Best Motorcycle Chains – Complete Guide for the Right Chain

The sprocket and chain mechanism are some of the most popular drives in motorcycles. The other type is shaft drive. As a motorcycle rider, you are going to need the best motorcycle chain for safety and performance. But how do you find the best chain on the market, especially if you’re green on such a topic?

Well, you don’t need to sweat it as we have got your back. We did the hard toiling for you, and we found DID 520ERV3 Premium X-ring Chain to be among the best. Renthal C294 O-Ring Motorcycle Chain followed closely. 

Best Motorcycle Chains

Best Overall (Experts’ Choice)
DID 520ERV3-120 Gold Chain with Connecting Link
Honorable Mention
Renthal C294 R3-2 O-Ring 520-Pitch 120-Links Chain
Best Value
RK Racing Chain 520-SO-120 (520 Series) Steel 120 Link Traditional Street and Off-Road O-Ring Chain with Connecting Link
RK Racing Chain M420-110 (420 Series) 110-Links Standard Non O-Ring Chain with Connecting Link
DID 520ERV3-120 Gold Chain with Connecting Link
Renthal C294 R3-2 O-Ring 520-Pitch 120-Links Chain
RK Racing Chain 520-SO-120 (520 Series) Steel 120 Link Traditional Street and Off-Road O-Ring Chain with Connecting Link
RK Racing Chain M420-110 (420 Series) 110-Links Standard Non O-Ring Chain with Connecting Link
Best Overall (Experts’ Choice)
DID 520ERV3-120 Gold Chain with Connecting Link
DID 520ERV3-120 Gold Chain with Connecting Link
Honorable Mention
Renthal C294 R3-2 O-Ring 520-Pitch 120-Links Chain
Renthal C294 R3-2 O-Ring 520-Pitch 120-Links Chain
Best Value
RK Racing Chain 520-SO-120 (520 Series) Steel 120 Link Traditional Street and Off-Road O-Ring Chain with Connecting Link
RK Racing Chain 520-SO-120 (520 Series) Steel 120 Link Traditional Street and Off-Road O-Ring Chain with Connecting Link
RK Racing Chain M420-110 (420 Series) 110-Links Standard Non O-Ring Chain with Connecting Link
RK Racing Chain M420-110 (420 Series) 110-Links Standard Non O-Ring Chain with Connecting Link

1. DID 520ERV3 Premium X-ring Chain

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You cannot get a more highly adaptable chain than the DID 520ERV3 Premium X-ring Chain. It’s the best motorcycle chain for many reasons. You will experience reduced lubrication expenses for a noise-free ride. It is quiet and minimizes drag and speed. The 8210 pounds tensile strength is most appropriate in most cases. 

One of the most apparent advantages is that it distributes the lubrication evenly. As a result, you can cover more distance and enjoy the ride, and at a cheaper cost. It is several times or more durable than the other competitors on the market.

What we like

  • High quality and adaptable chain
  • Reduced lubrication expenses
  • A high tensile strength 
  • Even distribution of lubrication 

What we don’t like

  • It needs frequent lubrication to be effective

2. Renthal C294 O-Ring Motorcycle Chain

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Renthal C294 O-Ring motorcycle chain is one of the best motorcycle chains for the people that enjoy regular rides across town and elsewhere. It comes vacuum-injected and pre-lubed for efficiency and low costs. With proper maintenance, the o-ring motorcycle chain can last a long time, and that is what every one of us wants.

And the fact that it comes pre-lubed means that it will not require a lot of maintenance, and that reduces costs. The bearing pins are carbon alloy, and side plates are alloy steel. The side plates are also corrosion-resistant and have the right amount of impact road resistance.

What we like

  • Comes vacuum injected and pre-lubed for efficiency
  • O-ring motorcycle chain that lasts a long time
  • Does not require a lot of maintenance
  • Bearing pins are carbon alloy 

What we don’t like

  • You may need to reduce its size when using on some motorbikes

3. DID 520VX2 X-Ring Chain 

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One thing about the VX2 is its quick response and smoother handling. The x-ring chain has a design that reduces power loss, and therefore, is more efficient than most others on the market. It has a 750 CC engine displacement, and that is by all means sufficient in most cases. 

Another exciting feature is the 8210 lbs tensile strength to make it robust and durable. It is the type of chain that you use for a long time without the need to change it. The estimated wear time is up to 35 times better than most others, and that indicates its durability.

What we like

  • Quicker response and smoother handling
  • Reduced power loss and therefore more efficient
  • Sufficient tensile strength 
  • Up to 35 times estimated wear time

What we don’t like

  • It may not be waiting on some bikes

4. RK GB520XSO X-Ring Chain

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The RX-Ring gold-colored chain is one of the most durable on the market at the moment. It is an O-ring chain with a single seal point and can last for a long time. As a motorcycle owner, you are after something that lasts a long time and can help you minimize the costs of maintenance. This chain enables you to achieve just that. 

And to demonstrate its strength and functionality, the motorcycle chain has a tensile strength of up to 8500 lbs. The chain is available in popular motorcycle chain sizes of 520, 525, and 530.

What we like

  • Durable and easy to maintain
  • It has a connecting link
  • Tensile strength of 8500 lbs

What we don’t like

  • It may not be fitting for some motorbikes

5. RK GB520MXU UW-Ring MX Chain

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When talking about the lightest motorcycle chains, RK GB520MXU has a special place on the list. In fact, it is at the top of the list. The lightweight design is especially ideal for motocross use, and therefore may not be appropriate for some motorcycles.

If you’re a motocross enthusiast, make sure to check top-rated Motocross Boots and Motocross (MX) & Dirt Bike Helmets.

Engineered for consistency in power delivery, the motorcycle chain is reliable in every sense. Another apparent benefit is its extended life, and you may not need a replacement anytime soon. The 9,000 lbs tensile strength is one of the best, and you can be sure of its reliability.

What we like

  • Lightweight motorcycle chain
  • Robust and durable 
  • Engineered for consistency and therefore reliable 
  • Tensile strength of up to 9000 pounds 

What we don’t like

  • The chain is a bit expensive
  • Mostly for motocross use 

6. JT Sprockets JTC520X1R2120DL X-Ring Chain

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A heavy-duty motorcycle X-ring-type chain may be what you have been looking for all this time. It has the strength, reliability, and other parameters, but the best motorcycle chain should have. And the best thing is that it is budget-friendly.

Engineered for optimum strength, you can be sure that this motorcycle chain is reliable and durable. Sometimes budget-friendliness and durability do not go hand in hand, but that is not the case with this motorcycle chain. We can say that it is a blessing in disguise. 

It also has reduced friction and a better seal to enhance performance. In every sense, this chain design is better than most o-ring chains. 

What we like

  • The motorcycle chain is budget-friendly and reliable
  • Engineered for optimal strength
  • The chain is a high performance

What we don’t like

  • The quality may not be the best

7. RK M420 Standard Non-O-Ring Chain

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When talking of budget-friendly chains, RK M420 does not usually feature but is one of the best motorcycle chains in the category. The primary material is Japanese steel, and therefore you can be sure of durability and strength. And even though made in Indonesia, the motorcycle chain has all the Japanese specifications. 

Such features as curled bushings and riveted pins are some of the most important and which make the chain quite functional. But one of the most vital questions is, is the motorcycle chain reliable? Well, considering that it is pre-stretched and pre-stressed, the motorcycle chain has undergone several tests to determine its strength and reliability. 

What we like

  • Budget-friendly o-ring motorcycle chain
  • Japanese steel for durability and strength
  • According to the Japanese specifications 

What we don’t like

  • It can be tough to break to get the right length

8. RK 520SO O-Ring Motorcycle Chain

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To ensure maximum performance, this motorcycle chain comes pre-stressed. For optimal durability, it also comes pre-stretched. What it means is that the motorcycle chain has gone through several tests for performance and reliability.

You would think that such a good quality o-ring motorcycle chain would cost an arm and leg, but that is not the case. If anything, it is favorably placed, and any level of motorcycle owner can afford it.

The master link clip type makes it easier to use on a variety of motorcycles. It is quite user-friendly, and that is a good thing for most.

What we like

  • Pre-stressed for assured performance
  • Pre-stretched 
  • Budget-friendly and anyone can afford it 

What we don’t like

  • It may not be very durable after several thousands of miles

9. Unibear 530 Gold Motorcycle O-Ring Chain

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The 530 motorcycle chain is pretty much one of the most reliable, and you can take our word for it. But what is it that this o-ring chain has that makes it our favorite? Among the many benefits include the fact that it is low maintenance and comes pre-greased.

The chain has up to 120 links, and it is easy to install and use. Furthermore, the chain only weighs 3 pounds and, therefore, lightweight – a good thing since it does not add any additional weight and affect durability. 

The material is alloy steel and therefore durable. We might as well mention that the chain has a gold color, which we can say is attractive in away.

What we like

  • Low maintenance motorcycle chain
  • Comes satisfaction guaranteed 
  • Up to 120 links for efficiency 
  • The motorcycle chain is lightweight 

What we don’t like

  • The motorcycle may not be very durable 

Types of Motorcycle Chain

The three main types of motorcycle chains are O-ring, non-sealed, and X-ring. The most basic is the non-sealed, and often found in old motorbikes. They are cheaper and more dependable than the other types of chains on the market. On the downside, the change requires a lot of maintenance.

Every link on the O-ring type chain has features o-rings. This type of connection improves lubrication and protects the chain from debris and dirt. The grease is already applied, and so very little maintenance is required. 

X-ring chains boast reduced surface area to reduce drag. It has a longer lifespan than the other two types listed above.

Motorcycle Chain Size Chart 

The motorcycle chain sizes require some knowledge in the pitch and links. For example, a 428 chain has a pitch of 12.70mm and a roller diameter of 8.51mm. Use the provided chart by the manufacturer to get the right chain.

“Pitch” and “Links” in Terms of a Motorcycle Chain

The gap between the pins of the chain is pitch. The links are the pins that hold the chain together. You have to know the pitch when purchasing a motorcycle chain so that you can get the right one. 

Buying Guide – How to Select the Best Motorcycle Chain?

One of the most important considerations when choosing a motorcycle chain is the pitch. If you get this measurement wrong, then it is not going to fit on your motorcycle. The teeth are not going to align correctly. The most common among them include 520, 525, and 530

You also require to consider the type of seal, which can either be x-ring or o-ring. X-ring chains have reduced power loss and are more durable. The chains have less friction and are therefore more reliable.

You will also need to determine the length of the chain. Necessarily, how many links do you need? The best motorcycle chains will also come with master links or the links at the end of the chains. Clip master links are popular and more comfortable to install. 

The maximum load weight that a chain can hold before stretching is the tensile strength. The higher the tensile strength, the better it is, and therefore appropriate. The pre-stretched motorcycle chains have improved longevity because they undergo rigorous testing. 

It would also be a noble idea to purchase the motorcycle chain according to the brand. Of course, some brands are better than others, and maybe more expensive. However, a good quality motorcycle chain should cost you a few more bucks, and that is ok. Let loose the purse strings a bit if you want quality. 

Motorcycle Chain Maintenance – How To Clean Motorcycle Chain?

Every motorcycle owner should have a motorcycle chain cleaning kit that includes a motorcycle chain brush. To go about it, you will first need to figure out the type of thing that you have. Non-sealed motorcycle chains will require more aggressive cleaning than o-ring or x-ring chains. 

A paddock stand or on a center stand will come in handy when cleaning the motorcycle chain. But if you don’t have the paddock stand on the center stand, you can use the kickstand with a bit of maneuvering. If you prefer, you can remove the chain entirely and work on it. 

Cleaning the motorcycle chain provides an excellent opportunity to check the condition of the entire chain and determine whether some parts require replacement. How is the slide back of the links, and do they allow some wiggle room? You will also need to check the maximum length of the links. If the chain is past this length, then there is due for replacement.

Don’t forget to check that a master link is secure in place and then move to the sprockets. The sprockets wear out according to the style of riding and the condition of the chain. Check for shark teeth and shark fins, as this will indicate more extensive wear out. The tips of the sprocket should be flat.

After examining the condition of the chain, spray it with a chain cleaner from your local store or even kerosene to dissolve dirt particles and any remaining lubricant. Get down with a chain brush and remove the stubborn gunk.

After doing your thing with the brush, use your cleaning agent to remove the remaining gunk and dirt. The last remnants of grime should be off after this. 

Take your time to dry the chain with a small towel thoroughly. Don’t be hasty as this is a critical stage or process. After this, it is now time to lubricate the motorcycle chain. Covering the chain with the right lubricant enhances its efficiency and durability.

If you are riding in dirty or wet conditions, then you should clean it more often. 

What is the Best Motorcycle Chain Cleaner?

There are a variety of chain cleaners on the market, and they may include a motorcycle chain wax or motorcycle chain rust as a package. Among the recommendations include DuPont Teflon Chain-Saver Dry Self-Cleaning Lubricant. 

How to Oil Motorcycle Chain?

As a motorcycle owner, it is crucial to know how to use the motorcycle chain oil or the motorcycle chain grease. The basics of oiling the motorcycle chain include doing it after riding. Don’t lubricate before riding. Giving your bike some time before riding again allows some time for the solvents to evaporate, and the lubricant can penetrate better.

You must get a motorcycle on a paddock stand or a center stand because the rear wheel will need to rotate better. Apply an even coating of the grease or oil and make sure to aim the nozzle at the inside. Ideally, you should cover three revolutions of the chain with the oil.

We insist that you go for specialist motorcycle chain oil for effectiveness. Anything else may not be as useful and it will mostly be a waste of time, and that’s not the main idea. 

To avoid damage to the chain, stay away from wire brushes, petroleum-based cleaners, and detergents. 

How often should you Lubricate Motorcycle Chain?

Knowing when to lubricate motorcycle chain is critical as it can prolong the life of the chain and make it more effective. According to experts, you should lubricate the chain after covering between 300 and 600 miles. Another determinant is the weather conditions. Typically, oil the chain a few more times during the wet weather and when riding in very dusty conditions.

What is the Best Motorcycle Chain Lube?

The best motorcycle chain lubricant is something like DuPont Teflon Multi-Use. You’ll get a few other specialist products on the market, but make sure you get the right thing. If necessary, spend a few more bucks to get the best. 

How to Tighten Motorcycle Chain?

Some people learn how to adjust a motorcycle chain because they think that it will make it faster. However, that is not usually the case. Tightening the motorcycle chain will not make it faster, but more efficient and durable. 

Go through the user’s manual to determine the right amount of chain Slack. The majority of the motorcycles have a swing arm sticker with the correct information. Put the motorbike on a center stand or side stand and make sure the gear is neutral. 

Identify the Midway point between the sprockets in the front and the back wheel. Pull up the chain from the bottom And determine the distance between the no-slack and full-slack. For street bikes, it should be around 30–40 mm and 35–50 mm for dirt bikes. 

For drive chain adjustment, loosen the axle nut. The majority of dirt bikes and street bikes come with boats that you can use to tighten or loosen the slack. When adjusting, do it a quarter turn each until you get to the right measurement. Don’t forget to fasten the axle nut.

You can as well get a commercial best motorcycle chain alignment tool for motorcycle chain adjustment. Nobody said that the process of tightening the motorcycle chain should not be complicated.

What is a Motorcycle Chain Tensioner?

A motorcycle chain tensioner is usually standard in superbikes, not the cheap street bikes. The part helps tighten the chain on the go without the use of any heavy tools. It is a user-friendly feature.

Mostly, this useful part is at the rear of the bike on the swingarm or near the mono-shock. The chain tensioner gives the chain some stretch for optimum tightness and slack. Need a good quality chain tensioner; you may not need to worry with such questions as to: When to Replace a Motorcycle Chain? Well, at least most of the time. The motorcycle chain replacement needs not to be a difficult or expensive affair.

How to Replace a Motorcycle Chain?

Learning how to change motorcycle chain Is all about dealing with the decrepit drive chain, among other processes. The first thing off would be the front sprocket Bolt, and for some bikes, a hue nut and washer. Make sure the front sprocket is locked in place and prevent it from moving.

You may need a chain breaker tool to drive out the pins in the master link. The chain then becomes disconnected, and you can remove it. 

After removing the chain, you will have the perfect opportunity to clean some hidden areas. The swingarm and the front sprocket area may not look too good, and a good scrub will do the trick. 

For reassembly, fit the new front sprocket before mounting up the new rear sprocket. Grease the axle and wheel up the swingarm. Pull the chain around the front sprocket, and move on to putting together the master link. But before you can slide the master link into place, grease the o-rings. 

Join ends of the chain on the rear sprocket and insert the greased o-rings. Install the master link side plate, and press it correctly with the installation tool. Don’t press the side plate too much, or it will affect flexibility. To determine if you have pressed successfully, measure the width of the master link side plate, and compare it with the existing side plate. Make sure they are the same width. 

Proceed with riveting to create a permanent fastener on the side effect of the master link. Staking the end of the pins will take a bit of muscle, and you will need a cheater bar to do it successfully. Verify the pin diameter against the manufacturer’s recommendations. 

The final part is to align the rear wheel before moving on to the chain Slack. Of course, you need to adjust the chain Slack. This last part can be time-consuming, but there is no way around it. 

How to Rivet a Motorcycle Chain without Tool?

Some motorcycles have a permanently riveted master chain, and you may not need to remove it. Well, determining how to remove motorcycle chain links without tool may not be quite useful. You will mostly need a motorcycle chain breaker or motorcycle chain riveter tool.

How to Cut Motorcycle Chain?

You will require to use a chain breaker to break or cut it down according to the right size. Other great tools include the chain puller or chain conversion kit. You can pull out the pin using a socket wrench by tightening it appropriately. Your chain will then be ready to install with a new master link.

How to Make a Motorcycle Chain Belt?

A motorcycle chain belt may require some skills to make. We will need the motorcycle chain cutting tools and a used motorcycle chain belt. You can then check for recommendations online or from experts. 

What is the Best Motorcycle Chain Lock?

There are various types of motorcycle chain lock on the market. one of our most recommended is Trimax THEX5060 Combo Set  

Concluding Remarks

The best motorcycle chains are a critical part of the motorbike. They can determine your efficiency, speed, and safety. As a motorcycle owner, it is always in your best interest to get the best chain like the above-listed.

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