This newbie-ism makes more sense when rewritten as: “I just spent all my money on this used bike, and now it needs a new chain. Do I really have to cough up the money for a sprocket, too?” As frequently happens when you are older and have more experience, you’ll need to deliver some bad news. Or, you could just be an a-hole and say: “No, you only have to replace your sprocket with every other chain.”

  • john phyyt

    As Mr Garrison says.. “Remember there are no stupid questions, just stupid people”.

    Just an aside ;Evans. But would you prefer your son/daughter to ride a 600 without latest rider aids or Larger bike with Cornering ABS. TC anti wheelie anti rear lift etc etc? For myself I would say the latter. and your offspring would not loop it off the line either.

    • Evans Brasfield

      I wouldn’t let my daughters ride either one. I started on a 500 twin, and they’ll start on something of similar character if they choose to ride.

      As far as the scenario you set up is concerned, I’d still go for the 600. The 1000s, even with the rider aids, have the ability to generate so much speed so quickly that no amount of electronics can make up for this on the street.

      A caveat: After almost 30 years of riding, I still prefer middleweights to open classers when it comes to sporting machinery. There’s a reason why I own an R6.

      • JMDGT

        I learned more about riding on my CB350 than any bike I have ever owned. I miss my middle weight bike. I am hoping to get another one.

      • mikeinkamloops

        Back when I started, a 500 twin was a relatively large bike. A to of guys started on 350’s.

      • JWH

        That’s fascinating. I always figured you guys rode so many bikes that you were semi-jaded at best and rode nothing but turbo ‘busas in real life. I’m a Harley guy, so my sport bike knowledge is minimal at best, so you elaborate a little bit on why you prefer the middleweights to the liter bikes?

        • Max Wellian

          The fun of sport riding is cornering. Lighter bikes do it easier and with more corner speed.
          People who buy bikes for outright power are usually newbies or croozer doods who spend tens of thousands of dollars to attain the power to weight ratio of a $6k SV650. In both cases, that’s more about trying to impress the girlies with their fearless manhood. Blame evolution.

          • JWH

            Not real fond of us “croozer” dudes are ya?

          • Max Wellian

            I am one from time to time. Never really felt the need to drop a boatload of cash to make one “fast.” They’re called croozers because they’re fer croozin. If you want fast, there are better bikes for that kinda thing.

          • JWH

            Ah got ya. I agree. My bike is bone stock, and I haven’t felt the need to even do pipes and a breather. My biker creds are all but gone on my quiet ride, but truth to tell I don’t personally miss the volume that much. Stock, my back is considerably faster than I am. I will accelerate to 100mph quickly and easily, and I’ve never even the see top speed, and doubt I ever will.

  • Born to Ride

    I don’t change my sprockets unless there are visible signs of pitting, galling, or tooth deformation. If you are running the stock chain, steel sprockets, and keep it properly lubricated, I don’t see why you should arbitrarily change the sprockets. Steel, when not stressed beyond its endurance limit, will survive millions of stress cycles without failure. That being said, if you are running aluminum sprockets, change them every time.

    • JWH

      You’re right the harm probably isn’t that great, but it’s not zero. Fact: A worn chain will accelerate the wear on the sprocket. Fact: A worn sprocket will accelerate the wear on the chain. Sure, you might get away with only changing the sprocket every third chain, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be better off always letting a new chain wear wear with a new sprocket.

      • Born to Ride

        Not universal fact.The mechanism by which the wear is accelerated is the presence of pitting on the profile of the contact surfaces. When the manufacturer speccs out a drive chain, they give it a factor of safety against contact stress failure. Shock loading due to poor maintenance, clutch up wheelies, and jerky throttle inputs induce stresses beyond the design stress. Hence my remark about checking for pitting and galling when the chain is off.

        • JWH

          No, contact stress failure is not your only concern. Absolutely untrue. Wear from friction is what eventually wears your sprocket out, and elongation of the chain from wear causes more friction which accelerates the wear on the sprocket. Pairing a new sprocket with a worn chain will absolutely shorten that sprocket’s life.

          • Born to Ride

            How exactly does elongation increase friction? Friction can be quantified as it is the force aligned with the plane of contact, induced by the force that is perpendicular to that plane, multiplied by the coefficient of friction between those two surfaces. So the only thing that would increase friction would be to either increase the load applied through the chain, or increase the friction coeficient. Pitting and galling damage the surface of the roller on the chain, creating an uneven contact surface with the sprocket. That type of failure will absolutely increase the friction because you no longer have two smooth machines surfaces acting on each other. Pitting and galling are fatigue failure induced by cyclic contact stresses. Go buy a copy of Shigley’s Mechanical Design and read all about it.

          • JWH

            When the chain elongates, the points of engagement move. Eventually if not replaced the points of engagement will fail to mesh completely with bars meeting splines . A new chain and a new sprocket will align perfectly, link after link. A perfection that declines with elongation causing an increase in wear.

          • Born to Ride

            Your chain should be replaced long before its pitch has deformed enough cause it to ride high in the sprocket like you just described. If the teeth on the sprocket are not deformed and the surface is not pitted or galled, how is the wear on your new chain accelerated? Why would a new sprocket mesh any better than the old one? The tooth on a sprocket is subject to bending stress and contact stress in a high cycle fatigue loading application. There are precise mechanisms for its failure that are easily detected with the naked eye or a magnifying glass if you have OCD. In the absence of those failures, replacing it is an excercise in wasting money because the guy at cycle gear who may or may not have a high school diploma told you so.

          • srx6

            thank you, case closed

          • Holy crap! A topic more boring than engine oil! Didn’t think it was possible.

            JK guys–great info! Thanks!

          • JMDGT

            Engine oil as a topic is sacrosanct. Just like tire reviews.

          • Here’s something I want to know–why does motor oil breakdown at 240 degrees, but extra virgin olive oil doesn’t break down until 405 degrees? Should I use olive oil in my SV650?

          • JMDGT

            It has something to do with viscosity. Or possibly manganese. Some people don’t even know what that is. A Caddy Shack reference.

          • I thought it was the language they speak in Japanese comic books…

          • Born to Ride

            Yes. Yes you should.

          • c w

            yes. next question.

          • Born to Ride

            It warms my heart that studying stress analysis for hundreds of hours has brought you amusement. Just returning the favor for that Yamaha Zuma article you wrote years ago.

          • Hilarious! You made my day. Thanks for that.

    • Vrooom

      I tend to agree, some sprockets I’ve changed before the chain is worn out. I experimented running a 520 chain/sprocket combo on my Ducati, and the rear sprocket would wear out incredibly fast while the chain and front sprocket would last much longer.

  • JWH

    My first wife topped all ten. A piece of bottle sliced my tire open in downtown Denver when we were still engaged. She starts running her hand along the seat and says, “Is the spare under here?”

    • HazardtoMyself

      You know that is a hell of an idea. Just keep a tire iron under the seat, and ask Michelin or Dunlop to come out with the new foldable tire and a few Co2 cartridges to go with it.

      Seems they already make them for bicycles, so why not try it on an 800 lb cruiser?

    • Numbone

      And you let her get away???

  • Junker

    I certainly understand the point about “laying it down”, but I kinda cringe every time I see it implied that bailing is NEVER going to be the right choice. I know we want to encourage what the article says, but there are times when a collision is inevitable and where bailing could be better as a last resort. I’ve witnessed one that probably would have ended in death, that ended instead with scrapes and bruises. I know, I know, who is going to make the right decision in that 1000th of a second except by luck, but I don’t see anything wrong with wondering what is the best way to exit a bike unconventionally. If you’ve ever been in a vehicular accident you know there comes that moment when you realize that despite your best efforts, the collision IS going to happen. Staying on a bike at that moment may usually be best, but not always. It’s kind of a moot point, though, because I am not sure there are many people who could ignore their innate impulse anyway–like trying not to blink when something is coming at your eyes.

    • Max Wellian

      No one ever “lays down” a bike intentionally. They lay it down because they stomp on the rear brake, the rear tire fishtails out and they fall down.
      But it does sound more impressive to say “I had to lay’er down,” than admit to fear/ignorance of using the front brake.
      The bike will always stop or maneuver better with its tires on the ground than sliding along uncontrollably on its gas tank.

      • Val Demort

        One time a drunk truck driver invaded my lane, collision head on was inevitable head on, perhaps death, i saw a path of grass on the side i just jumped there, all i got was a sore hip, had i “stayed” on the bike i would be dead on impact

        • Max Wellian

          I’m having trouble trying to picture how one could jump off and over a moving motorcycle at a right angle faster than they could counter steer the bike in the direction of their choice. You must be in much better shape than me.
          In any event, jumping off a bike isn’t usually what people mean when they say they had to lay’er down.
          A couple years ago I broad sided a deer at ~60 mph. Jumped out of the woods with no time to do anything. When the cop got on the scene he asked me if I had to “lay’er down.” As bad as I hurt, I still thought that was pretty funny. I told him “I flew over the top. The bike laid itself down”…with a cornfed deer impaled on its Victory headlamp.

          • Val Demort

            I had that truck 30 ft away , steering that bike would send me into another coming car,no ‘ direction to go ” except collision yes im in good shape, it was one of those things when you dont have time to think, i;m glad i did, and i have been riding for over 35 years every kind of bike

          • Michael Howard

            I flew over the top. The bike laid itself down
            Funny stuff. Been there, done that, too. Twice. I hate deer.

  • allworld

    “Unfortunately, those fools are looking for alternative facts to justify their desire to ride without a helmet.”


    • Michael Howard

      Last week after I’d stowed my helmet and gloves and was walking into the grocery store, a guy (who’d got out of his car) informed me that if you rode a loud motorcycle you didn’t need a helmet. 😮

      • HazardtoMyself
        • Michael Howard

          Mine too. To borrow the old Harley saying, “If I have to explain it, you wouldn’t understand.” 😉

          • Billy

            Funny that you “borrow” the Harley saying.

            If you don’t think loud pipes saves lives, you haven’t done
            it, or not enough, or you insult what you don’t understand, or you think people who race their engine for no reason are the only ones who use loud pipes.

  • Andre Capitao Melo

    That quarter-mile-salesman is my new hero.

  • Vrooom

    The stupidest question that is asked all the time, by non-motorcyclists, is “how fast is that”, as the answer is how do you define fast. Otherwise the answer is always “depends”. On what’s your comparing it to, what you’re measuring (top speed, acceleration, handling, etc.) what you’re expectation and experience is, etc.

    • JMDGT

      Fast is different than quick. They can’t comprehend that.

  • Old MOron

    How about MOronic reader questions?
    Number one has to be, “Hey, when do we get to read your Saddlesore 1000 report?”

    • Evans Brasfield


  • Starmag

    What distresses me is to see that human genius has limitations, and human stupidity has none.—A. Dumas

    If “loud pipes save lives!”, why aren’t there insurance discounts for them?

  • Old MOron
    • Evans Brasfield

      He’s one of my closest friends. He must be terribly confused.

  • What’s the female equivalent of a small penis?

    • JMDGT


      • Max Wellian

        I need to explore this in more depth.

        • Michael Markham

          That won’t take too long Max!

  • Mark D

    Lol, sprockets. Shaft drive is where its at!

    ::looks at repair bill for spline lube::


    • mikeinkamloops

      Belt is best


    A long time ago in a galaxie far away in the old MO forum someone brought up the idea of learning the art of laying a bike down to avoid a wreck. I keep thinking it was Kpaul but I really can’t remember for sure. It prompted the most enjoyable smack down I have ever witnessed in an online forum. It might not have been Kpaul but it sure was funny.

  • john burns

    Say, isnt that Dean P Groover?

    • Evans Brasfield

      Yes, back when we were all much younger.

    • Gabriel Owens


  • Is a 600 too big for a first bike?

  • Val Demort

    Do they come with airbags ?? LOL. , that tops the list

    • HazardtoMyself

      Honda did have them as an option on the Goldwing for a time, so the correct answer might actually be yes….

  • Paul Bryant

    I’m shocked to see the number one question was omitted: “Which bike will get me laid?” The answer of course is: “All of them!”

    • Born to Ride

      We all wish.

  • Ken Floyd Jr.

    December 1985, I was riding from California to Florida. In the Houston area it was raining when I was getting on I-10 and laid down my bike at about 70 mph. I knew I was going down, so just let it happen and pushed my bike ahead of me. I just sat on my boots and butt and slid across three lanes of traffic watching my bike spark and spew the contents of my panniers. I was able to get to my feet just before I hit the K rail. All told, it was the safest crash ever. I was amazed. My shift lever was badly bent, my clutch lever broken. I had to use a pair of vise grips to pull the clutch cable to shift. It took me about a half hour of playing chicken in the coming traffic to gather all my stuff on the freeway. Then I rode off to a bike shop to fix my clutch lever. When I got there I finally took off my helmet an found a 12 inch wide, 14 inch deep groove in the back off it. I didnt even know my head had touched the ground. I live in a state that doesnt require a helmet, but I always ride wearing one. That safest of all crashes could of turned out a lot different.

  • Ian Lannister

    The brake question is usually the other way around in the UK “should I use the rear brake”? Explains why so many 1st time cruiser riders coming off sports bikes stack it going too hot into the first corner!

  • Kevin Polito

    “I went off the road because I didn’t think I could make the curve.”

  • Billy

    Your article was fun until you went off on your I am right opinion.

  • Rodney Myers

    You forgot one: “Why don’t you ride a Harley?”

  • Mister Memory

    There is no such thing as a dumb question. The questioner has a need to know something. Hopefully they don’t ask it of someone with a superiority complex and receive an answer that humiliates or demeans (like the salesman mentioned) and thus prevents them from asking further questions.
    No one knows everything.
    Time to suck up a large dose of humility and be prepared to share your knowledge and experience in a educative fashion without trying to score status points to boost your poor self-esteem.