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How Does a Sprocket Work?

Unless you own a motorcycle or ATV of some sort, chances are you probably have only heard of a sprocket but do not exactly know what it is or how it functions. Luckily, the function of a sprocket is easily described so you can better understand the concept and how it relates to a motorcycle.

The importance of a motorcycle sprocket

To understand how a motorcycle sprocket works, you must first get to know what a sprocket is and how it functions. A sprocket is a circular part that has "teeth" that bite, or hook themselves, into the chain that is responsible for making your motorcycle move. It is similar to what you see used in bicycles to hold the bike chain in place, and likewise, serves the same purpose. The sprockets used in motorcycles are made of heavier materials that can withstand the speeds and fast rotations you expect from a high-velocity ride. Normally, there are two sprockets, though you can usually buy a single sprocket if only one needs replacement.

How sprockets function to get your motorcycle moving

The two sprockets on a motorcycle each serve a similar purpose. The front sprocket connects to the transmission's output shaft and the rear sprocket connects to the back wheel. In essence, when you give the motorcycle gas, the transmission cranks the sprocket, causing the teeth to rotate, which in turn makes the chain move. This is what forces the teeth on the sprocket on the back wheel to move, propelling the motorcycle forward.

Though talk of sprockets seems like a technical topic best suited for cycle enthusiasts and mechanics, learning the true function of how motorcycle sprockets work is actually quite easy to understand. A simple part like a sprocket can mean the difference between getting to the finish line in first or in last place.