Ask the Editors: Gear Ratios for All Conditions?

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Dear ATVC:

I have a Honda 400EX that serves as my single all-conditions quad. Trouble is I often find myself alternating between technical trails and wide-open dune riding within a matter of days. Is there some magic gearing combination that offers the best of all worlds?

Generally speaking, stock ATV gearing choices are going to offer you the greatest range of conditions because after all, Honda has no way of knowing if your definition of fun involves tight technical trails, wide open dune riding, or carving laps on a track. They remedy the sheer number of possibilities by offering a sprocket combination that can do a bit of anything. That said if you’re the type of rider who likes to “set it & forget it”, your best bet would be to simply stick with the stock gear ratios.

If however you find you want to spice up a specific area of your quad’s power spread, here’s what you need to know: Additional low-end torque for conquering rocks, logs and steep climbs, reduce the number of teeth on your front sprocket or (since its typically easier to access, we would) raise the number of teeth on the rear sprocket.

Conversely if it’s top end gains you seek, raise the number of the teeth on the front sprocket or reduce the number on the rear.

When it comes to your sprockets, the general rule is that for every tooth you drop or add to the front sprocket is equivalent to 2.5 teeth in the rear.

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