Drive chains are, as a rule, pretty simple to understand. Maintain them according to manufacturer instructions, inspect, adjust, and replace as and when necessary throughout the life of your bike. It might not be the most fun or exciting thing in the world, but like stopping the ride for a few minutes to put fuel in your bike, it keeps you rolling for miles to come.
Leave it up to BMW Motorrad—a company well-known for its legacy of nearly maintenance-free shaft-driven bikes—to flip that script right on its pointy little head. Our favorite Bavarians decided to see what they could do to make chains function as easily for riders as their shaft drives. It was a tall order, but now the company claims that’s exactly what it did with the M Endurance chain.
This new chain is a sealed X-ring design—something that’s certainly not new in and of itself. What is new, BMW says, is the coating it’s using on the chain’s rollers. It’s called “tetrahedrally amorphous carbon, or ta-C. Another name for it is apparently “industrial diamond,” because it’s somewhere between the more well-known “diamond-like coating” (or DLC) and an actual diamond on the hardness scale. Thanks to this coating, BMW says its new M Endurance chains don’t need maintenance—period. That makes it easier on riders, and also on the environment since you no longer have to apply cleaning and lubrication products to this new chain.
It’s currently available from BMW in a 525 pitch for both the S 1000 RR and S 1000 XR models, both installed from the factory as an option, or available for purchase as an accessory for your existing bike. The company also plans to bring this new chain to future models. We can’t imagine that this hasn’t undergone a whole bunch of testing before release, but nevertheless look forward to seeing how this new chain performs in real-world conditions.