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Virago 250 Front and rear sprocket upgrades

This is a discussion on Virago 250 Front and rear sprocket upgrades within the Yamaha forums, part of the Manufacturers category; My wife has a new vstar 250 and I would like to lower the cruising rpm so I would like ...

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Old 08-02-2010   #11
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Default Virago 250 Front and rear sprocket upgrades

My wife has a new vstar 250 and I would like to lower the cruising rpm so I would like to change my sprockets to 17/43 can anyone tell where to buy sprockets?Please Help me if you can.
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Old 08-09-2010   #12
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Default This is where I got mine.

Bayside Performance
Open 10am to 8pm PST Monday to Saturday. 12pm to 5pm Most Sundays.
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Old 08-26-2010   #13
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Default More Info

I just bought a 2009 V star 250 and am preparing to up the gearing.

This is one of the more useful threads on the subject so I thought I
would add some more stuff to help out.

Nobody pointed out yet that chains can only go up or down in size
by two links at a time, which complicates which gear setups will
work best with a given chain size.

It isn't as simple as you might think either, because the sprockets
change in size and half the slack in chain length change is taken up there.
Example, reduce back sprocket by 2 teeth, 1 link difference is actually
passed on to the chain slack, and since that length is split
over the top and bottom chain lengths, the chain adjuster
has to move back by 1/2 link to compensate.

A two link shorter chain would exactly compensate for a 1 link
move (back) on the chain adjuster.

Lets explore some variations and how the stock chain would behave:
16/43 - -2 back = chain adjuster moves .5 link back.
16/42 - -3 back = chain adjuster moves .75 link back.
use two link shorter chain, chain adjuster moves .25 link forward.
16/41 - -4 back = chain adjuster moves 1 link back
use two link shorter chain for exact fit.
16/40 - -5 back = chain adjuster moves 1.25 back,
use two link shorter, chain adjuster moves .25 back.
16/39 - -6 back = chain adjuster moves 1.5 back
use two link shorter, chain adjuster moves .5 back.
17/44 - +1 front, -1 back = no change, stock chain.
17/43 - +1 front, -2 back = chain adjuster moves .25 link back
17/42 - +1 front, -3 back = chain adjuster moves .5 link back
17/41 - +1 front, -4 back = chain adjuster moves .75 link back
use two link shorter chain, makes chain adjuster move .25 forward
17/40 - +1 front, -5 back = chain adjuster moves 1 link back
use two link shorter chain, is exact fit.
17/38 - +1 front, -7 back = chain adjuster moves 1.5 link back
use two link shorter chain, adjuster moves .5 link back.

All the ones where a .5 motion is involved cannot be reduced,
a two link chain change will make it .5 in the other direction,
so these combinations require the most adjuster (16/43, 16/39, and 17/42).
I don't know if that is beyond our adjuster yet or not,
but it appears that all combos will work from what others have done.
I suspect Yamaha knew that a .5 in either way would be needed
to accomodate all gearing changes, so all this data does
is give you a heads up on which versions need a new chain
(anything over .5 I guess).

The ones that move back .5 are probably the worst, since you will
have less room to adjust as the chain stretches through wear.

Here are some possible gear ratio changes.
Chain size and adjuster hit are shown
(n/n = chain/adjuster hit, 0/0 is exact fit,
0/n means stock chain will work
-2/n means stock chain won't work).

16/45 stock
16/43 - 4.6% higher gearing 0/.5
17/45 - 6.2% higher gearing 0/.25
17/44 - 8.6% higher gearing 0/0
16/41 - 10% higher gearing -2/0
17/43 - 11% higher gearing 0/.25
16/40 - 12% higher gearing -2/.25
17/42 - 14% higher gearing 0/.5
16/39 - 15% higher gearing -2/.5
17/41 - 17% higher gearing -2/.25
17/40 - 19% higher gearing -2/0
17/38 - 26% higher gearing -2/.5

I favor the 17's because they reduce chain tension a bit.

The difference between the stock 4th and 5th gears is 22%,
so 17/38 will make 4th gear higher than the previous 5th gear was.
Since gears get closer together as they go higher,
the 17/40 combo will up your 5th gear close to where a theoretical
6th gear would normally be, and 4th just below where 5th used to be.

I am a light rider (~150 lbs) and I don't mind downshifting for hills.
I like to go 65 on the freeway so I am trying to find gearing to make
4th a viable downshift at that speed, and make 5th a nice cruising
gear (assuming no headwind, flat, but leave a little headroom).
I am going to start with 17/43 (uses the stock chain)
and see how that goes.

Here are some additional useful numbers

Using 8,000 RPM as redline:

top speed (MPH) in each gear at 8,000
And RPMx100 at 65 for 4&5th gear.
Also show % change from stock again.

chg 0% 6.2% 8.6% 11% 14% 19% 26%
gear 16/45 17/45 17/44 17/43 17/42 17/40 17/38
5 80 85 86 89 91 96
4 65 69 71 72 74 77
3 52 55 56 58 59 62
2 39 41 42 43 44 47
1 25 26 27 28 29 30
RP5 65 61 60 58 57 54
RP4 80 75 74 72 70 67 has all the sprocket sizes,
look for 2006 virago xv250. They have chain tools and links too.

I watched a video or two on youtube to see how sprocket and chain
changes are done. I liked the ones that showed
how the chain tools are used, and getting the back wheel off.

* - calculation errors may exist in the above post, use at your own risk
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Old 09-08-2010   #14
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Ok, wrt to the previous post, I did the gear change, with the 17/42 combo,
riding the bike stock for a few days it had plenty of power for me so I thought the taller
gear (over 17/43) would be ok.

I learned a few things by actually doing it:

1) my calculations for how much the chain adjuster had to move were correct. :-)

2) the chain adjuster is all the way forward for the stock sprockets and a new chain,
it can move just over one link's worth of distance back.
This means in the previous post, combos that need the adjuster
to move forward won't work, and ones that move back by one half are ok,
but .75 backwards movements would leave little room
to adjust for the chain as it stretches through wear, although could in theory work.

3) The taller gear really changes how 1st gear behaves, it takes some more
throttle and clutch work to do a fast start. An unexpected bonus: 1st gear is gentler for
low speed work, easier to do u-turns in gear since it is half-way to where
2nd gear used to be.

And lastly, the bike cruises nicely at 65 and goes easily (but slowly) to 70 when needed
(my original goal). I live in CA where we have rolling hills.
Went north up route 1 from Santa Cruz, and for the milder hills
5th gear was ok, for the steeper ones I had to use 4th to maintain 65ish, fine with me,
most of the cars slowed down for those inclines anyway, so I was able to use
5th most of the time.

I put a cobra spitfire windshield on the bike too, which helps out a bit at freeway speeds.

For context, I weigh 150 lbs, and have a severely underpowered car
(2005 Civic Hybrid). Since the 250 is actually more powerful than my car (ROFL),
I don't feel I am missing anything. For those who love power I don't see much hope
for a 250 (regardless of gearing) really working out very well (except the ninja 250).
But for those who are ok with a more docile ride, this gear change turned
the bike into a tolerable freeway commuter.

Don't have any mpg figures with the new gears yet, we'll see how that goes.
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Old 02-20-2011   #15
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Default what sprocket size to get?

I recently bought a 2002 yamaha vx250 virago. It runs great all except when I am in 5th gear the rpm's seem to high. some people say make the front gear smaller and some people say make the back gear smaller and the front gear bigger. Well, the yamaha dealer only sales 12-15 size sprockets and does not seem to know what size I should put. His only answer was to go to a forum. so here I am. Has anyone have or had a similar situation?
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Old 06-06-2011   #16
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Default Part numbers

JTF569.17 is the JT sprocket part number for the front sprocket. The ".17" is the number of teeth. So if you want 16 just change it to .16.
JTR857.43 is the rear sprocket, ".43" is 43 teeth.
Search on
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Old 06-13-2011   #17
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It has been almost a year since you posted your sprocket change. Any additional comments on the "upgrade'? You others who have posted your sprocket changes, any further comments pro or con? Any info would be appreciated.
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Old 06-17-2011   #18
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For any Virago 250 that is running strong, I would go with nothing but 17/38 as a first choice or 17/40 as a second choice.

If the bike has extra weight due to added windshield, saddlebags, etc. and heavy rider, you might go 17/40, but otherwise I would go 17/38.

I have 17/40 and I wish it was taller – I can easily run at 40 mph in 5th gear.

17/38 changes the Virago 250 into a different, better, more useful motorcycle – more like a real motorcycle should be. Instead of going through the first four gears by 30 mph, you get to actually use the transmission like on most bikes. The motor is less revved up. Taking off from a stop is absolutely no problem (I am 210 lbs or 95.5 kg). The stock 16/45 takes off super easy but this is because it is the wrong gearing – taking off with 17/40 is no harder than with the average motorcycle. Yamaha was not doing beginners any favors with the "granny" first gear - people should learn how to take off on a motorcycle with normal gearing.

You could think of the change to 17/38 as a transmission change – it is like you discarded 1st gear (which is too low anyway) and added a 6th gear. It is not really accurate to say 17/38 will result in lower power or torque, because you would probably be in lower gear. 5th gear with the stock 16/45 is about like 4th gear with 17/38.

For travel on “high” speed paved roads, in my opinion the stock sprocket choice was a mistake.
I think of 17/38 as the proper stock setup, and if you want a change or need a change due to your local driving conditions, then adjust up or down from that.

Along with the sprocket change to 17/38, you should be very selective about what accessories you add to your bike (just say no). Extra weight reduces acceleration, especially on small bikes, so if you buy accessories, get lightweight ones. Try to resist adding to the bike - remember that this is a lightweight cruiser, as opposed to the bigger V-Stars.
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Old 06-17-2011   #19
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Default One year report at 17/42

Ok, I'll kick in my one year experience with my 17/42 gearing.

Last month I started *the* commute. The reason I took up motorcycling was to get into the carpool lane because my hybrid carpool lane sticker expires in two weeks. I started a month early to work out all the logistical problems (there were lots, bags, racks, and more bags, insulated socks and glove inserts, carpal tunnel solved with crampbuster, second set of mirrors to see better, pinlock for anti-fog, summer gear for the heat, etc...).

*The* commute is 95% freeway, mostly rolling hills, some flat, but has a 1,500 ft climb over 20 mi through the mountains on a twisty freeway (fun and scary), frequently windy, and is about 100 miles a day.

Our 65mph speed limit makes our little 250 a viable commuter, since it will maintain 70 under almost any conditions with my gearing. Although this is marginal freeway capability by most motorcyclist standards. If it was a 75 mph limit I don't think this bike would do. The Rebel (sligtly less powerful) is rumored to not be freeway capable even at 65, Rebel lovers may disagree.

Three weeks ago I switched from 17/42 to 17/43, about one week into doing that commute. The slightly lower gearing helps. My chain aduster chart is also proven correct for those two gearing combinations. I have 3/4 of the chain aduster to work with now.

The old gearing only left 1/2 of the chain adjuster to work with and the stock chain was gone at 2500 mi. That iritated me and was the main reason I switched to 17/43 as well as the longest life chain I could find, but now I find I like the gearing better too.

17/43 is a sweet spot to me for the following reason:
4th gear redlines at ~72mph, so it is an excellent downshift at freeway speeds. Stock gearing gives you a stronger 5th, but 4th is no longer usable as a downshift gear at those speeds, and my 4th is stronger than the stock 5th gear would be, so overall I think the bike is more ridable with these gears.

IMHO the 17/38 guys have less options, their 4th is taller than the stock 5th, and their 3rd redlines at 65mph (same as the stock 4th gear), so too low to use as a freeway downshift to maintain 70. It may work for them and their riding conditions, but in my environment the power I need wouldn't be there.

The reason that specially tuned 4th is so useful is that into a strong headwind or uphill at 70 mph I have to use 4th, and frequently at full throttle. I have had rides where I rode for 15-20 minutes in 4th into a stiff headwind over rolling hills, struggling (and mostly succeeding) to keep up with traffic moving at around 70 mph, with the throttle pegged most of the time. I admit my speed dips to around 65ish sometimes on rides like that, even at full throttle and in 4th gear. Stock gearing would actually require me to ride slower under those conditions since I would have to move down to 4th which would redline at 65mph.

Under better conditions (meaning flat and no wind) it will do 70-75 in 5th without having to peg the throttle.

Here is another tidbit:

When I changed out the chain and sprockets to 17/43 I switched to a DID Gold X-ring chain ($$$). I can't go on enough about how wonderful that chain is. It claims a 20k mi lifespan, so it should wear much more slowly than the stock chain.

I have confirmed that already , it has over 1000 mi on it and has not needed adjustment (I check it every 300 mi), the stock chain would have needed 2 adjustments already. It is also butter smooth, much quieter. The bike purrs like a more expensive machine now.

Lastly, I seem to be getting 60-65 mpg riding fast(ish) over big mountain climbs on windy roads. I like to think I could get 70+ if it was flatter.
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Old 06-17-2011   #20
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Great info, folks----thanks. Living in Houston and hills----the biggest problem with hills in Houston is finding one. The terrain is flat to flatter with only a few inclines for overpasses on freeways. My new sprockets will be in next week and I'll try to post the performance of both sets. Again, thanks.
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