The motorcycle chain: information, maintenance and which one to choose

The importance of maintenance and choosing the correct motorcycle chain: which one to choose, useful information and advice.

motorcycle chain which to choose best enduro road motard
Motorcycle chain - which one to choose

Often neglected, the chain of our motorcycles always deserves careful maintenance together with the crown and sprocket, above all in order not to be left standing!

The transmission chain of the motorcycle performs the function of transferring the engine power to the rear wheel. It is part of the motorcycle transmission system, which by acting in conjunction with the crown and pinion ensures that the vehicle moves and that its motion is smooth on the road.

There are different types of chains on the market, which clearly vary according to the motorcycle model for which they are intended. In general, a chain is made up of joint links, joined by pins and small cylinders which rotate on the pins. There is grease between the pins and the small cylinders, which is designed to reduce internal friction and to favor the smoothness of the small cylinders. The individual parts are sealed together by polymer gaskets, the O-rings, which prevent the grease from escaping. The chains are divided into two types: 

  • Unsealed (without seals, non sealed), which require greater maintenance (ideal for those who practice motocross).
  • Sealed, already greased during assembly and then made waterproof thanks to specific sealing rings (polymer gaskets).

As a concrete example we can briefly consider with his technical characteristics the DID CHAIN ​​428D-134. This chain has 134 links, with "without seals" seal, black in colour, with standard stability/stiffness class and tensile strength of approximately 2390 kg. The model in question is compatible with motorcycles of different brands, such as Aprilia (W4), Cagiva (K3, Mito 50, Prima 50, Supercity 50, Supercity 80), Honda (CB 125 S, CBF 125 M) etc.

Like all mechanical parts, motorcycle chains are also subject to wear and tear and must be replaced after a certain amount of time. The following factors influence the actual service life:

  • Terms of use.
  • The correct tension.
  • The number of kilometers travelled.
  • Regular cleaning and maintenance.
  • The lubrication.

There are several practical methods that allow you to ascertain the state of wear of this component, to ascertain if the time has come for a replacement. If, for example, by measuring its length, the chain turns out to be 2% longer, this is a sign that it must be changed. The same applies if there are traces of grease or rust or if the chain has "play" on the crown, or if, by pulling it by hand, it does not adhere perfectly to the crown.

motorcycle chain which to choose best enduro road motard
Motorcycle chain - maintenance

Since a worn chain could break during circulation, jeopardizing the safety of the motorcyclist and other road users, it is advisable to replace it quickly as soon as the aforementioned signs of wear become evident. In general, there is no fixed limit for the change, but it would be advisable to fit a new chain every 50.000 km of travel. Together with the same, the pinion and crown should also be replaced, as the worn teeth of these components could be a source of damage. This is why the chain, sprocket and sprocket are often sold as a kit.

As far as maintenance is concerned, it is advisable to wash the chain every 600-1.000 km of travel and to lubricate it every 300-350 km. If you travel on dirt or dusty roads, the cleaning and lubrication of the piece should take place more often. In the user manual motorcycle more precise information and practical precautions for maintenance are available. 

Cleaning and lubricating the drive chain is quite simple and can be done by following the steps below passivated:

  • Place the motorcycle on a stand.
  • Place protective cardboard on the rear wheel.
  • Apply a chain cleaning spray.
  • With the aid of a brush and a cotton cloth, clean the chain.
  • Dry the chain with compressed air.
  • After washing, apply a suitable lubricant spray.
  • After you finish cleaning and lubricating, let the chain dry for a few hours.

Once the chain is dry, you should go for a test ride to make sure everything is okay.

We hope that reading this article has been helpful.