Chains are the bugbear of many a motorcyclist, requiring constant lubrication and adjustment to keep them in tip top shape, but BMW reckon that they have found a solution with a maintenance-free chain, which will be offered as a £100 option on the four-cylinder S 1000 RR superbike and S 1000 XR adventure tourer.
BMW is famed for its shaft drive systems but understandably went with the lighter chain drive for its S 1000 sports models. The German company reckons that the new chain, dubbed the M Endurance chain, will not require lubrication or the usual retensioning normally required as it wears out, comparing its durability and lack of maintenance to the bullet proof shaft systems.
BMW says that this breakthrough is possible through the use of a new coating material for the rollers. It’s called tetrahedrally amorphous carbon (ta-C) and also known as industrial diamond. This coating is noted for its extreme hardness and resistance, which is superior to the better-known DLC coating (Diamond Like Carbon), which is often used as a coating on fork stanchions to reduce stiction, and pure diamond. The new coating offers a drastically reduced friction coefficient and, unlike previously used coatings, the ta-C industrial diamond does not wear off.
Like traditional X-ring chains, the M Endurance chain has a permanent lubricant filling residing between the rollers and pins, enclosed by X-rings, however they say that the coating means that there’s no need to regularly coat the rollers with chain lube or wax, as is the case with traditional chains.
BMW says that it all contributes to the elimination of wear on the 525 pitch chain and that it gives ‘maintenance comfort’ that’s similar to a shaft drive. As a £100 option, it sounds like a bargain to us. Not having to clean, adjust or lube a chain again sounds like pure fantasy and is every biker’s dream, so it will be interesting to see how the M Endurance chain copes in the real world.