Austin Drawhorn

Fitting a 16 Tooth front sprocket on a Royal Enfield Himalayan



I remember heading east on Hwy 80 between Denver and Omaha, absolutely ringing out my Himalayan with stock gearing, tipping into redline to cruise at a speedometer-measured 80mph, constantly wishing for a 6th gear. I was on the first leg of a trip to Wisconsin and back and very grateful the wind was at my back.

If you’re looking to do some touring with your Himalayan, riding at its top speed for long stretches, read on to see why swapping in a 16 tooth front sprocket could be a big help. And beneficial for riding around town too.

Stock gearing:

The Himalayan is my first bike, and I’ve been riding just over a year now. So the fact that it isn’t quick isn’t really a bad thing — it’s what’s made learning to ride so forgiving and still fun. There’s the saying it’s more fun to ride a slow bike fast and I’ve definitely felt this to be true. 

By changing the gearing up a lil I was hoping to mellow-out the RPMs at highway/touring speeds while not making the bike too much more of a dog at lower speeds. I’m gonna get into it more but largely I think it was successful. 

The process of swapping it out: 

I had already done 14,000mi and the front sprocket was starting to show it a bit — nothing crazy, but I’d want to swap it before the next season anyway. 

The process is straightforward: loosen the rear wheel, remove the old chain (you will probably need to replace the chain as well), and then flatten the retaining washer on the axle nut. Then it’s onto the hard part: breaking loose the axle nut. That fucker was on their TIGHT. Tried a ½” socket wrench first, then fitted a comically large breaker bar, then finally used a ½” impact wrench. After some futzing it came loose. Use or borrow a beefy ½” impact wrench and save yourself some time.

You then pop the new sprocket on and reverse the process.

It’s really not that hard! Even if you’re new to the mechanical stuff like I am.

The results: 

Onto the fun stuff! What did adding a tooth to the front sprocket change?

Well, 1st gear is now more useful and chilled out; whereas before I felt the need to shift to second riding through an intersection from a stop, now I can just cruise on through and shift after I exit. Small thing but it’s nice while cruising around town.

Beyond that, I feel like I can actually downshift into 1st and engine break somewhat normally (albeit at a higher rpm than required in other gears). I would almost always come to a stop from second, shifting to 1st with the clutch just in preparation of taking off again. Now downshifting and coming to a stop in first isn’t as much of a jerky mess (if you watch the rpms).

New gear/speed breakdown: 

1st 20-25mph

2nd 40-45mph

3rd 55-60

4th 70-80+

5th I now use purely as a cruising gear to knock the RPMs down. 

Effect on top end:

At top speed, RPMS are 500-1000 lower than stock gearing. This means I’m outside redline at top speed now, instead of 500 or so inside it. The fact that the engine isn’t screaming anymore is less fatiguing on long stretches.

Effect on low end: 

Not drastic, at least on pavement. I’m light, stripped everything off the bike, and honestly the bike with stock gearing ripped more than it had any right to. 

Now, especially with 1st gear now being so much more usable, the whole bike feels more chilled out. A little less rippy, but a helluva lot better at the top end. 

Wrap up:

I’ll revisit this post and the gearing itself after a full season of riding. For now though? If your expectations are about where mine were, I recommend making the change 🤙🏻

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