When was the last time that you cleaned the chains in your motorcycle? If you are like me, then I will clean the motorcycle chains at least once a week for heavily abused bikes, or maybe twice a month depending on the usage.
The reason I asked that question is because a lot of riders out there are probably not aware that dirt and corrosion will dramatically shorten the lifespan of the motorcycle chain.
Wait, it gets worst. The chains are only a part of the story. If you don’t clean, inspect, or lubricate the chain, then you will also damage the front and rear sprockets. Ouch.
Read more: Motorcycle Safety And Protective Gear
I reviewed the 4 best motorcycle chains to determine which offers the best features for the price. Mind you, each of the 4 candidates that I’ve chosen is already considered to be among the best that money can buy. But there has to be a defining factor, mainly because there are many types of motorcycle chains in the market.
This is the importance of discussing the types of motorcycle chains so you will know which type is best for your ride.
The Types of Motorcycle Chains – The Things You Need to Know
1. Non-sealed motorcycle chain. This is the most basic type of motorcycle chain and is commonly found on older bikes. This motorcycle chain is both cheap and dependable. It can get you from point A to point B without hassle, but it does have a drawback.
Non-sealed motorcycle chains are NOT maintenance free. You will need to periodically clean, adjust, and lubricate this chain. If not, you will need to buy a new chain at least twice or more per year, and who needs that kind of hassle?
2. O-ring Motorcycle Chain. The advent of high-performance speedy bikes paved the way for a high-performance motorcycle chain. The O-ring chain is equipped with small O-rings in every link of the chain.
What this does is to ensure that the pins between the plates are lubricated properly in grease. This also protects the chain links from dirt and grit.
Wondering where the grease is coming from? It comes pre—applied from the factory, so this means that O-ring chains require little to no maintenance.
Of course, O-ring chains are still susceptible to dirt and debris. Thus the reason why bikes equipped with O-ring chains will still need to be inspected and cleaned at least once a month.
3. X-ring Motorcycle Chain. The O-ring chain has a kink in the armor. It is not good for the racetrack, and it is not good for endurance riding either. This is due to the fact that the large surface area of the O-ring chain created a lot of drag at high speed, which will ultimately hurt your lap times.
The X-ring chain solves this problem by using X-shaped rings to lessen the surface area between the links of the chain. This will reduce drag even when traveling at superbike speeds. As an added bonus, the X-rings also have grease applied from the factory to self-lubricate each and every link.
However, X-ring motorcycle chains are more expensive than the O-ring chain, but the X-ring does offer a longer lifespan than both standard and O-ring chains.
|RK Racing Chain 520-SO-120 120-Links O-Ring Chain with Connecting Link||86 Reviews||$51.60||Check on Amazon|
|RK Racing Chain GB520XSO-120 120-Links Gold X-Ring Chain with Connecting Link||31 Reviews||$88.04||Check on Amazon|
|DID 520ERT2 - 120 link Gold Chain with Connecting Link||28 Reviews||$72.48||Check on Amazon|
|Renthal C294 R3-2 O-Ring 520-Pitch 120-Links Chain||34 Reviews||$107.95||Check on Amazon|
The 4 Best Motorcycle Chains this 2017
- RK Racing Chains have been chosen by more FIM World Championship teams and AMA World Superbike/Super-Sport Teams than any other chain in the past 25 years! All RK Motocross chains utilize special heat treated hi-carbon steel components with solid rollers and bushings
- RK RX-Ring has two lubrication pools and seal points versus the single seal point/pool design of a regular O-ring chain
- RK's new GBXSO chains offer quality, performance and unbeatable value
- 8,500 pounds per feet tensile strength
- Designed exclusively for motorcycle racing - used by many world class MX and supercross racers
- Rated for ATVs/Motorcycles up to 450cc displacement - 8100 pounds tensile strength
- Gold colored outer plates with black inner links
- 520ERT chain has a projected wear life of over 4.3 times longer than a 520 standard chain under similar conditions
- Clip style master connecting link included
- Nitrile 'O' rings extend chain life by retaining special vacuum injected grease inside the chain joint
- Shot-peened alloy steel side plates for high tensile strength and maximum impact load resistance
- High carbon alloy steel bearing pins for excellent resistance to wear
- Gold colored side plates help prevent corrosion
- Pre stretched to enhance performance of the chain
The overall winner is the RK Racing X-ring Gold Chain. This is definitely the best motorcycle chain for me because it offers brilliant performance for not a lot of cash.
However, when it comes to O-ring chains, it will have to be the Renthal C294. The build quality alone is enough to impress even the most demanding motorcycle rider. If not for the price, I would have chosen this to be the best motorcycle chain.
Last update on 2017-04-28 PST - Details