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Which Sportster Front Pulley
Works Best for Me?
Sportster Front Pulley
Against The Wind - Bob Seger
00:00 / 00:00

Why Change Your Front, Rear or Both Drive Pulleys?

The reason to change the pulley is because you do not like the existing performance,"Road  or Street" , of your bike. Harley chooses pulley combinations for the average way they feel the bike will be ridden. Harley looks at the 883 as a "Street Bike" (60 mph Interstate), the 1200's for the interstate (70 mph). Change the gearing for the way you ride by changing the front and/or rear pulley.

  • For better "Street Performance", decrease the front pulley size, and/or increase the size of the rear pulley. This is quick between stop lights, and increases throttle position and engine RPM at interstate speeds. 

  • For better"Road Performance", increase the front pulley size, and/or decrease the rear pulley size. This decreases throttle position and engine RPM at interstate speeds.

We offer pulleys for all riding styles. Larger front and smaller rear pulley kits for better "Road Performance", 70+ mph, and smaller fronts for better "Street Performance".

What Pulley Do I Have?

  • 1200's are "geared" to run about 3140 engine rpm at 70 mph (1991-2003, 29 tooth) and increased in 2004 to about 3250.

  • 883's are geared lower than the 1200's, especially since 2004. The 883's at 70 mph run about 3380, 1991-2003 (27 tooth) up to 3780, 2004-2009 (28 tooth) and lowered in 2010 to about 3650 (29 tooth).

  • Stock cams; Sportsters work well at 2900-3200 rpm (1200) and 3050-3250 (883) for interstate cruising, flat land, solo rider.

  • Performance cams for higher rpm performance; the 2900 rpm reference may be too low; the cam mfg. will have recommendation.

We strongly recommend a tachometer; it's the only way to really judge your driving style.​

28 tooth

32 tooth

29 tooth

Pulley Size Suggestions

Sportsters are long stroke engines, plenty of torque. Both 883's and 1200's can handle taller than factory gearing. Both engines have the same stroke, the 1200 piston is 1/2" larger diameter. So, the pulley of choice goes to the riding style of the owner rather than the engine size. Pulley size depends on what mph you want to cruise. 

  • The year is important as the engine to transmission sprockets, and front and rear pulleys are not the same in all years and models. 

  • The "sweet spot" for fuel economy is about 3200 RPM so pick the pulley based on your desired cruise mph at 3200 RPM. 

  • At 70 MPH, each tooth is worth approximately 3 MPH. Instead of 70 you'll be at 73 MPH (+i tooth), 76 MPH (+2 teeth), 79 (+3 teeth), 81 (+4 teeth) for the same engine RPM as the original pulley at 70 MPH. The rear 66 tooth pulley gives you another about 4 MPH.

Sportster Front Pulleys

1991-2003, (Primary ratio is the same for 883 & 1200)

883's

  • The 27 tooth is great for wheelies and racing 1200's! The 27 tooth is not easy or economical on the interstate. It is fine around town, traffic and two-up riding because launch is easy. At 70 mph, 3373 RPM.

  • The 29 tooth is comfortable around town, traffic and two-up riding is fine. At 70 MPH, 3141 RPM. This works great for 883's.

  • The 30 tooth is fine around town, traffic requires more frequent clutching. At 70 MPH, 3036 RPM. Not recommended for 2-Up.

  • The 32 pulley is not recommended for 883's.

These pulleys do not require a belt change.

1200's

  • The 27 tooth is great for wheelies and 1/4 mile racing! The 27 tooth is not easy or economical on the interstate. It is fine around town, traffic and two-up riding because launch is easy. At 70 mph, 3373 RPM.

  • The 29 tooth is comfortable around town, traffic and two-up riding is fine. At 70 MPH, 3141 RPM. 

  • The 30 tooth is fine around town, traffic requires more frequent clutching. At 70 MPH, 3036 RPM. Fine for 2-Up.

  • The 32 pulley is is the same final ratio as changing the rear 61 pulley to the European 55 rear pulley. Not recommended unless you are usually solo, ride primarily flat ground. At 75 MPH, 3050 RPM.

These pulleys do not require a belt change.

Sportster Pulley Tools

2004-UP, (Primary ratio is lower for 883 than 1200):

883's

The 883's are comfortable cruising 55-60 mph. When you hit 65-70 MPH the MPG is drastically reduced and the engine RPM is a bit "Buzzy". 

  • The 28 tooth, 2004-'09, runs 3503 at 65 MPH, 3772 RPM at 70 MPH  Original pulley.

  • The 29 tooth, 2010-Up, runs 3382 at 65 MPH, 3642 RPM at 70 MPH  Original pulley.

  • The 30 tooth, 2004-Up, runs 3269 at 65 MPH, 3521 RPM at 70 MPH

  • The 31 tooth, 2004-Up, runs 3164 at 65 MPH, 3407 RPM at 70 MPH

  • The 32 tooth, 2004-Up, runs 3065 at 65 MPH, 3301 RPM at 70 MPH

  • The rear 66 tooth kit, Solo rider, to replace the original 68 tooth. The 66 tooth reduces about 150 RPM at 70 MPH.

None of these pulley combinations require a belt change. Any size pulley is nice around town, traffic is easy, two-up riding is still fine even with the 32 tooth. The 32 requires some modification to the Pulley Cover and exhaust mounting.

1200's

The 1200 is a good cruiser at 70 mph with a 29 tooth, original pulley.

  • The 28 tooth, runs 3360 at 70 MPH, 3604 RPM at 75 MPH. This pulley gives you an "quicker" take-off performance over the stock 29 tooth.

  • The 29 tooth, runs 3252 at 70 MPH, 3484 RPM at 75 MPH. Original pulley.

  • The 30 tooth, runs 3140 at 70 MPH, 3364 RPM at 75 MPH

  • The 31 tooth, runs 3035 at 70 MPH, 3252 RPM at 75 MPH

  • The 32 tooth, runs 2916 at 70 MPH, 3124 RPM at 75 MPH

  • The rear 66 tooth kit to replace the original 68 tooth. The 66 tooth reduces about 150 RPM at 75 mph.

None of these pulley combinations require a belt change. The 32 requires some modification to the Pulley Cover and exhaust mounting.

XR1200's

The XR's final drive ratio is the same as 2004+ 883's, but the rear tire was changed to the low profile "50" series so the engine runs higher rpm than the 883, about 3920 rpm at 70 mph.

  • The XR can take a 30 tooth and use the same belt. Our 30 tooth pulleys do not require any modification. The stock Harley pulley requires some modification to the Pulley Cover ribs.

  • The 31 and 32 tooth pulleys require a longer belt or a 66 rear pulley to use the original belt. The smaller Rear 66 tooth instead of the original 68 tooth compensates for the larger diameter 31 and 32 tooth pulley so you can use your original belt. 

The Pulley Cover of the XR is different than the XL's and requires some modification for the 31 & 32 pulley. Our XR Kits include a Rotary File to be used with your drill motor or die grinder to complete these modifications.

Modifications for 32 Tooth, 2004-Up 

Sportster 32 Pulley
Sportster 32 Pulley
XR1200 Pulleys

Comment on Front Pulley & Kit Choices

Pulley Kits for all years are available with pulley only, pulley & tools, pulley & speedometer Corrector, or pulley, tools & Corrector, with or without the rear 66 tooth pulley.

 

For 1991-2003 Sportster, we offer 29, 30 & 32 tooth front overdrive pulleys to replace the 27 tooth (883) or 29 tooth (1200). We recommend a 29 or 30 for 883's, the 32 is a bit much for the 883. The 1200 can easily handle the 32, but is only useful if the bike is typically 75+ mph on the interstate. It gives you the same final ratio as the European bikes that had a 55 tooth rear pulley.

For 2004+ we offer 28, 29, 30, 31 & 32 tooth front and a 66 tooth rear.

The 1200 Sportster final drive is almost the same as the 1991-2003. 

The 883's got a change to an extremely "low" final ratio. Harley did this by changing the engine sprocket in the primary, engine to transmission drive. 

The XR1200 got the same 883 primary and front pulley, 28 tooth, but also the rear tire changed to a "50" Series low-profile. The final drive is "lower" than the 883's.

 

Interstate Flyer, Front & Rear Pulley Kits

We offer complete front & rear pulley kits; 30/66, 31/66 & 32/66. For 883, the 31/66 is almost the same final ratio as a stock 1200, and doesn't require any modifications or belt change. The 32/66 is a small "overdrive" for the 883 compared with the "stock" 1200 ratio; like running a 30 tooth on the 1200 bikes. The rear just bolts on, the 32 requires some modification to the sides of the pulley cover mounting posts and the exhaust bracket, see pictures. We include a rotary file with the 32's so all you need is a drill motor.

TC1&2b_small.jpg

Putting An Early ('95-'03) Front Pulley On A Late ('04-up) Sportster

Mechanically it fits (early to late), the transmission splines are the same (33) and the belt teeth are the same pitch, 14mm. However, if you put the two pulleys side by side you'll notice the late model is wider, has the belt guide on the inboard side and the mounting flange that butts to the transmission shaft spacer (or bearing on '06-up) is flush with the belt guide. The early pulley mounting flange is inset from the actual edge of the pulley. The tooth area of the rear pulley were also moved outboard. All these modifications were required to allow the tire change made in '04 to 150/80 from 130..

In '04 we got the wider tire, HD moved the belt outboard to achieve belt clearance for the tire. Because the early pulley has the belt guide outboard the belt doesn't come off when mounted to an '04+, but it does not run straight either. The belt "wants" to run straight so it constantly "pushes" against the belt guide. This is verified by belt wear into the guide ring. If the belt guide separates from the pulley the belt moves outboard to straighten itself and about 1/8" is off the pulley. If the guide is lost, and the belt is partially unsupported the belt will shred; oh, unhappy day.

883Sportster

Home of the 31 & 32 Tooth Pulley!!

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