Motorcycle Chain Types: Explained Briefly!

Whether you own a bike or you are thinking of buying one. You should always know what is best for your motorcycle. Knowing every intrinsic detail of your vehicle is definitely a plus point when it comes to care and maintenance.

So, if you are a new rider or an old one, spare some time of your day and learn new things about your bike. A little knowledge spree never hurt anyone.

So, let’s cut to the chase and talk about motorcycle chain types. And why are motorcycle chains essential, you ask? Well, keep reading if you want to know.

Benefits of Motorcycle Chains

If you are a bike lover, you know motorcycle can be chain driven, belt driven, or shaft driven. But what makes these chain-driven bikes more popular and demandable? Let’s take a look at the differences.

For belt-driven bikes, manufacturers use a belt rather than a chain and sprockets. But the problem is the sprockets are not toothed. Hence, they slip very often. So, it hampers performance efficiency.

However, some bikes come with toothed belts, but the main component of these belts is either plastic or rubber. Consequently, these are more susceptible to damage and degradation.

Let us move on to shaft motorcycles; these require pretty low maintenance, which is a good side.

However, the bevel gears that manufacturers use in this type of bike come with many gear sets. Those tend to increase the bike’s weight, which causes a drop in transmission of power.

But, in chain-driven bikes, the metal chain can take all the excess pressure and rough terrain, making it highly durable. Moreover, these bikes are more highly resistant and efficient than the rest, making them a popular choice for bike lovers.

Different Types of Motorcycle Chain

Different Types of Motorcycle Chain

Now the question stands, can the type of motorcycle chain affect your riding experience and efficiency?

Absolutely. That is why it is so important to know the chain type before getting a bike. It will help you save money and make an informed decision.

Besides, depending on your requirement, the different chain types offer various features. For instance, there is a unique one just for racers and a regular one for usual rides. Hence, knowing the differences will give you a heads up.

1. Non-Sealed Chain

You can find non-sealed chains in most old-fashioned, vintage bikes. These became less popular among people and are hardly available in the market.

New better and efficient versions have replaced standard non-sealed bikes. However, they are still available in ancient models of motorcycles.

These are traditional roller chains that have interconnected links. As the name suggests, these are not covered or non-sealed.

Hence, they are more likely to be exposed to dust. Another significant shortcoming is they don’t have any inner lubrication system.

Hence, non-sealed motorcycles require more maintenance than the other types. Moreover, these motorcycles most likely won’t support different types of chains. So, your options are limited to just one style.

2.  O-Ring Chain

O-ring chains are more modern and come with a lot of benefits that non-sealed ones do not offer. For instance, these remain covered, protecting them from dirt and debris.

Hence, the interior won’t be contaminated, and friction won’t cause wear, which will ensure the durability of the chain and the sprockets.

These come with O-shaped rings fitted between the interior roller covers and exterior link covers of each chain link.

This functionality protects them from outside contamination. Moreover, O-rings come with factory-applied internal grease. The grease keeps them lubricated and provides convenient and easy maintenance.

3.  X-Ring Chain

X-rings have less surface area against the plates and pins. This functionality reduces drags and increases mileage. Moreover, O-rings lack this additional speed benefit.

Although the speed difference is not that noticeable, the slight difference matters if you drive a racetrack, hence, X-rings became more popular among race geeks.

It also comes with the inner lubrication feature, which ensures a convenient ride and requires less maintenance. However, the enhanced performance and longevity come with a hefty price tag. Hence, X-rings are not very affordable.

If you are confused about your bike’s chain type, take a look at the bike’s backside and observe the rear sprocket closely. You will see the chain wrapped around it.

Depending on the shape, you will quickly understand what type you have. For instance, if the black rubber rings look like O, you have O-rings, and you have X-rings for X shapes.

Are Motorcycle Chains Universal? 

Motorcycle chains come in a variety of sizes, but are they all universal? Chain manufacturers say that their chains are designed to be universal, but there are some factors that could make a chain not fit. The most important factor is the distance between the sprockets on the motorbikes.

Final Word

So, now you can easily identify the different motorcycle chain types. Not only that, but you also have a clear idea about the benefits they offer and the probable downsides.

We hope this will help you make a calculated decision and get the perfect chain that meets all your preferences. Keep expanding your motorbike knowledge and ride safe.

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