Due to the intensity of the extreme sport bicycle motocross (BMX), ordinary bike chains are a big no-no. Just imagine the risk of speeding up or doing tricks with flimsy metal links. BMX is supposed to be an exhilarating, fun activity, not something you have to avoid just because its dangerous.
To keep the sport exciting yet safe, you should only use the best BMX chains acknowledged by different experts and enthusiasts. Those chains are extremely durable, which makes them less likely to snap or break no matter how much friction and pressure are applied.
Table of Contents
- 1 Best BMX Chains Review
- 2 How to Choose Good BMX Chains
Best BMX Chains Review
According to our standards plus careful research on various reviews from experts, here are the chains we highly recommend for BMX.
KMC K710 Kool Bicycle Chain
The classic black and silver combination of the KMC K710 Kool Bicycle Chain is not the only reason why you should consider adding it to your BMX bike. What’s more important is its heavy-duty construction that’s perfect for high jumps and other intense techniques of street riding.
To endure nonstop metal-to-metal grinding, this bike chain has a unique shape. Its outer plates are thicker than the standard. Also, it uses a bullseye riveting.
- Solid structure
- Remains functional up to the scheduled replacement because of its level of durability
- Ideal for both fixed-gear and freewheel bikes
- Timeless appearance
- Smooth performance
- Has no unnecessary sounds
- Thick steel sections
- No slipping
- May require multiple adjustments just to work smoothly
- Slightly heavy
- Not compatible with some basic tools because of the extra width
- Needs constant lubrication for it corrodes fast
- Can be noisy in some cases due to incompatibility
- Difficulty in resetting a pin
SHIMANO CN-HG93 Ultegra/XT 9-Speed Chain
Precision and smoothness are crucial in shifting gears. That’s why the SHIMANO CN-HG93 Ultegra/XT 9-Speed Chain isn’t only good for BMX; it’s also effective for mountain bikes. It will feel like riding a brand-new bike because of the smooth, quiet performance.
As a plus, this bike chain promotes easier cleaning. Its finish is so smooth that you can quickly wipe the surface clean.
In addition, you can immediately use this chain as soon as you receive your purchase. It’s tightly covered with a plastic material to preserve its oiled surfaces. Since it’s completely lubricated before you can even get your hands on it, it guarantees instant use.
- Precise, seamless shifting
- Can be installed on mountain bikes as well
- Quiet rides
- Easy to clean
- Smooth finish
- Already lubricated
- May break if you do extreme stunts
- May bend if you forcefully thrust the pin
SRAM PC-830 6/7/8-Speed Road/MTB Bike Chain
Versatility is the strength of the SRAM PC-830 6/7/8-Speed Road/MTB Bike Chain. Because of its compatibility with 6-, 7-, and 8-speed systems, it can be used with almost any kind of bike–even the hybrid ones. Other types of bikes compatible with this product are trekking, race, city, and MTB models.
As for the design, this bike chain is all about simplicity. It purely has a silver color to complement all bicycle designs. A pure metal look always works.
When it comes to durability, this product can withstand frequent use. It’s less likely to break even if you’ll use it every single day.
Regarding installation, this chain is a convenient addition. It uses the quick-connect feature.
- Compatible with different speed drives
- Can be used with various types of bikes
- Minimalist metal design because of the pure silver color
- Unbreakable even with daily use
- Allows quick installation
- Too plain-looking for some users
Eastern Bikes BMX Chain Atom Series Half Link
Unlike other products, Eastern Bikes BMX Chain Atom Series Half Link doesn’t only have thick outer plates; its inner plates also have that level of thickness that can ensure durability.
The half-link feature of this bike chain is useful for precise adjustments. It allows incremental changes to the wheelbase so you can achieve the feel you really want. Don’t get intimidated with the precision of this product; adjusting it is very simple even if you’re a DIY novice.
Also, don’t worry about the versatility of this bike chain. It can be used with different drive trains.
- Solid construction
- Added thickness on the outer and inner plates
- Half-link for precise wheelbase adjustments
- User-friendly adjustment system
- Compatible with various drive trains
- Rugged chrome appearance
- Convenient installation
- Too much lubricant in the packaging
- No master link included
- Will require you to have your own chain breaker just to adjust the length
The Shadow Conspiracy Interlock Supreme Half Link 1/2″ Chain
The durability of The Shadow Conspiracy Interlock Supreme Half Link 1/2″ Chain is unbelievable. It specifically has a tensile strength of 3,307 pounds (1,500 kilograms). Not only that, but its rollers are extra-hard and the mushroomed pins are wider than the standard.
Tensile strength is a big deal when it comes to BMX chains. Higher tensile strength means a more durable material. It won’t break or bend even if it’s stretched up to its limit.
We should also highlight the unique, edgy packaging of this product. Aside from the dark color of the chain, how cool is that coffin design? It can be given as a special gift to your loved ones who are BMX enthusiasts.
- Very high tensile strength of 3,307 lbs.
- Extra-sturdy rollers
- Wider mushroomed pins
- A little bit heavier than standard bike chains
- Tricky installation
- Relies on a chain breaker during installation
Despite the undeniable strength of the KMC Z410, its smooth surfaces make it a versatile bike chain. It’s oversized because of its plated structure, but it’s made that way to endure constant friction from grinding as well as the intense impact from landing.
Since plated chains also mean more metal added, corrosion is a huge concern. It’s a good thing that nickel is used for this product to minimize the likelihood of rust.
And, now, for the most exciting part. This chain comes in outrageous colors like orange, pink, red, and blue aside from the usual black and silver. It celebrates colors that aren’t always used for BMX bikes. If you prefer a chain that can also give some flavor to your bike, this product is definitely perfect for you. Surprisingly, no matter how bold the color is, the metal is still made of high-grade stainless steel.
- Noiseless performance
- Comes with a master link for easier installation
- Sufficient lubrication in the packaging
- Fun color choices
- May require additional tools due to the extra length
- Malfunctioning connector
- Color eventually wearing out
- Uneven coloring
How to Choose Good BMX Chains
What should you think about when choosing a BMX chain? Remember the following factors:
Here are the major types of BMX chains:
This is the traditional type of BMX chain. Since its design has been existing for a long time now, it can be found on almost every bicycle in the world.
You can easily identify a full-link chain by observing the form of its links. The outer and inner links are constructed in an alternating pattern.
Because of that design, you need more effort in shortening its length. You need to take off at least two links while making sure that the final measurement will end with an even number. That’s because one inner and one outer link should be removed for every progress you make during adjustment.
While a full-link chain depends on alternating outer and inner links, a half-link has a more straightforward pattern. It simply starts at one outer link’s width and ends at a narrower inner link. It’s a fresh design, especially for BMX bikes.
The purpose of the new design is to ensure precision. You’ll be able to adjust the rear wheel’s position perfectly for better performance. Also, with less steel, half-links can last longer because of the improved distribution of pressure.
However, we can’t be sure which type is more durable and stylish. It all comes down to personal preference. Luckily for you, some manufacturers are offering both types in a single package to let the buyer try different chains without making an additional purchase.
Let’s say you managed to choose the right type of chain for your BMX needs. What if it can’t fit your bike after all? That’s why size is crucial in picking a chain for your BMX bike.
A typical BMX bike needs a 1/8-inch chain. That measurement is ideal for riders who always use streets, parks, and trails in showcasing their skills.
However, some racers prefer the 3/32-inch chain. That type is narrower, which is better for high speeds.
Meanwhile, if you’re more particular about durability, there are 3/16-inch chains for a wider option. They can endure the most intense techniques and terrains, but they’re still uncommon due to the compromised quality of performance.
The universal lengths of BMX chains to match more gear ratios as possible are 96 and 112. Just keep a chain tool in your home to guarantee a successful installation.
There are two components that can increase the level of durability of a bike chain. Read on to learn about the ideal pins and plates for BMX bikes.
Bent pins are one of the most common reasons why BMX chains suddenly come off. So, it’s best to resort to a chain with metal pins that are manufactured using heat treatment.
What happens to any kind of metal when exposed to extreme heat? Its properties are changed for the better to improve strength, durability, hardness, and resistance to rust and other types of corrosion. To prevent the metal from softening due to overly high temperatures, it undergoes a cooling process in the end.
After the grueling manufacturing process, the metal is already used to harsh conditions and won’t be easily deformed anymore. That’s exactly what you should expect about heat-treated chain pins.
The logic here is simple: the thicker the plate, the more durable it is. However, it can make a BMX chain much heavier.
One way to benefit from thick plates without dealing with the added weight is by going back to the pins’ design. Hollow pins can significantly reduce the overall weight of the chain. They have mounting holes, which clearly means less material that can contribute to the weight.
Contributing to durability and cleaning convenience, the material is also an important factor. Carbon, alloy steel, and nickel are mostly used for BMX chains.
When it comes to lightness, carbon is the best material for BMX chains. It can ensure a great performance because of better control and movements. In fact, it can even be more durable than other types of steel.
However, carbon chains usually cost more. Repairing or replacing them is also more difficult since they’re not as popular as steel chains. Not everybody knows how to clean and maintain them.
On the bright side, the typical black color of carbon chains requires less cleaning. It also looks more attractive for most people.
Since carbon steel is brittle, alloy steel proves time and time again that it’s more durable. It’s so strong that it has a wide range of applications–even for massive infrastructures. Alloy steel is usually transformed into tubes, pipes, wires, rods, nails, bolts, and screws, which is why it’s one of the most popular materials in the automobile, construction, and mining industries.
Alloy steel is also easy to clean. Its shine can last for years no matter how frequent you’re using your bike.
Additionally, the typical silver color of alloy steel is versatile. It’s a timeless design.
This material is always used as plating for any bike chain. It adds to the metal component’s durability and hardness. More importantly, it can resist corrosion. That contributes to easier cleaning for the likelihood of rust sticking on the surfaces is very minimal.
Since nickel is a superior material when it comes to corrosion resistance, it will let you use your bike, rain or shine. A nickel-plated chain is perfect for daily commutes. It can also survive any terrain, which means any BMX track or obstacle as well.
Just know that nickel isn’t exactly indestructible. It can still corrode if you always expose it to big splashes of water. So, as much as possible, avoid puddles and strong rains when you’re riding your bike.
Type, size, durability, and material are just some of the important factors to consider before buying a BMX chain. Choosing the right type is mostly a matter of selecting between full-link and half-link chains. Meanwhile, even though the standard width of bike chains is 1/8 inch, you still have the freedom to choose a wider or narrower option. Lastly, aside from the material, also think about the chains’ pins and plates in terms of durability.
Despite the plain look of the SRAM PC-830 6/7/8-Speed Road/MTB Bike Chain, we’re still impressed of its versatility, durability, and quick-connect feature. If you own another bike for commuting, you’ll surely appreciate this product.