Minus/plus icon
ResourcesExplore the full ACKO experience and make the most of your plan

Home / Two-wheeler Insurance / Articles / Things to know about bike drive chains and maintenance

Things to know about bike drive chains and maintenance

Team AckoApr 12, 2023

Riding a motorcycle can be a riveting experience. But it also needs to be safe. Thus, it’s essential to ensure your bike is in good working condition before you hit the road. One of the most vital components of a bike is the drive chain. In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about bike drive chains, including how they work and why they need to be maintained.




What is a bike drive chain?

A bike drive chain is a mechanical component that transfers power from the engine to the bike's rear wheel. It is essentially a steel chain that runs along the engine's rear sprocket and the rear wheel's front sprocket. It connects the engine and the wheel to move forward and plays a vital role in the performance and handling of the motorcycle.

The bike drive chain is exposed to a lot of wear and tear due to constant friction while the bike is in motion. Therefore, it is crucial to maintain the chain regularly to ensure it is in good working condition. Negligence may result in premature degradation and lower mileage.

Types of bike drive chains

There are different types of motorcycle drive chains available in the market and each has its own set of characteristics and benefits. 

1. Standard roller chain

The roller chain is one of the most common types of bike drive chains. It comprises a series of interconnected links that rotate around rollers. It is durable, easy to maintain, and suitable for off-road and street motorcycles.

2. O-ring chain

The O-ring chain is similar to the standard roller chain, but it comprises an O-shaped seal between the inner and outer plates of the chain. This seal ensures that the lubrication stays inside the chain and prevents debris and dirt from entering the chain. O-ring bike drive chains are durable and resistant to wear and tear, but they are expensive compared to the roller chain.

3. X-ring chain

The X-ring chain comprises an X-shaped seal between the inner and outer plates of the chain. This type of seal ensures that the lubricant retains for a more extended period and is more dust and debris resistant than the O-ring chain.

4. Z-ring chain

The Z-ring chain comprises a Z-shaped seal between the inner and outer plates of the chain. This type of seal retains lubricants better and resists dust and debris. 

Importance of proper chain maintenance

Proper drive chain maintenance is essential to ensure the bike's efficient operation and increase the chain's life. Here are some reasons why adequate care of a bike drive chain is important.

1. Lubrication

An adequately lubricated drive chain helps reduce friction and the wear and tear of the chain links, rollers and sprockets. This enables the chain’s life to increase and offers optimum performance.

2. Cleaning

A clean drive chain is less likely to attract debris, which could cause wear and tear. Regular cleaning of the chain helps remove dirt and debris and increases its life.

3. Tension

The right amount of tension in the chain is required for the proper functioning of the drive chain. If the stress is not as per the recommended levels, it can cause excessive damage to the chain, sprocket and rollers.

4. Alignment

The chain and the sprocket should be appropriately aligned for better performance and life. An improper alignment can damage the chain and other parts by jumping off the sprocket.

5. Inspection

Regular inspection of the bike drive chain for any kind of wear and tear, dirt and debris, and non-alignment enables you to take corrective actions immediately.

Cleaning and lubricating your bike drive chain

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to clean and lubricate a motorcycle drive chain.

Step 1: Gather the required materials, including a chain cleaner brush, chain cleaning liquid, a clean cloth and a high-quality lubricant.

Step 2 : Park the bike on a level surface and use the middle (main) stand to park your motorcycle. 

Step 3 : Use the chain cleaning liquid to spray on the drive chain. Ensure every part is covered so that the entire chain is cleaned accordingly.

Step 4 : Using the chain cleaner brush, brush the entire length of the chain, removing as much debris as possible from the chain. Ensure that both sides of the chain are cleaned. 

Step 5 : Use the cloth to clean up any remaining dirt or debris from the chain.

Step 6 : Apply the chain lubricant to the chain. Work your way, ensuring that the chain is well-lubricated.

Tips for extending the life of the bike drive chain

The longer the life of the bike drive chain, the better the performance and the lower the ownership cost. Here are some tips for increasing the life of your motorcycle drive chain.

  • Clean and lubricate the chain regularly: The accumulation of debris and dirt on the chain can cause damage to the chain and accelerate wear and tear. Cleaning and lubricating the chain regularly will extend the lifespan of the motorcycle chain.

  • Check and adjust chain tension: An uneven bike chain tension can cause severe damage to the chain and other parts, such as the sprocket. Regularly checking the chain tension, as per the manufacturer’s recommendations, shall increase the chain’s lifespan and offer a comfortable ride.

  • Avoid over-lubrication: You may assume that a well-lubricated bike chain ensures better performance and lifespan. However, too much lubrication can attract dirt and debris, reducing the chain's lifespan.

  • Replace the chain if required: Inspect the chain regularly for signs of wear and tear or damage. If there is considerable wear and tear, replace the chain immediately to avoid further damage.

  • Use high-quality lubricant: Not all chain lubricants are the best. Using a high-quality chain lube can prolong the life of the chain and offer optimum performance.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are the answers to some common questions about bike drive chains and how to maintain them.


How often should you clean and lubricate the motorcycle drive chain?

The frequency of cleaning and lubricating your motorcycle chain depends on how often you ride and the conditions in which you ride. It is also important to check the manufacturer’s recommendations to ensure that the chain is clean and lubricated at all times. Usually, it is recommended that you clean and lubricate the bike chain every 500 to 1,000 kms.

Which type of lubricant is recommended for a motorcycle drive chain?

You should always use a high-quality lubricant for better lubrication and performance. These lubricants are designed to withstand the forces of the chain and withstand high speeds.

Can I use regular oil to lubricate my bike drive chain?

No, do not use regular oil to lubricate the bike chain. It is important to use the right type and high-quality lubricant for a longer chain lifespan.

Which is the ideal bike insurance?

Opt for the Comprehensive Bike Insurance Policy for wholesome coverage. It offers coverage for third-party liabilities and damages to the bike due to a collision, or natural and manmade calamities. It also covers bike theft and damages due to a fire.

Explore more:

Disclaimer: The content on this page is generic and shared only for informational and explanatory purposes. It is based on industry experience and several secondary sources on the internet, and is subject to changes. Please go through the applicable policy wordings for updated ACKO-centric content, and before making any insurance-related decisions.


Want to post any comments?


Bike insurance as low as ₹555*, just a few clicks away

Bike number

Looking to insure brand new bike?

Zero commissions, big savings

quote icon

Get Quote

quote icon