BMW claims its new motorcycle chain never needs lube or adjustment
In days gone by, motorcycle riders needed to be half-competent mechanics to reliably get where they were going. That's changed a lot in the last few decades, to the point where a lot of riders get by without ever laying a spanner on their own machines. But there are still chains.
Chains still need the occasional clean and lube, and as they wear and stretch, you still need to adjust the rear axle back to take up some slack. If you ignore these basic bits of maintenance, you end up having a chain that flops around, jumps off the teeth on the rear sprocket and becomes a safety issue – not to mention making your bike noisy, clattery and sloppy in the gearbox.
BMW now says it's solved these problems with the introduction of a "maintenance-free chain" that doesn't need any lube, and never needs to be re-tensioned.
The BMW M Endurance chain, as it's known, uses an industrial diamond coating on the chain rollers for "extreme hardness and resistance." It doesn't wear off, BMW says, and it "drastically" reduces the friction coefficient where the roller interfaces with the sprocket teeth, and with the bushing surrounding the pin that holds the chain links together, which also gets the "tetrahedrally amorphous carbon (ta-C)," or industrial diamond coating.
There's still a rubber X-ring seal between the inner and outer chain plates, presumably to keep road grit out, but since the M Endurance chain requires no sticky lube, that road grit won't adhere to the chain nearly as much.
Here's what we don't know: how long can these chains be expected to last? Will they create extra wear on the sprockets? Will they outlast a pair of sprockets? We look forward to seeing them tested back-to-back, long term, against good standard chains and learning the pros and cons of this innovation.
For the moment, BMW is making them available in a 525 pitch to suit its own S1000RR and S1000XR bikes as factory options and aftermarket accessories. "Further BMW Motorrad models," reads the press release, "are being prepared for this feature." There's no word on whether the M Endurance chain will be suitable for non-BMW bikes.
Pricing certainly appears to be premium. While there's no official pricing in the press release, Motorcycles.News is reporting a retail price of €286.08 (US$340) for the chain alone, and €425.59 (US$507) for a set with sprocket, chain wheel and "small parts."
Certainly an interesting development and one we look forward to learning more about.