How Long Do Chains and Sprockets Last?

Are you a bike enthusiast?

You probably know how important it is to take proper care of your vehicle to keep it going for years. These old model bikes you see that are still running fine, what do you think is the secret behind it? Obviously, proper maintenance.

However, maintenance doesn’t mean only riding your vehicle carefully and washing it. It also means upgrading the necessary components like cassettes, batteries, belts, and shafts in due time.

Now is a good time to ask how long do chains sprockets last? If you do not have the answer, don’t sweat it because we’ve got you covered.

Types of Motorcycle Chains?

There is no doubt that durability highly depends on the quality and the efficiency of the product. So, to give a heads up, we have given a brief description of the different types of chains available in the market.

Non-Sealed Chain

This is the oldest form of chain available in the market. You will hardly find anyone using these now. However, very old models of motorbikes still use these because old models don’t support the newer versions.

You can guess from the name; these are the type that does not come covered. They are typical roller chains with internally connected links. However, since manufacturers do not cover these, they become contaminated by dust really fast.

Moreover, non-sealed motorbikes do not have an internal lubrication feature. Hence they cannot handle excessive pressure and rough roads.

So, it is pretty clear that non-sealed chains might not last very long. Therefore, you should consider changing these parts if you see any wear-out signs.

We will discuss how to identify when your sprockets and chains need replacement in this article later.


O-Ring Chain

Next, we have O-rings, these are more advanced and updated. They have become very popular among riders in a short time.

O-rings come with a protective cover. Hence, it does not come in contact with dirt and dust, which offers longevity and requires low maintenance.

Moreover, the sealed chains come with internal lubrication. Hence, it gives maximum efficiency and smoothness while riding. So, it is clear that O-rings are most likely to last longer than non-sealed ones.


X-Ring Chain

X-Rings come with pretty much the same benefits and features as O-rings. But, it is more efficient when it comes to performance.

More speed, less dragging, and increased mileage are some functionalities that set these apart from O-Rings. Also, X-rings are more durable than other types of chains.

However, these are not affordable, and you have to pay a handsome amount of money to get these.

How Long Do Chains and Sprockets Last?

The longevity can vary depending on the usage, duration, mileage, quality, and type of your chain.

It also highly relies on proper care and maintenance. You can get the highest quality parts for your motorbike, it still would not last long if you do not maintain and clean them in due time.

However, depending on the issues described above, a standard motorbike chain can last 20 thousand to 30 thousand miles. If you maintain them properly, they will most likely last even longer.

But If you are someone who likes to go on long drive adventures and ride on really uneven challenging terrain, your bike might last a little less than others.

Moreover, for lower quality chains, the duration significantly decreases. The number is somewhere between 5 thousand to 10 thousand for low-quality and tough rides.

It is important to note that you should not focus solely on the mileage and keep riding your bike without inspecting. Even if you do not take long rides every day or avoid the rough route, you should still check your chains from time to time.

When to Replace your Chains?

Now, you have a decent idea about motorbike chains and sprockets and approximately when they need a replacement. But how can you tell for sure when you should update them? Well, a few signs help you to determine that your motorbike parts are worn out.

But that would require regular inspection. Just like you check your oil level and tires every day, your chains and sprockets deserve the same attention.

In some cases, the inspection is more critical for chains. The reason is, if you are out of oil or have a flat tire, you can tell that before starting the vehicle.

Because they are just easy to notice, and your bike won’t even start if you do not have oil. So, you do not require close attention to know that your tire is flat or the oil level is low.

However, rusty chains and sprockets hide in plain sight. You can go on a ride with your worn-out chain and won’t have a clue.

Lack of inspection will damage the overall performance of your bike. Hence, it is more important to check the crucial parts regularly.

So, these are some signs that you should not avoid


Even sealed chains can form rust with prolonged use. X-rings and O-rings come with internal lubrication, but even then, it requires extra lubrication from time to time.

Hence if your motorcycle components lack the proper amount of slip, they might become rusty and dusty.

However, slight rust does not mean you need an upgrade. But if you see that the rollers and pins are also affected. You should definitely consider replacing them.


If you find twists in your chains causing the links to get stuck, it is a significant warning sign.

The formation of kinks means that the seals are damaged. Damaged seals cannot provide protection against contamination.

You can use lubrication to reduce stuck lines. But if lubes do not work, you need new chains. So, if you discover kinks on misaligned chains, it is time for an upgrade.


A standard motorcycle is usually smooth and does not make a rattling sound. If your bike starts making sharp squeaky noise, your first step should be lubricating the metal.

However, if the noise persists even after lubrication, it is an indication that you need to replace the sprockets.


The metal holes where the links remain connected to each other tend to expand over time. Hence, the chain becomes slightly more extensive than it was initially.

In that case, it will be difficult for you to fit the chain with the proper grip; it is a sign that you need a replacement.

You can easily inspect at home if your chains are stretched too much. Firstly, make sure that your engine is off. Now, press down the upper chain with your hand. Check if it has a proper grip on the rear sprocket. It should be tightened evenly all around.

But if you find the chain is loose and dripping around the sprockets. It means that those have stretched, and you should change them.

Final Word

So, now you have an idea about how long chains and sprockets last. Proper care and maintenance can go a long way. And the only way you can ensure the best care for your vehicle is by enhancing your skill and knowledge.

Time-to-time inspection is exceptionally essential, and you should never skip it. If you want to keep riding smoothly, keep an eye on the warning signs and take action accordingly.

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