Traditionally, at the factory where your bike was made, grease or another lubricant was applied to your bike’s chain. The problem is, road grime is also drawn into the chain once you began riding the bike. That dirt sticks to the lubricant like glue quickly compromise the factory lubrication, adds grit and accelerates wear. For longer-lasting performance, there was a need to seal in all of that gooey goodness while keeping the outside grime outside so that your bike’s chain could stay lubricated for a lifetime.
To solve that problem, the O-ring was born. And it was good. The O-ring is a small, flexible synthetic ring that is installed on the pins of each chain link between the outer flat plates that hold the chain links together. It’s called an “O” ring because, in addition to being a round loop that fits over the pin, the seal’s cross-section is O-shaped as well.
Installed, the O-ring fits snugly against the steel plates of the chain links, and is designed to deform a bit, squishing into more of a rounded square shape. It does that by design to create a tight bond that seals and acts as a strong barrier to dirt and moisture. Awesome. Except that the contact area is relatively large and that introduces its own form of friction as the outer surface of that bulging O-ring rubs tightly against the steel plates. It’s not much friction, but multiplied by four O-rings for every link and then multiplied again by the number of links on a bike’s chain, you’ve got a good bit of collective resistance that begins to rob power and fuel mileage.
X marks the spot (for advanced design)
More advanced approaches to the sealing ring configuration introduced a modified O-ring that that still provides the needed barrier to outside nasties, but does so by minimizing the contact patch with the chain link plates. These designs are referred to as “X-ring” and “XW-ring” designs because, instead of an “O” shape, the cross-section of each sealing ring appears in the shape of an X or XW depending on the specific design. These sealing rings provide as much as 60% less contact area than traditional O-ring designs. The result is reduced resistance. Again, multiply that reduction in friction across each and every link throughout the entire length of the chain and the resulting benefit can be significant.
With these modified ring designs, there is an effective seal for long chain life, plus a chain that can operate more efficiently and with less power-sucking friction. That means more power to the ground and less destructive friction to wear out the chain.
Sunstar’s DualGuard™ design, much like an X-shape ring type, creates a low friction, long life chain. The special ring design features two sealing lips and lubrication pools on each side. It’s a great all-around chain choice for riders on street motorcycles 1,000cc and under. On top of that performance, it’s a great value.
The Sunstar TripleGuard™ design uses a special multi-point sealing ring design, comparable to XW designs. The TripleGuard chain mixes the benefits of lightweight, low friction and high heat resistance and is the performance choice that works for all street motorcycles, including high-output sport bikes and racers.
There are X-number of reasons to upgrade.
While they tend to be a bit more costly than conventional O-ring chains, the more advanced sealing ring designs are a worthwhile spend for those who ride hard, ride in harsh environments, put on lots of miles, or just plan to keep their bike for a long time. These advances chain designs can also reduce routine maintenance while extending chain life. Not a bad deal in the long run.
One of the best ways to give your machine a little love is by installing a high-performance chain that delivers top performance, more efficient operation, and longer life. Your bike will love you and your wallet will love you in the long run when you can avoid another chain and sprocket replacement.
Check out the chain technology and options for your bike at the SUNSTAR website: sunstar-braking.com. Still, have questions? Just ask!