Technical Q and A for classic motorcycle maintenance and repair.
Editor’s note: If you’re having trouble with that old Suzuki, BSA or BMW, Keith Fellenstein is your guy. From motorcycle tuning tips to detailed motorcycle engine repair, he can draw from a wealth of experience to help guide you to success. Send questions to: Keith’s Garage, Motorcycle Classics, 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609, or send an e-mail with “Keith’s Garage” as the subject.
Q: I have a 1973 Honda CL350 that I turned into a sort of bobber/café racer. It presently has a 36-tooth rear sprocket and a 16-tooth countershaft sprocket. At 70mph it is turning over 7,000rpm which is not far from redline. I’d like to get the gearing so I turn fewer revs at speed, but I don’t really know what would be best and I have limited funds. I’d like your opinion as to whether to go to a 35-tooth rear sprocket or a 17-tooth countershaft sprocket to lower the revs yet still give me good acceleration. Sprockets are limited for the CL350 and somewhat expensive for my limited budget. — Skip Baldwin/Picayune, Mississippi
A: The easiest way to drop the rpms is going to be to change the countershaft sprocket from a 16- to 17-tooth sprocket. As for expense, I found one at BikeBandit for $16 under Aftermarket Parts, Wheels & Final Drive. Of course, raising the gearing is going to slow the acceleration somewhat. There’s nothing you can do about that.