How Does a Motorcycle Sprocket Work?

Most motorcycles rely on a chain final drive system to transfer power from the engine to the rear wheel. The chain is turned by a pair of sprockets; one attached to the engine's transmission output shaft and the other mounted on the rear wheel. While drive chains and sprockets require more maintenance than shaft-driven systems, the interchangeability of the sprockets allow a greater range of flexibility for customizing the motorcycle's performance.

Simply put, a motorcycle sprocket is a wheel that has a ring of teeth cut into its outer diameter, that are used to pull the drive chain to propel the rear wheel. Most sprockets are made from hardened steel for increased longevity. However, aluminum sprockets are available, offering a slight reduction in weight, which is advantageous in motorcycle racing. The front sprocket, also known as the countershaft or drive sprocket, is typically much smaller than the rear wheel's driven sprocket and can have between 12 to 18 teeth. The rear, driven sprocket is much larger and can have anywhere from 28 to 62 teeth.