PDA

View Full Version : Why aren't motorcycle chains sealed from weather, like gas scooter transmissions?



NonPolluter
29 September 2010, 1950
The European bicycles have chain covers, completely sealing them.

The North American bicycles have chains that last 1-2K miles because they don't have chain covers.

Shouldn't motorcycles have the same covered chains?

Richard230
30 September 2010, 0750
When I started riding motorcycles during the early 1960's many of the less sporting models had fully enclosed chains. These systems worked well, especially considering the relatively poor quality chains that were available at that time. As an example, my 1963 250cc Yamaha YD3 had a fully enclosed chain (to say nothing of its white-wall tires and leg shields). However, few motorcycle buyers liked the look of an enclosed chain (just like they didn't like the look of rubber gaiters covering the front fork tubes). The manufacturers killed two birds with one stone by removing the chain enclosure - they made the customer happy and saved a bunch of money on each unit made.

The last example of a motorcycle with with a fully enclosed chain that I can recall is the European-model 1981 Yamaha Varago 920 V-twin, which was imported into the US for a couple of years. It came with a fully enclosed chain running in grease. The chain drive system worked great and lasted a long time. Unfortunately, most people thought it looked ugly. And that was the end of that - at least in the US market.

cycleguy
30 September 2010, 0812
High quality O-ring chains with plated link plates and rollers do not rust nearly as quickly as lower quality chains, therefore enclosing the chain is not necessary. As long as you keep the chain properly lubed, especially when not in use for long periods, it will last a very long time.

billmi
30 September 2010, 0915
The last example of a motorcycle with with a fully enclosed chain that I can recall is the European-model 1981 Yamaha Varago 920 V-twin, which was imported into the US for a couple of years.

Funny, that's exactly the bike that sprang to mind when I saw the topic of this thread.

HighlanderMWC
30 September 2010, 1403
Wouldn't chain covers make it more annoying to lube the chain and tension it?

Richard230
30 September 2010, 1542
Wouldn't chain covers make it more annoying to lube the chain and tension it?

Yes, but the old enclosure systems had a hole plugged with a rubber cap. You could remove the plug to oil the chain and check its tension. Removing the rear wheel and adjusting tension could be accomplished without disturbing the chain, as the chain and enclosure were keyed to the rear wheel, which could be removed while the chain and enclosure stayed on the bike. While it was slightly more fiddly, the enclosure sure kept the rear wheel and chassis much cleaner. The bike stayed clean and so did the chain.