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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Newly registered but long time creeper of the forum.

Forgive me if the answers I'm looking for are hidden in the forum somewhere, I promise I did look. And instead of answering you can always direct me to any threads that bear the answers I'm searching for. Any help is appreciated!

I have a 1972 CB350, not running but will be in the shop soon. Need to replace the sprockets and chain anyhow so I'm looking to gear differently. I do next to no highway riding so I'm looking to increase low end. I'd like to keep top speed somewhere around 80mph, though.

From what I understand, the higher the ratio, the better low end performance. Correct? My CB should be a 36/16 (2.25) so putting that up above 2.25 should do the trick if I'm assuming correctly...

What I'm asking, specifically, is: What's safe? I've read different things about "you don't have to change the rear if you change the front", "always change both", "one up in the front is just about the same as going down three in the rear", etc...

I've looked at a chart and what I got was this:

36/16 - 2.25
37/15 - 2.47
38/14 - 2.71
39/13 - 3.00

Is 38/14 safe? What's best practice? Going down in the front while simultaneously going up in the rear? Going a few down in the front and keeping the rear?

I apologize if I'm just not grasping the concept, I'm really looking to be educated, so please, any help at all. I'm really wanting to know what best practice would be and if anyone has noticeably increased their low end performance through a gearing change, what kind of set up you went with.
 

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keep the front 16...if you want a little change use the CL350 rear sprocket size of 38 teeth. I'd be surprised if you needed more than this...the K0SL350's came with 40 tooth rears if you wanted to go a bit more.

don't go smaller on the front...it just wears out the chain faster.

by the way...replace front and rear sprockets with the chain all together as a set if you want them to last the longest,
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
keep the front 16...if you want a little change use the CL350 rear sprocket size of 38 teeth. I'd be surprised if you needed more than this...the K0SL350's came with 40 tooth rears if you wanted to go a bit more.

don't go smaller on the front...it just wears out the chain faster.

by the way...replace front and rear sprockets with the chain all together as a set if you want them to last the longest,
Alright, definitely will leave the front at 16, thank you for that advice. And I forgot to add in that I did plan on replacing sprockets and chains at the same time. Was looking into a 520 conversion but not quite sure if it's really worth it. All in all I think I might try the 38/16 set up to start and if I need to I can change from there. Thanks for the help, man!
 

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520 conversions aren't necessary and will limit your choice of sprocket sizes. I run the least expensive chains i can buy and they last a very long time. brand new Ducati's with 140 HP run $180 520 oring chains

50 year old honda 350s make 27 HP and run $30 530 non oring chains.

guess which chains last longer between the two?..
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
520 conversions aren't necessary and will limit your choice of sprocket sizes. I run the least expensive chains i can buy and they last a very long time. brand new Ducati's with 140 HP run $180 520 oring chains

50 year old honda 350s make 27 HP and run $30 530 non oring chains.

guess which chains last longer between the two?..
Fair point..
I've seen a couple discussions mention O-Ring chains being disastrous..

Will I need to adjust the chain length on a 16/38 or will the stock 94 link size still be appropriate?
 

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The 520 is more narrow. 520 chain and sprockets should be lighter, which is not bad for a small motorcycle. I really doubt the wear will change significantly with either chain. O-ring chains are also not as efficient in power transfer, but they will last considerably longer and will require less frequent maintenance.

I'd go for 520, but keep the stock ratio unless you plan on going offroad. If you make the ratio higher, you may end up with a useless first gear (you will be able to start in second), and not much else (like now, but without a fifth gear for higher speeds). The SL sprocket is probably still sensible, and it will make it easier to take off and ride really slow in first gear without sliding the clutch. Gearing changes are useful for the track, where it may be prefferable to use the whole gearbox to constantly keep the engine in the powerband. On the road, it is just not really sensible. Perhaps if you want to take off easier, or make it a bit more comfortable on the highway, but it will not make it accelerate any faster - it will just accelerate differently in each gear.
 

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Fair point..
I've seen a couple discussions mention O-Ring chains being disastrous..

Will I need to adjust the chain length on a 16/38 or will the stock 94 link size still be appropriate?
the disasters you hear about from oring chains are when you run 530 o rings which are wider than 530 non oring chains. A 520 oring is fine to run.

There are some misconceptions about oring chains. They do not rob power when properly
maintained (else why would race teams run them). If the Owings are properly lubricated they run just as freely as non oring chains.

the main benefit of oring chains is that they require less maintenance. Don’t get me wrong they are definitely better than non oring chains. I just think they are overkill on these old bikes. Maybe if this is a commuter bike I’d have a different opinion

the stock cl 38 tooth rear gearing is just fine on the streets.
 

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I run an expensive chain on my Versys 650 and it lasts a very long time with maint. On the CL350 I found it had a RK chain. Very cheap chain but it seems to be going strong and I got a new on for 21 CAN so it seems fine for the CL350. Now that I have a chain breaker I can throw on a fresh chain for 20 bucks which is what I like. Damn rear sprocket is expensive though.
 
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