To O-ring or not to O-ring

What's better for motocross, o-ring chains or non-o-ring chains?

Also is a 50 or 51 better for mostly outdoor motocross?


As much power as a four stroke puts out you need an o ring chain. Non O ring chains wont last as long and you'll be going through chains like crazy!

Kylee Wylee :)

[ December 25, 2001: Message edited by: mxracer553 ]

O-ring hands down. Put it on, ride it once, adjust it once, and run it till the cows come home.

o ring/49t or 50t


Well...the strength of a chain is measured by its tensile point, (how much pulling pressure is required before it snaps). Size and the quality of the chain effect this.

To the best of my knowledge, the use of o-rings does not effect tensile strength. However, it's possible that more o-ring chains are made of higher grade materials than non o-ring chains, therefore contributing to their reputation.

The o-ring chain was designed to maintain lubrication into the body of the chain. Less maintenance and longer life was the result. If that's what you want, it's a good chain. They work great for street bike since you don't have oil flying off all over your clothes.

My take is that motocross is a dirty sport, and that the chain should be cleaned completely of all oil and dirt after each ride or race day. This of course is impossible with an o-ring chain. And if dirt gets passed the o-rings, it will almost live in the chain forever.

If you ride long desert or enduro rides, the o-ring would be a good choice. If you ride supercross and clean and lube the chain often, I think the benefits of the non o-ring chain is best.

I would have to assume that nearly all works/factory team bikes spec the use of non o-ring chains. Perhaps others can verify this.


I have tried o-rings in the past (not on this bike) and they always seem to start getting really tight kinks much before a regular chain would have worn out. The majority of the people here seem to have good luck with them so maybe I did something to ruin the chain..

Everyone I have spoken with says the the O-ring works great but if you want a chain that is going to last 2 to 3 times as longer than the O-ring you need to go with the DID X-Ring.

I thought people were just saying that but I looked up the tensile strength for both chains and for some reason its like double that of their O-ring?

So a quick call to DID and they said the chain was designed for large bore bikes (500 CC and up). They told me it works fine on are bike because of the amount of HP our bikes make but they do not recommend it for anything smaller in displacement.

The only draw back is that the X-ring chain cost about $30 more than the O-ring. So is really boils down to what you are willing to spend.

I would also assume that all factory teams use non oring chains. The friction or drag of an o ring chain can rob a small amount of hp. But, I would also assume that they use the chain of the company who pays them, and that they get a new one every race. They are not concerned with longevity, that doesn't apply to the real world. Atleast not mine. Go X ring.

You can spend $100 now and have the chain last 3 years, or spend $60 four times over 3 years...

I had a X-ring chain that went through 3 bikes! It's 4 years old, and still going strong.

I personally use an X ring chain on both bikes. On the YZ the factory chain only lasted about four months and I lubed it constantly. If your going to be a competative racer use a NON oring chain and keep an eye on your sprockets. Chains dont stretch the bushings wear. "Regina" X ring, $100 but well worth it, adjustments are minimal and substantially less frequent!

Renthal makes a great o ring chain and it is pretty affordable.

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