Top Tips: Chain Components

Buying the correct chains

· 2 minutes read

Buy chains and sprockets for your bike. Click here.

It's no secret that motorcycles, when dissected, are complicated creatures. There are a lot of moving parts that make your dirt bike run. Sometimes we forget about that when it comes to maintenance, cleaning, and routines that our bikes need. We put together a list of important components, basic information and some of our go-to chains. This will help you learn more about dirt bikes, how they work, how you can better understand your bike and also how to listen to your bike for adjustments that need to be made.

Chain Components

There are several distinct chain components and, in the interest of easy reading, those are listed in a clear list below.

Side Plates: These are the actual linking portions of the chain. There are inner and outer side plates and each has a different design.

O-Ring Chains: In a sealed chain or O-Ring chain, the inner and outer side plates are separated by a type of rubber seal.

Rollers: In the centre of the chain are rollers, which are the contact area for the sprockets.

Pins: The axis of the rollers are the pins. Usually, bushings separate the rollers from the pins, but there are bushing-less designs.

Master Link: This is an important part of the chain because, without proper attention, it can easily become the weak link. There are three major types of connecting links. Slip-fit links are the most common type on dirt bike chains. They have a clip that secures one side plate. Second, press-fit links have a clip, too, but require a chain press or chain breaker tool to install. Third, rivet links do not have clips. They have hollow-ended pins that act like rivets and are flared out with a tool to hold the side plate.

Knowledge and Care

– Chains elongate due to wear. Knowing when to replace a chain is a judgment call for the average rider. It's best to monitor the sprocket teeth and grooves and replace all three components simultaneously.

– Improper chain adjustment will cause excessive wear. Ideally, the chain will have just a bit of tension at its tightest point when the countershaft, swing arm and rear axle are aligned. Three fingers is the rule of thumb, but be aware of what that slack is supposed to achieve.

– Proper cleaning and lubrication can drastically increase a chain's lifespan and make the rear wheel spin noticeably freer. Avoid direct pressure from washer sprays and wire brushes, especially with an O-ring chain.

Our Favourite Chains

Twenty MX Delta/Interlink X-Ring Chain and Sprocket Kit: Twenty Delta X-ring is a quality chain adapted for the most extreme motocross and enduro-riding.

Twenty Oshiro 520 Heavy Duty Chain: Twenty Oshiro HD is a new, enhanced standard chain. An ideal brand for those who demand a better price and higher durability than most standard chains.

Renthal 520 R3 O-ring 5-8 x 1-4 118L Chain: A high quality o-ring chain for optimised use with Renthal sprockets.

Buy chains and sprockets for your bike. Click here.

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