Drive Chains

The drive chain of a motorcycle is one of the most important parts of a bike and yet normally gets the least attention. The standard drive chain of older Honda motorcycles are of the "Roller Chain" type. The chain consists of two major parts, 1) the pin link and 2) the roller link.


Both links get their linear strength from the side plates that keep them together. A "Heavy Duty" chain will have thicker, stronger side plates and thus greater overall strength. The pin link is very simple in design having only two rods or pins connecting the side plates. The roller link is more complex, consisting of two hollow bushings connecting the side plates surrounded by a movable roller.


There are several types of drive chains:


Common Drive Chains

Chain reference #




1/2 inch

3/16 inch


1/2 inch

1/4 inch


1/2 inch



5/8 inch

1/4 inch


5/8 inch

5/16 inch


5/8 inch

3/8 inch


3/4 inch

3/8 inch

O Rings

Master link: Master Linkmost motorcycle chains are connected into a loop by a master link. This is a single pin link with extended pins that allow the attachment of a removable side plate. The side plate is held in place by a spring clip.

Endless Chain: some motorcycles are equipped with an endless chain that does not contain a master link but are connected back unto itself when produced. These chains must be removed by removing the swingarm of the bike.

The more you care for your chain, the longer it will last. For all riders, a yearly removal, cleaning and check-up is a must. If you are an avid rider this procedure may be repeated each month or sooner.

  1. This is commonly done by using one of the aerosol can chain lubes available. CAUTION: if your chain is of o-ring design, make sure the chain lube is compatible.
  2. A second way to lube your chain is by purchasing a can of solid lube. This material has to be heated, melting the solid, and the chain dipped in. The chain is hung over the can and allowed to drain and harden. This form of lube is longer lasting and will protect your chain the most.


Whenever you check your chain, check your rear and drive sprockets also. The teeth on both sprockets should be uniform and symmetric. If they appear hooked or worn, they probably need replacing.


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