Motorcycle chains. Marking and selection of chains.

In our motorcycle shows and the online store, you can buy DID, Iris, and JT (Bike alert) best motorcycle chain of all popular sizes and modifications, as well as separate connecting links to them. When choosing a chain for your motorcycle, you should be guided by the following parameters: type (size) of the chain and chain length (number of links).

Chain type 

The chain type is determined by the geometric dimensions of its individual links, the chain pitch is the distance between the axes of the rollers and has a generally accepted system for all marking manufacturers. The most common types of chains on modern serial motorcycles are 530, 525, 428, and 420. You can also find motorcycle chains 630, 520, 532, 420, and

415 on sports motorcycles, small-sized vehicles, and ATV’s. Three-digit digital marking contains information on the pitch and width of links chains.
The first digit divided by 8 is the chain pitch in inches. For example, for a 525 chain, this is 5/8 ” or 15.875 mm.

The second and third digits indicate the internal width between the side plates of the link. For the 525 chains, the formula is as follows: 2.5 / 8 ” or 7.9375 mm. In practice, there is usually no need to make any measurements and it is enough to use the spare parts catalog for your motorcycle or the catalog of the chain manufacturer and choose the right option, focusing on the three-digit index. If you don’t have much information at hand, you can find out the type of chain using the above formulas, translating millimeters to inches (1 inch (2.54 cm) = 25.4 mm) in the reverse order and multiplying them by 8.

Chain length

Chain lengths can vary even on the same motorcycle model, depending on how many teeth the drive and driven stars are mounted on. In catalogs, information on the stars and the number of links is usually given for the standard factory gear ratio.
The number of links in the chain marking corresponds to the number of chain rollers.

Chain lock

As a rule, there is no lock on the chain mounted on the motorcycle at the factory and all links are riveted the same. This is to improve reliability. In the case of chains supplied as spare parts, there can be two options: both with a connecting link for riveting, and with a split lock. Of course, a correctly riveted chain without a lock will be preferable in every sense than a lock. However, it will require the availability of a special squeeze device for riveting and “straight arms”, or contacting the service.

Depending on the manufacturer, additional symbols may appear in the marking of motorcycle chains, meaning certain design features.

The letters O, X, W, Z indicate the type of seal or gland used in the chain rollers and which holds the grease in the roller while protecting it from water and dirt. At one time, it was the appearance of such gaskets that made it possible to switch to open circuit operation without bulky protective covers. O-ring is the simplest seal in the form of a regular ring. X, W, and Z are more advanced and now common seal options, which, although more expensive than the O-ring, are significantly superior to them in efficiency and durability.

It is on the quality of this seal that the chain life depends on to a greater extent.
Until now, one can also find chains without gaskets, for example, in professional motorsports or on cheap Chinese mopeds and motorcycles. It is clear that the service life of such chains is limited to almost one racing weekend or season, respectively.

In addition to the above parameters, chain manufacturers also offer various color options: the motorcycle chain can be standard black, nickel-plated, with partially or fully gilded links or color. Some manufacturers, as a rule, eminent and leading in the development of new technologies in this industry, may offer some other know-how in chains that exceed the standard in strength and durability, reflecting this in one way or another in the marking.

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