Motorcycle Chain Sizes [Updated 2022]

I tried to simplify the selection of the chain for your motorcycle. There are the most detailed and relevant tables of applicability of various D.I.D drive chains for most available motorcycle models. For ease of navigation, I broke the applicability tables for motorcycle brands. Also, you can enter the model name in the search box at the top of the table.

If you are at a loss with the choice please check out my review of Best Motorcycle Chain.

Harley Davidson

If you’re a bike enthusiast, then your motorcycle probably means the world to you. That’s why D.I.D. created their top of the line performance drive chains. They know that you want components you can trust your safety with.

There are so many different motorcycle manufacturers on the market. Finding the perfect balance between performance and quality can be tough. Take a few minutes to make the process of selecting a new chain easy for you.

Why The Pros Choose D.I.D. : History

D.I.D. chains have been widely considered the world’s best performance racing chains. The Legacy Of D.I.D. products was started in 1933. The Company was originally established as the Kokueki Chain Co.,Ltd. The D.I.D. brand has gone through many different names as a company over the last century, but their attention to quality still remains the same.

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D.I.D. started manufacturing motorcycle components in the early 1950s. Some of their first products were heavy-duty steel rims and light-weight alloy rims. D.I.D. received many awards for our industry-leading quality control techniques. Their practices would eventually help to define the motorcycle manufacturing standards that most companies follow today.

They quickly moved to the forefront of the motorcycle chain industry in 1995. That’s when licensing was received to manufacture power transmission chains at the Fukuda plant in Japan. They have since worked with very large motorcycle brands like Honda in designing performance racing chains. Many professional motorcycles, motocross, and racing enthusiasts choose D.I.D. for their motorcycle chain needs.

How To Select The Right Motorcycle Drive Chain

What Are The Differences Between Chain Sizes?

motorcycle chain sizes
Chains are generally categorized by pitch and length. A 520-118 chain has a pitch of 520, and it has 118 chain links.

If you’re trying to find out the right chain size for your motorcycle, then you can refer to your owner’s manual. If it’s a used bike, then you may have to check the size-stamping on your current chain.

A used bike may have an after-market sprocket with a different size chain.

How Do I Adjust My chain?

The amount of slack your chain needs is very specific to the sprocket and bike you have. Always consult your owner’s manual for specific guidelines on fitting a new chain.

Your slack will be dramatically different when it’s on a stand, and when it is under its own weight. Keep that in mind when adjusting your chain. Make sure to follow the exact procedures that your manual suggests.

There are certain bikes in particular that require much slacker than others. That would include bikes with KTM PDS shocks. Performance racing shocks will greatly affect how often your chain needs to be adjusted.

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You should also check to make sure that your bike still has its stock sprocket and components. Some used motorcycles may be modified with after-market parts. If this is the case, then you may need to speak with a professional mechanic to understand how your chain should be adjusted.

How Often Should I Inspect My Chain?

motorcycle chain sizes
It is a good rule of thumb to inspect your chain before every ride. A quick look can make a huge difference when it comes to your safety. You should clean your chain periodically as you see necessary. This could be once a month for regular riders, or it could be once every few months for garage-kept bikes.

The most important part of chain maintenance is being aware of your chain’s condition at all times. It’s the most important driving force of your bike.

How Many Motorcycle Chain Pitches Are There?

There are tons of different chains when you consider vintage bikes. Modern motorcycles only use about ten standardized chain pitches today. Your bike is probably going to fall under one of these chain specs:


How Do I Know What Size My Chain Is?

The easiest way to tell is by taking a look at your chain. Almost all manufacturers will stamp the size on the chain itself. You can usually find it clearly marked on the outer links.

You could also check your owner’s manual, but some used bikes might be modified. Always check to see if your bike has any after-market components before installing a chain with OEM specifications.

What’s The Difference Between Sealed And Non-Sealed Chains?

A non-sealed chain is a standard motorcycle drive train. It requires cleaning and lubrication regularly to maintain it’s integrity.

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A sealed chain has drawn grease into the bushing through vacuum when it’s assembled. O-rings are placed to seal the gaps around each link. This keeps the lubricant grease locked inside of the chain. It also keeps dirt and debris out of your chain.

Sealed chains typically have a longer life than most standard chains, but maintenance plays a big issue in the lifespan of non-sealed chains.

How Do I Maintain My Motorcycle Chain?

How to Clean and Lube a Motorcycle Chain
It’s all about keeping your chain as clean as possible. Most modern bikes should require very minimal cleaning. You can purchase special cleaning products designed to remove dirt and old oil from chains. You should brush your chains after applying cleaning solutions. Always make sure to use a lubricant that’s rated for motorcycle drive trains.

Standard penetrating lubricants like WD-40 are not a good choice for lubricating your chain. If you use penetrating oil to clean your chains, then you must make sure to clean it off entirely. Those types of oil will not stick to your chain, and they will remove existing lubricants. It’s best to avoid penetrating oils entirely. Use manufacturer-approved lubricants instead.

How Do I Know When My Chain Needs To Be Replaced?

You’ll usually be able to tell that it’s time to replace your chain when it’s out of adjustment. You shouldn’t have to continually adjust your chain once it’s fitted.

Another clue that your chain needs to be replaced is when you can pull the chain away from your rear sprocket. If you can create a gap by pulling on your chain, then it’s definitely time to get a replacement.

You don’t want any excessive play between the rear sprocket.

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