Motorcycles

BMW claims its new motorcycle chain never needs lube or adjustment

BMW claims its new motorcycle ...
BMW's M Endurance motorcycle chain uses an industrial diamond coating to completely eliminate chain lube and tension adjustments
BMW's M Endurance motorcycle chain uses an industrial diamond coating to completely eliminate chain lube and tension adjustments
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The M Endurance chain is available initially only for the BMW S1000RR and S1000XR
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The M Endurance chain is available initially only for the BMW S1000RR and S1000XR
BMW's M Endurance motorcycle chain uses an industrial diamond coating to completely eliminate chain lube and tension adjustments
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BMW's M Endurance motorcycle chain uses an industrial diamond coating to completely eliminate chain lube and tension adjustments
The tetrahedrally amorphous carbon (ta-C, or industrial diamond) coating on the rollers and pin bushings drastically reduces friction without sticky lubricants, and also boosts strength and hardness
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The tetrahedrally amorphous carbon (ta-C, or industrial diamond) coating on the rollers and pin bushings drastically reduces friction without sticky lubricants, and also boosts strength and hardness
View gallery - 3 images

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.

The tetrahedrally amorphous carbon (ta-C, or industrial diamond) coating on the rollers and pin bushings drastically reduces friction without sticky lubricants, and also boosts strength and hardness
The tetrahedrally amorphous carbon (ta-C, or industrial diamond) coating on the rollers and pin bushings drastically reduces friction without sticky lubricants, and also boosts strength and hardness

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.

Source: BMW

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17 comments
yawood
I hope they're thief proof.
Daishi
People are picky about the way their bikes look and I think that color could clash with a lot of motorcycles vs a black or mostly black chain.
thx1138
I suspect that these will turn out to be much like "maintenance free batteries." It's not that they are truly maintenance free but that they cannot be maintained - they have no caps to add water. So if that is all that is needed a new one must be purchased.

These chains have multiple failure points - seals mostly - and anything with moving parts is going to wear over time.
Mike Johnson
Very interesting and thanks
nick101
Great! I've changed and adjusted my share of chains, it's a nuisance and messy, but unless I'm going racing (with a sponsor) I'll leave those on the shelf and save a ton of money!
FB36
There are already countless chainless bicycles & motorcycles w/ electric hub-motors!
(I think some of them are series hybrids using engine or muscle power!)
I for 1, think all bicycles & motorcycles still using chains need to become history!
wf
BMW was known for sealed shaft drives.....what happened? I guess the same thing as Porsche's air-cooling.
Also, look at the chain details, what is the "seal" made out of?...and maybe more importantly.....what is the "bushing" made out of? These parts will also deifne the longevity. Lastly.....for chain-driven overhead cams on engines, there is alsways a long-guide piece along the "long" lenght between sprockets....usually a metal-backed polymer. Why isn't such "guide" applied here too?
Aross
That price will buy a lot of oil and chain adjustments.
Dan
After seeing how they hold up, and when the price comes down they would help in a lot of things that use chains. I hope they're mane in the USA.
Username
Belts, like my Harley had, are maintenance free and don't wear out sprockets. My BMW had a shaft drive and I loved it. This seems to be strictly for the racing circuits.