Honda Rebel Sprocket Sizes – Why I use the 30T Rear Sprocket

Honda Rebel Chain and Sprocket

With my last chain and sprocket change, I was using the stock size 14T front sprocket and the 30T rear sprocket, which isn’t the stock size. I’ve never used a stock rear sprocket on my bike, and I don’t know the last time that it had one on there, but most people talk about the high-end whine, or it sounding like bees are going to explode from the engine, and other redline sounds.

The last chain I was running was a 106 link chain. I went into detail earlier about how it wasn’t a good fit on the bike. Now that I’ve gone a bit with the stock size chain again (108 links) I’m pretty sure that’s definitely what to stick with. For some reason, I never counted the chain links from the first chain I had. The axle sits back a bit further (a little past the “new” marking on the swingarm) but there’s still plenty of space to work with when you’re using the 108 link chain.

Putting the 106 link chain on was hard, it was like I was stretching it myself, which would be pretty much impossible. Either way, it was the one that the folks at Bike Bandit said I should use because of the decrease in teeth of my sprocket.

The problem with having such a tight chain is that it will cause extra wear on the transmission. I started hearing a weird noise right before engaging in 2nd gear (so at a certain speed or RPM? don’t know!) but the noise and those problems are gone now, with the well-fitting chain and sprockets.

So my bike definitely sounded happier and more relaxed, but there’s a lot of other options out there, too. Once I’m done with need-it-to-run repairs, I’m planning on getting a few different sprockets and testing them out to see how they go.

When I was driving on I-94, I definitely had to shift into 4th gear to maintain 70mph indicated uphill.

I’m open to suggestions, definitely, and I’ve been playing around with things on to see what other kinds of options there are.

I’m planning on getting a 15 tooth front sprocket, the 33 tooth stock rear sprocket, and the 28 tooth rear sprocket so I can do some comparisons. Most of my riding is in 5th gear, I don’t do a lot of little tuttering around town, since it’s my main transportation vehicle. There’s tons of people’s experiences about this online, but the thread I keep coming back to read is the Sprockets and Speed one on the Honda Rebel Forums.

21 thoughts on “Honda Rebel Sprocket Sizes – Why I use the 30T Rear Sprocket

  1. Ron Hyatt

    Too much if you’re heavy like me. MPG went down with the 30T, gearing was way off. I am 300lbs on my Rebel. YMMV if you are lighter. I am backing off one to 32 to see what’s what. It also seems that the bolts are torqued to the 14/33 without backing out. Lost a few with 14/30, the frequency was wrong. 14/32 may get better MPG, but Honda stock is engineered for a reason, to be bulletproof, and once you mess with it, you get what you get, just like my Ruckus. If I had left the biatch stock, it would still be running. Upped it for 50 MPH, and can’t find a motor.

    • Oh, yeah, I never got over 250 with my Rebel, though I occassionally would take up to a 200lb passenger (careful not to bottom out lol) so it’s all relative I guess.

      When are you planning on trying out a 32T? I had planned on testing out different gearings at one point but never got around to it.

      What’s your MPG?

  2. Ron Hyatt

    I am rather large for a rebel, yet it’s a comfortable fit. MPG went down with 14/30. Way Down, as did max speed. Right now trying 14/32. MPG is back up, RPM’s seem to be down, but top speed seems to be taking a hit. Could just be cold weather.

  3. ProDigit

    I’m 160lbs, live in Florida, where there are no hills, and the weather is hot.
    I run with a 15/28t and love it!
    looking to exchange the 28t with a 25t.
    15/28 works so well at anything between 30 and 44mph in final gear, engine is taking it easypeasy! No wind resistance. 45-65mph buzzes a bit, but way less than stock gears, and above 75mph it’s smooth sailing again!
    feet on passenger pegs, duck forward, and the bike does 83mph indicated tops.
    wind in back, or car in front cleaving through the wind, and speeds above where 90mph would be on the speedo are possible.

    I want 15/25t, as I’m mainly riding myself, at speeds between 35 and 45mph. Shift to 4th gear for highway speeds…
    5th gear just for cruising, gear 1-3 for acceleration. I barely use 4th gear as is…

    • ProDigit

      Btw, mpg is 75mpg highway and interstate; 80 city, and 85 when taking it easy on long roads doing 35-50mph.

    • Wouldn’t you lose a lot of power at 25t though? What size chain are you using? Also, if you don’t mind sharing, how much do you weigh? My stats are for being around ~200lbs and I did fairly decent gas mileage.

      • ProDigit

        WIth a 15/28 the bike accelerates just faster than average cars from a stop light, and accelerates better once it passes 4 or 5K RPM.
        If I want to accelerate fast, I just have to rev it high (like very few cars keep up from a stop light at 6k RPM).

        It’s a common misconception, to think you lose a lot of power going smaller in rear sprocket size.
        Acceleration in 1st gear from a dead stop is slower (upto where you reach the torque/HP band at 8.5k RPM).
        After that, the rebel accelerates just as fast. You don’t have to ride in 5th gear if you need acceleration. You can ride in 4th with a 15/28t, which comes close to a stock 5th gear.

        The stock chain works fine for 15/28. Perhaps even for 15/26, but you’ll probably be at the end of the adjusters.
        For 15/25 I have ordered a 106 link 428 chain.

  4. I roll my rebel rat bobber on 15/30 and can’t imagine how bad it would be on 14/33… 15/28 may be in my future.

    • I bet that’d look cool pulling away from a stop!

      • It does that well enough already. 😉 Would post it but can’t…

        • Too busy riding? 🙂

          If you write up your experiences and send some pics, I can post it for ya.


            I could use a better seat, but haven’t found anything I like. She’s got almost 200,000 all-highway miles on her. If there are stop signs and traffic lights, we just don’t go there. Royal Purple FTW. Her name is “Vertical Disaster.” Note the distinct absence of rear brake. A pill-head friend crashed her, brought her back, and expected me not to notice that (also wrecked my car) the brake was completely gone. The mount point on the frame is torn off. She’s my primary transportation, built while I was homeless. Treated me better than any woman has, so I won’t let her go. Only let me down once, coil blew out. Most dependable vehicle I’ve ever owned.

          • I felt the same way about mine – 200,000 miles? That’s GoldWing territory! Sweet bike!

            That seat could definitely use some more padding. You said she’s Royal Purple? Looks black, maybe just the lighting? I’ve been thinking about some sort of dark purple for the Nighthawk. I don’t want to soften the look of the bike much though.

            I definitely miss working on my Rebel. It’s a lot easier to get into than the Nighthawk.

            What kind of battery is in that?

          • Flat black, and then leave it in the rain on purpose.

            Royal Purple, the oil. Any other motorcycle oil and my magnetic drain plug has unpleasantness on it at 1000 miles. Royal Purple, squeaky clean magnet at 2000 miles. Absolutely worth it. Shifting is nice and smooth, too. Forget finding neutral with any other oil. Not gonna happen.

            Rolling 15/30 sprockets. Have a long-standing 3D model of a serpentine belt idea… At only 15hp to the rear wheel, it’d work, at least on paper… Now that I have a CnC mill, I might just give it a shot.

          • Ohh interesting — I haven’t used that oil before. And yeah I remember the neutral finding problems, but I usually just used the Valvoline motorcycle oil.

          • Royal Purple is often written off as overpriced and pointless by people who have never used it. It is damn expensive, but in the bikes I’ve owned, it really makes them last… Consider this 250 is air cooled and rolls 8000 rpm for hours and hours, every week. Almost 200,000 miles at 8000 rpm… Still doesn’t smoke, full compression, fires right up with no choke… I swear by the stuff. The other bike I ran this hard was a Ninja 250. I sold it at 40k miles and you couldn’t tell if I didn’t say. That thing visited 13k several times a day for 3 years… Some might argue that paying for Royal Purple essentially buys you a new bike over the same time period, and they might be right… It’s expensive. But I haven’t hardly gotten my wrenches dirty…

          • I’ll try it out the next time I change my oil, and see what the fuss is all about. 🙂

            My Rebel was like that – all highway all the time.

          • Tubeless on spoked rims?

          • My bad – I have tubeless on the Nighthawk and wasn’t thinking straight, sorry!

          • Recently put on new tires, new tubes, new chain and sprockets, and new front brake. I hate chrome.

          • My friend joked that my answer to everything was PAINT IT BLACK! 🙂

            What sprocket sizes are you running? (have you thought about going tubeless?)

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