Below a table containing chain pitch, roller width (E), Chain Height (F) and roller diameter (H) for common motorcycle chain types in mm and inch:
Although a 520, 525 and 530 chain have the same pitch, the roller width is different and therefore:
should never mix
a chain and sprockets of different types
Proper chain maintenance is essential for safety, maximum performance and a long chain & sprocket life. The interval at which a chain needs maintenance depends on the type (sealed or not) and the way it is used and is mostly described in the User Manual. To be on the safe side, have a look at your chain after each ride and maintain it after every 500 km or about 300 miles. But like I said, these intervals differ per bike so check your manual !
How to Lubricate/Clean
Because using a spray always causes a 'cloud of lubricant' that will descend on your rim and tire so maybe it is a good idea to protect them using an old newspaper or piece of cardboard. Try to aim the spray between the side blades and the rollers like illustrated below, first the left side. Spray and rotate the rear wheel at least 3 complete revolutions. Then do the same on the right side of the chain.
After spraying, you need to wipe off the excessive lubricant using a dry and clean cloth.
Adjusting chain tension
Turn the rear wheel slowly until you find the position where chain is tightest. Push the chain up pressing with a finger at mid-length of swing arm. The lower stretch of chain must have a slack of about 25 mm 1". The exact slack depends on the type of chain and length of the swing arm and should be checked in your User manual. If not available, the example above is a good average.
When the chain tension needs to be adjusted,
make sure that the rear sprocket is aligned with the front sprocket.
If there are no marks on your swing arm you can either create them your self or measure the distance of the slider to the end of the swing arm (green arrow) on both sides and make sure they are equal. This will ensure perfect wheel alignment and thus a perfect sprocket alignment. If the rear wheel and sprocket is not aligned with the front sprocket, both chain and sprockets will wear very fast.
Does a chain really "stretch"? The term "stretch" is misleading. A chain will elongate when the pins and bushings wear down. This is due to poor lubrication, under sizing and overloading of the chain. As the components thin, the space between the pins and bushings increase, thus making the chain longer than originally. For transmission chain, there is almost no risk of fatigue failure when wear elongation is less than or equal to 1.5 percent.
A direct measure of chain wear is the extension in excess of the nominal length of the chain. Lay the chain on a flat surface and, after anchoring it at one end, attach to the other end a turnbuckle and a spring balance suitably anchored. Apply some tension load by means of the turnbuckle.
Of course this is more easy with a 'broken' chain that has 2 ends but is is also possible with an endless chain, just measure part of the chain and count the # of measured links (as many as possible):
length ‘M’ in millimeters from which the percentage extension can
be obtained from the following formula:
A popular upgrade
is a so called 'chain conversion' what actually is replacing a 'big
chain and sprockets by a 'small light' chain and sprockets. Most powerful
modern bikes come with a strong chain type like a 525, 530, 532 or even
The disadvantages are:
I often get questions
about what sprockets to buy when doing a chain conversion. As the number of sprocket teeth has got nothing to do with
say a 630 -> 520
chain conversion, you are only changing the type and sizes of chain (and sprockets, not the number of teeth), to keep your
current final drive ratio, you should buy sprockets with the current
amount of teeth. For size differences between all different chain types
see the tabel at the top of this page
Personally I would not do it as you will probably not even notice the difference unless you are a professional racing driver and you are able to replace your chain before every race. Just keep your the stock chain in good condition by cleaning and lubricating it regularly. That saves you some money so you can go to the gym and loose some 'unsprung weight' your self.... ;-)