Fix the Virago 250 gearing ! Changing sprockets (gearing) on Yamaha Virago 250 to 17/38, 17/40, 17/42, etc.


The stock sprockets on the Virago 250 are 16 teeth (Front) and 45 teeth (Rear).

Yamaha sells this model worldwide; the gearing is probably fine for some areas, but for travel on “high” speed paved roads, in my opinion the stock sprocket choice is way too low.

   For any Virago 250 that is running strong, I would go with 17/38, 17/40, or 17/42 depending on your driving conditions.  If you have changed your rear tire size, that could affect your decision also.

Examples:  If you seldom carry a passenger and don’t have many hills in your area, 17/38 could be good choice. If your bike has extra weight due to added windshield, saddlebags, etc. and heavy rider, you might go 17/40, or 17/42 if your area is hilly.  If you have a hilly commute but intend to go to smaller rear tire (120/90-15), 17/38 could be good choice, since the smaller rear tire will give you the equivalent of 17/39.

I changed my Virago 250 to 17/40.  It’s a different, better, more useful bike now – more like a real motorcycle should be.  Instead of going through the first four gears by 30 mph, I 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.                          -Les S.

——————

Choice of sprockets is an individual decision, but the information below might help you decide which combination is best for you:

——————

Negatives:

1) Your Virago 250 is not running as strong as when it was new.

2) Half of your riding is in hills, and half is fairly flat highways.

3) Your bike has a windshield, saddlebags, and possibly other heavy accessories.

Positives:

4) You do not carry passengers often.

5) Your weight is 175 lbs. or less

6) You have the stock size rear tire (130/90-15).

Based on this, I would go with 17/40.

——————

Negatives:

1) Half of your riding is in hills, and half is fairly flat highways.

2) Your bike has a windshield, saddlebags, and possibly other heavy accessories.

3) Your weight is 200 lbs. or more

Positives:

4) Your Virago 250 is running very strong – as strong as when it was new.

5) You do not carry passengers often.

6) You have the stock size rear tire (130/90-15).

Based on this, I would go with 17/38.

——————

Negatives:

1) Half of your riding is in hills, and half is fairly flat highways.

2) Your bike has a windshield, saddlebags, and possibly other heavy accessories.

3) Your weight is 200 lbs. or more

4) You have a larger size rear tire (140/90-15).

Positives:

5) Your Virago 250 is running very strong – as strong as when it was new.

6) You do not carry passengers often.

Based on this, I would go with 17/40.

——————

Negatives:

1) Most of your riding is in hills; the rest is flat roads.

2) You carry passengers fairly often.

3) You have a larger size rear tire (140/90-15).

Positives:

4) Your Virago 250 is running very strong – as strong as when it was new.

5) Your bike does not have windshield, saddlebags, and possibly other heavy accessories.

6) Your weight is 165 lbs. or less

Based on this, I would go with 17/40.

(Due to the larger 140/90-15 tire, this is equal to 17/39)

————–

Negatives:

1) Most of your riding is in hills; the rest is flat roads.

2) Your bike has a windshield, saddlebags, and possibly other heavy accessories.

3) You carry passengers fairly often.

4) You have a larger size rear tire (140/90-15).

Positives:

5) Your Virago 250 is running very strong – as strong as when it was new.

6) Your weight is 165 lbs. or less

Based on this, I would go with 17/42.

(Due to the larger 140/90-15 tire, this is equal to 17/41)

————–

The chart below shows the number of links needed for each sprocket combination.

http://www.cyclechaos.com/4um/f27/virago-250-front-rear-sprocket-upgrades-15285/index2.html

See link above – the chart below used the data from this link.

Some sprocket combinations can use two different lengths – the shorter length will have the chain adjusters more forward, and the longer length will have the chain adjusters more back. Sprocket combinations can sometimes use two different chain lengths because chains can vary somewhat in length (used chain vs new chain and different brands of chain.)

16/45 stock ………………………………………… 114

16/43 – 4.6% higher gearing 0/.5 …………. 114

17/45 – 6.2% higher gearing 0/.25 ……….. 114

17/44 – 8.6% higher gearing 0/0 ………….. 114

16/41 – 10% higher gearing -2/0 ………….. 112

17/43 – 11% higher gearing 0/.25 …………. 114

16/40 – 12.5% higher gearing -2/.25 ……. 112

17/42 – 14% higher gearing 0/.5 …………. 114

16/39 – 15% higher gearing -2/.5 ………… 112

17/41 – 17% higher gearing -2/.25 ……….. 112 . .. 112 tight or 114 loose

17/40 – 19.5% higher gearing -2/0 ………. 112 .. 112 Chain will fit perfect, with full adjustment available

17/38 – 25.8% higher gearing -2/.5 ……… [b]112[/b] .. 112 Chain will fit 1/2 back, so might run out of adjustment before worn out

17/37 – 29.2% higher gearing -2/.75 ……. [b]112[/b] .. 112 Chain will fit 3/4 back, very little adjustment available

17/36 – 32.8% higher gearing -4/0 ………. [b]110[/b] .. 110 Chain should fit perfect, with full adjustment available

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40 Responses to Fix the Virago 250 gearing ! Changing sprockets (gearing) on Yamaha Virago 250 to 17/38, 17/40, 17/42, etc.

  1. Yves Petit says:

    Hi Les,

    I also wish to change the final drive sprockets. I haven’t yet decided on the combination but I definetely think that 6000 RPM at 100 Km/h is too high an engine speed. My questions – Do you know of one or more suppliers of these sprockets?

    Thanks,

    Yves (Montreal)

    • lstrick115 says:

      Hi Yves,
      If you go on ebay and search for “Virago 250 rear sprocket” and also “XV250 rear sprocket”, you will see a quite a few sprockets.
      The brand names are usually JT or Sunstar. Good luck with your search and let me know how it goes.
      Thanks for asking,
      Les S.

  2. FRANK says:

    hi my name is frank davis. I did the the change to my virago 250 2005. I love it 16/38 sprocket went with bigger jet in carb k and n air filter also pipes what a great way to ride like a real bike. Today on a flat rt 70 ROAD in medford nj I hit speeds of 85 mph. before the sprockets I hit 70 mph and my engine was going to blow up lol. NOW IT IS SO BETTER NOW IT GOES FASTER AT A MUCH LOWER RPM !! I LOVE MY BIKE . I AM 210 POUNDS AND MY BIKE RIDES SO GRAND AT 65 70 NOW. THANKS FRANK….. MEDFORD NJ .

    • Stanford says:

      hey davis, I’m looking at doing the exact same thing to my virago; new exhaust, new air filter, rejetted carb and up the sprockets to 17/42. I was wondering what parts did you use for all this as I would like to know which bits fit best on your bike. Thanks

  3. Yves Petit says:

    Hi everyone,
    I changed to 17/40 and I love it! The engine now revs at 5000 RPM at 100 Km/h and that sounds a lot better than the previous 6000. I bought the sprockets and chain link from Sunstar as you had suggested Les. The sprockets seemed fine until I noticed the the M6 tapped holes in the drive sprocket had not been made. I had to go out and buy the tap. I was extra careful not to break the tap since the sprocket is slighly hardened. I also removed two chain links down from 114 to 112. I made my test drive at a chilly 3 deg Celsius (38 farhenheit), possibly the last ride this year. I’m anxious to see the change in gas mileage…more on that next year.

    • Massimo says:

      Hi guys,
      I’m reading so many forums about sprockets change and it seems like most of discussions are focused on the 17/38 and the 17/40 options but I’m getting really confused on what should I fit on my bike (MY 1993, 49k).
      I’m 6 feet tall and I weigh 165lbs. I live in Melbourne (Australia) where most of my rides are a mix of urban highways and hilly landscapes in the countryside although not extremely high. I quite like riding on fast winding roads but although the stock sprocket should suit this scenario they actually quite unfit. Above all i find frustrating not having any pickup when gearing down as when I turn the hand grip I don’t feel the pushback i’d expect, the bike just revs up a lot as it was going to explode needing desperately next gear up. Also when I’m on a 5th gear at 110-120kph I feel like it could still give me a lot more but no 6th gear is available! I recently replaced friction and clutch plate but the only advantage is a smoother gearing so I’m pretty keen to change the sprockets.
      Do you guys have any suggestions?
      Cheers
      Massimo

      • lstrick115 says:

        Hi Massimo,

        For travel on “high” speed paved roads, the stock 16/45 sprockets are way too low.
        I think of 17/38 as the correct stock gearing and then I would adjust from that to fit your driving conditions.

        I would get 17/40 if you have any of these conditions:
        1) If your Virago 250 is not running as strong as when it was new.
        2) If you carry passengers a lot.
        3) If you have added a windshield, saddlebags, and other heavy accessories.
        4) If you have a larger rear tire (140/90-15).
        5) If there are lots of hills where you ride.

        If your Virago 250 is not running as strong as when it was new + you carry passengers a lot + one of the others (3, 4, or 5), you should consider 17/42.

        For a 165 lb. driver, a Virago 250 that is running strong, not carrying passengers most of the time, I would go with 17/38.

        Most Virago 250 owners that change to any of these really like it – it is like a different bike.

        Let me know how it turns out…………..

        Les S.

      • Massimo says:

        Hi Les,

        Thanks for the prompt reply. I definitely meet conditions no.1, no. 3 (e.g. Saddlebags and backrest) and half of the no.5 (I ride on hills in the countryside but i still have ride on long highways to get there). I ride 99% of the time on my own, I will probably have my gf joining me sometimes in summer but nothing consistent.
        Do you reckon I should go 17/40 or 42?
        Cheers
        Massimo

      • lstrick115 says:

        Hi Massimo,
        OK – I hope that I got this correct:
        Negatives:
        1) Your Virago 250 is not running as strong as when it was new.
        2) You ride in hills half the time and long highways half the time.
        3) Your bike has a windshield, saddlebags, and possibly other heavy accessories.

        Positives:
        4) You do not carry passengers often.
        5) Your weight is 165 lbs.
        6) You have the stock size rear tire (130/90-15).

        Based on this, I would go with 17/40.

        But review the six factors again – if you can think of anything negative that we missed, then you might want to consider 17/41.

        Hope this helps……..
        Les S.

  4. Massimo says:

    Yes mate,
    Six factors are correct, only amendment is on negatives point 3 because I don’t have a windshield but only saddlebags and a backrest. So at this stage I would go 17/40 and I’ll change the chain also (O-ring). Btw is there any difference between JT and Sunstar sprockets as far as you know? I’m probably buying a bundle from ebay and apparently the only difference is that the JT’s have 106 links instead of the 114 of the Sunstar’s plus JT are cheaper.
    Have a good day!
    Massimo

    • lstrick115 says:

      Hi Massimo,
      For 17/40 you will need 112 links.
      (For 17/42 you would need 114 links)
      I added a “number of links” chart to the bottom of the post.

      I know that Sunstar is normally more expensive than JT, but I have never heard if it is higher quality.
      Possibly Sunstar is made by JT. I would just get the cheapest one.

      Thanks for asking,
      Les S.

  5. Yves Petit says:

    Hi Massimo,

    As I mentioned in a previous post, I changed my sprockets to 17/40 and it’s fine for me. I just want to warn you about the connecting link that you will need. The chain on my 2012 VStar is not an O-ring chain. It was not evident which of the 3 choices of links to order from Sunstar. I opted for the #SS520XTG-L link which happens to be an O-ring link (the picture is the same for their 3 choices!). I used it anyway, using the O-rings on the outboard side only as there was not enough space for all 4 O-rings. Also the connecting plate was very hard to push onto the pins. Maybe you can email them before asking them details on their connecting links. Lastly, you will have to remove 3 links from the chain to end up with 112 links with the new connecting link.

    Happy summer. We are entering winter here in Montreal.

    Yves

    • Massimo says:

      Hi Yves,
      Thanks for your reply.
      I’ve contacted the ebay seller to ask more information about their products because as you said they use the same pictures (don’t know if it’s the same guy but currently on ebay the only seller selling either the JT bundle and the Sunstar one is “jawzys” from Ohio). In particular I’ve inquired about the chain links in the bundle because the Sunstar one ($50 more expensive) comes with 114 links and the JT with 106 which doesn’t make sense as the stock one has 114 links. They replied “We try to do the math so you don’t have to cut a chain down to length, sometimes we are off. What I’d recommend doing if you purchasing the JT set, in the notes of the check out portion just request the size of chain you know to work and that’s what we will send. From what I’ve seen however is the 91-94 model year machines aren’t covered by our sprockets and I can’t say that this kit will work or not.” This is my dilemma now because my bike is a 1993 and on ebay i found only items up until ’90 and from ’95 onwards. It seems like no virago 250 have been made in that interval. Honestly I believe that it will fit anyway according to the most the virago has been looking the same for 24 years, however i’ll ask my trusted mechanic today.
      Yves if you want to come down under for a ride this is the best time.

      Thank Yves and thanks Les and to anyone else in this discussion, your help is invaluable!!!
      Massimo

      • Carsten says:

        Hi Massimo

        I am looking to go for the 17/40 set as well and have found the kit from “jawzys” in Ohio as well – did you find out whether this kit will fit the 91-94 models? Mine is a 94….. And what about the O-rings – is this the type of chain I want? And does the JT kit come with 114 links or only 106?
        all the best Carsten

      • lstrick115 says:

        Hi, Carsten,
        All the “jawzys” sprocket sets I saw were for 1995 to 2007.
        I do not know if they will fit the 1994 model.

        You might try the Virago Tech website to answer this question.
        I spent 15 minutes on it and I could not find this information.

        I would go with an O-Ring or X-Ring chain.
        I got a low cost O-ring chain ($40.35 shipped) and it is doing great – after 6,700 miles, it seldom needs an adjustment.

        “Jawzys” current ebay listing for the JT set says it is 112 links.

        Regards,
        Les S.

      • Carsten says:

        Hi Les

        I understand that I should get an O-ring chain, my only concern is whether there will be room for it as I understand it is a little wider than a regular roller-link chain? Will the O-Ring fit without having to do modifications on the bike? If so, I’ll get a set og sprockets and chain – I believe it will fit the 1994 model as well….

      • lstrick115 says:

        Hi, Carsten,
        It is highly unlikely that you will have a problem with the width of O-ring chain. I have an O-ring chain on my Virago 250. If you look at your chain from the rear, you can see that there is extra room on both sides of the chain.
        Regards,
        Les S.

  6. Hello Les, Just bought a 2012 V Star 250. With only 130 miles on it I new the gearing was wrong. Found your website-by the way,thanks for all the info. I went with the 17-40 combo.It truly did make a different bike out of it. Smoother takeoffs and shifts with hardly any loss of torque or power in these central Ky. hills. It really runs out on the state roads at less rpm’s to run with the traffic flow. Have to hold my r’s down until I get the engine broke in. With this combo I retained almost all of my chain adjustment. I’m 6 ft. tall, weigh 175, 65 y.o. I have the windshield.luggage rack with a 40 liter Shad trunk. MC Enterprises crash bar with j&p footpegs. With the temps in the high 20′s and low 30′s it made for a cool test ride. The clip type connector link for the stock D.I.D 520 chain is (Bikemaster # 195202). Finding that connector link was the hardest part of the job. The dealer only had one in stock and he like to have never founf it. I went with the starfire sprockets from Jawzys since the stock sprockets were Starfire. Only a few bucks more. Just waiting for the snow to leave and the temps to rise. Thanks again,

    • lstrick115 says:

      Hi Marion,
      Your V Star 250 sounds great. 17-40 is a good choice with the hills and extra equipment. I am waiting for the snow to leave, too. I lived in Lexington KY from 1976 to 1979, and we got a lot of snow especially in 1976 and 1977.
      Thanks for your comments,
      Les S.

  7. ronald beckham says:

    i have a new box of size 40 chain???i have the 250 virtago
    will it work on my sprockets,,? ronnie blackshear ga

    • lstrick115 says:

      Hi Ronald,
      If the box that you have is #40 chain, it will not fit. A virago 250 with stock sprockets (16 front/45 rear) takes 114 links of #520 chain.
      Hope this helps.
      -Les S.

  8. John says:

    Just done the 17t 38t upgrade on the wifes bike, she loves it now, Accelleration greatly improved mid range for overtaking, glad I came across this site

  9. Aaron says:

    Do you think I would have a problem running 17/45 with the stock chain?

    • lstrick115 says:

      Hi, Aaron,
      Yes – 99% of the time it would be fine.
      The only time you would have a problem is if the rear wheel/chain adjusters were all the way forward.

      (Even then, you could drive it a few days so the chain would stretch a little – then the 17T sprocket would fit.)
      -Les S.

    • habitant says:

      Hi Aaron, one more tooth on either sprocket means 5/8″ more in chain length. If the rear wheel adjustment has at least 5/16″ play on the inboard side (towards the front), that means you can move your rear wheel towards the front and thereby be able to use the same chain. Good luck.

  10. Gonzalo says:

    I have a V Star 250, only 1,400 kms. My friend Erik who also have a V Star 250 changed the stock sprockets of my bike 16/45 for 17/40…. boy, you wont believe how incredible the difference is. My bike now is a real cruiser. smoother take offs and no loss of power whatsoever, on the contrary it seems to become like a Virago 535… less rpm in first gears and ready to take the highway. fifth gear becomes like an overdrive for riding on highways. If you wanna see prove of this take a look at Youtube: “Changing sprockets on V Star 250″.. and you dont know about the change in exhaust for West Eagle Exhausts… you will see…

  11. rick says:

    Very good info regards this ,,, les . Im looking to change my 250xvs yamaha which is currently 20/56 to the equivalent of the virago 250 17/38 combination . What would you suggest here ? i was thinking if i had a rear sprocket made it would be a 46 giving me a 20/46 combi . My chain is 428 can i do this without changing my front sprocket and chain as its still new .
    thanks again rick

    • lstrick115 says:

      Hi Rick,
      An XV250 going from 16/45 to 17/38 is a 20.5% change
      The mathematical equivalent for a 250 xvs would be to go from 20/56 to 21/47, which is a 20.1% change
      I think the 250xvs is a little heavier than the XV250, so 21/48 (18.4% change) would be a good choice, too.

      You wanted to do 20/46 (17.9 %). It should be OK – but on the xvs, I don’t know how close the chain is to the swingarm. If it is close, you might need to grind/sand it a little, plus check and adjust the chain more often.
      You will need to shorten the chain. If you have a bench grinder you can do it yourself. If you are not sure how much to take off, start with a lower amount. Example, if you need 6 or 8 links off, start by taking out just 6 links.
      Let me know how it goes! -Les S.

      • rick says:

        Hello les ,,,,,, Ive since found out a 428 setup is impossible to get in the gearing to the equivalent of the xv250 17/38 gearing in the 520 .Ive now had to go to plan B , which is a 520 conversion kit . I thought in a 520 front & rear sprocket to replace the the existing 428 20/56 sprockets would need to be a 21/48 ,,,, HA HA ! was i wrong ,,, i hadnt taken into consideration “the pitch” Luckily i was stopped in my tracks before ordering these gigantic sprockets . As ive done , ive ordered the 17/38 in the 520 conversion kit which is the same as the XV250 + V-STAR use when changing sprockets . Its not costing me an arm and a leg to do this either .
        what do you think ? do the ratios hover around the 2.235 – 2.350 mark ?
        If so ill be very pleased .
        cheers rick

  12. rick says:

    Les ,,, ive now learnt that i can only go to a 15/38 sprocket with the 520 conversion . This is due to the spline on the xvs 250 differing from that of the xv virago 250 . How will this feel coming from the current 428 20/56 i now have .
    rick

    • lstrick115 says:

      Hey Rick,
      A 250XVS going from 20/56 to 15/38 (2.533 ratio) is a 9.5% change
      A 250XVS going from 20/56 to 17/38 would be a 20.2% change
      Personally, I would do the 20/56 to 15/38 change only if the price was right – don’t pay too much.
      There should be a better solution – it would be good to find out what other 250xvs owners are doing.
      Regards,
      Les S.

  13. Jason@Minnesota says:

    Hey Riders.
    I’m buying an ’82 Yamaha 550 Maxim with 33k miles (53k km) and already looking into re-gearing the sprocket/countersprocket, to save a little wear on the engine and mileage a bit with lower cruising RPMs.
    The stock setup is 16/45, and I’m already looking into adjusting to 17/44, which is an 11% RPM decrease at 60-75 mph (100-120 km/h) cruising speeds. I love to ride, and I’m not a speed junkie, so I’m willingly prepared to give up the acceleration. (Lower RPM, cooler running engine = more efficient, less wear) Good assumption?
    My question is what you think of re-gearing more to 18/43, 17% RPM decrease? Both of these setups have no effect on the chain length, require a 1-2mm axle adjustment. And even 18/44 would only be 3-4mm of play(15% RPM decrease). I know the big issue is, will I have enough power in the lower RPMS to move along? The 550 is a 6-gear, so I’m assuming after I get moving from a stop the 6 gears will handle the adjustment just fine.
    I’m 160lbs, but on light trips with the girlfriend I’m expecting our combined weight to be around 300lbs. What do you all think?
    Jason

    • lstrick115 says:

      Hi Jason,
      The gearing on my Virago 250 was just about right when I had it higher by 18.4% (now it is 20.5%) – but the stock gearing is way too low on these bikes – most bikes could not handle that much. On my 1981 Honda 400 twin I raised the gearing by 11.1% and that has worked out well (it even still has the original clutch.)
      I do not know your bike, so I don’t know if the factory gearing is low, or just right. If you get into 5th by 35 mph, or 6th by 40 to 45 mph, then maybe 10% higher gearing will work. If when accelerating from 70 mph in 5th, if the bike seems stronger than it needs to be, then you might could use higher gearing. If 6th seems like an overdrive, better for cruising than accelerating, then maybe the stock gearing is just right.
      I think that after you drive the bike awhile, you will get a good idea on how much, if any, you can raise your gearing.
      Let me know how it works out.
      Regards,
      Les S.

      • Jason@Minnesota says:

        Thanks for the tips Les,
        I’m going mostly based on my 7 years of riding a Kawasaki 750. It was geared much too low for a 5-speed, and ran around 6,000 RPM at cruising speeds. Probably the reason for its early demise despite being under 30k miles.
        I’ll ease into the process and start with adding +1 to the sprocket(since the chain looks worn) and let you know the results.
        Jason

  14. itty says:

    I have a 2003 Yamaha Virago 250. It is my starter bike (bought it used in 2008) and I can’t bear to part with it just yet. Got it with 10K miles already on and have since put on another 20K miles. For the most part, my commute to/from work is less than 10 miles per day, none of it on the highway (all less than 70km/hr). I usually only ride with me (115 lbs) and a windshield. However, most of my mileage has been when I’ve gone on my motorcycle adventures. To get there, I will typically ride 3-5 hrs on the freeway (110-130km/hr) for 2-3 days to get to awesome mountain riding (ie the Alps). I will have saddlebags (softsided) and maybe another bag or two strapped to the sissybar (I don’t carry other passengers)….so maybe 50lbs total in baggage weight.

    I usually get to 5th gear by 80km/hr. When I hit 100Km/hr, I feel like the bike should shift again. I can usually hang out at around 110-115km/hr with no problems for about an hr, before I stop to get gas, and let my little bike rest for a few minutes. When at these speeds, I almost always cannot accelerate enough to pass another vehicle. 120km/hr is near my max, with 130km/hr possible if I’m going downhill or with a tailwind. =(

    I don’t have problems starting from stop, but I do struggle with trying to pass others even on back roads (90km/hr).

    My chain has recently required frequent tightening, so I’m looking to replace the chain and sprockets and was hoping you might make some suggestions as to which size sprockets might work best for me.

    • lstrick115 says:

      Hi itty

      I’ll start with 17/38 – that is the “correct” combo for the Virago 250 and that is what it should come with from the factory.

      If you were heavier and the bike a little down on power, I would go 17/40.

      With “some” hills 17/40 might be your best choice. With a lot of hills, you might go with 17/41 or 17/42.

      I found that 17/38 was faster than 17/40 up to 105 to 113 km/hr, then slower above that speed.
      This is because with 17/38 you can be in a lower gear – except over 105 to 113 km/hr – when you are in top gear. Fifth gear does not climb hills as easily as with 17/40 and strong headwinds affect the bike more – this is expected, but is still a downside of 17/38 – “less power” over 105 to 113 km/hr (because you can be only in 5th gear).
      17/38 would help, too, with your “hard to pass” problem over 90 km/hr (up to 113 km/hr). You can also improve your passing ability by starting to accelerate way earlier to build up your speed/momentum.

      Keep in mind I am 230 lbs with gear, my engine is probably not quite as strong as when new (I have 23,000 miles on it), and my driving includes some hills.

      You did not mention tires, but I prefer a 130 rear tire (Kenda brand) over a 140 for lightness/more performance.

      Hope this helps. Let me know how it turns out.
      Regards,
      Les S.

  15. sean says:

    Hi everyone
    i recently purchased I used 2011 v star 250. It has about 8000 miles on it. I have read the thread and I cant seem to decide on an appropriate mod. I weigh about 165lbs and my motorcycle doesnt have any accessories, I dont plan on carrying a passenger (don’t even have the rear seat :)) my commute involves flat roads with a mix of highways and local roads. Everything on it is stock. I dont plan on riding faster than 60mph. But I would like to go from 0-60 faster and smoother. (Keeping in mind its a 250 cc cruiser)Like most riders I dont like the stock gearing especially the lower gears as they are useless even for local riding. Which sprocket combination should I go for? Also which chain should I purchase. If some one can post a link to Amazon or some other website that would be great. Lastly I plan on doing it myself so any input will be appreciated.

    • lstrick115 says:

      Hi, Sean,
      For any low-mileage Virago 250, I recommend 17/38 – that is the “correct” combo for the Virago 250 and that is what it should come with from the factory.

      165 lbs + no passengers + no hills = 17/38

      If you were heavier and the bike a little down on power, I would go 17/40.

      With 17/38, fifth gear is a lot like overdrive.
      If you want fifth gear to be a little stronger, go with 17/40.

      For a chain – stock is 520 x 114 links – I have a low cost O-Ring chain on mine that seems fine.
      I got it on ebay for $40.35 shipped. It was not a “brand name” chain.

      Please see this link: http://wp.me/P1LWaM-jp (bottom of post – item #21)

      Chain lengths:
      17/42 114 links (stock is 114 links)
      17/41 112 links
      17/40 112 links
      17/38 112 links

      It is better to get a 120 link chain and cut it to fit. For 17/38 you could try 114 links before reducing it to 112.
      To remove links, you need a chain-breaker or a bench grinder.

      To install, loosen the chain and remove the master link. Attach the new chain temporarily to the old chain using the master link, and pull it so the new chain goes onto the sprockets. When complete, you remove the old chain. Attach the new master link to the new chain. The open end of the master link faces opposite the direction the chain goes. “A fish swims upstream.”

      Hope this helps. If you need a long version of the chain installation procedure, just let me know.
      Regards,
      Les

      • sean says:

        Hi les
        I appreciate your response . I think I will go for the 17/40 as I am not sure of the power on my bike because I bought it used and its my first motorcycle I have nothing to compare it to. Also I would like to keep a little leeway just in case. Will i loose a lot of low end acceleration with this upgrade? Typically in the speed of 40mph and below . Also I have never done any work on a motorcycle , im mechanically apt and do basic maintaince on my car like chaning oil, brakes etc myself. Is this doable for someone without much prior knowledge or is it recommended to visit a mechanic. I bought a sunstar kit fom jawzys on ebay it has a o ring chain and the 17/40 sprockets hopefully its compatible.

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