Sportster Chain Conversion Kit By Zippers Performance

Adjusting gear ratios and getting a stronger driveline on our H-D street tracker

Virtually every Sportster will go through a transformation over its lifetime. The entry-level Harley-Davidson is one of the most customized bikes in the US, and for good reason. You can pick them up cheap and they have been produced with essentially the same engine since 1986, meaning lots of parts are readily available. From choppers and bobbers to racers and extreme custom applications, the Evo Sportster motor has powered them all.

When you’re building a racer out of a Sporty, changing from a belt drive to a chain is a must. A chain provides a stronger driveline and is both cheaper and easier to repair when it does break, but the main reason for the conversion is the ability to change your gear ratios—finding the right balance between horsepower and torque by adjusting sprocket size. After talking to the team at Zipper’s Performance, we decided a 23-tooth steel front and 53-tooth aluminum rear would be the ideal setup for my bike as it was going to be commuting and spending some time on the highway occasionally but also taken off road for some scrambling on the weekends.

So I went and ordered the whole kit. Front and rear sprocket, front sprocket spacer, and a fancy gold RX-ring chain from RK Racing Chain to match my gold wheels (I had to). Altogether, I was out $333. It's on my bike now and I'm happy with the performance ratio as well as the look of both the chain and sprocket.

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