Motorcyclists are not all the same and each rider will have to do their own research as to what kind of chain they are looking for that would suit their riding style and needs. Two important questions that you need to ask are
-Are you looking for something specifically for on or off-road purposes?
-Do you need a chain that is needed for the best performance or for it to last long?
Once you have answered these you need to make sure the chain fits your motorcycle. In this article we pen down some of the features of motorcycle chains that will help you get the right chain.
Why should you invest in a good chain?
Motorcycle chains are made of strong metals and are designed to handle some serious abuse and punishment, but they are still perishable and will one day need to be replaced. They are constantly put under stress at times of braking and acceleration that causes them to stretch that over time leads to them skipping the teeth on your sprockets. A chain in this condition can damage the sprockets, fall off it and eventually snap. A snapped chain can be dangerous to the rider and the motorcycle.
That brings us to the question: what does a new and well-maintained chain do? A new chain can increase performance, offer better throttle response, faster acceleration, and even improve handling. So what are the features of a good chain that you should look for?
What should I be looking for in a motorcycle chain?
Before you go ahead and make that purchase familiarise yourself with the names, numbers and words in the product description. Chains have been improving over the years and features get added, getting the chain will help with the way your bike performs.
The pitch of a chain refers to the distance between the chain’s pins. You might have seen numbers like 520, 525, and 530, these numbers are the chain’s pitch, and the wrong pitch will drastically decrease the performance of your motorcycle. If the pitch is wrong, then it won’t connect with the sprockets correctly. Make sure you follow your manufacturer’s specifications for the pitch
Size or chain links
A chain’s size is calculated by its length, and the length is designated by the number of links in a chain. Different motorcycles require different chain lengths. Removing links from a chain that’s too long isn’t too much hassle but it’s always better to get a chain that fits perfectly for easier installation.
Connecting/master Link Type
The right kind of connecting link or master link is an important thing to pay attention to. Typically, they’ll come with a clip-type link or a rivet-type. Clip links are much easier to use and install but they do have a higher failure rate. Rivet-type motorcycle chain master links are much tougher, but they require a special tool for installation.
A chain’s strength, or tensile strength, is a measure of the maximum load of weight that a chain can handle before it stretches, or snaps. Chain’s with higher tensile strength ratings can endure more force than those with less. Larger motorcycles generally require a higher tensile strength rating. Tensile strength is measured in pounds.
Types of motorcycle chains
O-Ring motorcycle chains
As the name suggests, an O-ring chain adds rubber O-rings to the chain links. They fit around the pins in between the inner and outer link plates. The cross-section of these rings is a cylindrical shape like a doughnut. The O-rings are self-lubricating and also help to seal lubricant into the links of the chain to keep the pins lubricated and keep dirt and debris out of the inner chain components.
X-Ring motorcycle chains
Similar to O-ring the X-ring is round to fit between the plates and over the pin. However, the main design difference between the two is that the cross-section of the rings is an X-shape. The X shaped cross-section allows the X-ring to twist when tension is applied while maintaining a smaller surface area. The results in more sealing surfaces, better lubrication, and better performance.
What we suggest?
In order of performance and cost of motorcycle chains from low to high goes: non-O-ring, O-ring, then X-ring. For most riders, the non-O-ring chain type is not really worth considering. Although they are cheaper, their longevity is much shorter, requiring more frequent replacement. an X-ring chain typically lasts longer than an O-ring counterpart. Some sources estimate that an X-ring chain can last about twice that of the O-ring style
It is always important to choose a motorcycle chain that works for your bike’s mechanical needs. There is no reason to buy a better chain if it isn’t going to fit on your bike. However, if you can find one for your model of vehicle, you should seriously consider using an X-ring chain.