Motorcycle Chains. A Buyers Guide


D.I.D 520VX3GB-Gold 520VX3 X-Ring Chain 120 Link

This excellent chain is available in sizes 94 links to 160 links and I personally use this brand of motorcycle chain on all of my motorcycles.

New “Direct Energy Transfer” gives you fantastic throttle response due to D. I. D. State-of-the-art technology to increase the chain’s rigidity.

Features significantly improved seal performance due to increased X-ring retention and durability. Average tensile strength of 8, 210 pounds, Weight (kgs/100 links) = 1. 52 (3. 35 pounds). Includes a clip-style master link.

As the price can change you can check out the latest price on Amazon by clicking the link HERE

Click the link below to see me fit this exact chain to my motorcycle:

A photo guide to replacing chain and sprockets

What types of motorcycle chains are there?

Here are the three different types of motorcycle chains:

  1. O-RING
  2. X-RING

O-RING Motorcycle Chain

Between the inner roller covers and outer link covers of each link sits an O-RING.

When the chain is manufactured, part of the process is to add lubricant to the pins and between the new chainplates. This process helps to ensure that any dirt, gravel/grit, or any other foreign contaminant does not get into the links. This type of chain is widespread amongst the off-road community as it keeps their chains dirt-free and gives the chain a longer lifespan compared to a chain that has not been manufactured in this way.

X-RING Motorcycle Chain

These motorcycle chains are easier to maintain than O-RING chains as they utilize the lubricant more efficiently. They are also more air efficient, giving the motorcycle better mileage per mile which is why they are commonplace on the racetrack. They are also more desirable and found on many new motorcycles as they are straightforward to maintain.


Non-sealed motorcycle chains are not very popular anymore, and these are only a few and far between places where you can purchase them. These chains are high maintenance and are usually only found on vintage motorcycles.

Features Of A Motorcycle Chain

  1. Size Of The Chain
  2. How The Chain Is Used
  3. The Strength Of The Chain

Size Of The Chain

The way a motorcycle chain is measured is the distance between the rollers in the chain. This measurement is one of the most important considerations when choosing a new motorcycle chain. When calculating the spread of the rollers in the chain, it is known as measuring in pitches.

When measuring the sprocket either front or back, you measure between the points of the sprocket.

Ensuring that you match up the chain and sprocket pitch size will give your motorcycle maximum speed and efficiency.

How The Chain Is Used

A high quality 520 chain and sprocket kit is the most common and will give excellent performance for most motorcycles. For larger motorcycle engine sizes say 1000cc and above a high quality 530 chain and sprocket kit would be an excellent choice in my opinion.

The Strength Of The Chain

Different chains can carry different amounts of weight on a motorcycle, and this is called Tensile Strength.

Best Brands


D.I.D is an American based company which specialises in making drive chains for the motorcross market. It has positioned itself as one of the to manufacturers of gold motorcycle chains which can withstand heavy duty usage especially within the offroad/street racing and motorcross nieches. This company also has a strong presence in Europe.

They also have a paintented SDH pin technology which results ina longer life for their motorcycle chains which is prescent in all of the chains they produce.


This company was formed by two engineers back in 1969. Andrew Renshaw and Henry Rosenthal initialy making handlebars for trial bikes. This company is very successful manufacturing drive chains for the motorcycle racing world and its chains and accessories are used in brands such as Kawasaki and Suzuki. This company has a paintented Z Ring technology.

Their Road chain has a specially developed sealed ring chain utilizing Renthal’s Self Regulating Seal (SRS) technology to increase the chain’s service life in road applications. The unique SRS ring is pre-loaded during assembly creating a spring effect.

Runner Up

Renthal C128 R1 Works 520-Pitch 120-Links Chain

  • Shot-peened alloy steel side plates for high tensile strength and maximum impact load resistance
  • Chamfered inner links to reduce the chance of chain derailment
  • Extended bushings to reduce friction between outer and inner link plates, maximizing power output
  • Chromised bearing pins for excellent resistance to wear
  • Gold color side plates help prevent corrosion

As the price can change you can check out the latest price on Amazon:

By clicking the link HERE if you are in North America

By clicking the link HERE if you are in the UK

Worth A Mention

JT Sprockets JTC520X1RNN114DL 114-links Nickel Heavy Duty X Ring Drive Chain 

  • The JT X1R heavy duty X-Ring motorcycle chain is engineered for maximum durability and strength, offering a high performance in both road and off-road use.
  • X-Ring seals are used for a better seal and produce less friction than conventional O-ring chains.
  • Manufactured using leading-edge technology and only the highest grade of special steel alloys, JT advanced power transfer chains meet or exceed the requirements of all modern motorcycles and ATVs
  • JT X1R Heavy Duty Chains are constructed with quad riveted pins for an extra strong rivet that resists powerful lateral forces on the outer plate.
  • Roller Dia: 10.22 mm; Pin Len: 20.3 mm; Plate Thickness inner: 2 mm; Outer: 2 mm; Weight per 100 links: 3.42 lbs.; Avg. Tensile Strength: 8158 lb.-f; No. of Pin Rivet Press:4; Master Link: Rivet

By clicking the link HERE if you are in North America

By clicking the link HERE if you are in the UK

For more information regarding motorcycle chains and sprocket why not check out my other articles:

Are motorcycle chains directional?

Latest posts

  • Are There Automatic Motorcycles?

    Are There Automatic Motorcycles?

    If you are interested in purchasing a motorcycle, you want to make sure that you are happy with the model and that it is the perfect one for you. If you are unhappy with your motorcycle, you may struggle to drive it or comfortably ride it, which can make you unsafe on the road.  You…

    Read more

  • How Old Do You Have To Be To Ride A Motorcycle?

    How Old Do You Have To Be To Ride A Motorcycle?

    Are you considering purchasing your child a motorcycle and want to know if they are old enough? Perhaps you have heard that children can’t ride motorcycles and want to know if this is true? Or are you curious and want to know more? Whatever the reason might be that brought you here today, I am…

    Read more

  • How To Wheelie A Motorcycle

    How To Wheelie A Motorcycle

    Among motorcyclists, the wheelie is the stunt that is the most well-known and the one that is performed the most frequently. Even people who are not in the motorcycling world know what a wheelie is.   “Doing a wheelie” may be a fun pastime, but it is also a pretty dangerous move to try. You must…

    Read more