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Should I reverse the sprockets to use the new chain?

  • Yes, reverse the sprockets

    Votes: 5 55.6%
  • No, just install the new chain and leave sprockets alone

    Votes: 4 44.4%

Chain Driven Bike Question... Help please

1057 Views 14 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  William_86
Hello, this is a non goldwing tread but I trust on the knowledge of all my brothers here...

My newtome vfr needs a new chain, it has tight spots. When I got the bike, po said it had brand new chain and sprockets, being this my first bike with a chain, I probably damaged it because of over tightening it.

I'm going on a long trip and I noticed the tight spots that won't allow me to properly adjust it. I had no time to purchase the sprocket and chain kit on then US since its not available down here in Mexico i had to purchase the chain only.

I decided this because the sprockets look in good shape. I know is recommended to change everything as a set but anyways probably next time.

Well the real question of this thread is about reversing the sprockets.

Since some people considered the sprockets to be ok. Some recommended me to reverse them to prevent early wear on the new chain as this trick is often used on dirt bikes.

What would you do on my situation??


Option 3 is not available as I'm leaving in 1 week and already have new chain so Is only left to decide to reverse the sprockets or not.
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Reversing the sprockets will help but the bottom of the valleys will be worn as well as the drive faces and shorten the life of your new chain.
If the sprockets are worn, replace them along with the chain. I have reversed sprockets on dirt bikes to save a few dollars, but would never consider doing so on a street bike.
If the sprockets are worn, replace them along with the chain. I have reversed sprockets on dirt bikes to save a few dollars, but would never consider doing so on a street bike.
William is in Mexico.
He was able to get a new chain but not sprockets and wants to ride. Thus the question.
Yes reverse the sprockets, if you can. Some are not reverseable.
If you have no other choice, and it is possible, I would reverse the sprockets. But I would not ride it that way very fast or very far. If you cannot get the tight/loose spots out of the chain, it will have to be adjusted on the loose side, as you definitely don't want it to tight anywhere. It will whip around and wear much faster, At high speed it could break. I understand now about the sprockets not being available, but I would get them asap. I would consider using the old ones only as a last resort in an emergency, if you cannot adjust the chain properly. When you do get sprockets, you may need another new chain due to damage done to that one by not being adjusted properly.

It is not something I would worry about on a dirt bike, but on a fast road bike it can become a critical and unsafe situation.
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He's putting on a new chain and wants to know if he can reverse the sprockets.

Go ahead. Shouldn't be a problem. I do it all the time on my KLR.
How about posting a picture, of the sprocket teeth, so can discern their condition?

Until then:
-If the sprocket teeth appear unworn, then I'd just leave the sprocket as-is.
-If the sprocket teeth are exessively worn, yet still have plenty of material remaining, then can't hurt to flip the sprocket (I've never tried that myself, but don't see a problem with it)

Either way, if the chain has tight spots, then that's usually a sign of the internal pins being Rusted... in which case, messing with the sprockets will not fix that. Once rusted like that, then the chain will rapidly wear and you'll have to adjust it every couple days or ~300 miles.

Any chance that the Tight Spots are due to the chain being Excessively Tight?... It should only go up/down +/- 1" (total range), or +1/2" and -1/2", with the rear wheel raised off the ground.... Be sure to check it in several places, as the tension will Vary (on account of the sprockets sometimes being egg-shaped)
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The sprocket tooth is tapered to unload the chain roller as it starts to exit, and thus letting it slide right off. As wear occurs form torque, it forms a bucket on the back side of the tooth, and now the chain roller has to stap off, thus causing even greater wear to the chain, vibration and robbing hp.

By reversing the sprocket, one at least stops that hp loss and snapping.

I reverse sprockets on farm machinery when I am not yet ready for a chain, and get much more life on both the sprocket and the chain, not to mention it is running smoother and more efficient.
Thanks everyone for your answers. here are some pictures of my rear sprocket, i inspected the front and looks pretty much the same.

as i said before, i am aware that i should change chain and sprockets as a kit, but its not an option right now. there is no time enough for the parts to arrive from the US to Mexico.
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Hi William, Your sprockets are fine and don't reverse them. Here in Oz where parts can be expensive we often only change the chain especially when the sprockets are not worn out. I would say that maybe you have ended up with a poor quality chain and that is why it has failed.
the chain is a DID chain, but i am sure i damaged it by overtightening it. being new to chain driven bikes i learned this the hard way... the replacement chain is an XRING DID chain.
HI William that rear looks ok but have you checked the front counter sprocket?
it may be worn or loose, here are what good and bad ones look like


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I agree, the rear sprocket looks ok. Assuming it is perfectly round, it would not cause tight/loose spots. That is in the chain. Either it has more wear in some places than others, or it just wasn't made right. I have seen new chains exhibit that problem, and in fact have read in owners manuals that before adjusting a chain, first find the tight spot, and adjust it from there. That just doesn't sound right to me. It may have been the case back in the '50s and '60s, but there is no reason a good quality new chain should have tight spots, and I have seen many that didn't. When you adjust the new chain, check it for tight spots, and if you find any, find the tightest one, and adjust it from there. Being to tight can not only damage chains and sprockets, but transmission bearings and gears as well.

Speaking of KLRs, I bought a brand new KLR650 back in '01, had the chain adjusted perfectly, and stupidly took it to a dealer for it's first service. When I got it back, it would barely move. Felt like I had the brake on. It was almost dark, but I checked it out, and found the chain was so tight the rear wheel would hardly turn. Fortunately the stock took kit was still on the bike, and I was able to use that to loosen it up so I could get home. I adjusted it properly the next day.
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i marked a spot on each of the sprockets on where the chain was right, turned the wheel so the mark on the sprocket would do a 360 degree turn. then the chain was lose, turned the wheel in reverse one turn and chain was tight again right in the same spot.

i performed this test on both sprockets separately so this tell me the tight spot is on the chain and not the sprockets that are getting it tight.
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