is sure to help every bike owner, from the clumsiest to the most steady-handed. 

Example of how the adjustable top works with risk racing's a.t.s. stand

Final Thoughts

Knowing the basics of bike maintenance, sprockets, and gear ratios is crucial to dirt bike ownership and rider safety and enjoyment. Taking the time to learn more about these areas was a great first step in your motocross journey. Making responsible choices and choosing the best and highest quality products will allow you to continue this adventure in the safest manner possible, while also living a life of wild fun in your sport. 

In addition to the top-of-the-line products available on our website, offers endless opportunities to learn more about anything and everything dirt bike related with blogs and professional input available at your fingertips. Keep learning and keep riding with Risk Racing® by your side every step of the way!

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