Resources 6 Feb 2018

Advice: Chain guide

Knowledgable insight of selection and maintenance with EK Chains.

Chains are one of the most vital parts of your bike and, in this special edition of Advice brought to you by EK Chains through A1 Accessory Imports’ Aaron Marks, learn more than you ever have before about their importance.

Select a brand of chain:

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Firstly, it’s important to select the right chain for the right application. The quality of the chain dictates the longevity of the entire drive system. Secondly, selecting a brand you can trust is important and Japan has a rich history in quality chain manufacturing. Stemming from the Japanese word ‘Kaizen’ – meaning continuous improvement – Japanese-made chains come with the guaranteed dedication to provide you with a highly-detailed, quality product. In addition to gaining longer chain and sprocket life, selecting a quality chain is very important for your safety. The last thing you want is to have your chain fail when you need it most! There are a number of factors to consider when selecting a chain, including tensile strength, wear/fatigue and application. Plus looks! Here’s more specific info on why those aspects are paramount…

Tensile strength – The most common measure of a motorcycle chains strength is tensile strength. Tensile strength measures how much load a chain can withstand under one-time load before breaking.

Wear/fatigue – A chain’s wear life is just as important as its tensile strength. Quality materials, heat treatment of chain components and utilising the latest in technology, plays a critical role in a chains overall wear life.

Application – There are many different types of motorcycle chains on the market, from heavy duty chains to race chains, O-rings and various types of X-ring chains.

Chain breakdown:

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A motorcycle chain is an amazing piece of engineering made up of many parts working together seamlessly, as follows…

1. Bushing and rollers – EK Chains research and development has indicated that one of the initial points of failure is the chain roller, therefore EK Chains features the thickest chain roller in the industry to prolong chain life. In addition, EK Chains feature a solid typed bushing which further increases wear life.

2. Inner-plate – A chain’s inner-plate design aids the overall tensile strength of the chain. EK Chains inner-plates have been designed to minimise weight without sacrificing tensile strength. This results in increased power and a longer chain life.

3. Pin – Whilst providing the rollers something to roll on, the pin joins the inner- and outer-plates together and is an integral part to the chains tensile strength.

4. Ring seal – Not all motorcycle chains come with ring seals. In fact, a large majority of high performance motocross chains come without ring seals. This is to reduce weight and friction to get the most power to the ground as quick as possible! There is always going to be a give and take when it comes to performance and longevity. Ring seals determine the amount of lubrication held in the chain. More lube held in the chain equals less heat, which means less wear and longer chain life. EK Chains advanced X-ring technology gives EK unprecedented life on all sealed chains.

Regular seal types:

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O-ring – O-ring seals are your most basic type of seal. Keeping dust out and chain grease in, O-ring chains are a very cost-effective option.

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X-ring – X describes the shape of the ring. Instead of having an O shape, it now has an X shape, providing more contact points. Now when the seals are pressed to the chain plates, it no longer has a flattered shape, but instead has two smaller faces touching either plate to keep more dirt out and more lube in!

Performance seals by EK Chains:

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QX-ring – QX-ring is a slim profile chain with 40 percent less friction than a normal O-ring chain and 150 percent better endurance. Used for SRX2 series, 420SRX and 428ZVX.

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NX-ring – NX-ring is 15 percent more durable than QX-ring. The NX-ring chain has improved tensile strength and increased weight saving. Used for ZVX3 Series.

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SX-ring – SX-ring is EK’s slimmest profile X-Ring. High tensile strength and increased durability. Used for 520 RXO/SM Series.


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The pitch of a chain refers to the distance between its drive links. This is the distance between the centres of the pins. Most commonly, junior off-road motorcycles (65cc–250cc) use a 415, 420 or even a 428 pitch chain. Large capacity off-road motorcycles, dual sport and ATVs generally opt for a 520-pitch chain (large dual purpose motorcycles might opt for a 525 pitch). Make sure to choose the right pitch chain for your motorcycle.

Chain maintenance:

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Maintenance of your drive-train is critical if you wish to maintain longer wear life in your chain. Cleaning and lubing your chain between rides is a great start, making sure to lube between the rollers. To gain maximum protection against the elements, EK Chains recommends the use of high-quality chain lubricant and cleaner such as Motorex’s range of Chain Lube and Chain Clean. They have chain lube and clean specific for dirt, road and adventure applications. As a helpful tip, shake your chain lube for 30s prior to lubing, as this will activate all elements within the lube. Lube your chain the night before your ride to ensure complete penetration.

Featured facts:
– In 1997, EK Chains was certified to ISO 9001 quality management standards. This certification reinforces EK Chains guarantee of safety and precision in every EK Chains product.

– All EK off-road race chains utilise EK’s exclusive CRH pin treatment process, which provides an extremely hard outside coating and softer inside to increase strength and reduce wear.

– EK Chains were the first to produce an O-ring chain.

EK Chains are distributed in Australia by A1 Accessory Imports. Additional detailed information can be sourced via the EK Chains Australia website at