Best Motorcycle Chains – Right Chain for Your Two-Wheeler

A chain-driven motorcycle uses a chain and sprocket mechanism to transfer power. Such a bike, therefore, should use the best motorcycle chain on the market for both performance and safety. A chain must be made of high-quality metal that will withstand the heat generated by friction. A poor-quality option can fail and leave you stranded in the event of a breakdown. Ensure your motorcycle chain meets or exceeds all safety requirements while also achieving optimal performance. Considering all, we’ve come up with a list of top chains available out there.

Best Overall – D.I.D. 520VX3GB-120 X-Ring

Best Value – RK 520-SO-120 O-Ring

Premium Choice – D.I.D. 520ERV7120ZB X-Ring

Low-Priced – RK M420-110 O-Ring

Best Motorcycle Chains – Table

Motorcycle Chain Types 

1. O-ring Chains

They are o-shaped rings placed on the outer plates. This helps prevent debris from entering the inner rollers.

2. Roller Chains

Roller chains are the original design for two-wheeler chains. They have an inner and outer plate with rollers placed in-between to reduce friction.

3. ZRN Chains

They have an added outer plate with zero rings on each side instead of O-rings, which makes it different from regular roller chains as the latter uses two plates, while this only has one with a grooved inner surface for the rollers.

Motorcycle Chain Size Chart 

There is no “standard” way to measure a motorcycle chain. The length of time stated on the package is often only the amount of chain laced onto the sprocket and never how much it should stretch out once mounted for use. 

You will likely find yourself using several measurements to determine what size chain you should use on your own motorcycle’s sprocket. Some chains vary in nearness throughout the length of the chain and therefore may not be eligible for a “standard” measurement.

What Does Mean By “Pitch” And “Links” Of Motorcycle Chain?

Motorcycle chains have different pitch and link systems. The pitch determines the length of each tooth in the chain and the distance between two consecutive teeth. This is measured in millimeters. Links measure the size of each pitch and entire chain, from one end to another. 

For example, 520 pitch means there are five links per inch (a link being 1/2-inch). So, it’s a half-link longer than the 530 pitch chain, which has four links per inch.

Buying Considerations – Best Motorcycle Chain 

Purpose of Chain: This will determine which kind will best serve your needs, save you costs, and avoid maintenance problems later, especially when riding through different terrains.

Motorcycle Chain Gauge: Gauge is the measurement of chain thickness in units of thousandths of an inch (.001). It signifies how strong a chain will be. 

Chain Weight: Chain weight is measured in ounces, and for those looking to buy motorcycle chains, you need to consider how long you will be using it before replacing it or if it will be used in high temperatures.

Chains Power Level: Cycle chains are rated depending on how much power they can handle. Ensure you buy a chain that suits your bike.

Chain Belt Type: There are different types of belts; roller chains, link chains, and O-ring chains, which all have their pros and cons. Consider what belt type suits your motorcycle best before buying.

Motorcycle Chain Cleaning and Maintenance

Remember these minor but essential facts:

1. Under normal conditions (not muddy or dusty), wipe off the dirt from the chain using ordinary motor oil, which contains cleaning agents. 

2. When you clean the chain, use a soft motorcycle chain brush to remove stubborn dirt from between each link.

3. Use a rag soaked in engine degreaser and wrap it around an old toothbrush to scrub off caked-on mud, which may be stuck between the links of your motorcycle chain. 

4. Clean your sprockets, too, because dirt will stick directly. Wipe off with regular motor oil.

5. It is also crucial to adjust chain tension because a loose chain will wear out faster. 

6. ensure you have a motorcycle chain cleaning kit to maintain your chain regularly.

How To Tighten/Adjust Motorcycle Chain? 

Follow the steps and adjust your motorcycle chain shortly:

1. Remove the rear wheel from the motorcycle and install it on the axle stand.

2. Install chain using a chain alignment tool to the chain loop. 

3.Turn clockwise to tighten or counterclockwise to loosen. Loosening will increase by one link, while tightening will decrease by one link.

4. Tighten until you reach the desired size of the chain without over-tightening, as this may cause damage to the pulleys or gears in the transmission.

5. Repeat for another side of the bike if necessary. 

6. Remove the wheel from the axle stand, install it back on the bike. Adjust the chain guide as needed until it snugs against the swingarm spindle but not overtighten.

What is a Motorcycle Chain Tensioner?

A motorcycle chain tensioner is an essential part of the drivetrain. Without it, the chain would slap against the swingarm or frame, causing excess wear and noise. The primary purpose of a motorcycle chain tensioner is to keep your chain in line when riding. The chain tensioner counteracts and reduces this movement by pushing on one side of the pivot post.

Time To Replace a Motorcycle Chain

If it runs true and doesn’t make too much noise when running in top gear, a good quality O-ring chain will probably run for anything up to 30,000 miles before needing replacement. Overhauling the sprockets will extend their life by several thousand miles. Many bikes have these done professionally at each servicing, so the chain is often replaced each time, whether or not it needs to be.

Easy Replacement of a Motorcycle Chain

How to change a motorcycle chain? Follow the simple steps as under

1. Start with a clean motorcycle chain

2. Loosen the axle nuts and turn the front wheel entirely to one side

3. Hold the sprocket flat and re-tighten the axle nut until it is flush with the outer surface of the wheel rim

4. Remove the sprocket guard. 

5. Slide off the old chain from around the rear sprocket and around the oil pump drive gear.

6. Remove the old chain around the camshaft sprocket and use a breaker bar to remove the cams sprocket.

8. Lay the new chain over the oil pump drive gear.

8. Add slack into the new chain until it lies flat with no kinks.

9. Tighten the axle nut fully.

Riveting Motorcycle Chain Without Specific Tool

Without buying any particular tool for riveting the motorcycle tool, you can use a few common stuff and successfully get the job done:

  • Drill the holes.
  • Choose a pin and clamp it in the vice. 
  • The pin should have at least one end slightly longer than the inner width of all rivets.
  • Clamp your chain on a bike stand. Ensure it is strong enough to withstand the weight of the chain and hold it firmly in place.
  • Start riveting.

After you finish all the rivets, it is always a good idea to test if your chain has been appropriately riveted by applying side force. If there is no movement from side to side, then everything should be in place. 

Cutting Motorcycle Chain

The best way to cut a motorcycle chain is to use a cutting torch or abrasive wheel. This will work best if you grind or file the saw blade teeth, so it does not get caught up on the pins holding the links together and break where you do not want. Filing them off is faster than grinding.

Can You Make a Motorcycle Chain Belt? How?

Motorcycle Chain Belt is the most durable belt globally, able to endure a significant percentage of elongation. It has a weight more than 20 times that of an equivalent metal chain. It’s made by either wire drawing or laser cutting, where the laser cutting chain belt has an even surface. The motorcycle chains make up the super solid and flexible chain belt. They are composed of high-carbon steel.

What Is the Best Motorcycle Chain Lock?

Trimax THEX5060 is the best motorcycle chain lock. A highly trusted brand manufactures this product, and it is from the USA. It has been made with the 5/16” Heavy Duty Chrome plated hardened steel shackle, which can be helpful in the security of your motorcycle against unauthorized access. 

Concluding Remarks

A chain is an inevitable component of a motorbike with multipurpose uses, such as starting the engine or moving power from one gear to another. It plays a critical function in protecting the rider by absorbing part of the energy produced during a collision. All these reasons make motorcycle chains vital now more than ever. It is crucial to maintain your motorcycle chain.

About the author

Writer @ Motorcycleall.

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