For those who love the sound of the roaring engines!!

O-Ring Chains

The o-ring chain is a specialized type of roller chain used in the transmission of mechanical power from one sprocket to another.


1 Construction

2 Applications

3 Care

4 External links



The o-ring chain is named for the rubber o-rings built into the metal rollers of every link in this particular type of metal chain. Chain manufacturers began to include this feature in the 1980s as a way to improve lubrication to the links of power transmission chains, a service that is vitally important to extending the working life of chain. The o-rings fit into the gap between the rollers and the links that surround each roller and hold the entire chain together. These rubber fixtures form a barrier that holds factory applied lubricating grease inside of the rollers while still applying sufficient lubrication to the chain body. Further, the rubber o-rings prevent dirt and other contaminants from entering the inside of the chain linkages, where such particles would otherwise cause significant wear.



O-ring chains are most notably used in motorcycles, one of the most demanding applications for a metal chain. High RPM and heavy loads require bulky chains, but such engineering increases the effect of friction compared to lighter chains. So lubrication plays a vital role here, but the high RPM also make it very difficult to keep lubrication inside and on the chain. Additionally, motorcycle chains are exposed to a large volume of contaminants and particles and must be protected. O-rings, as described above, fit this application perfectly.


Depending on usage and wear, o-ring chains should be maintained differently, but it is generally advisable to follow a few guidelines:

clean the chains often

never use gasoline to clean the chains, its solvents damage o-rings

use kerosene or other light petroleum solvent.

avoid using stiff brushes – they can damage the o-rings

add o-ring compatible lubricant

this ensures the lubricant being applied will make it inside the rubber seals

do this about every 200 miles – on a motorcycle every other gas-stop will do.

wax-based lubricants have less ‘fling’ but may attract more dust and grit

many high-mileage riders use an automatic chain oiler

some sources note that the o-rings seal the lubricant inside the chain – however you still need to lubricate the chain-sprocket interface.

when in doubt, purchase a new chain

generally the sprockets should be replaced at the same time as the chain.


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