Choosing the best motorcycle chains is critical to ensure a safe riding experience. In this article, you will find all there is to know about motorcycle chains. We will provide you with the top four choices available in the market right now, as well as their features. In addition, you will be informed about the essential factors to consider when choosing the best motorcycle chains.
What is a Motorcycle Chain?
For you to have a better understanding, let’s talk about what a motorcycle chain is first. A motorcycle chain is basically the metallic chain installed on your bike. As almost all motorcycles are powered by a chain drive, the power originating from the engine passes through the motorcycle chain. Simply put, this device is aimed at retaining power transmission.
It should be noted that the chains must have correct inspection, maintenance, replacement, and repair. That will ensure that your motorcycle rides safely and steadily. You have to keep the chains in good shape until it becomes defective or damaged. When that happens, replace it immediately with one of the top four recommendations in the following section.
Motorcycle chains are considered the simplest part of your bike’s engine. A sprocket that is connected to the transmission drives the motorcycle chain. Another sprocket linked to the rear tire places the power on the road. Its task is fairly simple, but it can obviously take a beating. In order to take care of it, the chains must be lubricated regularly. Beware of using weak chains as it can do possible damage to your sprockets.
Top Four Picks for the Best Motorcycle Chains
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In this section, we will give you a rundown of the top four picks for the best motorcycle chains. We will provide you with their key features, pros and cons. It is vital that you pay attention, as this will greatly help you in making a better decision.
1. RK Racing Chain GB520XSO-120 120-Links Gold X-Ring Chain with Connecting Link
The RK Racing Chain is one of the best chains available in the market right now. It features an X-Ring chain that lasts for a long period of time and does not require as much maintenance. It also features an O-Ring that has two places for lubrication that ensures rollers operate even under a hefty load. This would be a great choice if you already have a bike that requires upgrading.
Another great thing about this racing chain is its fantastic performance. It works and fits perfectly, as well as looks good in gold. In addition, this chain is suitable for on-road or off-road use. It is also suited to accommodate all the hard riding you may throw at it. Lastly, the RK brand is among the biggest names that have a strong reputation when it comes to quality chains.
- Offers 8,500 pounds per foot tensile strength
- X-Ring provides two lubrication and seal points
- Strong, durable and will not stretch easily
- Pre-stretched and pre-stressed for inspection
- Questionable durability compared to O-Ring versions
2. DID 520VX2-120 X-Ring Chain with Connecting Link
Another great recommendation for the best motorcycle chains is the DID 520VX2 X-Ring Chain. It features great rigidity, allowing smoother handling, power loss reduction, and quicker response. It can accommodate up to 8,210 pounds per foot tensile strength and maximum engine displacement is set at 750cc. In addition, it won’t wear easily as it has been projected to last 35 times longer than regular motorcycle chains.
The DID X-Ring chain is best known for providing the same performance as other brands. With the brand’s upgrade, the VX2 series showcases improvements over the previous models. It is also guaranteed that noise is kept to a minimum while riding. Lastly, you can never go wrong with this chain, as it is also very easy to install.
- Offers smoother handling and quicker response
- Tensile strength can lift 8,210 pounds per foot
- Can last 35 times longer against standard chains
- Lower tensile strength compared to other brands
- Some users complained about not receiving 120 links
3. Renthal C294 R3-2 O-Ring 520-Pitch 120-Links Chain
The Renthal C294 O-Ring can also be considered a contender when it comes to great quality motorcycle chains. It features a Nitrile O-Ring that improves chain life by keeping the vacuum-injected grease inside the joint. This chain will not wear fast because of the equipped high-carbon alloy steel-bearing pins. To add, the side plates are gold-coated which provides corrosion prevention.
Alongside RK chains, Renthal is among the biggest brands that offer premium motorcycle chains. An interesting addition to the kit is the gloves that come with it. You are going to use it because of the heavy application of the factory lubrication that may be very sticky. On the downside, the Renthal is considered a more premium model but its features will never disappoint you.
- Designed for off-road use and is tested for rigidity
- Pre-stretched chains increase lifespan
- Features Nitrile O-Ring with vacuum-injected lubricant
- Easy installation
- Quality may be the same compared to other brands
4. Unibear® O-Ring 530 120Links Motorcycle Chain, GOLD, With 1 Connecting Link, Japan Technology
If you want a motorcycle chain, the Unibear O-Ring Chain might be perfect for you. This is surprisingly a good model. The chain features a tensile strength of 9,400 pounds per foot. It is also very durable, something that should be expected of any 530 chains. To add, it might be the heaviest chain in this list, as it weighs almost 6 pounds.
Unibear can offer many great features to its buyers. Among them is the advanced heat treatment process. Another great feature is the strong resistance to impact, as you they have been tested for rigidity. It offers good wear resistance and is made of high-technology heat-treated alloy steel.
- Does not cost much as the other brands
- Tensile strength is set at 9,400 pounds
- The material is made of alloy steel
- A little heavy than other brands
Types of Motorcycle Chains
In this section, we will further discuss the three types of motorcycle chains: standard, O-Ring and X-Ring. This may help you choose the best motorcycle chains, so you have to pay attention.
- Standard Chains: These chains do not have a ring in between the outer and inner side plate of the chain. Considered an older style, they are normally lightweight and cheap to manufacture. You won’t see these chains on a modern bike today but if you did, it might be only for off-road use.
- O-Ring Chains: The O-Rings are placed between the side plates of the chain to produce lesser friction than metal on metal. Pooling lubrication right next to the inner plate makes this possible. On a well-maintained O-Ring motorcycle chain, you can expect twelve to eighteen thousand miles of riding.
- X-Ring Chains: This chain uses an ‘X’ shaped rubber to be placed in between the side plates. They are also considered the newer versions of the O-Ring chains. Per bike manufacturers, these chains can hold lubrication better and can increase the chain’s lifespan by up to 40%.
Essential Factors to Consider in Choosing the Best Motorcycle Chains
Before we conclude, we shall talk about the factors to look for in a good motorcycle chain. Enumerated below, you will find the things to consider, which will increase the likelihood of choosing a product that provides the best bang for the buck.
- Price – You should look out for models that offer great quality and performance and do not cost much. It does not necessarily mean that cheaper ones do not perform well. It also does not mean that expensive one offer superior quality. You should be able to evaluate the pros and cons of each product so you can relate their prices individually.
- Ease of Installation – Replacing your old motorcycle chain is a very easy task. You should pick the one that is easy to install. This may save you lot of time so you can enjoy more of your time riding.
- Tensile Strength – This might be considered as the most important factor as this will determine the weight the chains will accommodate. There are several chains presented above that will carry the weight required, may it be 8,000 pounds or more. It is vital that you choose one that will not break if you place a heavy load on it.
- Features – You have to carefully review the advantages and disadvantages of each product. By doing this, you can evaluate effectively which model gives you more value for the price you pay. Several models presented above offer different features and it’s up to you to determine which would benefit you the most.
- Durable – An ideal motorcycle chain is strong and durable, as well as lasts for a long period of time. It should be noted that motorcycle chains will require regular maintenance. If you don’t have the time, there are models that already offer self-lubrication resulting in lesser friction between the metals.
- Number of rings – It is also important to know first how many rings you need. You can do this by disassembling the chain and checking the number of rings on the old one. A chain breaking device might be required if you purchase a chain that has more than what you need.
Now that we laid down the things to know about motorcycle chains, we hope you can now make a decision. Choosing the best motorcycle chains may be a tedious task, especially if you don’t know what you are looking for. With this guide, we are confident that you can narrow down your choices to picking the best. You just have to weigh the pros and cons of each product and you’re good to go.
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