Monday, August 31, 2009

520 Conversions & Gearing Changes

The term "520 conversion" means a couple of different things to different people. I hope to clarify a few things. First, a 520 conversion doesn't necessarily designate a change in gearing. For most people, the "width" of the chain/sprockets is what we'd refer to as 520, 525, or 530, etc. to make things simple (the technical term is "pitch"). The idea here is less weight on the drive train which is suppose to translate into better performance. Generally 520 sprockets are aluminum (which means they wear down faster) over the stock steel sprockets but they are lighter. A 520 conversion is generally a pretty performance oriented modification for your motorcycle so it really depends on your riding style and what you want to achieve with modifying your drive train before choosing the right set up. Remember, all the components of a chain kit (front sprocket, rear sprocket and chain) need to have the same pitch to work together.

A very popular tweak to the 520 conversion is to chain the gearing of your sprockets or the number of teeth which works miracles on acceleration of middle weight 600/750cc sportbikes. The consensus is that -1/+2, down one tooth from stock on your front sprocket and up two teeth from stock on your rear sprockets, is a good place to begin for most 600's. This is a great set-up for the performance oriented riders as it adds a big bottom end punch (helpful for these newer top end friendly bikes with little bottom end) and will bring you through the rpms/gears very quickly. This adds to the already frenzied 600 attitude but I absolutely love the way it feels. It's not a crime to run -1/+0 if you're just looking for a little boost when commuting or riding with your buddies. -1/+1 is also a popular choice.

I found that some of our customers on the big bikes (1000cc) like to do -1 in front OR +2/+3 in the rear as it lets you gear up, or use a higher gear than you usually would, while riding. This is a great benefit as most of the big bikes do about 100mph in first gear and screaming along at 11,500rpm with a hair trigger throttle and 180hp can be a bit unnerving all while at full lean. The low end is improved for your daily riding as well.

I receive a lot of questions about which brand of sprocket or chain to use. As far as the sprockets go, any hard anodized sprocket will do. Some of our top sellers are Driven, AFAM and Vortex for aluminum 520 sprockets. Front sprockets are generally steel. With chains, like most things in life, you generally get what you pay for so don't skimp on the chain and it will serve you well.

SoloMotoParts.com offers 520 conversion kits that allow you to pick your sprocket and chains in various colors and teeth size to serve your needs. See them for Yamaha, Honda, Suzuki and Kawasaki.

What do I run? I use Driven/AFAM sprockets (-1/+2) with a DID ERV3 chain on my 06 R6 track bike. Also, note that changing your gearing will make your speedometer read wrong. A Speedohealer will fix this.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

To buy Italian or not?

With recent Italian sport bikes such as the 1098 leveling the playing field a bit in terms of performance and price I've found myself giving Italian bikes a second look. I still can't seem to pull the trigger as Japan Inc. has so many wonderful machines to choose from at a much more appealing price with more features (like slipper clutches as standard issue).

My first bike was an 2003 Yamaha R6 that took me through every imaginable bike related social event including bike nights and weekend rides into the local canyons. I graduated to the much more track oriented 2006 Yamaha R6 and started up with weekend canyon rides and track days.

I began pouring money into the R6 as my track usage increased and I've since left the streets. I added new Galfer 1003 brake pads, brake lines, Scotts steering damper and a full exhaust system to my bike. It's a very, very capable machine. Naturally, I began to ask myself if I could find a better package in another bike to take around the track.

I couldn't bring myself to pay more for the 848 as it didn't even come with a stock slipper clutch and maintenance was a bit pricey on the Ducati. There seems to be a lot more aftermarket support for the Japanese bikes. I decided to stay Japanese for the track, at least for the time being. Performance just seemed to come at a lower cost. It doesn't keep me from drooling over the Aprilia's new RSV4. Maybe one day I can toss a leg over an Italian beauty I can call my own.

In the meantime the 2009 Yamaha R1 is catching my attention as the power curve is pretty close to that of the RSV4 from what I hear.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

CRG Hindsight 3" LS Bar End Folding Mirror

26 reviews and 4 out of 5 stars confirm this is a GREAT product. They've been backordered almost steadily this year but we've managed to wrangle a large number of them. The 3" Hindsight LS Bar End Folding Mirror is IN STOCK and ready to ship.

These are not your standard southeast Asia produced crap and we definitely can agree that we get what we pay for. CNC Machined billet aluminum construction insure these beauties last a while. Replacement glass is also offered. On sale for $74.95 (Retail $90) they are not cheap but are more than worth it according to what people are saying. Pair them up with a bar-end adapter for easy installation.

CRG also offers a 2" non-folding mirror called the Blindsight for about $43 and a 3" non-folding Hindsight for about $67.

What's the best chain lube?

Even such a ubiquitous product should be given a second thought, especially one that can leave a nasty mess if it's not up to the job. Properly lubing your motorcycle drive train will most definitely add extra life to your chain and sprockets. With so many choices on chain lube how is one suppose to find a decent product that works?

Well, customer reviews have always been a go-to for me when shopping online. The products that stand out are the Motul Factory Line Chain Lube, Dupont Teflon Chain Lube and the Maxima Chain Wax when it comes to decent customer reviews with the Motul currently outselling the Maxima.

Motul's Factory Line has always been a staple in high end performance lubricants. I've noticed off-road guys seem to gravitate towards Maxima while street riders embrace Motul. Perhaps it's the marketing? Who knows. Maxima also offers a smaller 8-oz size for those looking for portability and a lower price point.

Another relatively new product to the bunch is the Dupont Teflon chain lube that's widely used among racers and voted one of the best chain lubes by a motorcycle publication. This my current go-to chain lube of choice and it's pretty amazing stuff - especially with a name like Dupont behind it. It works and it works well.

These are our top 3 selling chain lubes on our website and should serve you well!


#1 Dealer for SpeedoHealers in the USA!


SoloMotoParts.com is the #1 Dealer in the United States for Speedohealers. This item is usually stocked and ships quickly. Single Speedohealer orders arrive in 2-3 days via FREE USPS Priority Mail shipping.

Need a better understanding of the product? Not sure if it's worth it? Get informed with over 80 reviews from other customers on this product.

The SpeedoHealer V4 is an electronic device which will enable your bike's speedometer and odometer to show realistic information. This is a KEY addition when changing your sprocket sizes with a 520 conversion kit, etc. because your speedometer will read horribly off.

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